Fury Knocks Out Wilder To Retain WBC Crown In Heavyweight Classic

WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury of Great Britain (R) lands a punch on US challenger Deontay Wilder during the fight for the WBC/Lineal Heavyweight title at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 9, 2021. Robyn Beck / AFP

 

Tyson Fury retained his WBC heavyweight crown on Saturday with a spectacular 11th-round knockout of Deontay Wilder as their trilogy fight delivered a boxing classic.

In an epic battle in front of 15,820 fans at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, both fighters were knocked down on multiple occasions in an enthralling contest full of improbable twists and turns.

Fury looked to have gained the upper hand after flooring Wilder in the third round, only for the 35-year-old from Alabama to respond with two knockdowns that had the English champion clinging on desperately in the fourth.

But it was the bigger, heavier Fury — landing the cleaner and more damaging blows — who finished the stronger, and the champion had Wilder down once again in the 10th with a right hook.

Wilder responded bravely to that knockdown by wobbling Fury in return.

But the brutal energy-sapping nature of the fight, and Fury’s relentless physicality, finally took its toll on Wilder in the 11th.

With the American exhausted and on the ropes, Fury landed the decisive combination.

A right uppercut scrambled Wilder’s senses before Fury crashed a right hook into his opponent’s temple that sent the challenger tumbling to the canvas, barely conscious.

“Shots like that end careers,” Fury said. “I just hope that he’s OK. Because he took a lot of punishment tonight.

“Don’t ever doubt me,” Fury added. “When the chips are down I will always deliver.

“I give him the glory for the victory. He’s a tough man — he took some big shots tonight.

“It was a great fight tonight as well as any trilogy in history.”

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Multiple Knockdowns 

US challenger Deontay Wilder goes down as WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury of Great Britain knocks him out in the 11th round of the fight for the WBC/Lineal Heavyweight title at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 9, 2021. Robyn Beck / AFP

 

Saturday’s bout was the third instalment of an acrimonious rivalry between Fury, the trash-talking self-styled “Gypsy King” and Wilder, the heavy-handed knockout specialist regarded as one of the most destructive punchers in the sport.

Fury had scored a seventh-round knockout of Wilder in their second fight 20 months ago, after the two men shared a controversial draw in their first meeting in Los Angeles in 2018.

Both fighters entered the ring on Saturday at their heaviest ever fighting weights, with Fury tipping the scales at 277lbs (125.6 kg) and Wilder at 238lbs.

Wilder’s camp said the extra bulk was designed to give their fighter a quick early rounds knockout.

But although Wilder started aggressively, working Fury’s midsection in the opening two rounds, he was unable to find the precision to hurt the elusive Fury, who by contrast repeatedly scored with his right.

The fight appeared to have swung decisively in Fury’s favor in the third, when he landed a left hook and a pair of right uppercuts to put Wilder down. The American finished the round dazed and on the ropes with Fury poised to go in for the kill.

But incredibly Wilder rallied in the fourth round to put Fury on the canvas twice, once with his feared straight right and again with a right hook.

This time it was Fury who seemed to be in peril, but the champion was able to clear his head and survive.

Fury then recovered to dominate the middle rounds, repeatedly stunning Wilder who showed remarkable resilience in the face of a sustained onslaught.

Yet just when it looked as if the denouement could come at any moment, Wilder summoned another rally in the ninth round, rocking Fury once again with an enormous right hand.

But momentum shifted back to Fury in the 10th as he opened up with a devastating exchange to put Wilder down. Again the American found reserves of strength to fight back, wobbling Fury near the end of the round as the fans roared their appreciation.

Wilder’s resistance was broken once and for all in the 11th round though as Fury’s devasting final combination settled a gripping battle.

Two Warriors

WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury of Great Britain (L) lands a punch on US challenger Deontay Wilder (R) during the fight for the WBC/Lineal Heavyweight title at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 9, 2021. Robyn Beck / AFP

 

Fury, who improved to 31-0-1 with 22 knockouts, revealed afterwards he had sought to pay his respects to Wilder after the fight, but had been rebuffed.

“We fought like two warriors in there,” Fury said. “And I went over to shake his hand and say well done and he was like ‘No, I don’t respect you’.

“I was like ‘How can you say I’ve cheated when you know in your heart, you’ve been beaten fair and square?’

“Is he a sore loser or what?

“But I’ve acted like a gentleman throughout my career and that’s all I can do.”

Wilder, who was taken to a Las Vegas hospital following the fight as a precaution, did not speak to the press following the bout.

However in brief remarks he acknowledged he had struggled to deal with Fury’s size.

“I did my best, but it wasn’t good enough,” said Wilder.

“I’m not sure what happened. I know that in training he did certain things, and I also knew that he didn’t come in at 277 to be a ballet dancer.

“He came to lean on me, try to rough me up and he succeeded.”

AFP

Fury, Wilder Kept Apart After Sparks Fly At Press Conference

In this file photo Boxers Deontay Wilder (L) and Tyson Fury (R) face-off during a press conference in Los Angeles, California on January 25, 2020, ahead of their re-match fight in Las Vegas on February 22.  RINGO CHIU / AFP

 

Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder were prevented from a face-off as insults and expletives filled the air at an ill-tempered final press conference on Wednesday for their heavyweight world title fight.

Fury puts his World Boxing Council heavyweight belt on the line in Las Vegas on Saturday when he meets Wilder for the third time, 20 months after knocking out the American in their second fight.

Wednesday’s press conference — broadcast live on US television — saw profanities and sparks fly as Fury taunted Wilder over the circumstances of his defeat to the self-styled “Gypsy King” last year.

As the barbs escalated, the host of the press conference sought to bring both fighters together for a traditional face-to-face stare-down — only for Fury’s promoter Bob Arum to veto the confrontation.

Fury and Wilder — who clashed at a press conference ahead of their first fight in Los Angeles in 2018 — were hustled off the stage shortly afterwards.

It brought an end to a fractious encounter at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which turned ugly when Fury confronted Wilder over the American’s accusations of cheating by Fury during the last fight.

Wilder has accused Fury of tampering with his gloves for the second fight — where Fury dominated to score a seventh-round knockout — to inflict more damage.

Wilder had also accused former trainer Mark Breland of spiking his own water, as well as blaming a heavy costume used during his ring walk for making him tired.

Wilder stood by his various cheating claims when quizzed on them Wednesday.

“I will go to my grave believing in what I believe in,” Wilder said.

“I know things for a fact. I have confirmation and clarity over a lot of things. Men lie, women lie, but your eyes don’t lie what they see.”

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‘Weak Mental Person’ 

But Wilder’s comments were dismissed by Fury as the words of an “unwell person.”

“He accused me of everything, accused his team, his trainer, the suit, injuries. Who else did he accuse — oh yeah, the Nevada State Athletic Commission, they were in on it as well. And the referee,” said Fury (30-0-1, with 21 knockouts).

“Maybe if he’d come out with one of these excuses it would have been believable – but not 15, come on.

“He can believe what he wants. But what it tells me is that he’s a weak mental person, who I will knock spark out on Saturday night.”

Asked for his final comments, Wilder,  replied: “I just tell you guys to prepare yourselves for the battlefield and get ready for war.”

Fury meanwhile returned to his earlier theme, zeroing in on Wilder’s comments about the circumstances of his loss in the second fight.

“Wilder said I only won the second fight because I cheated,” Fury said.

“But then he goes and changes his whole team and training, says he’s training as hard as ever.

“So I have to ask the question ‘If I only won because I cheated, what was the point of changing everything?’ Can anyone answer that question? I know he can’t because he doesn’t have the brains to,” Fury said, gesturing at Wilder.

“He says he wants to do bad things to me, and hurt me and he’s got all this anger and malice and aggression. I don’t want to hurt Deontay Wilder. I just want to beat him in a fight.

“He knows what he’s saying is lies. And deep down in his soul, he knows that he lost. He lost the first time, he lost the second time and he’s going to lose the third time. And afterwards he’ll be back working in that fast-food chain that he was working at earlier in his career – retired.”

AFP

Mexican Teen Boxer Dies Of Injuries Suffered In Ring

File photo of a pair of boxing gloves.

 

Jeanette Zacarias Zapata, an 18-year-old boxer from Mexico, died Thursday, five days after she was knocked out in a fight, promoter Yvon Michel said.

“It is with great sadness and torment that we learned, from a representative of her family, that Jeanette Zacarias Zapata passed away this afternoon at 3:45 p.m.,” a statement from Groupe Yvon Michel said.

Zapata took part in the GYM Gala International Boxing event Saturday in Montreal, losing to Marie Pier Houle in the fourth round of a welterweight match.

A left uppercut and right hook from Houle dazed Zapata in the fourth round.

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She did not answer the bell for the fifth round of the scheduled six-round professional bout, and after she appeared to have a seizure she was stretchered out of the ring and taken to hospital.

“The entire team at Groupe Yvon Michel team is extremely distressed by this painful announcement,” the promoters said in their statement offering condolences to the fighter’s family and in particular her husband, Jovanni Martinez.

“Jovanni does not wish to comment,” the statement said.

Houle had posted a statement on her Facebook account Monday saying she was upset by the outcome of the bout.

“Boxing carries a lot of risks and dangers,” she said. “This is our job, our passion. Never, forever, intention to seriously hurt an opponent is part of my plans.”

AFP

Kamaru Usman Visits Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello

 

Nigerian-American welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, has visited the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.

The welterweight champion visited the governor on Thursday shortly after he arrived in Nigeria.

He had first arrived in the nation’s capital, Abuja before proceeding to Kogi State.

The visit comes months after Usman defeated his challenger, Gilbert Burns, extending his seemingly impregnable reign at the top of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight division.

 

Joshua Has Great Expectations For Potential Fury Showdown

A photo combination of Tyson Fury and AJ.

 

Anthony Joshua insists a blockbuster bout against Tyson Fury will “bring out the best in me” after his British rival claimed he would beat the world heavyweight champion in three rounds.

Joshua earned a ninth-round stoppage win against Kubrat Pulev on Saturday to retain his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts at Wembley Arena.

After a successful return to the ring in his first fight for 12 months, Joshua immediately found himself thrown into the debate about a mooted all-British showdown with WBC champion Fury.

Amid reports the hotly-anticipated fight is set for 2021, Fury took to social media to say: “I want the fight, I want the fight next and I will knock him out inside three rounds.”

Joshua has no intention of backing down from the Fury clash, although hurdles in the way of the super-fight include his WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk and another possible meeting between Fury and Deontay Wilder.

 

Joshua Knocks Out Pulev To Set Up Potential Fury Fight
Anthony Joshua (R) lands a punch on Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (L) during their heavyweight world title boxing match at Wembley Arena in north-west London on December 12, 2020. ANDREW COULDRIDGE / POOL / AFP

 

“That’s good to hear. At least I can get him in the ring. That’s what we want right? so he’s on the right track,” Joshua told the BBC when asked about Fury’s social media taunts.

“I said he’s talented and he will bring out the best in me. So that’s brilliant.

“I’ve been to his fights, I’ve watched him, so when I fight him it will be good to change those odds and put them in my favour.”

Joshua has a 24-1 career record as he continued to prove his shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr in June last year was an aberration.

READ ALSO: ‘I’ll Knock Him Out Inside Three Rounds’: Fury Wants To Fight Joshua Next

The 31-year-old looked in good form in front of 1,000 fans against Pulev, who took a standing count in round three and was knocked down twice more in round nine.

“I started this game in 2013, I have been chasing all the belts, I’ve been dealing with mandatories, so of course I want a challenge,” Joshua said.

“For me I stuck to what I know best – boxing, looking at where I am going to put my shots and putting them together.

“When they are successful, they are successful, but like I said it is less talk, more action.”

Now attention is turning to the Fury fight and his promoter Eddie Hearn said work would start on completing a deal on Sunday.

“Sometimes there are words backwards and forwards form both camps – I don’t think that’s going to do any good,” Hearn told the BBC.

“We just all want to make the fight. Now is the time. We will start the ball rolling. I don’t think it’s that difficult.

“The crux of the deal I have always said is agreed now in terms of numbers and money splits. There are only some minor details. So there’s no reason we can’t be up and running.”

AFP

‘I’ll Knock Him Out Inside Three Rounds’: Fury Wants To Fight Joshua Next

A photo combination of Tyson Fury and AJ.

 

WBC champion, Tyson Fury is eager to fight British boxer, Anthony Joshua and believes he can win him in three rounds.

“Well there you go everyone,” Fury began in a video posted on his Twitter handle a few hours after Joshua knocked out his mandatory challenger, Kubrat Pulev, in round nine on Saturday night.

“Anthony Joshua just s*** himself live on television. He got asked if he wants the fight and he went around the bushes and put his a*** in the hedge.
“I want the fight, I want the fight next. I’ll knock him out inside three rounds. He’s a big, bum dosser, I can’t wait to knock him out.”

READ ALSO: Joshua Knocks Out Pulev To Set Up Potential Fury Fight

No Repeat 

In front of 1,000 fans with attendance limited due to coronavirus restrictions, Joshua ensured there was no repeat of a shock defeat in his first clash with Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 as the 39-year-old Pulev was swotted aside.

Attention will now turn to the possibility of a much-anticipated clash with WBC champion Fury in 2021.

“I’m up for anything. Who wants to see Anthony Joshua box Tyson Fury in 2021?” Joshua asked the crowd to a chorus of cheers.

“I started this game in 2013 and I’ve been chasing the belts ever since.

“Whoever has got the belt, I would love to compete with them. If that is Tyson Fury then let it be Tyson Fury.”

Pulev had lost just once previously in his career to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, but was outclassed by Joshua, who could have had victory wrapped up within three rounds.

Joshua Knocks Out Pulev To Set Up Potential Fury Fight
Anthony Joshua (R) lands a punch on Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (L) during their heavyweight world title boxing match at Wembley Arena in north west London on December 12, 2020.
ANDREW COULDRIDGE / POOL / AFP

 

Twice Pulev was given a count by the referee in round three after he was left flailing on the ropes by an explosive burst of punches from Joshua.

The IBF, WBA and WBO world champion then surprisingly took his foot off the accelerator to allow Pulev to hang in the fight.

But in round nine three uppercuts in quick succession put Pulev back on the canvas and this time he did not get back up in time as Joshua took his career record to 24-1.

An agreement in principle for Joshua and WBC champion Fury to finally go head-to-head has been in place since earlier this year.

“Starting from tomorrow, we make the Tyson Fury fight straight away. It’s the only fight to be made in boxing. It is the biggest fight in British boxing history,” said Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.

“I know he (Joshua) wants it. He is the best heavyweight in the world, I promise you. He’ll break him down, he’ll knock him out.”

Joshua Knocks Out Pulev To Set Up Potential Fury Fight

Joshua Knocks Out Pulev To Set Up Potential Fury Fight
Anthony Joshua (R) lands a punch on Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (L) during their heavyweight world title boxing match at Wembley Arena in London on December 12, 2020. ANDREW COULDRIDGE / POOL / AFP

 

 

Anthony Joshua set up a potential world heavyweight unification bout against Tyson Fury with a dominant ninth-round knockout of Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev at London’s Wembley Arena on Saturday.

In front of 1,000 fans with attendance limited due to coronavirus restrictions, Joshua ensured there was no repeat of a shock defeat in his first clash with Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 as the 39-year-old Pulev was swotted aside.

Attention will now turn to the possibility of a much-anticipated clash with WBC champion Fury in 2021.

“I’m up for anything. Who wants to see Anthony Joshua box Tyson Fury in 2021?” Joshua asked the crowd to a chorus of cheers.

“I started this game in 2013 and I’ve been chasing the belts ever since.

“Whoever has got the belt, I would love to compete with them. If that is Tyson Fury then let it be Tyson Fury.”

Pulev had lost just once previously in his career to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, but was outclassed by Joshua, who could have had victory wrapped up within three rounds.

Twice Pulev was given a count by the referee in round three after he was left flailing on the ropes by an explosive burst of punches from Joshua.

The IBF, WBA and WBO world champion then surprisingly took his foot off the accelerator to allow Pulev to hang in the fight.

But in round nine three uppercuts in quick succession put Pulev back on the canvas and this time he did not get back up in time as Joshua took his career record to 24-1.

An agreement in principle for Joshua and WBC champion Fury to finally go head-to-head has been in place since earlier this year.

“Starting from tomorrow, we make the Tyson Fury fight straight away. It’s the only fight to be made in boxing. It is the biggest fight in British boxing history,” said Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.

“I know he (Joshua) wants it. He is the best heavyweight in the world, I promise you. He’ll break him down, he’ll knock him out.”

Fury also confirmed he wants the fight with a post on social media shortly after Joshua’s win.

“I want the fight, I want the fight next,” said Fury, who has not been in the ring since beating Deontay Wilder in February.

“I’ll knock him out inside three rounds.”

However, Fury could be contractually obliged to fight Wilder for a third time before taking on Joshua.

After the first bout was controversially declared a draw, Wilder activated a rematch clause following Fury’s victory in the second fight.

A third clash between the two was postponed earlier this year due to coronavirus.

AFP

Tyson To Come Out Of Retirement In Fight Against Roy Jones

On his Legends Only League website, Tyson announced the bout against Jones, a 51-year-old fighter who briefly held the heavyweight title and has fought consistently into his 50s. “It’s just going to be amazing,” Tyson said. (Photo by James Gilbert / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

 

 

Mike Tyson, the former world heavyweight champion who retired in 2005, said Thursday he will make a comeback at age 54, fighting Roy Jones Jr. on September 12 in Los Angeles.

On his Legends Only League website, Tyson announced the eight-round exhibition bout against Jones, a 51-year-old fighter who briefly held the heavyweight title and has fought consistently into his 50s.

“It’s just going to be amazing,” Tyson said on a video call on ESPN.

Tyson shrugged off any notion of danger for serious injury for himself or Jones, saying that California rules will require they both wear headgear for the fight.

“We’re both accomplished fighters,” Tyson said. “We know how to protect ourselves. We’ll be alright.”

Tyson finished 50-6 with 44 knockouts while Jones, who last fought in February 2018, is 66-9 with 47 knockouts.

Tyson vowed it would be competitive rather than for show — “we’re showing our skills and fighting” — and said he wants to recapture the fearsome form he once displayed.

“It’s 100% of it looking to be Mike Tyson in the ring,” Tyson said. “I’ve got one speed — forward.”

In a battle for the aged, Tyson said he wants to show older can still mean exciting in the sports realm.

“It’s because I can do it and I believe other people believe they can do it,” Tyson said. “We aren’t washed up. Somebody says over-age is washed up but they have a bigger fan base than the guys who are training now.”

Tyson envisions elder statesmen events of mixed martial arts and NBA fame, mentioning such former NBA stars as Dennis Rodman and Allen Iverson.

Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history at 20 years and four months when he stopped Trevor Berbick in the second round in 1986 to win the World Boxing Council crown.

Within a year, Tyson was the undisputed champion and dominated the division, earning his nickname as “The Baddest Man on the Planet” and going 37-0.

But in February 1990 at Tokyo, Tyson suffered a 10th-round knockout at the hands of James “Buster” Douglas in a stunning upset.

 ‘Taken care of my body’

He was arrested for rape in 1991 and convicted in 1992, serving three years in prison before his 1995 release and return to the ring.

Tyson regained the title but lost twice to Evander Holyfield, disqualified the second time for biting his rival’s ear, earning a suspension that kept him sidelined for 18 months.

He had one last chance at the heavyweight crown, losing to Britain’s Lennox Lewis in 2002, and retired after six rounds against Kevin McBride in 2005 in his final fight, days shy of his 39th birthday.

“I’ve been through some experiences and now I’m back here,” Tyson said. “I’ve taken care of my body.”

Jones has done much the same since winning his first middleweight title in 1993 and rolled through the super middleweight and light heavyweight ranks at 49-1 before dropping three fights in a row in 2004-2005.

His championship run included a 2003 victory over John Ruiz for the World Boxing Association heavyweight title, a crown he never defended before rejoining the light heavyweight ranks.

Jones fought at least once a year into 2018 but has spent more time as a commentator than fighter in recent years.

 

 

-AFP

Tyson To Make Boxing Comeback At 54 Against Roy Jones

Mike Tyson
(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 19, 2019, former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson before the start of the Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Florida. James Gilbert / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

 

Mike Tyson, the former world heavyweight champion who retired in 2005, said Thursday he will make a comeback at age 54, fighting Roy Jones Jr. on September 12 in Los Angeles.

On his Legends Only League website, Tyson announced the eight-round exhibition bout against Jones, a 51-year-old fighter who briefly held the heavyweight title and has fought consistently into his 50s.

“It’s just going to be amazing,” Tyson said on a video call on ESPN.

Tyson shrugged off any notion of danger for serious injury for himself or Jones, saying that California rules will require they both wear headgear for the fight.

“We’re both accomplished fighters,” Tyson said. “We know how to protect ourselves. We’ll be alright.”

Tyson finished 50-6 with 44 knockouts while Jones, who last fought in February 2018, is 66-9 with 47 knockouts.

Tyson vowed it would be competitive rather than for show — “we’re showing our skills and fighting” — and said he wants to recapture the fearsome form he once displayed.

“It’s 100% of it looking to be Mike Tyson in the ring,” Tyson said. “I’ve got one speed — forward.”

In a battle for the aged, Tyson said he wants to show older can still mean exciting in the sports realm.

“It’s because I can do it and I believe other people believe they can do it,” Tyson said. “We aren’t washed up. Somebody says over-age is washed up but they have a bigger fan base than the guys who are training now.”

Tyson envisions elder statesmen events of mixed martial arts and NBA fame, mentioning such former NBA stars as Dennis Rodman and Allen Iverson.

Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history at 20 years and four months when he stopped Trevor Berbick in the second round in 1986 to win the World Boxing Council crown.

Within a year, Tyson was the undisputed champion and dominated the division, earning his nickname as “The Baddest Man on the Planet” and going 37-0.

But in February 1990 at Tokyo, Tyson suffered a 10th-round knockout at the hands of James “Buster” Douglas in a stunning upset.

– ‘Taken care of my body’ –

He was arrested for rape in 1991 and convicted in 1992, serving three years in prison before his 1995 release and return to the ring.

Tyson regained the title but lost twice to Evander Holyfield, disqualified the second time for biting his rival’s ear, earning a suspension that kept him sidelined for 18 months.

He had one last chance at the heavyweight crown, losing to Britain’s Lennox Lewis in 2002, and retired after six rounds against Kevin McBride in 2005 in his final fight, days shy of his 39th birthday.

“I’ve been through some experiences and now I’m back here,” Tyson said. “I’ve taken care of my body.”

Jones has done much the same since winning his first middleweight title in 1993 and rolled through the super middleweight and light heavyweight ranks at 49-1 before dropping three fights in a row in 2004-2005.

His championship run included a 2003 victory over John Ruiz for the World Boxing Association heavyweight title, a crown he never defended before rejoining the light heavyweight ranks.

Jones fought at least once a year into 2018 but has spent more time as a commentator than fighter in recent years.

AFP

Anthony Joshua’s Next Fight May Not Hold Behind Closed Doors Despite COVID-19 – Promoter

Anthony Joshua (left) is a British-Nigerian professional boxer who is a two-time unified heavyweight champion.
Anthony Joshua (left) is a British-Nigerian professional boxer who is a two-time unified heavyweight champion.

 

Anthony Joshua’s promoter says the world champion’s next title defence may not be staged behind closed doors despite the coronavirus crisis.

Eddie Hearn is considering moving Joshua’s next fight against Kubrat Pulev, which was originally scheduled for the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20.

The London bout has been postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic and Hearn would be willing to move it to the Middle East if an audience is allowed there.

Joshua beat Andy Ruiz to take the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles in Saudi Arabia in December.

Hearn has already suggested he might stage the clash between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin in an empty venue, but the financial implications of doing the same with Joshua make it unworkable.

“We’re not going to go to AJ and say, mate, there’s £10 million less in the pot – we’ve got to get creative,” Hearn told Boxing Social on Wednesday.

“These countries are going to be up and running a lot quicker than our country or America.

“Would Saudi (Arabia) or Dubai or Abu Dhabi be ready to stage an event in September or October? I think 100 per cent.

“If you can’t get a live gate for the bigger fights we have to look elsewhere and that involves looking at other territories.

“Do I really want AJ to box behind closed doors? No. With what he has produced in terms of that live audience, I will be doing everything I can do make sure AJ doesn’t fight behind closed doors.”

The British Boxing Board of Control has issued a series of rules for the sport’s prospective domestic return in July, including all shows taking place without fans, and trainers and officials wearing face-masks.

Hearn said he broadly accepted the guidelines, which they insist are not necessarily binding, but called it “a very conservative starting-point”.

 

AFP

Joshua Hopeful Of Better Unification Showdown With Fury Than Wilder

British boxer Anthony Joshua celebrates after winning the heavyweight boxing match between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua for the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles in Diriya, near the Saudi capital on December 7, 2019. Fayez Nureldine / AFP

 

Anthony Joshua has offered to be Tyson Fury’s sparring partner if it helps his fellow British fighter beat WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.

Joshua has been left frustrated in his attempts to lure America’s Wilder into the ring as he bids to unify the division following his victory over Andy Ruiz Jr last weekend.

The 30-year-old, who regained the WBA, IBF and WBO belts, feels he has a better chance of landing a blockbuster unification showdown with Fury than with Wilder.

Fury faces a re-match with the American on February 22, having drawn their first encounter, and Joshua told Sky Sports News: “I think honestly he might beat Wilder next time.

“I think Fury would fight me quicker than Wilder would, so, if that’s the case, I want him to win. Imagine that fight on British soil.

“If Tyson needs me, I’ll go out and spar with him to get him ready for Wilder.”

Joshua remains desperate for a showdown with Wilder that would see both men attempt to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.

“It still puzzles me as to why it’s so difficult to pin this man down,” Joshua said. “This is the man I need to pin down to get the last ring and conquer this division.”

“You’ve got the two lords of the rings here,” he added. “The last one to unify, undisputed, the division. I’ve got four (including the IBO belt), he’s got one. I just need one more.”

Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev is the IBF’s next mandatory challenger for Joshua, while the WBO has ordered the Londoner to fight Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk.

And speaking about a potential third meeting with Ruiz Jr, the Mexican-American who stunned the boxing world by beating Joshua in June, the British boxer said: “One trillion per cent.

“I always said I’d fight him in Tijuana, with his uncle as referee. Me and Andy will soon see each other in the ring again.”

 

AFP

Nigeria’s Usman Knocks Out Covington To Retain UFC Title

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 14: UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (L) punches Colby Covington in their welterweight title fight during UFC 245 at T-Mobile Arena on December 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Usman retained his title with a fifth-round TKO. Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP Steve Marcus / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

The Nigerian Nightmare’ Kamaru Usman has retained his UFC Welterweight Championship with a 5th round stoppage of American, Colby Covington at the UFC 245 in Las Vegas.

After a closely-fought four rounds, the end came in the fifth when Usman dropped Covington with a right hand.

Covington got to his feet but Usman dropped him again with another right and closed in with a flurry of hammer fists on the ground before referee, Marc Goddard, stepped in to call it a TKO.

Usman has now won 14 MMA fights in a row, including 11 straight in the UFC which is the third longest current winning streak in the promotion.

His 11-fight streak is the second longest in welterweight history behind Georges St-Pierre’s 12.

The 32-year-old is one of just four fighters to start a UFC career at 11-0 or better.

Anderson Silva, Khabib Nurmagomedov And Royce Gracie are the others.