‘Guess who’s back?’: Fury’s return rouses heavyweight scene

Tyson Fury is all smiles after it was confirmed he is free to resume his boxing career. (AFP)
Updated 14 December 2017
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‘Guess who’s back?’: Fury’s return rouses heavyweight scene

LONDON: The heavyweight division just got even more interesting.
Only a few minutes had passed after the news broke that Tyson Fury was free to box again, following his long-running dispute with Britain’s anti-doping agency, when the man himself took to Twitter.
“Guess who’s back?” Fury tweeted.
Next to those words was a video of him grooving to tunes inside a car.
It was a novel way for someone to react to being found guilty of a doping offense. Then again, Fury is one of a kind.
And that is what makes his imminent return to the ring — subject to him regaining his boxing license — all the more exciting.
The heavyweight scene has been revived since Fury beat Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 to win the WBA, IBF, and WBO belts. The Klitschko brothers — Wladimir and Vitali — were regarded as boring, with their dual, decade-long dominance a turn-off.
Now, the division boasts a new breed of fighters, champions from three different continents in Britain’s Anthony Joshua (WBA and IBF), America’s Deontay Wilder (WBC) and New Zealand’s Joseph Parker (WBO).
Then there’s Fury, back to stir things up even more.
The loudmouth Briton and his cousin Hughie accepted backdated two-year doping bans on Tuesday after providing elevated levels of nandrolone in urine samples following fights in February 2015. Both boxers said they “never knowingly or deliberately committed any anti-doping rule violation” and were willing to come to a compromise agreement with UK Anti-Doping in what proved a convoluted, drawn-out case.
The bans were backdated to Dec. 13, 2015, and expired at midnight on Tuesday.
Fury must get back his license, which was suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control last year over separate incidents of drug use and medical issues, but is now a major player among the heavyweights.
Soon after his “Guess who’s back?” tweet, he called out Joshua by writing: “Where you at boy? I’m coming for you.”
Joshua is likely to fight Parker or Wilder next, potentially in the summer of 2018, but — in Britain, at least — the box office fight would be Joshua vs. Fury, which would be promoted as the national treasure taking on the bad boy. Both are unbeaten as professionals and have contrasting fighting styles.
“Next year I will be back doing what I do best, better than ever and ready to reclaim the world titles which are rightfully mine,” Fury said in a statement from his promoter. “It’s time to get the party started.”
Fury will need to shed the pounds, having bloated up to 350 pounds (nearly 160 kilograms), and has posted videos recently of him working in the gym. He will also need some fights to get sharp enough and mentally ready to handle the likes of Joshua and Parker.
But Fury prides himself on being a natural boxer — he comes from a bloodline of bare-knuckle Gypsy fighters — and doesn’t believe it will take long to be back to his best.
“I’ll fight my way back, nice and steady — 2018 is going to be a big year, a turnaround year,” he said on British TV show “Soccer PM” on Saturday. “Two years out of the ring. There’s only been Muhammad Ali and maybe a couple of others who have come back after two years (out) and been successful. And they probably didn’t live the life I’ve lived outside boxing.
“Outside boxing, I’m not an athlete at all. I’m not an athlete in boxing! So it’s going to be a hard road back, but I’m more than capable of doing it.”
 


Felipe Massa ready for Formula E challenge around the streets of Riyadh

Updated 25 September 2018
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Felipe Massa ready for Formula E challenge around the streets of Riyadh

  • Not only will the December date mark the Kingdom’s entry into Formula E, but it will also mark Massa’s debut
  • Massa called the Formula E vehicles “the car of the next generation”

Noor Nugali Riyadh: Felipe Massa cannot wait to get behind the wheel of a Formula E car and jumpstart his new career when the spectacle of speed storms into Riyadh for the season opener on Dec. 15.
The Saudi Arabia capital was named as the newest stopping point for the sport in May, with it being the first race of a 13-race season, which sees the electric-powered cars tackle street circuits across the globe.
Not only will the December date mark the Kingdom’s entry into Formula E, but it will also mark Massa’s debut, having left the Formula One paddock for the growing sport. And the 37-year-old told Arab News he is excited about the prospect of tackling the streets of Ad Diriyah, the oldest part of the capital, in one of the electrically powered speed machines.
“I am ready for the race. It’s a fantastic feeling driving around the city, the town, it’s historical. It will be a big event,” Massa said at press conference to announce Saudi Arabian Airlines’ new long-term partnership as official airline partner of the all-electric series.
“I’m really happy to be a part of this new challenge for my career. In a new place and country, it’s motivating.”
Having won 11 Grands Prix during an illustrious career in F1, during which time he raced for Ferrari, some might think Massa would not be daunted by the move to Formula E. The Brazilian, however, is taking nothing for granted.
“It’s a big challenge for me to change categories, to Formula E,” he said, having got a chance to put some early practice in as he took a Gen2 car around the streets of the capital.
“Learning everything is a challenge. It’s different cars, different tracks and a different way of driving. I need to learn and grow to understand but I like new challenges.”
Massa called the Formula E vehicles “the car of the next generation” and it is hoped that the Ad Diriyah race helps the changing face of Saudi Arabia by inspiring more women to get behind the wheel in the Kingdom — something not lost on Massa.
“I heard that women are driving (in Saudi Arabia) now and that’s fantastic — hopefully in the future there will female racers,” he said.
“We are racing in a country (whose main export is oil), and we are racing with electric cars. I think it shows that this country wants to change its mentality and its thinking of the future. It’s really positive and I’m so happy to be a part of this.”
Thanks to the Bahrain and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix, the Middle East has long been associated with motorsport, and it is well known that the region is awash with petrolheads. The Riyadh Formula E race, however, will be international motorsport’s first move into Saudi Arabia.
But rather than look to bring F1 to the country his Abdul Aziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice-chair of the General Sports Authority, revealed that Formula E was the only format they wanted to see in the capital.
“This is a truly game-changing moment for Saudi Arabia and one that we can share with the world,” he said. “It is very fitting that the such a futuristic and sustainable sport as Formula E is pointing to the future direction of our country.
“Saudi Arabia is home to literally millions of passionate young fans of motorsport, many of whom simply cannot believe that Felipe Massa took the Gen2 car around the streets of the capital today and that they now have a ‘home race’ on the Formula E calendar. So already the excitement is building, especially since we’re adding live music concerts to the weekend line-up.”
The track Massa and Co. will be tackling this December was revealed at the press conference. At 1.76 miles long, the first road circuit in the Middle East features 21 corners, a number of which are long flowing ones taken at high speed. It is hoped that the race will get both Saudi Arabia’s entry to the sport and the season itself off to a spectacular start, and in doing so inspire a new generation of speed demons.
Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Faisal Al-Saud, president of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, said: “Something we haven’t announced yet, is that there will be a support race for Formula E.
“It’s the Jaguar I-Pace trophy, it will race around the world with the Formula E circuit.
“Saudi Arabia will participate in that championship as a national team with two Saudi Arabian drivers and we will announce the names soon.”