Saudi Arabia boxing showdown is postponed after Oleksandr Usyk suffers injury

Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev are now scheduled to meet in July instead of next month. (Getty)
Updated 17 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia boxing showdown is postponed after Oleksandr Usyk suffers injury

  • Usyk pulls out with elbow problem
  • Fight will still take place in Jeddah, according to sources

The World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight final between Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev that had been scheduled for May 11 in Jeddah has been postponed after Usyk suffered a minor elbow injury.
Ukraine's Usyk, 31, was preparing to defend his WBO and WBC cruiserweight titles against Gassiev, the IBF and WBA champion from Russia, at King Abdullah Sports City in what was expected to be the most significant fight of the year.
In addition to crowning an undisputed cruiserweight champion and the winner receiving $10 million, the two undefeated fighters would have been vying for the first ever Muhammad Ali trophy.
Arab News understands that the fight is likely to remain at the same venue and be rescheduled for July, regardless of rival interest from Russia to also host it. The super-middleweight final, between Britain's George Groves and Callum Smith, could also take place in July, so should that happen before Usyk-Gassiev, they would instead fight for the first Ali trophy.
“Team Usyk has informed Comosa AG that Mr Usyk suffered a minor elbow injury whilst training for his World Boxing Super Series final against Murat Gassiev, for the Muhammad Ali Trophy,” read a statement from competition organisers Comosa AG.
“It has been confirmed by all parties, including Comosa AG appointed independent medical staff, that Mr Usyk is unavailable for the scheduled date of the event, May 11th. As such, the May 11th event, due to take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has been postponed.
“Comosa AG is working in partnership withTeam Usyk and Team Gassiev as well as Sela Sport, the local event organisers, to establish a new date for the event. Comosa AG wishes Mr Usyk a good and speedy recovery. Further information on the rescheduling of the final will be released in due course.
“In the meantime, Comosa AG looks forward to announcing the weight classes that the World Boxing Super Series will employ for Season 2 of the Ali Trophy. Fans can expect to find out the divisions in the coming weeks.”


Work still to be done for Egypt's Al-Ahly in quest for African Champions League glory

Updated 23 September 2018
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Work still to be done for Egypt's Al-Ahly in quest for African Champions League glory

  • The Egyptian giants took a step closer to a ninth continental title
  • Attention immediately changed to the first leg against Setif in Cairo on Oct. 2

CAIRO: Al-Ahly coach Patrice Carteron has warned his players against complacency in their forthcoming African Champions League semifinal clash against Setif of Algeria, even though his side swept through with a 4-0 quarterfinal second-leg victory over Guinea’s Horoya in Cairo on Saturday.
The Egyptian giants took a step closer to a ninth continental title with the win against the Guineans after a goalless first leg. From the moment Walid Soliman opened the scoring after 32 minutes at the Al-Salam Stadium, the result was never in doubt as the Reds put in a dominant performance.
Second half goals from Islam Mohareb, Salah Mohsen and Ahmed Fathy confirmed the win.
“It was a good performance, especially as the pitch was poor,” Carteron said. “We are happy to go through but we controlled the game, especially in the second half when we were at our best. We adjusted our offensive strategy at the break and that made a difference.”
Attention immediately changed to the first leg against Setif in Cairo on Oct. 2.
“We know that the game will be very tough as Setif are a strong team but this is the semifinal of the Champions League, you know that any game is going to be tough,” added the Frenchman.
Setif defeated defending champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco 1-0 on aggregate and will host Al-Ahly in Algeria in the second leg on Oct. 23.
“Setif were the champions in 2014 and we know that we are going to have be at our best if we are going to the final,” said the 48 year-old, who also coached TP Mazembe of Congo to the 2015 title. He is aiming to deliver similar success for Al-Ahly, who last lifted the trophy in 2013.
“When I took the job three months ago, the target was clear: to win the Champions League. That is still the objective and we have taken a big step toward that today.
“Standards in the competition are getting better all the time and results in the quarterfinal show this,” Carteron said, adding that he and his players had taken note of how Mazembe had been knocked out at the last-eight stage.
“Now we are in the semifinal and we have to prepare as well as we can to face Setif. It will be a big challenge but we are looking forward to it.”
Setif reached the semifinal after a 0-0 draw in the second leg in Morocco on Friday to take the tie 1-0 on aggregate following a win on Algerian soil a week earlier.
Goalkeeper Moustapha Zeghba was the star of the show in Casablanca and made a number of fine saves to deny the defending champions.
It was a feather in the cap for coach Rachid Taoussi, a Moroccan who coached Wydad from 2002 to 2003.
“We managed this game very well,” Taoussi said. “We withstood the pressure. It is not easy to keep out such a team, especially with their fans behind them. In the end they had to play long balls and that made it easier for us to defend.”
While Morocco may have lost its sole representative left in the competition, Taoussi is flying the flag for his homeland. “I am proud to be Moroccan. I respect Wydad and the supporters a lot. It’s not easy for anyone to come here and play like we did.
“It is also a demonstration for those who constantly criticize the skills of Moroccan coaches. I’m so happy. That said, the most important thing for us now is to think about going even further in this competition, that is, reaching the final. We have one more step to go; we will give everything until the end.”
The other semifinal sees a third North African team trying to reach the showpiece event as Esperance de Tunis take on Clube Desportivo de Agosto of Angola.