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.”


Mohamed Salah threatens Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d’Or stranglehold

Updated 50 min 28 sec ago
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Mohamed Salah threatens Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d’Or stranglehold

  • Messi and Ronaldo have won the award for the past ten years
  • Salah has emerged as a genuine rival after scoring 43 goals this season

LIVERPOOL: Mohamed Salah could be the man to finally break the Ronaldo-Messi duopoly at the top of world football after the Liverpool forward burnished his soaring reputation with a mesmerising Champions League performance against Roma.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi have locked down the Ballon d’Or award for a decade, winning five gongs apiece — for the past seven years they have occupied the top two slots.
But Salah is now second favorite behind Ronaldo for this year’s award after scoring his 42nd and 43rd goals of the season in a thrilling 5-2 victory for Liverpool in the Champions League semifinal first leg.
After his first strike against his former club on Tuesday, the man dubbed by fans as the “Egyptian King” stood motionless, hands raised in apology, as bedlam broke out on a night for the ages at Anfield.
Salah’s curling effort arrowed into the top corner with such accuracy his manager Jurgen Klopp labelled it “a genius strike.”
Soon after came the forward’s signature finish, a cute dink over advancing Roma goalkeeper Alisson for his 43rd goal in 47 games for Liverpool.
When Salah, 25, made the move from the Italian capital back to the Premier League just 10 months ago for €42 million ($51 million), there were plenty who felt Roma had got the better deal. Salah after all was a talented player, but who often lacked an end product.
It also came just a few weeks before Neymar’s move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for a world record €222 million revolutionized the transfer market.
The Brazilian’s desire to leave the Catalan giants was tied to his ambition to beat Messi and Ronaldo to the Ballon d’Or by stepping out of Messi’s shadow.
Now, though, it is Salah who has emerged as the pretender to end the Messi-Ronaldo domination by not only scoring the quantity of goals that have become the pair’s trademark but doing it when it really matters, in the latter stages of the Champions League.
“If you think he is the best in the world, write it or say it,” urged Klopp, who has been credited with bringing out Salah’s previously untapped potential.
“To be the best in the world you need to do that over a longer period I think, and there are a few others that are not so bad.”
Heavily left-footed, small, speedy and with a low center of gravity, Salah’s characteristics are far more like those of Messi than the muscular goal-machine Ronaldo.
“In a certain light, at certain points, it is possible to glimpse in Salah a little of Messi’s afterglow,” wrote Rory Smith in the New York Times.
And he demonstrated another Messi-like quality in showing no mercy to Roma.
Chasing his first hat-trick in the Champions League, Salah would have been forgiven for going for goal as he bore down on Alisson once more after half-time.
But he showed why he is considered one of the game’s more unselfish superstars by instead creating another two goals for strike partners Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
When Salah left the field to a standing ovation 15 minutes from time, Liverpool led 5-0.
“Unstoppable (when Salah’s on the pitch),” said the back page of The Times.
Two late Roma away goals have at least given the Italians hope of recreating the incredible comeback they staged from a 4-1 first-leg deficit against Barca in the quarter-finals.
For once it is Salah’s turn to lead the way where Messi faltered on his return to the Eternal City next week.
Messi is almost certain to win a La Liga and Copa del Rey double and Ronaldo could lead Real Madrid to a third consecutive Champions League after another bucketload of goals this season.
But Salah is the coming man and after bagging the African and English players’ player of the year crowns, it is hard to back against him also conquering the world.