Anthony Joshua tells Jarrell Miller he will ‘strip him of his soul’ in June bout

The two fighters are on a tour promoting their fight, this press conference was a less tetchy affair than the first. (AFP)
Updated 25 February 2019
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Anthony Joshua tells Jarrell Miller he will ‘strip him of his soul’ in June bout

  • Miller calls IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Joshua "posh"
  • Fight to take place at Madison Square Garden on June 1.

LONDON: Anthony Joshua has promised Jarrell Miller he will “strip him of his soul” when he defends his world heavyweight titles as he responded to taunts from his US challenger he was a “posh” champion.
British boxer Joshua will fight in the US for the first time when he defends his IBF, WBA and WBO crowns at Madison Square Garden in the challenger’s home city of New York on June 1.
It will be a clash between two unbeaten boxers, with Joshua boasting a record of 21 knockouts in 22 wins compared to Miller’s mark of 23-0-1, with 20 KOs.
The pair had already held a testy press conference in New York last week, with Miller proclaiming Joshua a “fraud” and “a pussy.”
Monday’s event was relatively restrained until Miller suggested London’s Joshua had had things “easy.”
“I’ve still got 10 years left in the sport,” Joshua said. “I don’t know anything else. I like to knock people out and beat people up.”
Former Olympic champion Joshua has largely avoided the kind of ‘trash talk’ common in the promotion of many boxing bouts but he appeared riled Monday, particularly when Miller said Tyson Fury was now the talk of the British heavyweight scene.
Miller, making mock snoring noises during Joshua’s opening remarks, said: “The facial can’t fight for him, the fans can’t fight for him, he’s not the popular one, all I here is Tyson Fury now — he (Joshua) is a sucker.”
But Joshua said: “I’m going to strip him of his soul in that ring. I’m going to reconstruct his face and his body on June 1.”

CHEESEBURGERS AND HARD WORK

Miller, alongside Joshua on a stage at a hotel near London’s Heathrow Airport, said: “I’ve been hearing AJ’s too posh, his nose is up here sometimes.
“For all the underdogs out there who are told they’re not good enough, I’m proof that with one or two cheeseburgers and hard work and dedication you can go far.”
But Joshua insisted he too had known hard times.
“I got banned from the area I was growing up in because I was getting into too much trouble,” he said.
“The state of my hands — this isn’t from boxing, this is from street-fighting. I’ve changed my whole lifestyle around.
“All this spirit this boy’s got, I’m going to strip him of his soul. I’m going to be a surgeon because I’m going to give him a makeover.”
Last week Brooklyn native Miller, a former kickboxer, was adamant he would stop Joshua in seven rounds, a claim he repeated on Monday.
“I don’t need to think, I’ll just get it done. You’ve got to go balls to balls. If I ever doubted myself I would not have made it this far,” he said.
“The game plan’s to stop him in seven rounds. You know how I feel about AJ, and my back-story and where I come from and where we’re going.”
After abandoning plans to fight again at Wembley on April 13, Joshua is now trying to break in on the US market where Deontay Wilder, the WBC heavyweight champion and Fury have held sway since their controversial draw in Los Angeles in December.
The 29-year-old Joshua last fought in September at Wembley, stopping Russia’s Alexander Povetkin in seven rounds.


KSA’s martial arts heroine: ‘I got into kickboxing by coincidence, as I just wanted to join a gym’

Updated 19 March 2019
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KSA’s martial arts heroine: ‘I got into kickboxing by coincidence, as I just wanted to join a gym’

  • Young Saudi triumphant at Open International Tournament despite just two years of training
  • Zahra Al-Qurashi took the gold in the women’s 70 kg category, beating Jordanian Heba Wasfi

JEDDAH: Zahra Al-Qurashi never expected to be where she is today: A gold medal winner in full contact kickboxing at the Open International Tournament for Clubs aged just 21. What started out as a gym class two years ago soon turned into a passion, leading to her victory in Amman on Sunday.

“I got into kickboxing by coincidence, as I just wanted to join a gym. I found the class and gave it a try, and decided to keep attending the classes,” she said. “A year ago, I joined Flagboxing Gym, and started training with my coach Grethe (Kraugerud). With her help, I developed my style and I am improving every day.”

Full contact is a discipline of kickboxing where punches and kicks must be delivered to legal areas of the body. According to the World Association for Kickboxing Organizations’ rules, it is legal to attack the front of the head and front and side of the torso, using “ankle-level foot sweeps.” It is prohibited to attack the throat, lower abdomen, back, legs, joints, back of the head and top of the shoulders.

A medal at her first international competition, then, speaks volumes about Al-Qurashi’s tenacity. She took the gold in the women’s 70 kg category, beating Jordanian Heba Wasfi.

“As soon as I entered the ring, everything went blank, I couldn’t hear or see anyone but my opponent, so I don’t really recall hearing my name even,” said Al-Qurashi. “I got a couple of really good kicks and punches, but she was a good opponent. I was in my own zone though, following every move and made sure I didn’t make mistakes.”

Zahra Al-Quraishi, 21, is already a gold medal winner at an international event despite being a virtual rookie in the demanding sport of kickboxing. (Supplied photos)

Hala Al-Hamrani, the owner of Flagboxing Gym in Jeddah, said: “I am over the moon. I have dreamt about this happening for 16 years, ever since I started coaching. My goal was to eventually provide the ladies of this country with an opportunity to compete.”

For approximately two months, Kraugerud, from Norway, oversaw Al-Qurashi’s workouts, adding more sparring, interval training and intense ring practice.

“I’ve had Zahra spar with men, who are bigger and stronger than her, to give her a sense of what to expect in the ring, to give her more confidence and make her mentally prepared,” said Kraugerud. “I was very proud of her as she entered the ring, you could see the respect for the sport reflected in her. We did a really good job at Flag, we really pushed for this together as a team. She’s young, but she’s talented and she will go far.”

Al-Hamrani, a member of the Saudi Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Federation, added: “We got her ready by providing her with the right practice and training. It’s a dream come true and it’s very overwhelming because it was such a long process for something like this to happen. Zahra is an up-and-coming athlete who hopefully has a long future and I’m extremely excited to see what that future holds.”

Abdul Aziz Julaidan, chairman of the Saudi MMA Federation, hailed the result after a tough bout between the two competitors, and thanked Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the General Sport Authority, for the support he had given to the team.

Upon returning to her hometown of Jeddah, Al-Qurashi was greeted by her mother. “I was hugging her and crying and mom, being mom, asked if I was crying because I got hit,” she laughed. “That was her way of saying: I’m proud of you.”