British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan to fight Billy Dib in Jeddah today

Amir Khan and Dib will be competing for the WBC International Welterweight Championship on Friday, part of a series of events at Jeddah’s Season Festival. (AFP/File)
Updated 12 July 2019
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British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan to fight Billy Dib in Jeddah today

  • Hopes to become the "face of boxing in Saudi Arabia"
  • Match was originally against Indian Goyat who pulled out due to injuries

ISLAMABAD: Former unified light-welterweight world champion, Amir Khan, is set to square off against Australian boxer Billy Dib in Jeddah on Friday, in a match the British Pakistani Olympic fighter hopes will make him the face of boxing in Saudi Arabia. 
Khan was originally slated to face Indian Neeraj Goyat at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah less than three months after he was controversially defeated by Terence Crawford. Khan was reportedly being paid £7m, £3m more than he earned against Crawford, to headline a team event between fighters representing Pakistan and India. However, Goyat was forced to pull out of the match due to injuries sustained in a car accident and Dib was invited to take his place. 
Khan and Dib will be competing for the WBC International Welterweight Championship, part of a series of events at Jeddah’s Season Festival. Khan will take part in the finale fight that includes other international boxers like Hughie Fury, Prince Patel and Dave Penasola.

Khan’s fight is only the second mega boxing event of it’s kind in Saudi Arabia, following last year’s fight in which British boxers Callum Smith and George Groves competed for the Muhammad Ali Trophy at the same venue in Jeddah. 
Khan has been vocal about his hopes that Friday’s event will catapult boxing to the center stage in the Middle East and make him the face of the sport in the region.
“It’s a massive opportunity for us to get out there and make a name in this part of the world. At the same time Saudi wants to introduce more boxing to the country,” Khan told The National newspaper. “So at least I can say one day that I helped grow it here and was one of the first guys to make history in boxing. And who knows, I could be the face of boxing in Saudi Arabia.”
Friday’s fight, though now deprived of the enthusiasm that a clash between sparring neighbors Pakistan and India had generated, still has its share of controversy. Khan and Dib vary in weight class with Khan classified as a “Welterweight” while Dib teeters between “feather” and “light” weight. Both Khan and Dib have held World Championship titles in their respective weight classes in the past. 
When asked about the weight difference, Khan told UK’s Mirror: “We are all prize fighters at the end of the day.” Speaking to The National, he said he would not underestimate his opponent no matter the weight difference. 
Khan began boxing competitively at age 11 and won an Olympic Silver for boxing when he was 17, making him Britain’s youngest boxing Olympic medalist. He has since risen to become one of the world’s best known and most successful boxers.


Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

Updated 20 July 2019
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Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

CAIRO: Baghdad Bounedjah’s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years after a fiery 1-0 victory over Sadio Mane’s Senegal in Friday’s final in Cairo.
Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute when his deflected shot looped over Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, and it proved enough for the 1990 champions to lift the trophy on foreign soil for the first time.
For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on as coach Aliou Cisse, the captain of the 2002 runners-up, again fell short in the final.
It was the first title-decider to feature two African coaches since 1998, with Algeria boss Djamel Belmadi completing a whirlwind 12 months at the helm after inheriting a side that failed to make it out of the group stage two years ago.
With defensive rock Kalidou Koulibaly suspended for Senegal, Salif Sane deputised at the back and Ismaila Sarr was recalled in attack, while Belmadi kept faith in the same side that overcame Nigeria with an injury-time free-kick from Riyad Mahrez.
Senegal had understandably feared the absence of Napoli star Koulibaly, banned after two bookings in the knockout rounds, although the towering Sane was desperately unlucky as Algeria grabbed the lead with scarcely a minute played.
As Bounedjah took aim from 20 yards his effort smacked off Sane and arced high into the air before dropping underneath the crossbar and beyond a static Gomis, sparking delirious celebrations from both players and fans, some of whom arrived for the final on military planes provided by the Algerian government.
It was the first time Gomis had conceded in almost 400 minutes in Egypt having replaced the injured Edouard Mendy ahead of Senegal’s final group game.
Henri Saivet, who missed a penalty in the 1-0 victory over Tunisia, tried to catch Rais Mbohli out with a free-kick while Mbaye Niang fizzed a powerful drive just over as Senegal gradually showed signs of life before the half ended with both sets of players embroiled in a scuffle as they headed for the tunnel.
Senegal thought they had won a penalty on the hour when Cameroonian referee Alioum Alioum pointed to the spot for a suspected handball by Adlene Guedioura, but the official reversed his decision after a VAR review.
Niang rounded an advancing Mbohli after a searching ball through from Cheikhou Kouyate but the forward sliced wide of the target from a tough angle, with the Algeria ‘keeper then acrobatically tipping over a rasping drive from Youssouf Sabaly.
The Desert Foxes started to look jaded as Senegal brought on fresh legs in Krepin Diatta and Mbaye Diagne, but Youcef Belaili nearly made it 2-0 when his cross brushed the head of a defender and skimmed the roof of the net.
Sarr blazed over on the volley as Algeria clung on to their advantage in the closing minutes, the final whistle greeted by an outpouring of raw emotion as the North Africans emerged worthy winners of the expanded 24-team event.