Former Chelsea captain John Terry joins Aston Villa

John Terry
Updated 04 July 2017

Former Chelsea captain John Terry joins Aston Villa

BIRMINGHAM, England: Rather than retire or play against Chelsea, John Terry decided to join a team that was unlikely to face the Premier League champions.
The former Chelsea captain signed a one-year deal with second-division club Aston Villa on Monday, three days after ending a 22-year association with the London club.
The 36-year-old Terry made more than 700 appearances for Chelsea — most of them as captain. He said his affinity for the club made him turn down offers from other Premier League teams.
“I thank them for their offers. For me it was just the mental side of playing against Chelsea was too much to get over,” Terry said at Villa Park. “I had 22 years at the football club, 22 unbelievable years. I’m very proud of that but this is a new chapter in my life and my career.
“I wish Chelsea well next season and will be watching out but my thoughts are 100 percent here and the ambition is to get us back to the Premier League.”
Villa, which finished 13th in the League Championship last season, is targeting promotion back to the top division after relegation in 2016, and could be in the same division as Chelsea for the 2017-18 campaign.
“That’s the ideal situation,” Terry said. “If, in a year’s time, we’re sitting here and Aston Villa are playing in the Premier League then I’ve done my job and everyone else has done theirs.
“We can cross that bridge, hopefully, when we come to it. First and foremost we’ve got a big and important year ahead of us.”
Terry progressed from the youth ranks at Chelsea, making his senior debut in 1998. The only other club he has played for was Nottingham Forest during a six-game loan spell in 2000.
Chelsea announced in April that Terry would be leaving the club at the end of the season but he waited until the end of the season before deciding against retirement.
And after winning his fifth Premier League title and his 15th major trophy with Chelsea, a round of golf with Villa coach Steve Bruce in Portugal helped convince him to continue his career.
“With things going to the end at Chelsea, I put everything to the side, a lot of managers were respectful of that,” Terry said. “It was bubbling once the season finished with phone calls, text messages, and I bumped into Steve in Portugal.
“I’ve got huge respect for him as a player, as a person and as a man. The way he’s dealt with me personally and professionally has been great and a key factor in me joining. I’m delighted because I still want to continue playing. I’m 36, that hunger’s still there to win and fight week-in, week-out.”


Joshua reveals he’s gone back to school ahead of Ruiz rematch

Updated 06 December 2019

Joshua reveals he’s gone back to school ahead of Ruiz rematch

  • “I really started studying boxing again”: Joshua

RIYADH: Former world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has admitted that he has been hitting the books just as hard as the gym in his six-month buildup to this weekend’s epic Clash On The Dunes bout in Riyadh.

The 30-year-old revealed that, as well as sparring with up to five fighters in a row, he committed to learning as much as he could about the “science of boxing” in his preparations for the rematch following his June defeat to Mexican-American fighter Andy Ruiz.

The pair meet again on Saturday in the jewel in the crown of Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah Season — with tickets selling fast in the face of phenomenal demand.

To Joshua, the fight is his chance of redemption following Ruiz’s shock win in New York’s Madison Square Garden, so he has left no stone unturned in his quest to produce the perfect performance under the lights and with the eyes of the world watching.

“After that fight, I knew my mistakes,” he told Arab News. “That’s why I said: ‘You were the better man that day. I give you it. First-ever Mexican champion. Hats off to you.’”

He continued: “I wasn’t low because I know I’m better than that and that I’ve got a lot more I needed to give. I just knew that me and Andy are different in every aspect — the only thing we have in common is time. So I made sure I used my time wisely because I knew I was going to get it right. I knew what I needed to work on. It was more strategic planning.

“Ever since I walked into boxing I’ve been dominating. From the amateurs — bosh, championship. Turned pro — bosh, championship. You never really understand what (you have) until it’s taken (from you).

“Then I had time to think and that’s when I really started studying boxing again. There is no doubt I can fight. I’ve been fighting top-level fighters. I’ve never really had an introduction level. I’ve just been straight on. I’ve now had the time to reflect, get my head right, get my head back in the game, and boost myself again and do what I did 10 years ago: take over this division.”

When asked what his studying entailed, Joshua — who won a gold medal in the heavyweight category at the 2012 London Olympics — explained: “Loads of videos. Sometimes you can put fighters side-by-side — both 6 feet 6 inches, both weighing roughly the same amount — but you can see one is more disciplined with technique than the other, you can then see why they became more successful in their field and you learn about the discipline of following through your tactics. Stuff like that.

“You learn about when you move to the left against an orthodox fighter: Is that a dangerous move or is that a smart move to control a fighter? What does it mean to move to the right? What’s the first art of defensive boxing? It’s your feet — get out the way. You start to indulge yourself in the sweet science. Before I was more, ‘I’ve just come to fight.’ Now I’ve learned about the sweet science of the sport, which is important as well.”

In line with his learning, Joshua has ensured his 3,000-mile trip from London does not impact his training and fight preparation. In the lead-up to June’s defeat, he spent seven weeks away from home in Miami. On this occasion, he has arrived only two weeks prior — allowing him to maintain a “training camp vibe” to his buildup.

He believes he is now in the perfect place ahead of Saturday’s blockbuster bout, admitting he actually finds the actual fight the least nerve-wracking part of the whole experience.

“I just kept a training routine and focused on business: Keep my focus and get the job done,” he said. “I’m not nervous at all. I’m confident. I don’t think I’ve ever been nervous for a fight. I’ve probably been more nervous sparring. I trap myself in a dungeon, so I feel like I’m an experiment in a lab. I then come and present my efforts to you.

“That’s why I feel I’ve got so much pressure on myself, because behind closed doors I work so hard mentally and physically to try and stay at the top. I spar, like, five guys in a row who come to take my head off, and I’ve got to be sharp in every second of that round, which will ultimately (affect) what I do on fight night. Training is the hardest part, I think. That’s why I’m never nervous about a fight, because I put so much work in in the gym.”

Ruiz’s win over Joshua in June sent reverberations across all divisions of the sport, with many considering it one of boxing’s biggest ever upsets. So, could lightning strike twice?

“I think it’s kind of like an exam, isn’t it?” said Joshua. “You go through it once, you fail. Most people fail their first driving test, then they go again and prepare better, so I think I’m better prepared if I’m honest with you. You will definitely see the energy in the fight a bit different this time.”

Asked what the outcome would be if he were to suffer a second defeat to Ruiz in seven months, Joshua said: “Definitely catastrophic. But I’m not even thinking about losing. It’ll be big business when I win. I just got to keep focusing on the win.”

He added, “Everyone fails their first driving test. I think I got mine the second time.”