Al-Dossari stakes claim with fourth-fastest Riyadh Rally time

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Yasir Seaidan brought his MINI JCW Buggy home in third place and maintained the pressure on his rival. (Photo/Supplied)
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Yasir Seaidan brought his MINI JCW Buggy home in third place and maintained the pressure on his rival. (Photo/Supplied)
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Yasir Seaidan brought his MINI JCW Buggy home in third place and maintained the pressure on his rival. (Photo/Supplied)
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Yasir Seaidan brought his MINI JCW Buggy home in third place and maintained the pressure on his rival. (Photo/Supplied)
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Yasir Seaidan brought his MINI JCW Buggy home in third place and maintained the pressure on his rival. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 01 December 2019

Al-Dossari stakes claim with fourth-fastest Riyadh Rally time

  • Abu Dhabi veteran Al-Balooshi storms through to win motorcycle category

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi ceded eight seconds to French rival Stephane Peterhansel on the third 160 km selective section of the Riyadh Rally, but held on to guide his Toyota Hilux to victory and the outright lead in the Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship on Saturday.

Peterhansel and stand-in Portuguese co-pilot Paulo Fuiza won the special in their X-raid Mini JCW Buggy to finish the event just 46 seconds behind the local driver and his Ulster co-driver Michael Orr in what was a useful Dakar Rally shakedown for the 13-time winner of the world’s most challenging off-road rally.

Yasir Seaidan completed the last competitive section through the dunes and sandy wastelands of the Saad National Park 45 seconds behind Al-Rajhi in the second of the Mini JCW Buggies and maintained the pressure on his rival in the championship with the final place on the podium. 

ED Racing’s Essa Al-Dossari enjoyed a strong finish to the event with the fourth-fastest time in his Nissan Navara to secure a similar position in the overall standings.

Czech Miroslav Zapletal rounded off the top five in his Ford F-150 Evo after dropping time to the leading quartet in the last timed section.

Mutair Al-Shammeri brought his Nissan home in a distant sixth place and Faris Al-Moshna Al-Shammeri, Sami and Al-Mashna Al-Shammeri and Khalid Al-Feraihi rounded off the top 10. 

Salman Al-Shammeri finished in 14th overall and won the T2 category for series-production cross-country vehicles by 12 minutes, 37 seconds in his Nissan.

Yousef Al-Suwaidi snatched the runner-up spot from Farhan Al-Muharib with the second-quickest time on the last day.

Yousef Al-Dhaif managed to overhaul Saleh Al-Saif to snatch victory in the NUTV category in his Can-Am. Partnered by French navigator Laurent Lichtleuchter, the Saudi took advantage of serious delays for his rival to pip Majed Al-Tuwaijri to the win.

Khalil Al-Tuwaijri made it a Can-Am 1-2-3 with third place. Shaker Al-Tuwaijri was the sole representative in the official T3 section with his Can-Am.

Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Balooshi stormed through to win the motorcycle category on his KTM, the experienced veteran of numerous regional and international cross-country events following up his success at the recent Rally Qassim and Jordan Baja with a winning margin of 2 minutes, 11 seconds over his brother Sultan.

Friday’s leader Mishal Alghuneim lost out on the win after opening the road and the Saudi slipped to third place, while the stage win helped Kuwait’s Abdullah Al-Shatti secure fourth. Local rider Hashyan Al-Hashyan and Kiwi Philip Wilson rounded off the top six.

Sufyan Al-Omar claimed the stage win to secure a comfortable success in the quad category.

The Saudi headed a Yamaha 1-2-3 with Abdulrahman Alaglaa and Abdulaziz Al-Shayban filling the other podium places.

Sultan Al-Masoud retired, but pre-event favorite Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi recovered from his previous day’s woes to set the second quickest time on the last stage.

The Saudi trio of Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, Osama Al-Sanad and Raed Abo Theeb were running at the rear of the field in their Mercedes truck entered in the T4 category.

The event was organized by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), under the chairmanship of Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal and supervision of former FIA Middle East champion Abdullah Bakhashab.

It ran with the support of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, the General Sport Authority, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors (Toyota), the MBC Group, Al-Arabia outdoors, and the Saudi Research and Marketing Group.

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.”