Joshua offers to be Fury’s sparring partner if it helps him beat Wilder

British boxer Anthony Joshua. (AP/File)
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Updated 17 December 2019

Joshua offers to be Fury’s sparring partner if it helps him beat Wilder

  • Anthony Joshua remains desperate for a showdown with Deontay Wilder that would see both men attempt to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis

LONDON: Anthony Joshua has offered to be Tyson Fury’s sparring partner if it helps his fellow British fighter beat WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.

Joshua has been left frustrated in his attempts to lure America’s Wilder into the ring as he bids to unify the division following his victory over Andy Ruiz Jr. last weekend.

The 30-year-old, who regained the WBA, IBF and WBO belts, feels he has a better chance of landing a blockbuster unification showdown with Fury than with Wilder.

Fury faces a re-match with the American on Feb. 22, having drawn their first encounter, and Joshua told Sky Sports News: “I think honestly he might beat Wilder next time.

“I think Fury would fight me quicker than Wilder would, so, if that’s the case, I want him to win. Imagine that fight on British soil.

“If Tyson needs me, I’ll go out and spar with him to get him ready for Wilder.”

Joshua remains desperate for a showdown with Wilder that would see both men attempt to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.

“It still puzzles me as to why it’s so difficult to pin this man down,” Joshua said. “This is the man I need to pin down to get the last ring and conquer this division.”

“You’ve got the two lords of the rings here,” he added. “The last one to unify, undisputed, the division. I’ve got four (including the IBO belt), he’s got one. I just need one more.”

Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev is the IBF’s next mandatory challenger for Joshua, while the WBO has ordered the Londoner to fight Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk.

And speaking about a potential third meeting with Ruiz Jr, the Mexican-American, who stunned the boxing world by beating Joshua in June, the British boxer said: “One trillion percent.

“I always said I’d fight him in Tijuana, with his uncle as referee. Me and Andy will soon see each other in the ring again.”


UEFA warn clubs risk Champions League exclusion if seasons are not completed

UEFA and the European Club Association said that they were working on the possibility of playing on into July and August if need be. (AP/File)
Updated 04 April 2020

UEFA warn clubs risk Champions League exclusion if seasons are not completed

PARIS: UEFA and Europe’s top clubs have stated their determination that the current football season should be played to a conclusion and threatened that teams may be excluded from the next Champions League if their domestic competitions are ended prematurely.
In a joint letter released late on Thursday, UEFA, the European Club Association (ECA), and the European Leagues body representing nearly a thousand clubs in 29 countries, said that they were working on the possibility of playing on into July and August if need be.
The Champions League and Europa League — both of which are frozen in the last-16 stage — could be completed once the domestic seasons are finished, and “stopping competitions should really be the last resort after acknowledging that no calendar alternative would allow to conclude the season.”
The joint response came after the Belgian Pro League announced on Thursday that it recommended declaring the season over with the present table accepted as final.
It is the first European league to take such a measure, although more could follow.
That means Club Brugge would in theory go straight into the next Champions League group stage, but UEFA, the ECA and the European Leagues indicated that they may be barred from continental competition if the Belgian league decision is finalized.
“It is of paramount importance that even a disruptive event like this epidemic does not prevent our competitions from being decided on the field, in accordance with their rules and that all sporting titles are awarded on the basis of results,” the joint letter said.
“We are confident that football can restart in the months to come — with conditions that will be dictated by public authorities — and believe that any decision of abandoning domestic competitions is, at this stage, premature and not justified.
“Since participation in UEFA club competitions is determined by the sporting result achieved at the end of a full domestic competition, a premature termination would cast doubts about the fulfilment of such condition.”
The letter concluded: “UEFA reserves the right to assess the entitlement of clubs to be admitted to the 2020/21 UEFA club competitions.”
The Belgian Pro League said it had had “constructive” discussions with UEFA on Friday in which it “contested any approach which would force a league to continue in the current health crisis.”
It has called for a “varied approach” based on the specifics of individual leagues and countries.
UEFA has set up two working groups to devise a way for European football to get out of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.