UAE international boxing event pulls no punches with knockout fight card

UAE international boxing event pulls no punches with knockout fight card
The Atlantis Hotel on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 11 August 2021

UAE international boxing event pulls no punches with knockout fight card

UAE international boxing event pulls no punches with knockout fight card
  • Friday fight night at Atlantis hotel on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah will feature 6 bouts, 2 for vacant titles

DUBAI: Boxing nights are not a common occurrence in the UAE, but some of the world’s best fighters could soon become regular visitors to the country if the organizers behind this weekend’s Legacy Boxing Series - International Boxing Fight Night have their way.

On Friday, Legacy Sports Management is bringing six professional fights, two of which are title bouts, to the Atlantis hotel on Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.

Former world WBA light middleweight champion Austin Trout, who will take on Alejandro Davila in the super welterweight division in the night’s main event, told Arab News that he was glad the wait for his fight was finally over.




Austin Trout is topping the bill at International Boxing Night. (File/Legacy Sports Management)

He said: “I’ve had to mentally psych myself into not worrying about the possibility of is it going to happen, is it not going to happen, will (the coronavirus disease) COVID-19 stop, are the flights going to come through?

“All those things that were buzzing around the fight, I’ve just been training, my coaches expect me in the gym regardless, if the fight was happening or not. We’ve been working hard.”

Trout’s last fight was in February’s unanimous decision win over Juan Armando Garcia in Mexico, and the 35-year-old southpaw pointed out that he was in great condition to take on another strong Mexican opponent in Davila.

“It’s been good here, it’s been hot, but I wasn’t expecting it to also be so humid, which is great for losing weight. My weight is good. It’s something that you have to get used to, so I’m glad that Legacy brought us out with enough time to acclimatize,” the Texas fighter added.

It will be Trout’s first time in Dubai, and he has been training at the Real Boxing Only gym in Al-Quoz alongside several other boxers who will be taking to the ring in the Atlantis at the weekend.

He said: “Facilities here are great, and we have everything we need. It’s a nice professional atmosphere. Everybody that’s in here works, so it’s not like some gyms where you come in and you see some people slacking around, nothing like that. I love the environment and the atmosphere here.

“I’m very excited to be back in the ring, even more excited to be fighting here in Dubai,” added Trout, who has a professional career record of 33 wins, five losses, and one draw.

“A big part of my career we were fighting abroad, and honestly it was the most fun part of my career. I really enjoyed it. I was in love with boxing. So, I’m happy to do more travelling, more fighting.”

He also hoped that boxing would follow mixed martial arts’ example of staging more fights in the UAE and the Middle East.

“From my understanding and what I’ve always gathered, is that Middle East loves combat sports. There really is no reason why there shouldn’t be a lot of boxing. UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) kind of paved the way with Fight Island (on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi) and they’ve had some good success with that, so I’m hoping boxing follows suit and brings a lot of fights over here. It’s always appreciated,” Trout said.

While his focus remained on Friday’s bout, Trout was clear about his future ambitions.

“We don’t have any set plans, we always have to get past what’s ahead of us, but I’m looking to get to the title. I’m looking to be a two-time world champion, the moves we make will be toward that goal,” he added.

The organizers also hope many similar events will follow.

Karim Akkar, chief executive officer of Legacy Sports Management, said: “Dubai stands for quality, and we are keen to bring the best fight cards to Dubai and spotlight the city as the new place to be for boxing.

“Dubai is the place where we want to build world champions in the next year. Everyone loves the city and boxers around the globe were overwhelmed with the opportunity to fight here.”

One of the highlights on the fight card will be the clash between Ismaikel “Mike” Perez and Tony Salam for the vacant WBA Intercontinental cruiserweight title.




Ireland-based 'Mike' Perez during a training session in Dubai ahead of Friday's fight night. (File/Legacy Sports Management)

Perez said: “Being in Dubai will make it special, most people dream of coming here, and fighting here. It’s a blessing to be here, it’s a blessing to have Legacy behind me and to give me this opportunity. It’s a blessing to be fighting for a title. It took me three to four years to get here, just to come back like this, I have no words to explain it.”

The Ireland-based Cuban noted that finding the right balance of training since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had not been easy.

“I don’t think I had any problems in a fitness way, I’ve been training for three years straight. Even with gyms on lockdown, I would go running every day, do what I could. I didn’t do too much boxing at the time. Where I live, it’s hard to find a gym that can let you train, especially me as an immigrant. But in the last six months, I’ve done everything, sparring, everything,” he added.

Perez fought for the WBC cruiserweight title in 2017, but the last few years have not been easy for the 35-year-old.

He said: “It took me three years before I found Legacy in the end. My wife and I were talking about it, she was like I know you love it but maybe it’s time to go ahead and do something else. And just when I was about to decide to move on and stop boxing for good, I found Legacy, and the opportunity to come. I just can’t wait. I will do my very best, I want this.

“I’m ready to go. Even after Friday, if they tell me to go next Friday, I’m ready to go. All I want is just to fight.”

Also on the bill is a highly anticipated bout for the vacant WBA Intercontinental super middleweight title between the talented American Anthony Sims Jr. and Hernan David Perez from Argentina. It will be a second chance to secure the belt that the 26-year-old from Indiana aims not to waste.




Anthony Sims Jr. has his sights on winning a a world title in Dubai. (File/Legacy Sports Management)

He said: “I lost my last fight, which was for the world title, so it’s like I’m getting a chance to do it all over and do it the right way. It’s the chance of a lifetime. Lightning never strikes twice, but to me it struck twice in one year, and I’m just blessed.”

Sims was also looking forward to fighting in front of a new crowd in a new environment. “I always want to fight in front of beautiful people, of all ethnicities and races across world, and I’m getting to do it right here in Dubai.”

He pointed out that the camp in Dubai had been ideal ahead of Friday’s fight.

“The gym is amazing. Both gyms supply your different needs. One gym has all the bags you need, and the other has more diverse bags, both have amazing rings, and a great atmosphere. You don’t need for anything, it’s perfect,” he added.

And beyond Dubai, his focus was clear. “After this fight, we’re going for somebody in the top 10.”

Rounding up the card will be the super featherweight bout between Bekman Soylybayev and Ramiro Cesena; Fernando Daniel Martinez versus Gonzalo Garcia Duran in the super flyweight category; and Ramona Graeff against Karina Kopinska in the female lightweight division.


AC Milan win first Serie A title since 2011

AC Milan win first Serie A title since 2011
Updated 17 sec ago

AC Milan win first Serie A title since 2011

AC Milan win first Serie A title since 2011
  • Fans partied in Milan and poured onto the pitch in Reggio Emilia as the ‘Rossoneri’ returned to the top of the Italian game after years of poor teams and financial problems since their last league crown in 2011

MILAN: AC Milan won their first Serie A title in 11 years on Sunday after beating Sassuolo 3-0 in Reggio Emilia to snatch the crown from local rivals Inter Milan.
Needing just a point to claim the Scudetto Milan swept their hosts aside thanks to an Olivier Giroud brace and another from Franck Kessie in the first half in front of an army of away fans at the Mapei Stadium.
Stefano Pioli’s Milan finished two points ahead of Inter, who beat Sampdoria 3-0 at the San Siro.
Fans partied in Milan and poured onto the pitch in Reggio Emilia as the ‘Rossoneri’ returned to the top of the Italian game after years of poor teams and financial problems since their last league crown in 2011.
Milan were imperious in winning their sixth match on the bounce and securing a title which for long tracts of the season looked like Inter’s to lose.
They were helped by a hat-trick of assists from exciting winger Rafale Leao, who has come of age this season and is reportedly a summer target for Paris Saint-Germain.
Giroud has struck some of the most important goals of Milan’s charge to the title and again showed why he is the man for the big occasion in the 17th minute.
He was in the right place at the right time to sweep Leao’s low pass through Andrea Consigli’s legs and send the massed ranks of Milan fans wild.
Sassuolo immediately wilted in the face of a Milan onslaught and practically handed Giroud the chance to net an almost identical second just after the half-hour mark.
Leao was again the provider, this time robbing the ball from Gian Marco Ferrari before rolling another low pass over for Giroud, who lashed in his 11th of the season and made it party time in the stands.
And it was another poor mistake from a Sassuolo player four minutes later which allowed Milan to relax and enjoy the celebrations kicking off around them.
This time it was Maxime Lopez who was robbed by Rade Krunic, with Leao bursting this time down the right and cutting back for Kessie, who smashed in the third to sign off in perfect fashion ahead of his move to Barcelona as a free agent in the close season.
The second half was dedicated to the Milan celebrations and despite some spirited Sassuolo play it was only a matter of time before the away side sealed the title for a 19th time.
Inter fans packed the San Siro in the hope that their team would pounce on a Milan slip-up but it was they who had more problems breaking the deadlock against a Samp team with nothing to play for.
A bubbling atmosphere slowly dissipated as news of Milan’s goals came in and there was also frustration at Inter’s inability to make the most of their clear dominance.
As so often this season it was Ivan Perisic who took matters into his own hands, calmly finishing into the bottom corner with his left foot after being nicely set up by a rampaging Nicolo Barella.
From there Samp gave up the ghost and two goals in as many minutes from Joaquin Correa just before the hour ensured Inter would finish with a win.
Home fans applauded their team off the pitch despite what must have been a painful way to lose their Serie A crown, with the hardcore in the Curva Nord chanting coach Simone Inzaghi’s name in a show of faith which is likely to be shared by the club.
After the title was decided on the last day the relegation battle is also going down to the wire with Salernitana and Cagliari fighting to avoid playing in Serie B next season.
Salernitana sit just outside the drop zone, two points ahead of Cagliari, ahead of their respective matches with Udinese and Venezia.


Newcastle ease to final day win, sending Burnley down 

Newcastle ease to final day win, sending Burnley down 
Updated 22 May 2022

Newcastle ease to final day win, sending Burnley down 

Newcastle ease to final day win, sending Burnley down 
  • Callum Wilson double enough to claim three points despite second half rally from the Clarets
  • Magpies finish season outside top half on goal difference, having been bottom at Christmas

NEWCASTLE: With emotions high and Premier League survival, for some, at stake, Newcastle United’s game-changer Callum Wilson showed the coolest head at Turf Moor to consign Burnley to the Championship and continue the Magpies’ meteoric rise.

A double either side of half time took the United striker’s personal tally to eight goals for the season, and Newcastle’s points to 49, not bettered since 2011/12, when Alan Pardew’s side just missed out on Champions League qualification.

And it is up, rather than down, where Eddie Howe can look, as his team finished the campaign in 11th place, a remarkable feat given they were bottom when he was handed the reins by majority owners, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

A second half rally by the Clarets threatened a survival bid as Maxwell Cornet netted, but it was not to be for the hosts, and the second tier awaits.

With so much at stake for so many on the final day, albeit bar a few million in prize money for the Magpies, head coach Howe could not be criticized for his pre-match selection at Turf Moor.

Fabian Schar was only able to make the bench following his head knock against Arsenal, after just two days out on the training pitches at Benton. In came club captain Jamaal Lascelles to cover.

Elsewhere, Kieran Trippier was handed a start, his first since February, in place of Emil Krafth, who himself was unfortunate to miss out after a fine run of form.

The atmosphere was electric, but the home side looked nervy — and it showed in their play, as United took absolute control from very early on.

Dan Burn and Lascelles repelled any direct balls from Burnley, their Premier League trademark, while Sean Longstaff showed his dominance in the middle.

United were forced into a first-half rejig as Joelinton went off with what looked like quite a nasty leg injury — and that might well put an end to any immediate Brazil national team call ups for Newcastle’s player of the season.

Nineteen minutes was all it took for Wilson to come to the party, albeit as survival hope wreckers.

Trippier’s expert set-piece delivery had the Burnley backline all at sea and, as Longstaff looked set to nod back into the danger area, Nathan Collins inexplicably stuck out a fist — in an act only a day like this can inspire — to punch away.

After a look at the VAR monitor, the referee pointed to the spot and Wilson, who did everything but score against Arsenal, made no mistake from the spot, sending Nick Pope the wrong way.

That strike popped a balloon at Burnley, one they would struggle to refill.

The loss of Joelinton had seen a slight adjustment from the usual 4-3-3, to a more unusual 4-2-3-1, and while Miguel Almiron dropped into impressive pockets of space, the home side did begin to get a foothold.

However, on the hour, their task, if difficult before, became a whole lot harder as Wilson and United made it two-nil.

A break down the left from the unusually quiet Allan Saint-Maximin, normally red hot against the Clarets, saw him cross for Wilson at the back post.

In total control, it would not be unlike United to leave the door open a touch for the opposition.

And just nine minutes later Cornet cracked home to reduce the deficit, after Martin Dubravka had parried his original effort.

Cue an onslaught, as Lascelles and Matt Targett were forced into goal line clearances.

Injuries and goals at Leeds, however, took this match away from Burnley, and so too it lessened the bite in their own game as United ended up seeing it out with minimal fuss.

With the three points, United ended the season just outside the Premier League top half on goal difference.

No one could have predicted this. A battle to beat the drop looked certain, a destiny already mapped out. But in the end it was not even close.

As one chapter ends, a new one begins, ready to be crafted by Howe and his players, who will no doubt be stronger in depth of quality come August, when the 2022/23 campaign kicks off.


Man City retain Premier League title with dramatic late comeback

Man City retain Premier League title with dramatic late comeback
Updated 22 May 2022

Man City retain Premier League title with dramatic late comeback

Man City retain Premier League title with dramatic late comeback
  • Ilkay Gundogan came off the bench to score twice with Rodri also on target as Pep Guardiola’s men held off Liverpool’s title charge to win the league by a point

MANCHESTER: Manchester City retained the Premier League title in the most dramatic of fashion as they hauled themselves back from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 with three goals in the final 15 minutes on Sunday.
Ilkay Gundogan came off the bench to score twice with Rodri also on target as Pep Guardiola’s men held off Liverpool’s title charge to win the league by a point.
In scenes remiscent of the first of City’s now six league titles in 11 seasons when Sergio Aguero scored a 93rd minute winner to deny Manchester United the title on goal difference, the champions produced a remarkable comeback at the Etihad.
Goals from Matty Cash and former Liverpool favorite Philippe Coutinho looked set to gift the Reds the title.
Jurgen Klopp’s men did their job by also coming from a goal down to beat Wolves 3-1 at Anfield, but City’s rescue act ensured Liverpool’s bid for an unprecedented quadruple is over.
Gundogan started the comeback as he headed in Raheem Sterling’s cross at the back post.
Rodri then side-footed home from outside the box and Gundogan completed the fightback by tapping home Kevin De Bruyne’s cross at the back post.
Guardiola said before the game he wanted no repeat of Aguero’s legendary late strike a decade ago.
But the Calatan was the most relieved man in Manchester as he sealed the 10th league title of his coaching career in just 13 seasons.
Fans swarmed onto the pitch to celebrate at full-time and the crossbar at the goal where City scored all of their goals was snapped under the weight of supporters sitting on it.


‘Maybe it was good to lose,’ says Jabeur after French Open shock

‘Maybe it was good to lose,’ says Jabeur after French Open shock
Updated 22 May 2022

‘Maybe it was good to lose,’ says Jabeur after French Open shock

‘Maybe it was good to lose,’ says Jabeur after French Open shock
  • The sixth-seeded Tunisian crashed out to Poland’s 56th-ranked Magda Linette 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5
  • Jabeur came into the event with a season-leading 17 wins on clay in 2022 and with the prestigious Madrid title under her belt

PARIS: Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur suffered a shock French Open first round exit on Sunday but admitted: “Maybe it was good to lose.”
The sixth-seeded Tunisian crashed out to Poland’s 56th-ranked Magda Linette 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5.
The 27-year-old was seen as a potential champion in Paris, despite never having previously got past the fourth round.
Jabeur came into the event with a season-leading 17 wins on clay in 2022 and with the prestigious Madrid title under her belt and a runners-up spot in Rome against world number one Iga Swiatek in Rome.
However, she was undone Sunday by 47 unforced errors in the two hour 28-minute match.
“Obviously I was expecting better but we say maybe something happens bad because there is something good happening in the future,” said Jabeur.
“Hopefully the grass season, hopefully Wimbledon, I don’t know, but it’s definitely a great time to reflect and to see what’s going to happen next.”
“So maybe it was a good thing to lose today. I would rather say this and be really tough with myself than waste all the good energy that I got from Madrid and Rome.”
Jabeur said she was not happy to see that she was starting proceedings on Court Philippe Chatrier on the opening day of the tournament, the first French Open with full crowds since 2019 after a pandemic-affected two years.
“Well, honestly, I wasn’t happy to play on a Sunday at 11,” she added.
“I’ve got quite a peculiar relationship with this court, I like it and I don’t like it at the same time.”
Linette had lost to Jabeur in the third round in 2021 having stunned an injury-hit top seed Ashleigh Barty in her previous match.
“I just tried to stay focused after the first set and tried to make her uncomfortable. I was happy to fight for every single point,” said Linette who needed treatment on a leg injury after dropping the first set.
“I shifted my attention to play faster and my racquet speed was faster than in the first set.
“I wanted to put her in the situation where she couldn’t move me around as much.”
Linette, a quarter-finalist on clay at Charleston and Strasbourg this year, next faces either 2020 French Open quarter-finalist, and weekend Rabat champion Martina Trevisan of Italy or Britain’s Harriet Dart for a spot in the last 32.


Verstappen wins Spanish Grand Prix, takes world championship lead

Verstappen wins Spanish Grand Prix, takes world championship lead
Updated 22 May 2022

Verstappen wins Spanish Grand Prix, takes world championship lead

Verstappen wins Spanish Grand Prix, takes world championship lead
  • Verstappen had to overcome being blown off the circuit and into the gravel by a gust of wind early on and some technical niggles

MONTMELO: Max Verstappen reaped the reward of Charles Leclerc’s misfortune to rack up his third straight win this season in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix and move top of the Formula One drivers’ standings.
Sergio Perez took second for a Red Bull 1-2 at the Montmelo circuit behind the world champion where in 2016 Verstappen had opened his F1 account as a teenager.
Leclerc was sitting comfortably in the lead from pole until lap 23 when a sudden loss of power proved fatal to his Ferrari.
The man from Monaco arrived in Catalonia 19 points in front in the title race, but left it six points behind Verstappen ahead of his home race next weekend.
Verstappen had to overcome being blown off the circuit and into the gravel by a gust of wind early on and some technical niggles.
“Difficult beginning but a good end! I tried to stay focussed, which is not always easy,” he said.
Mercedes showed improved form after a bumpy start to the season with George Russell claiming third.
Lewis Hamilton in the other Mercedes threaded his way through the field after being forced into the pits shortly after the start with a puncture to take fifth.