Anthony Joshua knocks out MMA star Francis Ngannou in one-sided boxing match

Anthony Joshua knocks out MMA star Francis Ngannou in one-sided boxing match
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Former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has now won his last three fights before accepting this meeting with Francis Ngannou, whose talent and name recognition turned it into a big-money matchup. (Reuters)
Anthony Joshua knocks out MMA star Francis Ngannou in one-sided boxing match
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Former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has now won his last three fights before accepting this meeting with Francis Ngannou, whose talent and name recognition turned it into a big-money matchup. (AP)
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Updated 09 March 2024
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Anthony Joshua knocks out MMA star Francis Ngannou in one-sided boxing match

Anthony Joshua knocks out MMA star Francis Ngannou in one-sided boxing match
  • Finishes the fight with one punch immediately after the second 10-count, apparently knocking Ngannou out cold with an unblocked right hand

RIYADH: Former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua stopped Francis Ngannou in the second round on Saturday, dominating his matchup with the ex-UFC heavyweight champ.
Joshua floored Ngannou in the first round and again in the second with right hands at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh. He finished the fight with one punch immediately after the second 10-count, apparently knocking Ngannou out cold with an unblocked right hand.
The 37-year-old Ngannou eventually got up to his stool, but the mixed martial arts star was dazed and clearly hurt after his encounter with Joshua (28-3, 25 KOs) in only his second pro boxing match. Joshua and Ngannou embraced and talked afterward.
“I told him he shouldn’t leave boxing,” Joshua said. “He can do well. Remember, he’s two fights in, and he’s fought the best. He can go a long way if he stays dedicated, but it’s up to him.”


The fight world had optimism for Ngannou after he gave an impressive performance in a near-upset of Tyson Fury last October, losing by a narrow split decision. Joshua quickly proved there’s no substitute for years of boxing experience — and possibly revealed just how lightly Fury treated his bout with Ngannou last fall.
Joshua came out to control the distance with his famously sharp jab, but Ngannou got in a few good shots early. Joshua abruptly floored Ngannou with less than a minute left in the first round, firing a straight right hand through Ngannou’s patchy guard.
Ngannou went down again from an unblocked right hand in an exchange early in the second. He got up shakily, and Joshua quickly ended the punishment.
Joshua has held multiple world heavyweight titles in a successful professional career following his gold medal-winning performance in the London Olympics, but the Englishman had to rebuild his reputation after losing his three title belts in the first of consecutive losses to Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and 2022.
Now 34, Joshua won his last three fights before accepting this meeting with Ngannou, whose talent and name recognition turned it into a big-money matchup.
Ngannou began his pro boxing career last year after a mixed martial arts career in which he claimed the UFC’s heavyweight belt in 2021 and defended it in 2022.
The Cameroon native then walked away from the UFC due to contractual disagreements and signed an innovative deal with the Professional Fighters League. Although he has yet to fight for the rival promotion, Ngannou is expected to take on PFL heavyweight champ Renan Ferreira later this year.
But Ngannou was enticed by the big paydays of pay-per-view boxing, and he put on an outstanding performance in his ring debut while fighting heavyweight kingpin Fury to a split-decision loss in Saudi Arabia. Ngannou knocked down Fury in the third round and challenged him throughout a defeat that showed Ngannou was much more dangerous than any other MMA fighter that has made the recently fashionable move into boxing.
The result sparked interest in Ngannou as a legitimate contender in the heavyweight division, which has been repeatedly hurt by promotional clashes and ego-driven disputes during an era featuring impressive talents who haven’t fought each other as often as they should.
The main event didn’t begin in Riyadh until after 3:30 a.m. — even an hour later than the planned start time, which was set in deference to the European and North American viewing markets.
On the undercard, heavyweight Joseph Parker rebounded from getting knocked down twice to claim a majority decision over Zhilei Zhang. WBC featherweight champion fought to a split draw with Nick Ball.


Mike Tyson ‘doing great’ after falling ill during weekend flight from Miami to Los Angeles

Mike Tyson ‘doing great’ after falling ill during weekend flight from Miami to Los Angeles
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Mike Tyson ‘doing great’ after falling ill during weekend flight from Miami to Los Angeles

Mike Tyson ‘doing great’ after falling ill during weekend flight from Miami to Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES: Mike Tyson was recovering Monday after falling ill a day earlier during a flight from Miami to Los Angeles, his representatives said.

The 58-year-old boxing legend “became nauseous and dizzy due to an ulcer flare up 30 minutes before landing” on Sunday, his publicist’s office said in a statement.

“Thankfully Mr. Tyson is doing great,” the statement said. “He is appreciative to the medical staff that were there to help him.”

American Airlines flight 1815 was met by first responders upon landing at LA International Airport “due to the medical needs of a customer,” an airline statement said.

Tyson is preparing to fight the 27-year-old social media star-turned-boxer Jake Paul this summer at the 80,000-seat home of the Dallas Cowboys. Netflix will carry the fight live, a first for the streaming platform.

Tyson was the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990. He retired in 2005, but most recently fought in an exhibition in November 2020 against Roy Jones in California.


Ronaldo sets Saudi Pro League season scoring record while Al-Hilal finishes unbeaten

Ronaldo sets Saudi Pro League season scoring record while Al-Hilal finishes unbeaten
Updated 28 May 2024
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Ronaldo sets Saudi Pro League season scoring record while Al-Hilal finishes unbeaten

Ronaldo sets Saudi Pro League season scoring record while Al-Hilal finishes unbeaten

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: Cristiano Ronaldo finished the Saudi Pro League by setting the season goal-scoring record on Monday.
Ronaldo scored twice in Riyadh as Al-Nassr defeated Al-Ittihad 4-2 and lifted his league tally to 35, one more than the record in 2019 by Abderrazak Hamdallah.
In the final seconds of the first half, Ronaldo, who had already had two goals ruled out for offside, chested down a long pass from Mohammed Al-Fatil and opened the scoring with a low shot from the left side of the area.
With 21 minutes remaining, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner celebrated wildly after heading home a corner from Marcelo Brozovic. He was substituted off the field five minutes later to a standing ovation from the home fans.
It ended an action-packed season for Ronaldo, who scored four hat tricks and collected one red card. He was also suspended for an obscene gesture in February at Al-Shabab fans who had been chanting the name of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s longstanding soccer rival.
Al-Nassr finished second in the league, 14 points behind local rival Al-Hilal, which won the championship more than two weeks ago and completed the 34-round league unbeaten on Monday.
Al-Hilal was too strong even without Neymar, who joined the club in August from Paris Saint-Germain but suffered a season-ending ACL injury in October.
Aleksandar Mitrovic stepped in and ended the season with a goal in the final seconds to clinch a 2-1 win over Al-Wehda. The Serbian striker, signed from London club Fulham last summer, reached 27 league goals, second only to Ronaldo.
On its way to the title, Al-Hilal went on a 34-game winning streak in all competitions, a new world record for a top tier team.
“This season has been truly exceptional for the team, arguably our best ever,” coach Jorge Jesus said. “The credit goes to the immense talent within the squad and the incredible sense of unity that transcends both on and off-field interactions.”
Al-Ittihad’s defeat at Al-Nassr ended a disappointing season for the defending champion. Karim Benzema, signed from Real Madrid, struggled with injuries and even with N’Golo Kante and Fabinho in midfield, signed from Chelsea and Liverpool respectively, the team from Jeddah could manage only fifth place.
Poor results cost Nuno Santo his job as coach in November, and the Portuguese tactician returned to the English Premier League a month later to take over Nottingham Forest.
Al-Ahli, the fourth of the ‘Big Four’ clubs taken over by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund last June, finished third, 17 points behind Al-Nassr. Al-Ahli beat Al-Fayha 1-0 thanks to a late goal — his ninth of the season — from former Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino.
Ronaldo took the headlines, however, and the 39-year-old still had one more chance to end the season with a trophy when Al-Nassr meets Al-Hilal in the King’s Cup final on Friday.


England’s Jacks thankful for Kohli influence ahead of T20 World Cup

England’s Jacks thankful for Kohli influence ahead of T20 World Cup
Updated 27 May 2024
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England’s Jacks thankful for Kohli influence ahead of T20 World Cup

England’s Jacks thankful for Kohli influence ahead of T20 World Cup
  • Jacks goes into third game of England’s warm-up series against Pakistan having helped propel the hosts to a 23-run win on Saturday
  • The Surrey all-rounder struck a quickfire 37 in what proved to be a decisive stand with captain Jos Buttler as England went 1-0 up

LONDON: Will Jacks hopes to put the on-field “coaching” he received from Virat Kohli to good use when England bid to retain their T20 World Cup title next month.
Jacks goes into the third game of England’s warm-up series against Pakistan having helped propel the hosts to a 23-run win at Edgbaston on Saturday.
The Surrey all-rounder struck a quickfire 37 in what proved to be a decisive stand with captain Jos Buttler as England went 1-0 up in the rain-hit four-match series ahead of Tuesday’s game at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens.
It was another example of Jacks’ power hitting after he recently struck an unbeaten century off just 41 balls — including 28 runs from one Rashid Khan over — as Royal Challengers Bengaluru chased down 200 to beat Gujarat Titans in a high-pressure situation, with India star batsman Kohli looking on from the other end.
“The big thing with the IPL is that every game is such an occasion, the crowd, the atmosphere,” Jacks told reporters on Monday, just over a week from England’s World Cup opener against Scotland in Barbados.
“Every game you feel like you’ve got to step up and that’s similar to international cricket.”
As for batting with Kohli, the 25-year-old added: “He’s a very good role model. The way he approaches all the training and every aspect of the game off the field, his intensity, everything he does is a 100 percent attention.
“He’s done it for such a long time and I can appreciate that as a young guy who often doesn’t want to do the hard yards, but you see him doing it and want to copy that.”
Jacks added: “When we were batting together, he was coaching me through there. I learned some valuable things about chasing in that innings and pacing the game, which was really helpful.
“I was really proud of the way I stayed in the partnership, didn’t throw it away.”
Now Jacks, whose England career currently consists of a mere two Tests, seven one-day internationals and 12 T20s, is looking forward to a major global tournament.
“Playing in a World Cup is something I’ve dreamed of since I was a little kid. I’m really excited to do it,” he said. “It’s getting closer now and we’re building in the right direction.”
Jacks labelled his England T20 record of 218 runs at 18.16 a “mixed bag,” although his cause has not been helped by switching between opening the innings and batting at three.
“I’ve probably opened half my games and batted number three in the other half,” he said. “It’s no lie that I’m new to batting at three, I’m learning on the job.”
He added: “I’ve been getting starts every game and it’s about how do I change those into match-winning scores. That’s more of a mindset thing. It doesn’t matter what I’m averaging: if the team’s winning, then it’s good.”


England captain Buttler set to miss 3rd T20 against Pakistan

England captain Buttler set to miss 3rd T20 against Pakistan
Updated 27 May 2024
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England captain Buttler set to miss 3rd T20 against Pakistan

England captain Buttler set to miss 3rd T20 against Pakistan
  • The 33-year-old struck a match-winning 84 as the hosts took a 1-0 lead in Birmingham on Saturday
  • He is set to miss Wednesday’s third T20 in Cardiff, with vice-captain Moeen Ali in line to lead England

LONDON: Jos Buttler has left the England squad ahead of Tuesday’s Twenty20 international against Pakistan to be with his wife, who is about to give birth to the couple’s third child.
The 33-year-old England captain struck a match-winning 84 as the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the rain-affected four-game series in Birmingham on Saturday.
But he is now set to miss Wednesday’s third T20 in Cardiff, with vice-captain Moeen Ali in line to lead England at Sophia Gardens instead.
This series, which concludes at The Oval in London on Thursday, is serving as a warm-up for the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and the United States, with reigning champions England starting their title defense against Scotland in Barbados on June 4.
England fast bowler Jofra Archer could be rested for the Cardiff match ahead of the Oval finale.
Archer has been beset by elbow injuries since his starring role in helping England win the 50-over World Cup in 2019.
But the 29-year-old marked his long-awaited return to international cricket by taking two wickets as England beat Pakistan by 23 runs at Edgbaston following a washout at Leeds.
Archer, on his first international appearance for 14 months, and first on home soil since 2020, bounced back from an expensive first over, which went for 15 runs, to finish with 2-28.


Crafting champions: The artistry behind the ‘Ring of Fire’ trophy belt

Nasser Farsi, one of the master engravers from Farsi Jewelry House, is seen in action. supplied
Nasser Farsi, one of the master engravers from Farsi Jewelry House, is seen in action. supplied
Updated 27 May 2024
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Crafting champions: The artistry behind the ‘Ring of Fire’ trophy belt

Nasser Farsi, one of the master engravers from Farsi Jewelry House, is seen in action. supplied
  • Engraving tools with diamond tips and tungsten carbide tips were used, depending on the function
  • Each stroke of the engraving tool was not just a mark on metal, but also a tribute to the sport’s rich heritage and the warriors who have graced the ring

Riyadh: In the world of boxing, where legends are made and history is written with every punch, there exists a tangible symbol of triumph and glory — the championship belt.

And behind every iconic belt lies a story of craftsmanship and dedication, as exemplified by the artisans at Farsi Jewelry House, entrusted with engraving the trophy belt for the historic “Ring of Fire” fight between Britain’s Tyson Fury and Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, one of the master engravers from Farsi Jewelry House, Nasser Farsi, provided insights into the meticulous process that went into crafting the emblem of sporting greatness.

“We used engraving tools with diamond tips and tungsten carbide tips, depending on the function,” said the artisan, highlighting the attention to detail and precision required for such a task. From planning and drawing, to engraving and quality checking, every step was executed with the utmost care and precision.

The artisan is seen engraving the champion's name on the belt. supplied

The engraving of the host city and date, along with the champion’s name and the names of the boxing legends preceding them, imbues the belt with a sense of history and reverence. Each stroke of the engraving tool was not just a mark on metal, but also a tribute to the sport’s rich heritage and the warriors who have graced the ring.

Despite their expertise, the artisans faced challenges along the way, particularly with the unexpectedly strong metal used for the belt. “The most challenging part was that the metal used for the belt was much stronger than we expected. It was done in a superb quality metal,” Farsi said. However, the engravers overcame the challenge “by adding an additional step, which is micro hammering with a diamond tip,” ensuring that the final product surpassed expectations in quality and craftsmanship.

For the artisans at Farsi Jewelry House, the opportunity to contribute to such a high-profile event is a source of immense pride and honor. “It was such a privilege and honor for me personally as my work was literally writing down a historical moment,” Farsi said. The sentiment was echoed by his colleague for the task, Samuel Nacario, whose passion for boxing and martial arts made the experience “a dream come true.”

Samuel Nacario, one of the master engravers from Farsi Jewelry House, is seen in action. supplied

While the engraving was done in-house by Farsi’s team, the assistance and artwork of people like Nacario, who Farsi sees as a “teacher,” played a crucial role in bringing the project to life.

Though the cultural significance of Riyadh may not have directly influenced the belt’s design, the event’s hosting in the Saudi capital sent a powerful message to the world. “It was a message that we are way ahead of our plans to reach what was anticipated for Vision 2030,” said Farsi, highlighting the event’s broader significance in the context of the Kingdom’s cultural and economic aspirations.

The artisan hinted at future projects, promising further glimpses of his craftsmanship. While the details remain under wraps, one thing is clear — Farsi Jewelry House is poised to continue leaving its mark on the world of sports and beyond.

In the realm of boxing, where every victory is immortalized and every defeat serves as a stepping stone, the craftsmanship of Nasser Farsi stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of champions.

As the “Ring of Fire” trophy belt changes hands and journeys through the annals of history, one thing remains certain — it is more than just a belt; it is a symbol of excellence, perseverance and the indomitable spirit of the human endeavor.