‘Long live Saudi Arabia!’: Tyson Fury’s father hails Kingdom, promises sons will only fight in KSA

Special ‘Long live Saudi Arabia!’: Tyson Fury’s father hails Kingdom, promises sons will only fight in KSA
John Fury said he is enjoying Saudi Arabia. (Arab News/Abdulrahman Fahad Bin Shulhub)
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Updated 15 May 2024
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‘Long live Saudi Arabia!’: Tyson Fury’s father hails Kingdom, promises sons will only fight in KSA

‘Long live Saudi Arabia!’: Tyson Fury’s father hails Kingdom, promises sons will only fight in KSA
  • John Fury: Only Saudi Arabia could have set up Tyson-Usyk fight
  • Tells Arab News he expects a good fight from the veterans on Saturday

RIYADH: The father of British boxing champion Tyson Fury has promised his sons will only fight in Saudi Arabia going forward as he hailed the hospitality of the people of the Kingdom, and even said he wants to be like them.

“Tyson Fury and the Fury family will only fight again in Saudi Arabia,” John Fury said. “This is where our heart is, we love it, the people love us”.

“Long live Saudi Arabia!” he said lifting his hands to the sky, during the "Grand Arrival" event in Boulevard City in Riyadh.

Tyson Fury faces Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight world title on Saturday at Kingdom Arena.  

“I can’t express how much I enjoy this country and the people,” he said. “And I just want to be like them…because the worst man in Saudi Arabia is better than John Fury”.

“The Brits are traitors, aren’t they?’ Fury said, without elaborating on who he was referring to, and accused them of committing  treason against ‘their King,’ a reference to Tyson’s nickname ‘Gypsy King’.

“Forget Great Britain, our heart, look here, beating in my body, is in Saudi Arabia because we get treated like proper people, how we deserve to be treated.”

He went on to say that Britain had never made him “feel well” and because “they could not get behind the champion,” they stand to miss out.

Saudi Arabia has become a hub for premier world boxing contests over the past few years with authorities investing heavily to bring the biggest bouts to local and international audiences.

Turki bin Abdulmohsen Alalshikh, the head of the Kingdom’s General Entertainment Authority, has spearheaded this boxing revival.

Fury snr. had high praise for the authority’s chief, “he has done the best job in the world,” he said, adding that only Saudi Arabia could have set up the Tyson-Usyk fight.

“Nobody could ever have put this fight on except Turki Alalshikh and the great Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Previous bouts in the country have garnered the attention of fans globally and has marked the Kingdom as a new home of international boxing.

In March, British heavyweight Anthony Joshua knocked out Francis Ngannou in the second round.

Another member of the Fury family, Tommy, beat YouTuber-turned-fighter Jake Paul on points in a contest in Diriyah last year.

In 2022, Usyk successfully defended his belts in a rematch against Joshua in Jeddah on points, with the Londoner failing to win back his titles against the Ukrainian.

In 2019, Joshua defeated Andy Ruiz Jr. in a revenge match at Diriyah Arena in Riyadh after the American surprised the Brit with a defeat in New York.  

George Groves was knocked out by Callum Smith in the seventh round in an all-British grudge match in Jeddah in 2018.

Tyson-Usyk was delayed in February after a freak cut to Tyson during sparring, but both spectators and organizers are glad that the boxing spectacle is set for this weekend.

Fury snr. told Arab News that both fighters are at the top of their game and are veterans of the sport.

“It’ll be a good fight”.


Grace Kim shoots 66 to take 5-shot lead in Meijer LPGA Classic

Grace Kim shoots 66 to take 5-shot lead in Meijer LPGA Classic
Updated 16 June 2024
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Grace Kim shoots 66 to take 5-shot lead in Meijer LPGA Classic

Grace Kim shoots 66 to take 5-shot lead in Meijer LPGA Classic
  • Top-ranked Nelly Korda left Friday after missing her second straight cut following a stretch of six victories in seven events

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan: Grace Kim broke away late Saturday afternoon at Blythefield Country Club, birdieing four of the final six holes to take a five-stroke lead into the final round of the Meijer LPGA Classic.
Tied for the second-round lead with Ally Ewing, Kim shot a 6-under 66 to get to 17-under 199. The 23-year-old Australian won in a playoff last year in Hawaii for her lone LPGA Tour title. She lost a large lead in April in Los Angeles in the JM Eagle LA Championship.
“Gving myself another chance to I guess do it again and actually get it done,” Kim said. “I know I’m going to try my best for tomorrow and everyone else will. This golf course calls for lot of birdies and there are a lot of good players out here. ”
Ewing followed her second-round 63 with a 71 to drop into a tie for second with Lexi Thompson, Anna Nordqvist, Allizen Corpuz and Narin An.
“It was a little bit of a scramble today,” Ewing said. “I made some really good putts to just kind of hang in early.”
Thompson, the 2015 winner who has said this will be her last year playing a full schedule, played the final six holes on the front nine in 7 under in a 65. She has gone more than five years without winning.
“Just kind of got into a groove,” Thompson said. “This is a golf course you know you have to come out and play aggressive and make lots of birdies. Just came out feeling very comfortable, made a few good swings, and rolled in some putts.”
Nordqvist also shot 65. Corpuz had a 68, and An shot 69.
Kim had three straight birdies on the front nine on Nos. 5-7, dropped a stroke on the par-5 10th, then made the late charge with birdies on on the par-3 13th, par-5 14th, par-4 16th and par-5 18th.
“Obviously, I finished pretty strong, so hopefully I can just keep that going,” Kim said. “Have a good night meal. Watched a movie yesterday. That’s probably helped a little bit as well. Maybe do that again tonight and see. Fresh for tomorrow.”
Lilia Vu, a former No. 1 player and double major winner last year, was tied for 14th at 9 under in her return from a back injury that sidelined her since the Ford Championship in late March. She shot 68.
Brooke Henderson, the Canadian who won the event in 2017 and 2019, shot a 73 to drop into a tie for 24th at 7 under. Defending champion Leona Maguire was tied for 57th at 3 under after a 72.
Top-ranked Nelly Korda left Friday after missing her second straight cut following a stretch of six victories in seven events. She won at Blythefield in 2021 at a tournament-record 25 under.
The major KPMG Women’s PGA Championship is next week at Sahalee outside Seattle.


Italy recover from disastrous start to win Euro 2024 opener

Italy recover from disastrous start to win Euro 2024 opener
Updated 16 June 2024
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Italy recover from disastrous start to win Euro 2024 opener

Italy recover from disastrous start to win Euro 2024 opener
  • Italy are in some ways an unknown quantity coming into this tournament, with the reigning champions having also missed the last two World Cups and failed to fully convince during qualifying

DORTMUND, Germany: Italy recovered from conceding the fastest goal in the competition’s history to get their defense of the European Championship title off to a winning start on Saturday as they came back to beat Albania 2-1 in front of a partisan crowd.
Nedim Bajrami stunned the Italians and delighted a huge Albanian support in Dortmund as he smashed in the opener after just 23 seconds, his strike pulverising the previous record for the quickest goal at the Euros of 67 seconds by Dmitri Kirichenko of Russia in 2004.
Yet Italy’s response to falling behind was quick too, as Alessandro Bastoni headed the Azzurri level on 11 minutes and Nicolo Barella’s glorious effort put them ahead just past the quarter-hour mark.
From then on Luciano Spalletti’s team looked much more assured, although they really should have won by a greater margin rather than face an anxious finale as Albania pushed for an equalizer.
Their performance — the first 23 seconds apart — was largely encouraging before an enticing showdown with fellow heavyweights Spain in nearby Gelsenkirchen next Thursday.
Whatever happens in that match, Italy are already well-placed to advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2024 from Group B, in which Spain defeated Croatia 3-0 earlier on Saturday in Berlin.
Italy are in some ways an unknown quantity coming into this tournament, with the reigning champions having also missed the last two World Cups and failed to fully convince during qualifying.
Only five of Italy’s line-up at kick-off here started the final of the last Euros three years ago, with a new-look team featuring Bologna center-back Riccardo Calafiori winning just his third cap.
Albania, though, are appearing at just their second major tournament having also gone to Euro 2016.
The novelty of the experience for them helps explain why the home of Borussia Dortmund was a sea of excitable Albanian fans decked in red and black who made up the vast majority of the crowd.
They could hardly believe it when their team, coached by the Brazilian former Arsenal and Barcelona left-back Sylvinho, opened the scoring almost straight from kick-off.
Italy’s Federico Dimarco took a throw from the left-back position but played it loosely back into his own box. Bastoni was caught on the back foot, and Bajrami — who plays in Italy for Sassuolo — pounced to control and fire past Gianluigi Donnarumma at the goalkeeper’s near post.
It was a similar start to Italy’s last European Championship match, when Luke Shaw put England ahead inside two minutes in the final at Wembley in 2021 before the Azzurri came back to win on penalties.
This time they drew level when Dimarco and Lorenzo Pellegrini played a short corner routine on the left before the latter crossed for Inter Milan center-back Bastoni to head in at the back post.
Italy had regained their composure and soon went in front on 16 minutes, a Jasir Asani clearance dropping straight to another Inter player in Barella, who made the cleanest of contacts at the edge of the area to send a first-time shot past goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha.
They should have added to their lead before the interval, with Davide Frattesi hitting the post after meeting a lovely reverse pass by Gianluca Scamacca in the box.
Scamacca was then denied by Strakosha, while Fedrico Chiesa curled a shot just wide on the hour mark.
Italy then sat back, but Albania did not manage another attempt on target and the second-lowest ranked nation in the competition could not find an equalizer despite their best efforts late on.
Substitute Rey Manaj came closest after getting in behind in the 90th minute, but he could not beat Donnarumma.


England bat in rain-hit must-win T20 World Cup game against Namibia

England bat in rain-hit must-win T20 World Cup game against Namibia
Updated 15 June 2024
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England bat in rain-hit must-win T20 World Cup game against Namibia

England bat in rain-hit must-win T20 World Cup game against Namibia
  • England are currently two points behind Scotland in Group B
  • Title-holders England inflicted an eight-wicket thrashing of Oman on Thursday as they chased down a target of 48 in just 19 balls

NORTH SOUND, Antigua and Barbuda: Reigning champions England were sent in to bat by Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus after rain reduced their must-win T20 World Cup game in Antigua on Saturday to an 11-overs per side contest.
Anything other than a victory would see Jos Buttler’s men knocked out, with Scotland joining already-qualified Australia in the second-round Super Eights before the two countries meet later Saturday in St. Lucia.
England are currently two points behind Scotland in Group B but with a superior net run-rate that will be the tie-breaker if both teams finish level on points.
Title-holders England inflicted an eight-wicket thrashing of Oman on Thursday as they chased down a target of 48 in just 19 balls — the largest win in T20 World Cup history in terms of balls remaining.
But the game with already-eliminated Namibia is England’s last in a Group B where their opening match against Scotland ended in a washout before they suffered a convincing 36-run loss to Australia.
Even if England beat Namibia, they could still be knocked out should Scotland achieve a stunning upset win over Australia or if that game ends in a no-result.
England, in a game delayed by three hours, made two changes to the team that hammered Oman, with left-arm paceman Sam Curran and ‘death’ bowler Chris Jordan replacing express quick Mark Wood and spin-bowling all-rounder Will Jacks.

Teams
England: Phil Salt, Jos Buttler (capt/wkt), Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley
Namibia: Nikolaas Davin, Michael van Lingen, Jan Frylinck, JP Kotze, Gerhard Erasmus (capt), JJ Smit, David Wiese, Zane Green (wkt), Ruben Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz, Jack Brassell

Umpires: Adrian Holdstock (RSA), Langton Rusere (ZIM)
TV umpire: Rashid Riaz (PAK)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)


Netherlands and Poland denied training on new Hamburg stadium field ahead of Euro 2024 game

Netherlands and Poland denied training on new Hamburg stadium field ahead of Euro 2024 game
Updated 15 June 2024
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Netherlands and Poland denied training on new Hamburg stadium field ahead of Euro 2024 game

Netherlands and Poland denied training on new Hamburg stadium field ahead of Euro 2024 game
  • “We are not allowed to train here either, because of the bad quality of the pitch,” Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman said
  • UEFA insisted in a statement the surface “is in good condition and in order to preserve its quality the official (training) will take place at the respective team base camp”

HAMBURG: The newly laid field in the Hamburg stadium was off limits to the Netherlands and Poland on Saturday, one day before their opening game at the European Championship.
A new grass surface was ordered at Volksparkstadion after host club Hamburger completed their home fixtures on May 19 in the Bundesliga second tier.
Four weeks later, UEFA wanted to protect it from the teams’ traditional eve-of-game practice before the stadium hosts its first game at Euro 2024. Hamburg is due to stage five games including one quarterfinal.
“We are not allowed to train here either, because of the bad quality of the pitch,” Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman said at the venue where the teams kick off on Sunday at 3 p.m. local time (1300 GMT).
UEFA insisted in a statement the surface “is in good condition and in order to preserve its quality the official (training) will take place at the respective team base camp.”
Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk suggested the field was similar to the one in Frankfurt where the Oranje lost to Germany 2-1 in a March friendly.
“It’s not very good but both teams have to face it,” said Van Dijk, a couple of hours after Poland captain Piotr Zieliński suggested, “It doesn’t look that bad.”
UEFA seeks to give national teams the best possible playing surfaces at its showpiece tournament and often installs new fields at stadiums and training camps. It has replacements on standby if an entire playing field needs to be relaid during the monthlong tournament.
Switzerland made a formal complaint to UEFA this week about the training camp surface it was given near Stuttgart, though on Saturday it did not seem to have harmed the team’s preparation. The slick Swiss beat Hungary 3-1 in their opening game.


England have earned right to be Euro 2024 favorites: Kane

England have earned right to be Euro 2024 favorites: Kane
Updated 15 June 2024
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England have earned right to be Euro 2024 favorites: Kane

England have earned right to be Euro 2024 favorites: Kane
  • “Every tournament poses different expectations but we’ve earned the right to be classed as one of the favorites,” Kane said
  • “We’re here to win ultimately and there will be nothing better than to do that for the nation”

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany: England captain Harry Kane said the Three Lions “are here to win” Euro 2024 in Germany as they aim to live up to the tag of pre-tournament favorites in their opening game against Serbia on Sunday.
Under manager Gareth Southgate, England have come close to ending a 58-year drought to win a major tournament on three occasions without getting over the line.
Kane won the Golden Boot as Southgate’s men bowed out to Croatia at the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup and then missed a crucial late penalty in a quarter-final exit to France four years later.
But it was on home soil at the last European Championship that England came closest to glory under Southgate as they lost the final on penalties to Italy at Wembley.
Since then, the development of Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka has helped form a fearsome attacking arsenal alongside Bayern Munich striker Kane.
Between them the quartet scored 114 goals for their club sides this season.
“Every tournament poses different expectations but we’ve earned the right to be classed as one of the favorites,” Kane told a pre-match press conference in Gelsenkirchen.
“We’re here to win ultimately and there will be nothing better than to do that for the nation.
“There’s a lot of top teams and tomorrow night is our focus. We know how tough it was to get to the final last time.
“We’re going to have to do that again and even more if we want to do that again and hopefully one step further.”
Southgate, though, warned his side will have to be “exceptional” to beat Europe’s best.
Germany crushed Scotland 5-1 to open the tournament in style on Friday, while Spain swept aside Croatia 3-0 on Saturday with three first-half goals.
England are expected to cruise through a group also containing Denmark and Slovenia.
But Southgate has stressed the importance of taking one step at a time on what he has speculated could well be his final tournament in charge.
“You’ve seen Germany play the way they did last night, Spain in the first half today. There are a lot of good teams in this tournament. We have to be exceptional to progress through the group and have the opportunity to go further,” said Southgate.
“Our focus is to qualify from the group. When you’re trying to achieve exceptional things you have to break it down into chunks. Our first priority is to get through the group and work from there.”
A heartbreaking defeat to Italy in the final three years ago compounded a damaging night for English football.
Thousands of ticketless fans stormed the turnstiles and disabled entrances of Wembley in ugly scenes that marred the final.
German police have labelled Sunday’s fixture “high risk,” with only reduced-strength beer available to fans at Schalke’s home stadium.
Southgate called on the tens of thousands that will travel from England for the match to enjoy themselves responsibly.
“I expect everyone to enjoy the football,” he added.
“I’ve been fortunate to travel to a lot of football tournaments and they’re great carnivals and great chances to meet people from different parts of the world.
“The whole of Europe can come together and support their team and get behind their team.”