Tagged in: rematch

Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua heavyweight title rematch set for Aug. 20

The heavyweight title rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua is now set for Aug. 20 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, sources told on Thursday.

The fight was originally being planned for July 23, but now Joshua will have nearly 30 more days to work with new trainer Robert Garcia.

When they met last September, Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) dominated Joshua en route to a unanimous decision victory to capture three heavyweight titles. Joshua, 32, quickly exercised the rematch clause, and neither boxer has competed since.

In the meantime, Joshua parted ways with Robert McCracken, the only head trainer he’d ever had in the pros. McCracken also led Joshua to a gold medal in 2012 as the head coach of the Great Britain Olympic boxing team.

Another change for Joshua comes on the broadcast side.

The British star has competed exclusively on Sky Sports for the past eight years, but his deal expired after the Usyk fight. Earlier this week, the streaming service DAZN announced Joshua has signed a long-term deal to fight exclusively on its platform.

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“I am entering a new phase in my career with a new training environment, new coaches and now a new broadcaster,” said Joshua, ESPN’s No. 4 heavyweight. “Negotiations at this level take time, so I am pleased to have it all wrapped up and now I can fully focus on giving the fans and DAZN what they want — knockouts in the glamour division.”

But it was Usyk, 35, who seemed on the verge of scoring the stoppage in Round 12. The former undisputed cruiserweight champion — and fellow Olympic gold medalist — lives in Ukraine with his family and was there when Russia invaded in February.

In March, Usyk decided to leave the war-torn country so he could prepare for the rematch and the first defense of his three titles.

This will be Joshua’s second fight in Saudi Arabia. After losing his three titles to Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019 in New York via seventh-round TKO, Joshua exacted revenge with a decision victory over Ruiz in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in December 2019.

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Dmitry Bivol scores stunning unanimous decision victory over Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas

Dmitry Bivol, in one of the biggest boxing upsets in recent memory, scored a unanimous decision over the sport’s top star, Canelo Alvarez, on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.

All three judges scored the fight 115-113, but the fight wasn’t nearly that close. Still, Bivol needed to win the final rounds on all three cards to avoid a draw. Equally puzzling: All three judges scored the first four rounds for Alvarez.

The judges’ view aside, Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) was in control from the opening bell, as he used his size (including a 4-inch height advantage at 6 feet tall to the 5-foot-8 Alvarez), range and jab to keep his light heavyweight title in his ninth defense.

“I prove myself today, I’m the best [in my division],” said Bivol, who resides in Saint Petersburg, Russia, but didn’t have his national anthem played at a time when many of his countrymen are being barred from competing in major sporting events due to the war in Ukraine. “Eddie Hearn, sorry I broke your plans with Gennadiy Golovkin.”

The long-awaited trilogy fight between Alvarez and Golovkin, the biggest event boxing can deliver, was already signed for Sept. 17. Instead, Alvarez stated he plans to exercise his contractual right to an immediate rematch.

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“It doesn’t end like this,” said Alvarez, who entered the ring rated No. 1 pound-for-pound by ESPN.

“No excuses, I lost today; he is a great boxer … I felt his power. He comes in and he goes out. He manages his distance really well.”

As Bivol said, “Rematch? No problem.”

The 31-year-old Bivol used beautiful footwork to circle away from Alvarez’s power shots and stay out of harm’s way during the early rounds, yet Bivol also stood his ground and fired three- and four-punch combinations that met the mark.

Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) tore through the opposition at 168 pounds over the past 16 months and collected all four world titles to capture the undisputed super middleweight championship, but an attempt to regain a 175-pound title proved to be too much.

The defeat is Alvarez’s first since 2013, when he was just 23 and outclassed by Floyd Mayweather.

And like the all-time great, Bivol employed expert counterpunching set up by the jab to pile up rounds.

The 31-year-old Mexican boxer applied plenty of pressure and found some success on the inside, particular with a right uppercut he ripped through Bivol’s guard on occasion. But Alvarez wasn’t able to sustain his attack.

Bivol, ESPN’s No. 2 light heavyweight, was the far cleaner puncher throughout the fight. He caught many of Alvarez’s powerful shots on his gloves and arms, his left biceps swollen and red when the final bell rang.

“He beat my arm up but not my head,” said Bivol, who was a 4-1 underdog, per Caesars Sportsbook. “He kept hitting me in the arms, and I kept hitting him in the face … I expect that. I watched the fight against Callum Smith.”

Alvarez had targeted Smith’s arm in an attempt to take away the jab and left the Englishman with a torn biceps in their December 2020 fight. Versus Bivol, the strategy didn’t work.

Bivol landed a surprising amount of flush shots — 152 connects to 84 — and Alvarez’s face was already red by the end of Round 1. Alvarez is used to being in control, but he often appeared frustrated, particularly down the stretch as the seconds ticked away on his impressive run at the top of the sport.

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Daniil Medvedev, Rafael Nadal advance at Mexican Open to remain on track for rematch

Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal had comfortable victories on Wednesday at the Mexican Open, and a rematch of their epic five-set final at the Australian Open appears to be on the horizon.

Medvedev took another step toward the top spot in the ATP rankings with a dominant 6-1, 6-2 second-round triumph over Pablo Andujar, while Nadal cruised past Stefan Kozlov 6-0, 6-3.

If Medvedev beats Yoshihito Nishioka in the quarterfinals and Nadal does the same versus Tommy Paul, the two players will meet again in the semifinals less than a month after the Spaniard rallied to win the final at Melbourne for his record 21st Grand Slam singles title.

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Paul advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (6), 2-6, 7-5 win over Dusan Lajovic, and Nishioka progressed after rallying to beat Taylor Fritz 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Medvedev, 26, is trying to replace Novak Djokovic atop the rankings and could achieve that goal if he wins the title in Acapulco.

He needed just over an hour to beat Andujar the morning after defending champion Alexander Zverev was kicked out of the Mexican Open for violently smashing his racket on the umpire’s chair moments after losing a doubles match.

“If I do (reach No. 1), it is going to mean a lot, there would be a lot of statistics mentioned, since when this or since when that. … It’s going to be fun, but first I have to achieve it, it’s my main goal to win as many matches as possible in the next few weeks,” Medvedev said.

Medvedev beat Djokovic in the US Open final last September to win his first major title and, at his next Grand Slam event, reached the final at the Australian Open on Jan. 30 before losing to Nadal.

The 35-year-old Spaniard, who has won three times in Acapulco — 2005, 2013 and 2020 — has a 12-0 record in 2022 and needed 1 hour, 16 minutes to beat Kozlov, who entered the draw as a lucky loser.

The Mexican Open is played on the hard courts of the Arena GNP in Acapulco.

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Anthony Joshua exercises right to rematch with Oleksandr Usyk for heavyweight championship

Anthony Joshua exercised his contractual right to an immediate rematch with Oleksandr Usyk for the unified heavyweight championship, Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, revealed on Saturday.

Hearn stated he plans to stage Usyk-Joshua 2 in early spring.

“Back in the game and looking for him to become a three-time world champion,” Hearn said.

Joshua, 31, had 30 days from last month’s upset defeat to Usyk to inform the other side, in writing, that he was exercising the rematch clause. Neither boxer can stage an interim fight before the rematch.

The battle of Olympic gold medalists from the 2012 Games wasn’t all that competitive despite Joshua’s advantage in size and heavyweight experience.

Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) was boxing as a heavyweight for just the third time but neutralized Joshua’s edge in size and strength with superior quickness, boxing smarts and footwork.

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The former undisputed cruiserweight champion appeared on the verge of stopping Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) in the closing seconds of a fight that featured no knockdowns, though Joshua was stunned on several occasions.

Joshua, a U.K. star, emerged from the bout with a badly damaged right eye and sat on his stool for minutes after the fight concluded.

The unanimous-decision loss was the second of Joshua’s career. His other defeat was a shocking seventh-round TKO loss to Andy Ruiz Jr.

That fight also contained a rematch clause and Joshua made good use of it by exacting revenge via decision six months later in Saudi Arabia.

Usyk, a 34-year-old Ukrainian, is ESPN’s No. 2 heavyweight and No. 9 pound-for-pound boxer. Joshua is ESPN’s No. 4 heavyweight.

Usyk’s tremendous victory spoiled plans for a Tyson Fury-Joshua super fight in the first half of 2022. Fury and Joshua hoped to meet Aug. 14 in Saudi Arabia before an independent arbitrator ruled that Fury owed Wilder a third fight.

They meet Saturday for the WBC heavyweight championship (9 p.m. ET, ESPN+ PPV). The WBC ruled that if the winner of Saturday’s bout doesn’t unify with Usyk next, that the victor will be ordered to fight Dillian Whyte, the long-standing WBC No. 1 contender.

If Whyte can upend Otto Wallin on Oct. 30 in London, he could be in line to fight Fury or Wilder in the first half of 2022.

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Dustin Poirier wins trilogy rematch by TKO after Conor McGregor injures leg in Round 1

Dustin Poirier now owns two triumphs over the biggest star in the history of mixed martial arts. This one, though, didn’t end in the cleanest way.

Poirier hit Conor McGregor with a combination at the end of the first round of Saturday night’s highly anticipated UFC 264 main event. McGregor went to plant his left foot and his leg buckled, sending him to the mat. Poirier followed up with punches on the ground as time expired in the round.

With McGregor clearly hurt, referee Herb Dean called the lightweight fight. The official result was Poirier by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of the first round. A stretcher was brought in to transport McGregor to the hospital. The video replay showed McGregor’s lower leg bent gruesomely as his foot hit the canvas. UFC president Dana White later stated the injury was to McGregor’s lower tibia and that he will have surgery Sunday morning.

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The finish left the sold-out crowd disappointed. There was a mixture of boos and cheers when Poirier was declared as the winner. This was one of the most anticipated trilogy fights in UFC history.

“I beat the guy,” Poirier said in his postfight interview.

Poirier explained that he hurt McGregor’s ankle on a checked kick and then the ankle buckled at the end of the first round. McGregor denied that it was a checked kick that did it. Poirier picked up his 15th career first-round finish.

“This is not over,” McGregor said.

White said Poirier will fight for the UFC lightweight title next versus champion Charles Oliveira and that when McGregor is healthy he will probably get a fourth fight against Poirier.

“When Conor is healed and ready to go, we’ll do the rematch, I guess,” White said. “Poirier will do his thing until Conor is ready.”

Oliveira told ESPN’s Mike Coppinger he expects the fight with Poirier to possibly be in December.

“It’s really sad what happened [to McGregor], but if you look at Poirier’s game, he’s been improving a lot, he’s been putting a lot of pressure, so he deserves the win,” Oliveira said of Saturday night’s result.

White said he believes that had McGregor not been injured, he would have gotten out of the first round.

“His ankle snapped from throwing punches. He was fighting back,” White said. “It wasn’t like he was up against the cage with Dustin unloading punches on him. If his ankle doesn’t break, I think we get to the end of the round.”

Poirier, for his part, said he and McGregor “are going to fight again, whether it’s in the Octagon or on the sidewalk. … He was saying that he was going to kill me. You don’t say stuff like that.”

Poirier said he wasn’t sure he felt a sense of closure following the trilogy.

“I need to digest it all, because right now, it kind of feels weird,” he said. “It’s not a good feeling.”

Poirier stopped McGregor at UFC 257 in January via second-round TKO. In 2014, at UFC 178, McGregor knocked out Poirier in less than two minutes.

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Usman knocks out Masvidal to win rematch

Kamaru Usman dominated his fight the first time he faced Jorge Masvidal, but he wasn’t thrilled because there were so many unanswered questions left. Masvidal had taken that fight on six days’ notice and needed to cut 20 pounds to make weight.

That seemed to take something off Usman’s one-sided victory.

Saturday’s rematch in the main event of UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Florida, was just as one-sided, but this time, he left no doubts.

He became the first man to knock out Masvidal when he landed with a perfectly thrown straight right hand. He dropped Masvidal hard and finished him with three hammer fists on the ground, forcing referee Herb Dean to stop it at 1:02 of the second.

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“Thank you to my man Jorge,” Usman said. “You elevated me. You made me go through the workshop to sharpen up my tools to put on a performance like that.”

There was no controversy, no complaints from Masvidal’s side and nothing but respect for a man who is quickly on his way to becoming the greatest welterweight in UFC history.

That’s a big feat considering what Georges St-Pierre accomplished, but in his last seven fights, he’s defeated Demian Maia, Rafael dos Anjos, Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns and Masvidal twice.

That’s a Murderer’s Row if ever there was one, and he knocked out Covington, Burns and Masvidal in the process.

Masvidal paid tribute, saying, “He showed me something he didn’t show me the first time.”

Usman was confident after going through several training camps with Trevor Whitman, a striking expert who has worked hard on sharpening Usman’s stand-up. It showed on Saturday, as he tagged Masvidal several times with clean combinations in the first round.

Usman, a former Division II national wrestling champion, has an extremely complete all-around game.

“I know with my fundamentals, I’m the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet right now,” he said.

There aren’t a lot of people outside of Jon Jones’ camp who would argue that right now.

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Promoter — Deal done for Anthony Joshua-Tyson Fury heavyweight title fight

Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn stated a deal for the world heavyweight champion to meet Tyson Fury in an undisputed world heavyweight title fight this year is all but done, with a venue in the Middle East a front-runner to host it.

Joshua defeated Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev last month to keep his IBF, WBO and WBA titles to set up the prospect of a mouth-watering clash with fellow Briton Fury who holds the WBC belt.

“The deal is done, really — without being signed,” Hearn told the Times.

“The financial elements of the deal are done. We’re talking through the broadcast situation, the only thing really now is to paper it. “And when you paper a deal like that, it does go back and forwards 15 times before every single letter is approved on the document.”

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Fury has not fought since beating American Deontay Wilder in their Las Vegas rematch in February to claim the WBC crown.

Fury and Wilder had a rematch clause in their contract but they couldn’t make the fight.

Hearn said Joshua and Fury would face off in two fights — with the first likely to be in the Middle East later this year — and he hoped to bring the rematch back to Britain.

“The Middle East will be aggressive and will be front-runners in this. To stage this fight, you need significant government support. You need someone who is staging this fight as a statement for their country,” Hearn added.

“I’d like it [the rematch] to be [in the United Kingdom]. Where? Millennium Stadium.”

Fury’s American promoter Bob Arum has stated before that he is “95 per cent confident the fight happens”. Arum said: “I don’t want to make a deadline, but I just can report that everything so far has been going splendidly, and we hope to have a signed document within the next couple of weeks.

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Fury reiterates talk of retiring after 2 more fights

After teasing a retirement in the near-future in the lead-up to his rematch versus Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury doubled down on his idea of retirement after fighting out the last two bouts on his contract with Top Rank Boxing.

“I’ve got two more fights left, and then we’re going to really think about what we’re going to do from there, said Fury, who was a guest alongside his wife Paris on “This Morning” on ITV in the United Kingdom on Wednesday.

“Because how long is a piece of string? I’m undefeated in 31 professional fights. This is my 12th year as a professional.”

Tyson later circled back to the thought of an early retirement, saying, “I’ll come back, and I’ll have two more fights, and hopefully we’ll sail into the sunset.”

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“It’s almost an anti-climax. You elevate yourself in your mind and body to go and box at this level, and nothing means anything apart from the fight on that night. And then it’s almost like you win, and it’s like, ‘Oh well, I’ve done that now,’ and then I’ve gotta slide down the other side. It usually takes me about two weeks to get back to normal after a massive fight.”

Fury says he is in good condition.

While Fury said he feels good about boxing Wilder, and then Joshua once that’s done, he also claimed he felt no particular inspiration from the opportunity of winning all of Joshua’s belts and becoming undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

“As far as I’m concerned, Anthony Joshua’s only got my leftovers, because I never lost those belts. I had to vacate them for mental health problems,” Fury said.

“They’re my belts. Until a man is defeated in a boxing ring, how can you claim to be the champion when you haven’t beat the champion? I beat the dominant heavyweight of our era, [Wladimir Klitschko], 26 title defenses, and went to Germany to do it. Then I went to America and beat the guy that nobody wanted to fight.”

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Wilder- Fury rematch set for MGM Grand in Las Vegas

The February 22 rematch between World Boxing Council heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, promoters stated on Saturday.

Top Rank and Premier Boxing Champions said tickets for the highly anticipated fight would go on sale on Saturday, now that the venue has been confirmed.

“I’m happy and I’m excited that the rematch is finally happening,” said Wilder, who will make his 11th title defense. The American is coming off a seventh-round knockout of Luis Ortiz on November 23 in Las Vegas, a win that saw him improve to 43-0.

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“I want to give the fans what they want to see. I’ve been doing it with my last three outings — Fury, (Dominic) Breazeale and Ortiz,” he said. “They’ve been spectacular events — from my ring walks, where I gather all the energy of the people, to my uniforms that I wear to help spread that energy. Then I give them what they all come for — the knockouts, and my knockouts have been amazing.”

Wilder and Fury fought to a split decision draw last December in Los Angeles.

Former world champion Fury was leading on the scorecards before he was knocked down by the American in the 12th round. The big Briton beat the count, but a second knockdown helped cost him a victory.

“I proved myself the first time and I’m ready to do it again,” Wilder said. “It was a very controversial fight. I promise my fans that there won’t be any controversy with this one. I’m going to finish it.”

Fury, who survived two severe cuts to defeat Otto Wallin by unanimous decision in September, said he was looking forward to taking care of “unfinished business” versus Wilder.

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Tyson Fury splits with trainer ahead of Wilder rematch

Tyson Fury has split with his coach Ben Davison just two months before his rematch with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.

Davison had been Fury’s coach for the last two years but he revealed on Sunday that they have decided to part ways.

With the Briton’s clash versus Wilder looming on Feb. 22, Fury moved quickly to hire Javan Hill as his new coach.

Davison confirmed the split on Twitter and insisted he remained friends with Fury while taking a swipe at Wilder.

“Obviously it’s not gonna stop until there’s an answer, Tyson and myself had to both make decisions for our careers, which resulted in our working relationship coming to an end,” he wrote.

“However, we remain friends and he will smash the dosser!!”

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The 12-round encounter in Las Vegas had seen the Swedish southpaw open up a sizeable cut above Fury’s right eye in the third round, before Fury fought back to clinch victory by unanimous decision despite his impaired vision.

Hill is the nephew of the late trainer Emmanuel Steward, who had previously worked with Fury out of the Kronk gym in Detroit.

Fury used social media to post a picture of them both, along with Hill and former world champion Andy Lee, with the caption: “Getting the old team back up and running.”

Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs), 31, of England, has won two fights since the draw, both in Las Vegas as part of his new co-promotional deal with Top Rank to fight on ESPN platforms.

Fury blew away Tom Schwarz in the second round in June and won a very hard-fought unanimous decision versus Otto Wallin in September in a fight in which Fury suffered terrible cuts over his right eye.

After the bout with Wallin, John Fury, Tyson’s father, said publicly that he thought his son should fire Davison because of his son’s lackluster performance.

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