Tagged in: saudi arabia

Extra pit stop felt like a gamble I didn’t want to take at Miami Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton stated the late pit stop Mercedes offered him and he declined to take felt like an unnecessary risk as he once again bemoaned the timing of a safety car at the Miami Grand Prix.

Hamilton was relegated behind Mercedes teammate George Russell late on, with Russell able to make a stop for fresh tyres under the safety car after a long stint on the hard tyre propelled him up the order.

With the safety car still out Hamilton was asked by Mercedes if he wanted to make another stop, to which he replied: “You tell me, man! I don’t want to lose a place to George.”

Hamilton has had a string of bad luck thanks to poorly timed safety cars recently, most famously at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when it cost him the championship, but also at races this year in Saudi Arabia and Australia.

On this occasion, Hamilton opted against pitting and Russell later passed him for fifth position thanks to the performance advantage from his fresher tires. “When you’re out there you don’t have all the information,” Hamilton told media on Sunday evening.

“You don’t know where everyone is, where you’ll come out, you don’t have the picture they have on the screen.

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“When you’re given the responsibility to make the decision it feels like your gambling and I don’t like that. I was like, ‘you guys make the decision’. Either way, we’ve just been unfortunate with the timing of the safety car today.”

Russell first passed Hamilton through the final sector, but ran wide and gave the position back.

Russell’s tire advantage was clear to see and he eased past the seven-time world champion on the following lap.

After Russell got past, Hamilton stated “strategy has not been kind to me” in another radio message.

Hamilton was complimentary of Russell’s move and said the race was proof he should have started on the hard tire, not the medium.

“George obviously did a great job in that stint. He was on the better tyre to start with, the hard tire was the better tyre, so in hindsight maybe we could have started on the hard tire.

“He did a great job to recover from that position and get the points, fifth and sixth is good points today for the team.”

When questioned if he just needed a change in luck, Hamilton said: “Yeah, I’m waiting for it! “Until then I’ll keep working as hard as I can, working with the team. We got good points as a team today.”

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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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Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder make third fight in rivalry official

WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder have both signed contracts for the third fight in their heavyweight rivalry.

During the Josh Taylor-Jose Ramirez telecast on ESPN on Saturday, Fury stated that he had signed his contract. Wilder has also completed his side of the deal, according to boxing manager Shelly Finkel.

The fight will be on July 24, sources told ESPN. T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas will host the bout, Top Rank’s Bob Arum told ESPN’s Kel Dansby.

Fury will get 60% of the purse to 40% for Wilder, sources told ESPN’s Mark Kriegel.

The agreement comes six days after an independent arbitrator ruled that Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) was legally obligated for a third fight with Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs).

The arbitrator’s ruling derailed negotiations between Fury and Anthony Joshua for an undisputed title fight in Saudi Arabia this summer. Both sides were on the verge of finalizing a deal before Monday’s arbitration.

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Discussions were limited regarding a potential “step-aside” fee to Wilder to make Fury-Joshua possible.

The World Boxing Organization (WBO) has ordered Joshua to defend his heavyweight title against mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk.

Prior to the first fight in 2018 that ended in a draw, Wilder had knocked out all his previous adversaries. Fury got off the canvas in the 12th round to escape his first defeat. In the 2020 rematch, Fury battered Wilder for a seventh-round TKO victory. Neither fighter has fought since the fight.

Fury first fought Wilder, who is now 35, in 2018 and took the WBC title from him in a rematch in February 2020 with a seventh-round stoppage.

“Shall we do it and put him out of his misery? Crack the other side of his skull? Give him another shoulder injury, another bicep injury, a leg injury… the whole lot,” Fury said in a video posted by Top Rank Boxing.

“Wilder, contract’s signed, you’re getting smashed… You’re getting knocked out, end of, one round, you’re going. I’ve got your soul, your mojo, everything, I own you.”

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Anthony Joshua wins rematch by unanimous decision

Britain’s Anthony Joshua defeated Andy Ruiz Jr on a unanimous points decision in Saudi Arabia on Saturday to seize back the heavyweight world championship belts he lost to his Mexican-American opponent in a shock upset last June.

The Clash on the Dunes in Diriyah was for the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles and Joshua dictated the pace from the beginning with a measured approach that showed he had learned from the mistakes of the past.

Going into the 12th and final round, Ruiz needed a knockout to pull off another upset but it never came.

The judges scored the fight 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109 to the 30-year-old Briton.

“It was his night, man,” said Ruiz as his six-month reign came to an end, calling also for a third encounter that Joshua seemed to welcome. “If you heard, we’re going to do it a third,” said the taller and more athletic Briton.

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California-based Ruiz had stopped the previously undefeated champion in the seventh round at New York’s Madison Square Garden last June.

Joshua described that shock defeat, to a flabby-looking opponent drafted in as a late replacement, as no more than a ‘minor setback’ and he was happy to make light of it again in victory.

“Man, the first time was so nice, I had to do it twice,” he told the crowd.

“I’m used to knocking guys out but last time I realised ‘hang on a minute, I hurt the man and I got caught coming in’.

“I gave the man his credit. I said to myself I’m going to correct myself and come again.” Another loss in the early hours of Satuday would have sent the 2012 Olympic super-heavyweight champion’s career into freefall, with some saying already after the last fight that the Briton was finished.

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