Anthony Joshua: Sparring Tyson Fury would benefit me

By Sports Desk December 18, 2019

Anthony Joshua might regret going public with his offer to spar Tyson Fury but the unified heavyweight world champion believes practice rounds against his fellow Briton would be beneficial.

Fury is set to return to the ring in February for a rematch with WBC champion Deontay Wilder, a contest that two-time IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua will have a keen eye on.

In an interview with Sky Sports News on Tuesday, Joshua surprisingly told Fury he would be willing to be one of his sparring partners ahead of the Wilder bout.

That offer was welcomed by Fury, who said on Instagram he would "really love" to have Joshua in his training camp, and while the 30-year-old conceded he perhaps should not have spoken about it publicly, he expanded on why he would want to spar a potential future opponent.

Speaking to iFL TV, Joshua said: "Sometimes, when I look back at some of the s*** I say, I think, 'Why did I say that?'

"Fury's a world-class fighter and I'm a world-class fighter that's still trying to improve so I can become an elite-level fighter when I'm fighting.

"Sparring Fury's only going to do me good, in my opinion. I'm never too big for my boots where I can't learn any more. That opportunity for me to spar Fury is for my own benefit as well.

"The reason why I thought about it and why it came to fruition for me is because I feel like if Fury was to win that fight, I think he would be more inclined to fight me next and quicker than Wilder would.

"How long I've been waiting to fight for the [WBC] championship belt... I think if Fury had it, me and him would have got a deal done already now. That's why I was rooting for Fury to win because I just want to fight and collect my last belt."

Eddie Hearn, Joshua's promoter, did not dismiss the prospect of his prized asset going toe to toe with Fury in sparring either.

Hearn also predicted the two will meet in the ring down the line, regardless of whether Fury beats Wilder or not.

"When I saw [Joshua's comments], I was like, 'How you gonna do that?'," he said in his own interview with iFL TV.

"I wouldn't be surprised. I think now he's said it, I really wouldn't be surprised if he ended up flying out there and doing some rounds.

"It's a weird one. They will definitely fight. If Fury wins against Wilder, or loses against Wilder, I promise you AJ and Fury will fight at some point in the future. Unquestionably."

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    WBC champion Wilder and Fury fought out a controversial draw at Staples Center in December 2018, with the latter knocked down twice and somehow getting up from the canvas in a dramatic 12th round.

    The pair will renew their rivalry in Las Vegas on Saturday and Hagler – the former undisputed middleweight champion – hopes it proves to be a significant step towards the American meeting IBF, WBA and WBO king Joshua in the ring.

    "It's great to see the heavyweights come back into the picture again, because they've been out of focus for a long time," Hagler told Omnisport ahead of the Laureus World Sports Awards.

    "Guys like Tyson Fury bring a lot of excitement; he's a character. And Wilder is a type of person who's unpredictable – you really don't know what kind of style he's going to come into the fight with.

    "I don't think he's going to fight Fury the same way as the first time. I believe this time too that he's going to make sure that if he gets him down, he's not going to be able to get up.

    "I'm looking forward to the fight. It's an unpredictable fight because you don't know what game plan they're going to have going into this fight.

    "I can't predict anybody, but I'd like to see Wilder get a shot at it because I'd like to see him and Anthony Joshua, because that fight is way overdue.

    "I don't think now it's about money, it's a personal thing between the two of them: who wants to be champion of the world?"

    Speaking about the Laureus World Sports Awards, Hagler added: "I think this is our 18th year that we've been here. It's a great thing to see Laureus with the 20th anniversary this year, everyone's excited about that.

    "I can't believe I've been here 18 years, just with all the other great celebrities in the sports world, getting to know them and getting to see that everything we do is volunteering, so it's a great feeling when you're able to give something back and that's what all of us are doing."

  • Marega hits out at Vitoria fans and referee after suffering alleged racist abuse Marega hits out at Vitoria fans and referee after suffering alleged racist abuse

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    Marega celebrated his 60th-minute goal, which put Porto 2-1 up at Estadio D. Afonso Henriques on Sunday, by pointing to his skin and was subsequently booked by referee Luis Godinho.

    Objects were thrown in the direction of the Mali international, who made the decision to leave the pitch 10 minutes later.

    Marega's team-mates tried to encourage him to stay on, but he was eventually helped down the tunnel and displayed his middle fingers to the supporters.

    After the match, he posted on Instagram: "I would just like say to these idiots who come to the stadium to make racist chants … go f*** yourselves.

    "And I also thank the referees for not defending me and for giving me a yellow card because I defend my skin colour.

    "I hope I never meet you on a football pitch again! YOU ARE A DISGRACE!!!"

    Porto coach Sergio Conceicao said former Vitoria player Marega had been targeted from the warm-up and the club were "indignant" with what occurred.

    Vitoria president Miguel Pinto Lisboa condemned the alleged abuse but suggested the 28-year-old did not help himself with his actions.

    "At Vitoria we have players of all colours, races and creeds. We promote gender and race quality in sport and do not engage in behaviours that may harm that," he said.

    "If any Vitoria supporter behaved this way we will take appropriate action, but it seems to me there were also provocative actions intended to stoke the fire.

    "The player's attitude was visible on the television cameras."

    Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) president Fernando Gomes said in a statement: "Racist behaviour is intolerable in an open and evolved society.

    "The perpetrators of racist insults must be identified and brought to justice. The Portuguese Football Federation repudiates racist behaviour, wherever it comes from and wherever it occurs.

    "On Sunday, Moussa Marega was the target of racist insults that cannot fail to be severely punished, in a serious and condemnable incident.

    "The Portuguese Football Federation expresses its solidarity with Moussa Marega. As the FPF president I assure you I will continue to do everything so that fans who do not respect football are definitively outside the stadium. This is an urgent fight for the whole society."

  • Messi and Liverpool among the big-name nominees at Laureus World Sports Awards Messi and Liverpool among the big-name nominees at Laureus World Sports Awards

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    Liverpool are up for two gongs after a wonderful year, as they won the 2018-19 Champions League and took a massive leap towards a first top-flight title in 30 years.

    Jurgen Klopp's side look set to break a host of records this season, as they have dropped points in just one of their 25 matches and hold a remarkable 22-point lead over defending champions Manchester City in second.

    The Reds are in the running for two prizes in the Laureus Sports Awards' 20th anniversary gala – World Team of the Year and Comeback of the Year, the latter on account of their astonishing Champions League semi-final turnaround at the expense of Barcelona.

    Among those challenging Liverpool for the former are the United States' Women's football team and the Toronto Raptors, who became the first Canadian franchise win an NBA championship.

    A selection of sporting superstars are up for the Sportsman of the Year award, with Barcelona and Argentina icon Lionel Messi among them following his record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or.

    Also in the running is Eliud Kipchoge after the Kenyan became the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours last October, covering the 26.2 miles in one hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds in Vienna.

    Ballon d'Or Feminin winner Megan Rapinoe is among those in the hunt for the Sportswoman of the Year gong, although gymnast Simone Biles also has a compelling case.

    The 22-year-old last year won five gold medals at the World Championships to become the most decorated gymnast in the event's history, and has won this award twice before, in 2019 and 2017.

    The event will take place at the Verti Music Hall in Berlin on Monday. Below is a complete list of the awards up for grabs and the athletes nominated.

    Sportsman of the Year

    Eliud Kipchoge – Athletics
    Lewis Hamilton – Formula One
    Lionel Messi – Football
    Marc Marquez – MotoGP
    Rafael Nadal – Tennis
    Tiger Woods – Golf

    Sportswoman of the Year

    Allyson Felix – Athletics
    Megan Rapinoe – Football
    Mikaela Shiffrin – Skiing
    Naomi Osaka – Tennis
    Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – Athletics
    Simone Biles – Gymnastics

     

    Team of the Year

    Liverpool – Football
    Mercedes-AMG – Formula One
    South Africa – Rugby Union
    Spain – Basketball
    Toronto Raptors – Basketball
    United States Women – Football

    Breakthrough of the Year

    Andy Ruiz – Boxing
    Bianca Andreescu – Tennis
    Coco Gauff – Tennis
    Egan Bernal – Cycling
    Japan – Rugby Union
    Regan Smith – Swimming

     

    Comeback of the Year

    Andy Murray – Tennis
    Christian Lealiifano – Rugby Union
    Kawhi Leonard – Basketball
    Liverpool – Football
    Nathan Adrian – Swimming
    Sophia Florsch – Formula Three

    Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability

    Alice Tai – Swimming
    Diede de Groot – Wheelchair Tennis
    Jetze Plat – Triathlon
    Manuela Schar – Wheelchair Racing
    Oksana Masters – Cross Country Skiing
    Omara Durand – Athletics

     

    Action Sportsperson of the year

    Carissa Moore – Surfing
    Chloe Kim – Snowboarding
    Italo Ferreira – Surfing
    Mark McMorris – Snowboarding
    Nyjah Huston – Skateboarding
    Rayssa Leal – Skateboarding

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