Oscar De La Hoya out of hospital after recovering from coronavirus

By Sports Desk September 08, 2021

Oscar De La Hoya has overcome coronavirus after spending three days in hospital, the boxing great has confirmed.

De La Hoya was due to come out of retirement to face former UFC champion Vitor Belfort in Los Angeles on September 11.

However, the 48-year-old had to withdraw from the fight after falling ill with COVID-19.

Former world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, 58, has been named as a replacement for De La Hoya, though that decision has been met with scrutiny.

Indeed, the event has now had to be moved to Florida due to licensing issues.

Holyfield has not fought in over a decade.

Three days ahead of the bout that was supposed to make his return, De La Hoya offered an update of his recovery on his official Twitter account.

"Hey guys, I am out of the hospital. I was in there for three days," De La Hoya tweeted.

"COVID hit me really hard. I was in the best shape of my life and I really can't wait to get back in the ring.

"Thank you very much for all your well wishes and all your support. I appreciate it."

David Haye is ending his retirement to fight Joe Fournier in the headline bout.

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    Tyson Fury needs to defeat more of the heavyweight division to "cement his greatness", so says Shannon Briggs.

    WBC champion Fury is eager to return to the ring by early 2022 following victory over Deontay Wilder in the trilogy fight between the pair in October.

    But his opponent remains unclear as uncertainty lingers whether he will face Dillian Whyte, who wants to be sanctioned as the mandatory challenger for the heavyweight title.

    Fury also has his eyes on a bout against Oleksandr Usyk, who claimed the WBA, WBO and IBF titles from Anthony Joshua in September.

    Usyk and Joshua are set to meet again in the early months of 2022, though the latter could drop out to allow the undisputed fight and Briggs believes Fury needs to face top contenders to cement his legacy.

    "I think he'll make the decision to stick around and fight guys," Briggs, who was a two-time heavyweight champion, told Stats Perform. 

    "He's not very old, although he's accomplished a lot. He's had gaps in his career between lay-offs due to whatever circumstances he was dealing with. It hasn't been consistent. 

    "I think that for us to cement his greatness, we need to see consistency. I think we need to see at least three to six wins from the guys in the top 10. 

    "Clear out the top 10, clear out the heavyweight division, and then maybe we can say he's the greatest heavyweight of all time, due to size, due to his ability to move, his rhythm. For a big man, it's just unreal. 

    "His heart, his chin – he got off the ground against one of the hardest punchers that ever lived in [Deontay] Wilder."

    The undefeated Fury has 31 wins to his name, with the only blotch on his record a contentious split-decision draw against Wilder in their first clash.

    Briggs appreciates the talent of 'The Gypsy King', who he implored to become more consistent to further his standing within boxing's history.

    "He's shown us flashes of greatness, but we need to see one last thing," he added. 

    "What makes a champion is consistency, so we need six to 10 Larry Holmes style wins, Lennox Lewis style wins, staying busy. Lennox was a busy fighter. Lennox defended his title, he fought a lot.

    "We need three, four fights a year consistently for the next two years if not more. I think he's a great guy and a great fighter, but I just think we need to see consistency and consecutive wins."

  • Joshua allowing Fury and Usyk clash would be great for heavyweight division, says Briggs Joshua allowing Fury and Usyk clash would be great for heavyweight division, says Briggs

    Anthony Joshua stepping aside from his Oleksandr Usyk rematch would be a "great step for the heavyweight division", says former American boxer Shannon Briggs.

    Joshua is set for a second bout in early 2022 with Usyk, who claimed the WBA, WBO and IBF titles on a unanimous points decision at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.

    The Briton has since hinted he would step out the way for WBC champion Tyson Fury, who is awaiting a decision as to whether he has to face mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte, to challenge Usyk to crown an undisputed champion.

    While believing a bout between the two British boxers, Joshua and Fury, would be an entertaining meeting, Briggs would like to see a bout to become the undisputed champion first.

    "The Fury-Joshua would be a good fight," Briggs, who held a world heavyweight title twice, told Stats Perform. 

    "It's a very interesting fight to analyse and to think about which Joshua is going to show up. We've got to find out which Josh was going to show up. 

    "I think that if Joshua steps aside and lets Fury fight Usyk, it might not be a bad idea. I really think it might not be a bad idea, and Anthony fights the winner. 

    "I think it'd be a great step for the heavyweight division, uniting the belts, and then Joshua would get the winner. He was the champion, he was the guy. I don't want to say it was a fluke, but he was upset by a great guy, a tough guy to fight. 

    "I don't care who fought Usyk. Usyk is a machine. He's not like normal people. He's not like normal humans. This man can handstand on his arms for an hour. This is what I was told. This man is in phenomenal shape. 

    "As the rounds go on, he gets stronger. As you can see in the Joshua fight in the 12th round, he put his foot on the gas. I think that he's going to be a tough guy to beat for Fury, for anybody. 

    "Maybe not Fury because of the height and the size, but we're going to see. That's what makes it great, because the interest is there. If Joshua is to step aside and let him fight Usyk, it might not be bad. Just a thought, and then he fights the winner."

    Indeed, Usyk is a phenomenal machine, having held world champion status in two weight classes while he is one of only four boxers to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO titles.

    Briggs, who collected 53 of his 60 wins via knockout, appreciates the class of Usyk as he reiterated the 34-year-old's impressive abilities.

    "Again, like I said earlier, the fight with Usyk is a battle," he added. "It's not an easy fight, it's a tough fight. 

    "It's a 50-50 chance. [Actually], it's more like a 60-40 chance that you lose because he's in phenomenal shape, he's a freak of nature, and he's not normal. 

    "On top of all of that, he's a southpaw. It's awkward, it's coming from another way. You've got to have super conditioning and step to him. 

    "You've got to be able to punish him and knock him out, but you can't be boxing him from the outside. You've got to wear him down. He's slippery, he's moving, he's awkward. You've got to be in tip-top shape to beat a guy like that."

  • Bayern Munich set to play home games behind closed doors Bayern Munich set to play home games behind closed doors

    Bayern Munich are set to play home matches behind closed doors "for the foreseeable future" due to rising coronavirus infection rates.

    Two cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant were detected in Bavaria at the weekend.

    As of Monday, the seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases in the southern German state stood at 12,304.

    Government officials are scheduled to meet on Thursday to decide on new restrictions for the country in an attempt to halt the spread of the respiratory illness.

    The state of Saxony has already stopped supporters from attending matches and Bavaria will now do likewise, regardless of the outcome of Thursday's meeting.

    Speaking on Tuesday, Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Soder told state broadcaster BR: "When Christmas markets are closed, it is not appropriate to have full stadiums."

    "It makes no sense for the foreseeable future to admit viewers again. It is an important demand that we decide today that we will no longer allow viewers in the future. 

    "If that doesn't work at the federal level, we would do it for Bavaria alone."

    Soder later used Twitter to justify his comments, posting: "The high mobility when travelling to and from the club is currently irresponsible. 

    "Football is a great role model. We now have to reduce contacts everywhere."

    No timeline was set by Soder, but Bayern do not play at the Allianz Arena again until Barcelona visit in the final round of Champions League matches on December 8.

    The Bundesliga champions then host Mainz in the league three days later and Wolfsburg on December 17 in their final game before the mid-season hiatus.

    Fellow Bavarian Bundesliga sides Augsburg and Greuther Furth would also be affected by the measures.

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