Tag Archives: heavyweight

Usyk undisputed? ‘Fury beats any heavyweight’

Oleksandr Usyk has been warned that his plot to become undisputed heavyweight champion will be ruined by Tyson Fury.

Usyk challenges Anthony Joshua for the IBF, WBA and WBO titles at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

WBC champion Fury can stay on course for a blockbuster battle against this weekend’s winner, if he defeats Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on October 9.

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Usyk did not reveal details about his preparations when he arrived in Britain

“Usyk is not dreaming of becoming undisputed. He is planning it,” his promoter Alexander Krassyuk told Sky Sports.

He also said: “The Fury fight has never been under discussion.”

Joshua and Fury’s talks to stage a summer mega-fight between the two reigning heavyweight champions to decide one undisputed king fell through but could be rectified if they emerge unscathed through their respective dangerous defences.

Usyk’s potential to spoil those plans is being duly noted by Fury’s promoters.

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Usyk will relish fighting in Joshua’s hometown, says Sky Sports expert Spencer Oliver

“I can’t speak for Tyson, but I will certainly be watching Joshua vs Usyk,” said Top Rank’s Bob Arum who promotes Fury in the US.

“I’ve gotten to know Usyk very well because he’s best friends with Vasiliy Lomachenko, and he’s a wonderful young man and a great fighter.

“But I’ve said it before, and I’ll reiterate this point – Tyson Fury beats any heavyweight in the world.”

Ukraine’s undefeated Usyk is bidding to become only the third boxer ever to win a world title at cruiserweight and heavyweight, after Evander Holyfield and David Haye.

He was the undisputed champion at cruiserweight after winning the World Boxing Super Series tournament.

Usyk has said about being significantly lighter than Joshua: “We’ll probably find out in the first round which will prevail: power or skill.

“No, it doesn’t annoy me [questions about size], absolutely not.

“Like I said, there’s a lot people don’t know, see or understand.”

Joshua has said: “In my mind, I have removed the conversation that he is a cruiserweight.

“I get it. But I like to challenge myself. So I remove it out of the way. Let’s look at where I’m at skills-wise and technique-wise.

“I’ve got what I already have – the strength.”

Watch Joshua v Usk on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 6pm. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Non-Sky TV subscribers can book and watch it here.

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Jon Jones warns Ngannou to ‘pray he knocks him out’

Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Sport News

The online war of words between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou is showing no signs of abating, with the UFC light heavyweight legend lashing out again after the current heavyweight ruler mocked him as being “a decision fighter.”

Jones and Ngannou have been going back and forth in recent days despite UFC chief Dana White stating that a potential superfight between the pair is all but dead due to Jones’ financial demands.

That has not stopped the former longtime 205lbs champion from talking up his chances against Ngannou – who was crowned UFC heavyweight king with an explosive second-round KO of Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 in March.

Jones is bulking up in a bid to step into the UFC heavyweight fold, and took umbrage at Ngannou after the African powerhouse said he would “take care of” Jones before turning his attentions to boxing and world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

After warning Ngannou that he would steam through the UFC heavyweight ranks “like dominos”, Jones had yet more words for the Cameroonian KO artist in his latest Twitter outburst.

“Pray you knock me out because if you don’t, I’m going to break you, and that’s a promise,” Jones wrote to a man who has finished his last five octagon opponents inside the first two rounds.

Ngannou, 34, responded to the threat with disdain, retorting: “Please don’t make me laugh. When is the last time you break somebody out?”

“You’re a decision fighter,” Ngannou added in a subsequent tweet. “And you’ve barely won a fight lately. But you’re going to break me out.”

Jones – who has seen seven of his past eight octagon victories come by way of the scorecards – did not take the remarks lying down.

“A decision fighter? I carried the record for most submissions in the light heavyweight division for many years my friend,” Jones fired back.

“You are what we call a one trick pony… every champion I’ve ever faced punched hard. I see right through you.”

“I would rather be a decision fighter than a last for two rounds fighter,” Jones added in another tweet.

“Honestly, I respect you and your story. I don’t feel the need to have to crush you in a verbal battle to what I’ve done to everyone since 2011…

“I’m just telling you now, if you want to start this Internet talk, be sure to keep it up. Most people that talk sh*t with me go quiet after a while. Everyone’s going to the first to smash Jon Jones, very popular theme,” added the 33-year-old.

Jones is yet to suffer a legitimate loss in 28 professional MMA contests, and famously became the UFC’s youngest ever champion when he won the light heavyweight title aged just 23 by beating Mauricio Rua a decade ago.

Success in the octagon has been followed by controversy outside of it – including run-ins with the law and doping authorities.

Jones last fought in February 2020 when he defended his title against Dominick Reyes, only to vacate it in August amid a pay row with the UFC.

Also on rt.com Beefed-up Jon Jones pounds treadmill at 20mph as UFC star warns Ngannou he’ll ‘run through heavyweights like dominos’ (VIDEO)

After Ngannou was crowned heavyweight champion, Jones demanded that the promotion “show him the money” to set up a superfight between the pair.

Talks stalled before they even got started, with UFC boss White accusing Jones of asking for a minimum of $ 30 million for the contest – something the fighter himself has disputed.

Instead, White has suggested heavyweight veteran Derrick Lewis will be the first title defense for Ngannou, who last week proudly displayed his belt on a tour of his homeland.

While fans might not get to see Ngannou and Jones meet in the octagon, in the meantime they are swinging hard at each other online.

Also on rt.com Jon Jones vs Dana White: It is failing UFC fans if mutual mistrust & resentment deprives us of Ngannou superfight

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‘Jon Jones moved up to heavyweight because he knows he’d lose to me!’ UFC champ Jan Blachowicz to RT Sport (VIDEO)

By Danny Armstrong

Danny Armstrong is a Moscow-based British journalist, reporter and presenter for RT Sport. Follow him on Twitter @DannyWArmstrong

UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz says Jon Jones moved to heavyweight because he knows he’d lose to Legendary Polish Power and insists he’s ready to meet the former 205 lbs king in either weight class.

Blachowicz scored a career-defining win over the middleweight champ and heavy favorite to become a two-division ruler Israel Adesanya at UFC 259, which finally garnered him some long-awaited praise in the mixed martial arts world and entered him into the top 10 pound for pound rankings.

The 38-year-old Pole has chased a fight with Jones before, and the latter promised a fight after Blachowicz’s KO win over Corey Anderson in their rematch in February last year, only to vacate the belt in August after citing a salary dispute with the UFC and a desire to compete north of 205.

In an interview with RT Sport from his home in Poland’s capital of Warsaw, Blachowicz said he would have “no problem” meeting Jones either side of 205 lbs, and revealed who is immediately next in line for a shot at his title.

“You know, I can meet him at 205 or at heavyweight. I don’t care. So I’m just waiting, you know, for the next fight, for the next decision. If the UFC gives me you know, Jon Jones I would be happy. If not, I’ll be happy with my next opponent,” Blachowicz said. 

“I think my next opponent will be Glover Teixeira but we will see. But if Jones Jones he would like come back to… if but you know, I think he will stay at the heavyweight. But if he changed his mind. I mean, I’m waiting for him. No problem.”

The win against Adesanya went some way to legitimizing Blachowicz’s light-heavyweight reign, as some reckoned his KO win over Dominick Reyes to win the belt to be somewhat fortuitous and lead many spectators, including respected UFC 

After Francis Nagannou’s recent thunderous knockout of heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 260, Dana white joked it was time for Jon jones to start moving down to the middleweight 185lbs division, but the man himself remained defiant his weight gain would not be in vain and instead would push for a $ 10m pay day with the newly-crowned Cameroonian.

Despite earlier stating that  he “did not understand” Jones’s decision to move up to heavyweight, Blachowicz thinks there may be some logic in the 33-year-old former champion’s plan.

“You know, I understand him you know. He do almost everything at 205. Almost. Because he don’t fight against me. That’s why he do almost everything,” Blachowicz said.

“And I understand his decision because I think he knew that when he gonna fight against me he’s gonna lose this fight you know so he do this decision ‘okay now I go to heavyweight, if I go to heavyweight, if I lose in heavyweight you know no problem because you know I will no stop talking okay but that was not my weight’.

“That was, just you know something like this. And then he come back to maybe he will come back to 205 we’ll see. 

“But then he gonna meet me. So we’ll see. I’m waiting for him. He promised me this fight after when I knock out Corey Anderson so I’m just waiting for him but you know we’ll see.

READ MORE: ‘So quick to jump on a hype train’: Jon Jones trolls Israel Adesanya as star falls short against Blachowicz at UFC 259

“Come back to 205 he have to fight against me because you know I’ve got now I have the champion I’m the king of 205 so if you want come to 205 – I’m gonna be you know the first to have to fight him, fight against him.”

Jones looks like he has his gaze firmly fixed on meeting Ngannou, but has called the proposed $ 10million evaluation of the offer to face the Cameroonian “way too low”.

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‘Not my most gracious fall’: Stipe Miocic JOKES about brutal KO in first statement since losing UFC heavyweight title to Ngannou

Dethroned UFC heavyweight Stipe Miocic has issued a first public statement since his crushing KO defeat to Francis Ngannou in their title fight at UFC 260 in Las Vegas last weekend.

Cameroonian powerhouse Ngannou finished Miocic in the second round of their main event contest, first catching him with a straight left hand then following up with another concussive strike and a hammerfist on his grounded opponent before the bout was called off. 

Miocic had gamely attempted to recover from the initial blow from Ngannou, even catching his rival as he pushed forward, only to take more damage and crumble from the knees in one of the more excruciating-looking knockouts in recent UFC memory.

The 39-year-old Cleveland fighter may have lost his title and been temporarily relieved of his senses, but he certainly hasn’t relinquished his humor, updating fans with a message on Instagram in which he reflected on his defeat.

“First and foremost, I’m ok. I know that fall wasn’t my most graceful fall, but I was unconscious, so it happens,” Miocic wrote to his following of 1.5 million on Monday.

“To my family friends and fans, especially Croatia & Cleveland… I love you and I’m sorry. I hate letting you down. To my team, thank you. I know you feel every loss just as much as I do. We win as a family, we lose as a family. Losses aren’t fun, they always sting for a while, but that’s the beast of this business.

“You can’t win them all, and it’s important to understand that losing is just as much a part of sports (and life) as winning. Don’t ever forget God will always put you where you’re meant to be at that exact moment. You can’t dwell on what you should have done better, but you can learn and improve from it and come back more prepared next time.”

A cautious Miocic had been clearly outworked by the composed Ngannou in the first round at the UFC Apex, but claimed that he was starting to feel his rhythm before the concussive conclusion to the evening.  

“Unfortunately, I deviated from game plan. I felt great coming into the second round, I saw it was beginning to go as planned,” Miocic wrote.

“He was getting very winded, and I came in overzealous and unprotected. I wasn’t in a good posture to take the hit. He saw the opening, and did what any great fighter would have done. That was my error that I accept, it won’t happen again. 

“Lastly, I’d like to congratulate [Francis Ngannou] and his team on a well earned victory. Saturday night was your night, enjoy your victory! For now, I’m going to enjoy the down time, spend some time with my family, and welcome our son into the world this summer… stay tuned, God bless.”
Also on rt.com UFC warrior Stipe Miocic’s wife reassures fans he is ‘alright’ by sharing picture from hospital after shuddering UFC 260 KO defeat
Many will take that message to mean that Miocic is not contemplating calling it quits despite the devastating nature of his defeat on Saturday night.

The two-time champion is still widely recognized as among the greatest – if not the greatest – heavyweights ever to do it in the UFC, and holds the division record for the most successful consecutive title defenses in the promotion, with three.  

Meanwhile Ngannou, 34, captured the title as well as revenge for the unanimous decision defeat he suffered to Miocic in their first title fight back in 2018.

After Saturday’s title coronation, the French-Cameroonian star vowed that he was ready for the immediate challenge of former longtime light-heavyweight ruler Jon Jones, who is stepping up to heavyweight in anticipation of a blockbuster showdown.
Also on rt.com ‘I’m ready’: Francis Ngannou eyes Jon Jones fight after brutally knocking out Stipe Miocic to become UFC heavyweight champ (VIDEO)
However, comments from Jones and UFC boss Dana White in the aftermath of Ngannou’s win have thrown that prospect into doubt, with the former proclaiming “show me the money” and the latter insinuating that Jones would in reality fear the challenge posed by the formidable Ngannou.

Also on rt.com ‘What bulls***’: UFC champ Jon Jones drags Conor McGregor into row as he demands big money from Dana White for Ngannou title clash
Another test for ‘The Predator’ could lie in former opponent Derrick Lewis, who outpointed Ngannou when the pair met in July 2018.

Since then, Ngannou has won all five of his trips to the octagon inside the opening two rounds – including Saturday’s title clash with Miocic.

UFC fan favorite Lewis, 36, is similarly famed for his punching prowess and is riding a run of four straight victories. ‘The Black Beast’ lost his previous shot at the heavyweight title when he was submitted by Daniel Cormier in December of 2018.   

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Predator: The remarkable and unlikely rise of UFC heavyweight knockout artist Francis Ngannou

Regardless of whether or not he raises aloft the UFC heavyweight title at this weekend’s UFC 260, Francis Ngannou’s rise to the summit of mixed martial arts has been a triumph against the odds.

Perhaps no fighter in the UFC has had a more unlikely journey towards title contention than 34-year-old Ngannou. Born into poverty in the Cameroonian town of Batie, he was forced to confront many of the demons which had sent so many of his peers off the rails.

The young Ngannou had almost no formal education to speak of. Even as a teenager, his developing frame had made him the target of recruiters for several rival gangs in his area, but Ngannou resisted the lure of (some) money and the associated trappings of gang life which has cost the lives of so many young men on the African continent. 

He had other motivations entirely. Perhaps influenced by his father who had a fearsome reputation as a street-fighter, the young Ngannou soon realized that he didn’t want to follow the same path; one where violence is the quickest path towards respect. 
Also on rt.com ‘Africa vs everybody’: Francis Ngannou winds up Stipe Miocic & Tony Ferguson as he targets history in UFC heavyweight title clash
I don’t find it fun to talk about [my childhood],” Ngannou told ESPN this week. 

“It’s not happy. It’s sad. I always admire people when I sit around and see people, friends or somebody else, talking about their childhood; their friends when they were kids, all the things they were doing, their cartoons, kind of like culture.

I feel like those are the missing parts of my life, no matter what I do, I can’t really fill it up. That’s why in some way, I’m still trying to deal with that childhood. Winning a UFC belt, for me, would be my own way to answer that, would be my own way to show those people that, well, after all, I wasn’t bad.”

Between his childhood and this weekend’s opportunity to win the UFC heavyweight title, Francis Ngannou has lived the lives of ten men. 

After deciding to leave his homeland to pursue his dream of becoming professional boxer, Ngannou migrated north towards Morocco – but as he explains, this was just the first step in journey which would helping him realize his athletic dreams.

It came at a cost: eating from bins, two months in a Spanish jail and countless nights spent sleeping rough on the streets of Paris.

My journey from Cameroon to Morocco was about one year,” Ngannou explained. “One year in illegal situations, crossing borders, living in the bush, finding food in the trash, living this terrible life.”

It didn’t get better quickly, either. Ngannou’s ultimate destination was Europe and he chose Spain as the gateway to his new life – only to immediately come to the attention of immigration personnel, and subsequently jail.

It was more stressful than scary,” Ngannou said of his stint inside. “When we got to Spain, for the first while, we kind of relaxed, even though we were in jail. We knew we were going to go to jail when we got there. We would be free after, but we were going to go to jail [first]. 

There was a lot of pressure in our minds. It was like a mental prison, not a physical prison. It was very hard.”

All things, as they say, must pass – and so they did for Ngannou. He eventually landed in his chosen destination of Paris, the capital city of a country which shares a mother tongue with his native Cameroon.

And while the hardships were still plentiful, it was here that Ngannou says he soon began finding his feet.

I was homeless then, but at that moment, it wasn’t difficult for me anymore,” he said. “You might think being homeless in Paris in the fall when it’s coldwas not great, but the enthusiasm that I had at that time.

Beyond everything, I was happy to be in the land of opportunity. I was happy to have my own life and be able to chase my own dreams. So that’s definitely one of the happiest moments of my life.

Even though I was sleeping in parking lots and I didn’t have food or money, I was just free. Compared to where I was in Morocco, a parking lot was like a five-star hotel.

In Paris, around a decade after he first made a promise to himself to pursue combat sports, Francis Ngannou stepped into a fight gym for the first time in his life – and despite having quite literally never even heard of the sport, he soon found himself encamped in Paris’ renowned MMA Factory, where his dreams would quickly extend out in front of him.

It took me almost 10 years to step in a gym for the very first time, but I always believed it would happen,” he said. 

From here, most MMA fans know the rest. After winning five of his first six fights between late 2013 and the summer of 2015, Ngannou was headhunted by the UFC and opened his account in the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization by wracking off six finishes in a row and very much fulfilling the nickname handed to him: Predator. 

The final of those wins, a downright shocking uppercut KO of Alistair Overeem, earned him an opportunity to dethrone UFC heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic in January 2018 – a fight in which Ngannou’s relative inexperience was soundly taken advantage of by the champion.

Now though, with four more KO wins under his belt, Ngannou is returning for seconds at this weekend’s UFC 260. If he is able to seize the world title from around the waist of the most dominant heavyweight titleholder in UFC history at the second time of asking, it would represent perhaps the unlikeliest path to UFC gold yet.

But judging by his background, it won’t be the toughest fight he has ever been in. 
Also on rt.com ‘Africa vs everybody’: Francis Ngannou winds up Stipe Miocic & Tony Ferguson as he targets history in UFC heavyweight title clash

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Mike Tyson ‘turns down $25mn offer to fight Evander Holyfield’ as deal for trilogy between heavyweight icons ‘falls apart’

Boxing fans hoping to see veteran legends Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield run it back more than two decades after the pair last fought appear to have had their wishes dashed after Tyson reportedly rejected a deal for the bout.

Speculation had been mounting that Tyson, 54, and fellow former world heavyweight champion Holyfield, 58, could return to the ring this summer to finish what they started with a pair of fights in the 1990s.

Representatives for the pair are said to have been in talks since Tyson made his comeback for an exhibition contest with Roy Jones Jr last November, which was deemed a commercial success by organizers.
Also on rt.com ‘He was ROBBED’: Furious boxing fans claim Mike Tyson was deprived of victory in comeback fight with fellow legend Jones Jr
Holyfield, who last stepped into the ring competitively in 2011, had also teased fans with footage of himself in training in the hopes that he would step between the ropes with ‘Iron Mike’ once more.

But those chances now appear to have been ruined, according to an announcement by Holyfield’s team on Monday.

“We thought this was a done deal but it quickly fell apart when Tyson’s people declined all offers,” said Holyfield’s manager, Kris Lawrence.

“We were negotiating in good faith all along and it appears we just ended up wasting our time.”   

According to Holyfield’s representatives, Tyson and his team had rejected a $ 25 million guarantee to step into the ring on May 29 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Tyson appeared to indicate his frustrations over the weekend when he posted an angry message that he would never again work with Triller – the platform which put on his comeback contest with Jones Jr.

“I am a partner in Legends Only League and my next event is with my league,” Tyson wrote.  

“I will never do another event or any business with Triller so anyone misrepresenting that they own the rights to my name or my next event isn’t true. I am not with or ever will be with Triller’s Fight Club.”

Tyson still appears intent on capitalizing on the lucrative market for exhibition bouts and the clout that his name still commands among fans. 

Reports varied on how much Tyson made from dusting off his gloves against Jones Jr, but some estimates put the figure at $ 10 million. 

Interest in bout with Holyfield – with whom Tyson shared one of the most infamous episodes ever seen in a boxing ring when he bit off a chunk of his rival’s ear during their second fight in 1997 – would likely have been even higher, not least with fans returning to arenas across the US. 

However, it now appears that Tyson will have to cast his net elsewhere for his next opponent on the comeback trail.  

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‘Africa vs everybody’: Francis Ngannou winds up Stipe Miocic & Tony Ferguson as he targets history in UFC heavyweight title clash

UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou has posed with champion Kamaru Usman and declared “Africa vs everybody” ahead of his title showdown with Stipe Miocic at UFC 260, causing ex-champ Tony Ferguson to respond with his own message.

Thunder-punching Ngannou wants to become the first Cameroonian, African and Frenchman to win a UFC crown when he faces heavyweight king Miocic in Las Vegas on Saturday, and he shared a photo of himself in the gym with welterweight title holder Kamaru Usman beforehand.

The 34-year-old has spoken of his humble beginnings in Cameroon as a youngster, where he worked as a sand miner before moving to France to pursue his celebrated MMA career.

In a cheeky response to the man who has said he hopes to inspire Africans to dream big, ex-UFC lightweight champion appeared to support US fighter Miocic by replying: “Merica’.”

Ferguson added his customary tagline of CSO – “champ s**t only” – in a dig at Ngannou’s prospects of dethroning giant veteran Miocic.

Ngannou posed with Ferguson in the city where he will fight at the weekend in a post shortly after ‘El Cucuy’s’ brutal defeat to Justin Gaethje in May, which denied him the chance of a title shot against lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

“Tony Ferguson – the type of guy who is a beast,” he wrote at the time, grinning alongside Ferguson in a parking lot. “Think I can do some of his training methods.”

The number one-ranked heavyweight has spoken emotionally about his career path and rags-to-riches story in the build-up to meeting Miocic.

“This journey now is not only mine,” he explained to Bloody Elbow about his loyalties that go beyond patriotism. “It’s for all Cameroonians and for the whole of Africa and all of France, too.

“See where I’m from and see where I am today. This inspires a lot of people and gets a lot of people excited, so that they want to do something by themselves.

“In Africa, in many parts of the continent, people do not allow themselves to dream, because what they dream of [seems] unreal. But I’m just trying to show that everything is possible.

“That dream, you can allow yourself. You have a right. It doesn’t matter what was the beginning or how you began.

“What’s more important is where you arrive. As long as you prepare for your arrival and you have the right mindset, you can do it.”

Ngannou has predicted that the first UFC event in Africa will take place in Nigeria, where Usman and middleweight champion Israel Adesanya were born.

Usman has had a busy week of training and socializing with fellow fighters, meeting Abu Azaitar, who is training with Javier Mendez and a team that includes one of the trainer’s fighters, Nurmagomedov.

‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ took a photo with lightweight champion Nurmagomedov and his cousin, Umar, while Azaitar, who is facing Marc-André Barriault, thanked the team and Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, who he said had arranged a belated birthday gathering for him at his home in Las Vegas.

“[He] made me feel like I had a family in Vegas,” said Azaitar. “On the same day, my uncle, who I loved very much, passed away. It teaches me to be grateful and appreciate every single moment with my loved ones.”
Also on rt.com ‘So quick to jump on a hype train’: Jon Jones trolls Israel Adesanya as star falls short against Blachowicz at UFC 259

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