Joshua eyes unified heavyweight title

Anthony Joshua plans to use the first defense of his IBF heavyweight title against Dominic Breazeale on Saturday as a stepping stone to becoming the undisputed champion of the world.

The unbeaten 26-year-old takes on the American challenger at The O2 in London and insists defending the belt doesn’t add any extra pressure to the contest.

“I’m looking at winning this fight in good style so I can unify titles some time way down the line,” he said.

“There is still hard work in a weird way because, even if it is not physically draining, it is mentally because my coach expects a lot from me.

“He wants me to step up the levels, he wants me to be sharp, so even though it is not physically draining, there is still a lot of mental preparation to do as well.

“It is what it is, it is just a fight. It’s the same ring, referee and I’ve just got a different opponent in the corner and it was the same situation when I didn’t have the IBF belt so that is what I’m saying about mental preparation – I’ve just got to chill out.”

Joshua, who claimed the belt from Charles Martin back in April, weighed in at 109.8Kg, while Breazeale tipped the scales at 115.2Kg.

The British boxer has knocked out all 16 of his professional opponents, with compatriot Dillian Whyte the only man to take him past three rounds.

Tyson Fury, who withdrew from his heavyweight title rematch against Wladimir Klitschko yesterday, predicted a quick Joshua victory.

“Breazeale is unbeaten, he’s tall and heavy but that’s as far as it goes,” he said.

“He’s no more talented than Mariusz Wach and the rest of them that come over here and he’ll get busted up.

“This one might be a big old boy but if you want a chance of beating Joshua, you have to be able to box and I am not sure he can.

“Joshua is inexperienced but don’t forget he’s an Olympic gold medalist, so he wins this. There’s only one thing I am expecting and that’s another Joshua knockout.”

The Joshua bout is the headline event on what promises to be a big night for British boxing.

George Groves and Martin Murray face each other in an eliminator for the WBA world super middleweight title, while Chris Eubank Jr defends his British middleweight title against Wales’ Tom Doran.

John Wayne Hibbert meets Andrea Scarpa for the vacant WBC Silver super lightweight title and Olympic bronze medallist Anthony Ogogo is also in action.

Video: UFC releases promo for McGregor v Diaz rematch at UFC 200

With confirmation that Conor McGregor will take on Nate Diaz again at UFC 200, a mouth-watering promo video has been released to whet the appetites.

The all-action Irishman was surprisingly beaten by the Californian at UFC 197 last month, but the pair are set to resume their animosity in a much-anticipated clash in Las Vegas.

McGregor is well known for being outspoken and as the video above shows, Diaz is no shrinking violet either.

The war of words is set to start as this pair prepare to re-contest the 170-pound bout and headline an event that the world’s eyes will firmly be on.

Headbutts allowed: Introducing Lethwei – the world’s most brutal combat sport

This brutal sport is thought to be over 1000 years old, but it is only recently that Myanmar’s national form of kickboxing, Lethwei, has gained an international audience.

South East Asia is renowned for Muay Thai, but Myanmar’s equivalent is seen as more confronting and violent.

Fighters do not wear gloves and instead have their hands wrapped, while head-butts and other jarring blows are permitted in this unforgiving contest.

Each round last three minutes, with the aim to knock your opponent out. If both combatants are still standing after round five, the bout is adjudged as a draw.

Ancient carvings on the temples of Bagan suggest that this combat sport has been taking place for over a millennium, while it is commonplace for boys as young as 10 years old to participate in Lethwei.

Myanmar’s recent political past had the nation under a veil, but its new form of quasi-democracy has opened the country to a world of tourism.

Lethwei’s popularity has grown with foreign fighters as a result, with battle-hardened men from Japan, the United States, the Philippines, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico and Costa Rica taking to the ring in recent years.

The current open-weight champion is the homegrown Tun Tun Min, who has proven himself as an unrelenting force – even when faced with fighters from overseas.

The Myanmar fighter recently took on American Cyrus ‘Black Dynamite’ Washington in a championship bout in Yangon, taking just 71 seconds to knock his opponent out with a thunderous blow.

It was the third time Tun Tun Min had faced the Thailand-based Washington, with the Myanmarese claiming his second victory.

He confirms the growing international appeal of Lethwei by recalling recent competitors he has faced.

“I fought nine fights in this year and no opponents were from Myanmar – all are from other countries,” Tun Tun Min stated at the end of 2015.

Saw Gaw Mu Doe is Tun Tun Min’s next opponent, with the pair to meet at the Theinphyu Indoor Stadium in Yangon later this month.

Washington has expressed on his Instagram page that he is now considering stepping away from Lethwei after defeat.

However, with the sheer brutality of the sport and mass tourism on the rise, the influx of foreigners eager to prove themselves in Myanmar shows no sign of slowing up.

Videos:

This one starts a bit slowly but the second half of it has a lot of brutal action and the quality is good:

This is also relatively good quality:

Here are other options with some hard-hitting coverage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yz0MTp9ggEY

This is one of children (!)

Bizarre Fury video doesn’t faze Klitschko

Tyson Fury has fired a warning to world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, showing his brute force by crushing a watermelon on his head. Fury, who faces the Ukrainian in Dusseldorf on November 28, appeared in a comical video posted on his Twitter.

The 27-year-old roars towards the camera before splitting the ‘funny sized’ fruit with a headbutt. Fury takes a bite out of the watermelon and captioned the video – “This is for u wlad @klitschko I’m coming for you!”

The undefeated Brit appears full of confidence despite the task at hand in Germany.

“It’s quite shocking the state of @Klitschko mind set,” Fury tweeted. I’ve never come across a weaker minded person in all my days, I’ll play with the champ.”

Klitschko seems unfazed by Fury’s antics, saying he believes Fury will be predictable in the ring.

“I’ve been checking his record and the opponents are not very impressive,” said Klitschko. “I’ve also been watching him a lot and although he is unpredictable in some ways, I’ve worked out all that he does and he will be predictable in the fight to me.

“He is unbeaten which gives a big ego but he is losing the ground under his feet.”

The multiple world heavyweight champion has his own warning for Fury: “Sometimes a fighter can be quiet but then be dangerous on the night – sometimes they talk a lot but then do nothing in the fight,” he said.

Fury recently made several bizarre and unfounded allegations about Klitschko in an interview with a British newspaper, expressing some controversial views.

“Goliath was a champion, a monster who had never been beaten, and then this young guy, David, came forward, a child who believed in God and did it,” said Fury.

“God gave him the power. What was right will always prevail over wrong. Good will always prevail over evil. I see that in me versus Klitschko.

“To be honest with you, I know Klitschko is a devil-worshipper. They are involved in bigger circles and stuff like that and they do magic tricks and whatever. You can go on YouTube and watch them playing with magic.”

Fury’s extraordinary outburst continued: “It ain’t going to happen. He can’t beat me now. Now I know what he is ó a devil-worshipper ó I know he has no chance of beating me. God will not let him defeat me, not at all. I am almost a thousand per cent certain that he cannot beat me.”

Klitschko was shocked by Fury’s behaviour: “He is bipolar. He has mental issues for sure. Some comments that come out of his mouth do not work well with me. I’m not commenting on some of them. I will answer those with my fists in the ring, the way I have done many times before.

“I have stopped being surprised by Tyson Fury. He is bizarre.”

De Loya taunts ‘boring’ Mayweather in farewell letter

Boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya has mocked Floyd Mayweather in a farewell letter that describes the unbeaten fighter as ‘boring’ and ‘afraid’. The letter from De La Hoya will appear in the December issue of Playboy magazine and heavily criticises Mayweather, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

“Dear Floyd,” the letter begins. “You did it. You made it to the 49ñ0 mark, a milestone that you like to say only the great Rocky Marciano reached but that was actually achieved by others, including my idol Julio CÈsar Ch·vez ñ but who’s counting? And now you’re retiring. Again.

“This time you say it’s for real. You’re serious about hanging up the gloves. On to bigger and better things. So I’m writing to you today to wish you a fond farewell.

“Truth be told, I’m not unhappy to see you retire. Neither are a lot of boxing fans. Scratch that. MOST boxing fans. Why? Because the fight game will be a better one without you in it.”

De La Hoya continues to ridicule Mayweather throughout the letter, calling him ‘boring’ before blasting his performance in his final bout – a 12-round decision against Andre Berto.

“How to describe it,” De La Hoya wrote. “A bust? A disaster? A snooze fest? An affair so one-sided that on one judge’s card Berto didn’t win a single round? Everyone in boxing knew Berto didn’t have a chance.

“I think more people watched Family Guy reruns that night than tuned in to that pay-per-view bout. But I didn’t mind shelling out $75 for the HD broadcast.

“In fact it’s been a great investment. When my kids have trouble falling asleep, I don’t have to read to them anymore. I just play them your Berto fight. They don’t make it past round three.”

De La Hoya, who considered a return to the ring earlier this year before deciding against it, goes on to accuse Mayweather of being ‘afraid of taking risks’, highlighting his failure to fight Manny Pacquiao until their May meeting in Las Vegas.

He added: “Another reason boxing is better off without you: you were afraid. Afraid of taking chances. Afraid of risk.

“A perfect example is your greatest ‘triumph,’ the long-awaited record-breaking fight between you and Manny Pacquiao. Nearly 4.5m buys! More than $400 million in revenue! Headlines worldwide! How can that be bad for boxing? Because you lied.

“You promised action and entertainment and a battle for the ages, and you delivered none of the above. The problem is, that’s precisely how you want it. You should have fought Pacquiao five years ago, not five months ago. That, however, would have been too dangerous. Too risky.”

De La Hoya went on to praise many of today’s top fighters, including Gennady Golovkin, Roman Gonzalez and Sergey Kovalev, along with rising stars Terence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenko and Keith Thurman.

“You’re moving on to a new phase of life now, a second act – but I’m wondering what you’re going to do?” wrote De La Hoya.

“Maybe you’ll put your true skills to work and open a used-car dealership or run a circus. Or maybe you’ll wind up back on ‘Dancing With the Stars’. It’s a job that’s safe, pays well and lets you run around on stage. Something you’ve been doing for most of your career.”