Dormant Heavyweight Boxing Saved Again by the Gypsy King
Until Tyson Fury’s unanimous decision victory over Vladimir Klitschko three years ago, the most lucrative and most intense category of boxing was going through a bizarre domination by the Klitschko brothers. And even when Vitali, the older of the Klitschko brothers retired and vacated his belt, it still wasn’t enough.
Then came a confident British boxer who only had 24 professional bouts under his belt at the time, but had been unbeaten and unaccepted. Although Fury is still unaccepted, becoming champion for a brief spell before losing his title has he had to face a bigger life battle didn’t improve his chance of getting accepted either, instead, it got worse. And although Tyson Fury seems a changed man, his road to recovery has not been easy, yet he embraced it.
On Saturday night, both Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) and Tyson Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) will do battle. Fury has had a taste of glory and is only looking to get his grind back on, whereas, for Deontay Wilder, here lies the opportunity of a lifetime. He has been presented with the biggest opponent of his quiet career at the eighth defence of his WBC title and it came on a platter.
On Saturday, both men will put their unbeaten reputation built over 10 years on the line for the ultimate price: Anthony Joshua and a chance to unify the heavyweight division for the first time since Lennox Lewis. We will have to wait till 2019 before that can happen.
Super Falcons have never lost AWCON final but there are no guarantees this time
On Tuesday both Nigeria and South Africa booked their tickets to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. With that make-believe distraction out of the way, we can now focus on the final of the biggest women’s football tournament in Africa.
These two already clashed in the group stages, Bayana Bayana won that one, and Nigerians swung into the readymade excuse, made possible by the ineptitude of the NFF, citing the lack of preparedness amongst other things. On the contrary, I think Nigerians have become complacent and have failed to realize what other African nations have done to improve women’s football.
Having failed to score against both South Africa and Cameroon – two teams growing in leaps and bounds and have reached the last four in each of the past six editions of AWCON – despite possessing one of the best attacking trio on the continent, the Super Falcons will do well to put the lame excuses behind and for once, beat a proper side in this tournament.
The South Africans have scored in every game played so far, and they are the highest scoring side at the tournament with 11 goals while Nigeria have the best defence. Ironically, the only goal conceded so far was against South Africa in the aforementioned game.
Nigeria has never lost an AWCON final, both in this new format or in the previous format, 10 finals in total, but they have never been matched this closely and this story may well be rewritten by Monday.
Unbeaten Arsenal face stern derby test against inform Spurs
There’s this funny video on social media about Arsenal, oh! Here, I found it. We all expected things to be a little bit rocky for the gunners at the beginning and Unai Emery’s cause wasn’t helped by the fixture list either, but what is impressive with this side is how Arsenal bounced back from the early season jitters and have put together a string of performances that Arsene Wenger would have been proud to oversee.
Emery also took it a step further by snapping out of their run of defeat against top-six oppositions with an entertaining draw to Liverpool in November, this time its cross-town rivals Tottenham Hotspur who had undergone their own share of early season crisis.
For Spurs, the target is to see out this week with possibly three victories against Chelsea, Inter Milan and then Arsenal. Already, they have two; convincingly outplayed both Chelsea and Inter, and with the benefit of having a day off due to Arsenal’s involvement in the Europa League on Thursday, Spurs could yet make it three in three.
Arsenal need a win to keep pace with Manchester City at the top of the table. Besides, a win of any sort will put Arsenal in the top four regardless of the outcome at other venues. Again, we’ll measure Arsenal’s progress under Unai Emery after this game.
Solari, Real Madrid and the Curse of Valencia
In this interesting La Liga season, we’re witnessing seven points separate the top seven teams and only three points between 6th placed Real Madrid and Valencia in 11th.
Real Madrid is currently undergoing a phenomenon that has not been experienced in decades, perhaps in the history of the club. But the Santiago Bernabeu stadium has not endured such a slow start to a Liga season like this one; based on home form, Real Madrid will place 7th on the log, whilst visiting Valencia ironically are the 7th best team on the road in this league.
No wonder this season has been the most interesting one we’ve had in a decade.
Real Madrid quickly put the carcasses of the shocking 3-0 defeat at Ipurua last weekend behind with a 2-0 win in Rome on Tuesday, but that hasn’t been an issue this season. Consistency on the league front has been an issue and Valencia doesn’t exactly look like the team Los Merengues want to face when in doubt.
Let’s go back to our magic number one last time: Valencia have lost to Real Madrid only twice in their last 7 visits to the capital.
Roma vs Inter Milan
Just when you think Roma’s horrible start to the season is over, they press the self-destruct bottom and poof! We’re right back where we started.
Luckily enough, only the top three teams have managed a bit more consistency leaving Roma just a touching distance off 4th place.
Inter Milan, on the other hand, have been playing well lately and not just that, the results had largely shown just how ruthless they can be. They may have left Wembley disappointed during the week, but there isn’t enough time to brood over it. Up next for the Nerazzurri is Juventus, which means that defeat in Rome this weekend is not an option.
PSV Cement Eredivisie Dominance with Breathtaking Streak
There’s something about Mark Van Bommel’s PSV, they are a daring young team that is consistently looking to improve no matter how imperious they may be.
It will be unfair to judge this team by their results in the Champions League, it’s a tournament where inexperience is swiftly punished and being paired together with Barca, Inter and Tottenham Hotspur doesn’t help.
Back in the Eredivisie, PSV’s 13-game winning streak has to be the best start to a title defence, particularly when you look at the only team to have bettered this feat this season is PSG; a ridiculously rich club with an array of stars.
That being said, if any team can stop PSV from making it 14 out of 14, that team will be Feyenoord. The cynic in me wants this run to continue for as long as it can, possibly beat Real Madrid’s European record which stands at 22 and then aim for Brazilian side Coritiba Football Club’s record, 25. The difference here is that both Real Madrid and Coritiba managed the feat over different competitions, but I can’t be bothered about that now.
Spurs continue without Pau, Rockets have James Harden
Pau Gasol has missed 12 consecutive games and he will remain out of action indefinitely after Gregg Popovic confirmed that the veteran Centre has a stress fracture in his left foot.
Houston Rockets have their own squad issues with both Chris Paul and key reserve wing Gerald Green out injured, the Rockets have been on a 4-game losing streak and it will be funny to think that they can snap out of this streak on the road at San Antonio in the early hours of Saturday.
Perhaps they will avoid another blowout, but don’t expect them to stop the streak just yet.