Boxing: Joshua takes revenge on Ruiz in Saudi Arabia rematch
Britain’s Anthony Joshua beat Andy Ruiz Jr on a unanimous points decision in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to seize back the heavyweight world championship belts he lost to his Mexican-American opponent in a shock upset last June.
The ‘Clash on the Dunes’ in Diriyah was for the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles and Joshua set the pace from the start with a measured masterclass that showed he had learned from the nightmare of New York.
The judges scored the fight 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109 to the 30-year-old Briton.
“It was his night, man,” said Ruiz as his six-month reign ended in the 15,000 seat arena on the outskirts of the capital Riyadh.
The decision to take the fight to Saudi Arabia had been criticized by human rights campaigners but Joshua complimented the hosts and welcomed Ruiz’s suggestion that there should be a third encounter.
“If you heard, we’re going to do it a third,” said the champion.
Ruiz had stopped the previously undefeated Briton in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden but there was to be no second bolt of lightning from the man in the golden gloves and shorts.
He suffered a nasty gash over his left eye early on, with Joshua also bloodied on the brow in the second round to keep the cornermen busy to the end.
As the fight went into the second half, Ruiz was looking frustrated and was warned for illegal blows.
The eighth was more promising, with Joshua momentarily appearing vulnerable, but the Briton took back control and by round 11 had a spring in his step, looking fresh and nimble on his feet while using his height advantage to good effect.
Ruiz knew he needed a knockout but it never came.
Joshua, now with a record of 23 wins and one defeat, had described that June defeat — to a flabby-looking opponent drafted in as a late replacement — as no more than a “minor setback”.
While he made light of it again in victory, he was clearly relieved.
“Man, the first time was so nice, I had to do it twice,” he told the crowd.
“I’m used to knocking guys out but last time I realized ‘hang on a minute, I hurt the man and I got caught coming in’. I gave the man his credit. I said to myself I’m going to correct myself and come again.”
Another loss in the early hours of Sunday would have put the 2012 Olympic super-heavyweight champion’s career on the line, with some saying after the last fight that he was finished.
Joshua had shown with his preparations, however, that he meant business — stepping into the ring lighter than ever and more than three stones less than Ruiz who had weighed in considerably heavier than in their first showdown.
The contrast between the two men was a talking point before the fight, with one British boxing writer noting that while Joshua sported a six-pack, his opponent appeared to have consumed one.
Ruiz, embraced by Joshua afterwards, said he would do it differently next time.
“I think I didn’t prepare it how I should have. I gained too much weight but I don’t want to give no excuses. He won, he boxed me around,” he said.
“If we do the third, I’m going to get in the best shape of my life.”
On the undercard, American Michael Hunter and Russian veteran Alexander Povetkin fought to a draw in their WBA heavyweight eliminator.
British heavyweight Dillian ‘The Body Snatcher’ Whyte beat Poland’s former world title challenger Mariusz Wach on a unanimous points decision.
“I’ve been through hell these last couple of months, but we’re here and back,” said the 31-year-old Whyte who was provisionally suspended in July over an irregular urine supply but cleared by the UK Anti-Doping agency on Friday.
Edited & Vetted By: Buhari Bolaji
Northern Ireland groups warn Brexit bill could harm peace process
Civil society groups in Northern Ireland on Monday urged the British government to drop a plan to override part of its EU withdrawal agreement, warning that the move could jeopardise the territory’s fragile peace process.
British lawmakers are expected to approve Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s controversial UK Internal Markets Bill on Tuesday in spite of critics warning that superseding the Brexit agreement could break international law and erode trust with Brussels.
Johnson wants to create a legal “safety net” giving him the power to override a provision in the withdrawal agreement that would impose different post-Brexit customs rules on Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.
The provision seeks to prevent the creation of border checks between Northern Ireland, which is leaving the EU as part of the United Kingdom, and EU-member Ireland.
Seven civil society groups said Johnson’s bill, if passed, would “jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement and the functioning of devolved government” in Northern Ireland.
It would “contravene international law and undermine … rights and equality protections,” they said in a joint statement.
The 1998 Good Friday Agreement underpins Northern Ireland’s peace process, which ended decades of sectarian violence.
The Northern Ireland Protocol in the withdrawal agreement “does not just deal with tariffs and trade, though avoidance of a hard land border is vital,” the groups said.
“Its full implementation is also fundamental to the protection of equality and human rights, which form the bedrock of the Good Friday Agreement.”
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Felix Ajide
S/Africa seeks continent’s permanent representation at UN Security Council – Ramaphosa
South Africa advocates for the continent to have permanent representation on the UN Security Council, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.
Ramaphosa said this ahead of his address for the high-level week of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.
The 75th session of the General Assembly opened on Sept. 15. The high-level week will run from Monday until Sept. 29.
“We … need to strengthen bodies like the UN, ensure they are properly resourced and that they are representative.
“We must use this 75th anniversary to push ahead with the reform of the UN and particularly its Security Council, which does not give equal voice to the different regions of the world.
As South Africa, we will use our virtual presence in New York to continue to advocate for Africa – a continent of more than a billion people – to have permanent representation on the UN Security Council,” the statement read.
Earlier this year, a similar idea was voiced by Cairo.
In particular, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry proposed that two permanent seats be allocated to the African continent in the UN Security Council with full powers, including veto, following its reformation.
So far, there are five permanent members at the UN Security Council that have the right to veto — China, Russia, the United States, France and the UK.
The other 10 members of the UN body are non-permanent and elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.
South Africa was elected as a non-permanent member for 2019 to 2020.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Sadiya Hamza
Man City’s Gundogan tests positive for COVID-19
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has tested positive for COVID-19, the Premier League club said on Monday.
Gundogan is the third player in the squad to return a positive test in recent weeks.
City winger Riyad Mahrez and defender Aymeric Laporte previously tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this month.
“Gundogan is now observing a 10-day period of self-isolation in accordance with Premier League and UK Government protocol on quarantine,” the club said in a statement.
Gundogan is likely to miss three matches for City while he self-isolates, including Monday’s league clash against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Thursday’s League Cup tie against Bournemouth and Sunday’s league game against Leicester City.
Both Mahrez and Laporte returned to training last week but City boss Pep Guardiola said only the Algerian winger would be available against Wolves — City’s opening game of the season.
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed
Edited By: Joseph Edeh
Oil prices slip on potential return of Libyan output; Gulf storm supports
Oil prices fell on Monday on the potential return of output from Libya as rising coronavirus cases also added to worries about global demand, although a tropical storm heading for the United States Gulf of Mexico limited losses.
Brent crude was down 33 cents or 0.8 per cent at $42.82 a barrel by 0645 GMT, while United States crude was down 38 cents or 0.9 per cent to $40.73 a barrel.
Workers at Libya’s major Sharara field have restarted operations, two engineers working there said, after National Oil Corporation announced a partial lifting of force majeure.
But it was still unclear when production might restart.
“The market can ill afford more crude hitting the market,’’ ANZ analysts said in a note on Monday, at a time when coronavirus-related curbs have eroded demand.
More than 30.78 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and 954,843 have died globally, a Reuters tally shows, paralysing travel and business activity.
“It is hard to get excited about a pickup in crude demand as the virus is surging in France, Spain and the UK, along with concerns that the United States appears poised for at least one more cycle in the fall and winter,’’ said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
“Even if energy markets don’t see Libyan production return or if hurricane season eases, oil prices can’t shake off the dwindling demand outlook.’’
Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell Plc halted some oil production and began evacuating workers from a United States Gulf of Mexico platform, the company said on Saturday.
Tropical Storm Beta was predicted to bring one foot (30 centimetres) of rain to parts of coastal Texas and Louisiana as the 23rd named storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season moves ashore on Monday night, the National Hurricane Centre said.
Oil and gas producers had been restarting their offshore operations over the weekend after being disrupted by Hurricane Sally.
Some 17 per cent of United States Gulf of Mexico offshore oil production and nearly 13 per cent of natural gas output went offline on Saturday in the face of Sally’s waves and winds.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde