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Let’s get ready to rumble! Wilder and Fury set for Saturday clash

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The most-anticipated heavyweight showdown in nearly two decades will transfix the boxing world on Saturday when unbeaten WBC champion Deontay Wilder faces Tyson Fury in a long-awaited rematch.
In what is the biggest heavyweight collision since Lennox Lewis bludgeoned Mike Tyson into submission on the banks of the Mississippi River in 2002, Wilder and Fury go head-to-head 14 months after battling to a draw in Los Angeles.
Tickets for Saturday’s bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas have been changing hands for up to $11,000, while promoters predict the event could generate more than 2 million pay-per-view sales in the United States alone.
At the centre of the action are two of heavyweight boxing’s most charismatic and skilful protagonists, the hard-hitting “Bronze Bomber” Wilder and Fury, the eccentric, self-styled “Gypsy King” from northern England.
Both men will be taking unbeaten records into the 12-round contest, with the 34-year-old Wilder looking to add Fury’s name to a tally which reads 42-0 with one drawn and 41 knockouts.
The fight is a classic clash of styles, pitting Wilder’s devastating knockout power against the more elusive, mobile defensive style of Fury.
In their first fight in Los Angeles, Fury recovered from two juddering knockdowns to claim a draw, miraculously climbing off the canvas in the 12th round to hang on for a share of the spoils.
Until that final knockdown, Fury had been on course to snatch victory, outfoxing Wilder with a defensive masterclass which had the 6ft 7in (2m) American unleashing wild haymakers at thin air.
Fury, (29-0-1, 20 knockouts) however has spent the buildup to Saturday’s rematch promising to adopt a more aggressive approach, insisting he is targeting an early knockout.
“My own destiny lies within my own two fists,” the 31-year-old said.
“I’ll be letting them fly very aggressively. The mistake I made last time was not making him pay when he was hurt. This time when I get him hurt, I’ll throw everything but the kitchen sink at him and he won’t know what hit him.”
Fury’s assertion that he is targeting an explosive victory to make the judge’s scorecards an irrelevance should be taken with a large pinch of salt.
The British fighter is not renowned for raw knockout punching power, and his likeliest path to victory remains via the sort of elusiveness which has marked his most significant career performances.
There are also question marks over Fury’s build-up. He required more than 40 stitches to patch up a horrific cut over his right eye in a laboured victory over Otto Wallin in his last fight in September.
That was followed by a split with trainer Ben Davison, who had successfully guided Fury’s comeback in 2018 after a three-year hiatus spent battling depression, drink and drug problems.
Fury has since turned to Javan “Sugarhill” Steward, the nephew of the legendary late cornerman Emanuel Steward.
Wilder’s preparations for the rematch meanwhile have rolled along relatively smoothly.
He demolished Dominic Breazeale in one round last May, and then scored a spectacular one-punch seventh-round knockout of Cuba’s Luis Ortiz in November.
Although Wilder and Fury shoved each other at a face-off in Las Vegas on Wednesday, the American champion has appeared the more composed of the two men this week.
A relaxed-sounding Wilder is sceptical of Fury’s vows to pursue a more aggressive gameplan, and in any case doubts the Briton possesses the power to carry it out.
“I don’t believe nothing Fury says at this moment in time,” Wilder said.
“He’s just a tall big man that can move around the ring. And that’s about it. As far as power, there’s none there.
“I don’t believe he’ll be able to develop (power), no matter what trainer he brings in. You just don’t develop power in a couple of weeks. It’s impossible.”
Wilder also believes he has left a lasting psychological mark on Fury after the crushing knockdown in their first meeting.
“Deep down in his heart, I really feel that he’s nervous from the first time,” Wilder said. “When you knock a person out and get a concussion, you never forget that.
“When you’re going back in the ring with that person a second time it has to be stressful. He knows what the truth was.
“He can say he beat me by a wide margin but he honestly don’t believe that. If he believed he beat me, he wouldn’t have changed up so much.”

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Wazito fc Boss to pay sacked players over Sh6 million

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The Fifa Dispute Resolution Chamber has ordered Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) side Wazito FC to pay five players it sacked over six million shillings cumulative within 45 days.

Ugandan midfielder Mansoor Safi Agu, DR Congo international Piscas Muhindo, Ghanaian Paul Acquah, Liberian Augustine Otu and Togolese defender Issofou Bourhana, through their lawyer Felix Majani, stated the club to the world football governing body seeking compensation for unfair dismissal. Of the five, only Mansoor Safi was dismissed by the club at the beginning of the year while the rest were victims of the recent massive restructuring in the team.

Their cases were presented directly to the Fifa Dispute Resolution Chamber in mid-August and the department has now expedited the matter.

In a previous interview, Wazito CEO Dennis Gicheru admitted he had received demand letters for compensation from some of the sacked players and their representatives as well communication on the same issue from Fifa. He, however, unapologetically said he was not keen on responding to the demand letters.

If Wazito fails to pay the monies within 45 days, the club will face a transfer ban over three windows. The ban will only be lifted after the amounts are paid in full.

The ruling by Fifa could set precedence as far as the speed at which cases regarding the termination of contracts, unfair dismissal of players and the ramifications of the same in the top league in Kenya are concerned.

Earlier this year, the worldwide representative organization of professional footballers, FIFPRO publicly expressed dissatisfaction with how the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) was handling such cases, with a lot of such claims remaining unsettled since 2017.

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Harambee Stars exclude four top-tier players

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Harambee Stars will miss the services of the  influential quartet of Victor Wanyama, Arnold Origi, Ayub Timbe and Michael Olunga when they face Zambia in the Africa Cup of Nations build-up match against Zambia on Friday.

The four were omitted yesterday when Football Kenya Federation released a final squad for the match set to be staged at the Moi Stadium, Kasarani behind closed doors. “The four will not be available for the match,” said FKF’S communications chief Ken Okaka.

The experienced players were part of the 34-man provisional squad released last week by coach Francis Kimanzi who will use the match to gauge his readiness for the November qualifier double against Comoros.

Origi, who plies his trade with Finland side HIFK Fotboll, was supposed to make his comeback to the team after five years in the cold. In the absence of the revered custodian, Kimanzi will pick the starter from the Zambian based Ian Otieno and national U-23  and Ulinzi Stars  goalkeeper Timothy Odhiambo.

With Wanyama unavailable, all eyes will be on Kimanzi’s choice for the captaincy. Prior to his lengthy hiatus from the team, the former Maritzburg centre back Brian Mandela who made it to the team despite being unattached served as Wanyama’s deputy alongside Musa Mohammed.

Former Gor Mahia defender Joash Onyango skippered the team during last year’s Cecafa Senior Challenge in Uganda. Having established himself as Stars preferred centre forward, the unavailability of the red-hot Olunga will leave Kimanzi with no options other than to try a new formation upfront.

Algerian-based Masud Juma is likely to fill in Olunga shoes with reigning Cecafa top scorer Oscar Wamalwa, AFC Leopards striker Elvis Rupia and Zambia-based Timothy Otieno offering options.

Meanwhile Kimanzi recalled Bandari’s wing-wizard Abdallah Hassan to replace Timbe Hassan  was part of the Stars team which scooped bronze in the past Cecafa championship.

Yesterday, eleven local-based players reported to camp and were screened for Covid-19  in line with the protocols sanctioned by the Ministry  of Sports. Foreign-based players were expected to start checking into camp  last night.

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Why did Kipchoge loose the London Marathon

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When race commentator Steve Cram announced “this is not normal” midway through Sunday’s London Marathon it was something of an understatement as Eliud Kipchoge, the most dominant performer the distance has ever seen, was finally looking mortal.

An hour later, Kipchoge trailed home eighth in a time six minutes slower than his own world record and over a minute adrift of Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata, who won the race after a spectacular sprint finish in two hours, 05.41 minutes.

The Kenyan had finally cracked just under three miles from the end, later saying he was suffering from a blocked ear that affected his breathing and cramp in his hip, but refusing to blame the cold, wet conditions for his poor run.

It was no surprise that he looked slightly bemused as he tried to articulate what had happened, having never previously experienced what almost every other marathon runner at every level has a bad day at the office.

His record over the distance almost defies belief. He posted in his Twitter account that one of his ears blocked, and it could not open anymore.

The Ineos Challenge record holder has however promised to fight for the title another day.

“But this is how the sport is, we should accept defeat and focus for the winning next time. Thanks for the support,” Kipchoge said. He added “If you want to enjoy sport then you have to accept the results. I congratulate the top finishers, and that is how to enjoy the sport.”

He has appreciated Kenyans and his fans for the tremendous support, saying that he is taking the defeat in a positive way.

The race was won by Ethiopian Shura Kitata in a thrilling sprint finish to claim an unexpected victory ahead of Kenyan Vincent Kipchumba.

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