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Oleksandr Usyk has ‘some of the best fundamental boxing skills ever’ – what makes the champion so good?

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When top British heavyweights are preparing for Oleksandr Usyk it is perhaps a surprise that the man often called in for sparring is a 3-0 Irish prospect.

Thomas Carty has been summoned into camp with Anthony Joshua, the former heavyweight champion who rematches Usyk live on Sky Sports Box Office on August 20, as well as Dereck Chisora.
“I’ve described myself as the Poundland version of Usyk,” he laughed.
But Carty is a heavyweight southpaw who’s been looking to box like Usyk from early on in his own amateur career.
“I learned how to punch properly and I’ve always had really solid fundamentals,” Carty told Sky Sports.

“I was mobile as well for a big guy and on top of that as I started to mature more I got that bit stronger and because I was punching properly, I’ve got a bit of pop now in the shots.

“I suppose I’ve developed a kind of slick, power-punching style, Which is quite interesting to watch, southpaw as well so the shots are quite flashy then when you throw them.”
He does though understand what makes Usyk such a formidable fighter.

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“What makes him effective and good is how mobile he is. His feet are really, really good. His fundamentals are, I would say up there, with some of the best fundamental boxing skills ever, in my opinion,” Carty said.

“Then you have the element of being left-handed and things not being the way they usually are. If there are a hundred guys in the boxing gym, less than five per cent are going to be lefties.

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“It’s something that’s not seen a lot, I think, at the elite level of heavyweights,” he added. “Obviously you can pick out examples but few and far between.

“I remember watching him against [Tony] Bellew and he was throwing jab-left hooks, the next week in sparring I’m throwing jab-left hooks and there’s guys going to sleep in the ring. It works. It’s proven.
“If I can emulate Usyk even one per cent, I’ll be doing well.”

That’s something Carty has been looking to do for a long time now, all the way back when Usyk was still an amateur.

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“I used to pick out guys I could rob some of their moves or emulate some of their moves and Usyk was similar height,” Carty explained. “Similar weight class, left handed, mobile on the feet, nice straight punches.

“So I’m going to try and copy this guy because he’s doing well for himself. Little did I know [back then] where he’d end up, Olympic champion and world champion in the heavyweight division. It’s a bit crazy because he was a cruiserweight as an amateur, 91kgs, so I used to try and emulate that guy a lot.”

He’d been doing it so well that he was called in for his first sparring camp with then-world champion Joshua after he’d had only one professional fight.

“To say surreal doesn’t even cut it. I’ve never seen another Irish heavyweight sparring Joshua, nobody has really done it and the fact that I was over there for a good few weeks and they were loving what I was doing at 1-0 was really great for the confidence,” Carty said.

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“I was asked to do my thing and whatever I naturally do to replicate Usyk they were happy with, there was nothing forced upon me to do this move, or that move. They just wanted me to be myself, be comfortable and be as competitive and good as I could be and that’s what I did.

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“It was a really enjoyable experience, and I emphasise surreal because Anthony Joshua, two-time heavyweight champion of the world, is a guy that me and my mates go watch on the telly all the time, every time that he’s fighting, then all of a sudden you’re being brought in to help him prepare.”

It was an educational experience for Carty too. He saw what set the top heavyweights apart from the rest.
“Obviously they have really great facilities available to them but apart from facilities, there’s no secret, there’s nothing that they do in the gym that’s not available to you to do in the gym. The difference is the intensity at which they do everything at,” Carty said. “It’s the intensity, that’s what makes the difference.

“They all train with a great level of intensity. What struck me with Joshua is how much training he does, how hard he trains. Like that, there’s no secret to what he was doing. He was just doing a lot of training a lot of the time and then recovering really well. Joshua really lives the life.

“The margins between where I’m at and the very top, it’s not that big of a gap but it’s very hard to make up the difference,” he added.

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“So it’s doable but you need to consistently chip away at that and it’ll happen.”
Carty next boxes tonight (August 6) on the undercard of Michael Conlan’s bout with Miguel Marriaga at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Then he wants to fight for the Irish heavyweight title as soon as possible.

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“I definitely want to win that because when I win that I’d be the first person to win it since Tyson Fury. He’s the last name on the belt. I would fight for it next but I need an opponent I need someone that will take the fight against me. I need to build up more of a name so I can offer these guys more money and that’s the only way I can see it happening,” he said.

“Because they definitely won’t fight me for fun.”

Anthony Joshua’s huge heavyweight rematch against Oleksandr Usyk is on Saturday August 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book Usyk vs Joshua 2 now!

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Osimhen won’t renew Napoli contract

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Nigeria international Victor Osimhen’s departure from Napoli is almost looking certain after Italian football transfer expert Fabrizio Romano said the striker was unlikely to renew his contract with the Italian champions,

Osimhen has been linked with several European clubs with English Premier League duo, Chelsea and Arsenal, leading the race for the Nigerians.

Napoli president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, had on several occasions said that the club’s most prized asset would not be sold this summer even if their valuation of €200m was met.

“Osimhen will stay here. He won’t leave,” he told Sky in August.

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Super Eagles drop two places in latest FIFA rankings

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria have dropped by two spots in the latest FIFA ranking to place 42nd in the world.

In the ranking table on the website of the world football governing body, on Thursday, the Eagles dropped 16.04 points to rank 1474.44 points as against 1490.48 in October.

However, the drop did not affect the team’s placement on the continent, as it still remained the 6th team on the continent, behind Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt, respectively.

The drop in ranking comes after the Super Eagles were held to a 1-1 draw in their two 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Lesotho on Nov. 16 and Zimbabwe on Nov. 19.

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Although Argentina (1st) still leads the way ahead of France (2nd), England (3rd, up 1) is now in the trio of teams at the front of the pack, followed by Belgium (4th, up 1), who have also climbed one place.

Although Brazil (5th, down 2) have lost ground following back-to-back defeats by Colombia and Argentina, they have clung on to their place in the top 5.

The Netherlands (6th, up 1) and Portugal (7th, down 1) have traded places in the top 10, which is once again completed by Spain (8th), Italy (9th) and Croatia (10th).

Uruguay (11th, up 4) have made solid progress, but they have to be content with a place just outside the top 10.

The Comoros Islands (119th, up 9), meanwhile, enjoyed an even better month with wins against the Central African Republic and Ghana, and have two reasons to celebrate as they are now in 119th place, their highest-ever position.

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Kosovo (101st, up 4) may not have climbed as many positions as the Comorans, but the Kosovans are also now higher in the ranking than ever before.

Guinea-Bissau (103rd, up 7), Azerbaijan (114th, up 6), Libya (120th, up 6), Malaysia (130th, up 7) and Rwanda (133rd, up 7) are the other big movers in the November ranking.

The ranking also had the re-entry of Samoa (187th), American Samoa (188th) and Tonga (196th), who were all playing international football again following months of inactivity.

The ranking took into consideration FIFA World Cup qualifiers that took place in African countries as well as in Asia and South America.

The other confederations’ schedules considered included UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying matches, Concacaf Nations League 2023-24 encounters and the Pacific Games 2023.

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These matches all had a significant effect on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, including on the make-up of the podium.

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Peseiro to NFF: Pay me, don’t teach me my job

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Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro, told the Nigeria Football Federation Technical Committee not to teach him his job but rather pay him and his team their outstanding allowances,

Peseiro allegedly said this while reacting to the NFF Technical Committee Chairman, Shariff Ahlan’s comment in the wake of his future as Eagles coach, stating that the Eagles job is bigger than the Portuguese.

Ahlan told Peseiro in a meeting in Lisbon, Portugal in October that the Eagles had been struggling due to his poor technical abilities.

“You’re busy to pay me my allowances but not busy to tell me what I will do,” Peseiro replied Ahlan when he was told that he would defend his squad list for subsequent games.

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Despite guiding Nigeria to qualification for the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, Peseiro’s uninspiring side trails Rwanda and South Africa in their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign on the back of two 1-1 draws against Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

In 15 games in charge of the Eagles, Peseiro has won six and lost six with the three-time African champions scoring 31 times – with 10 coming in one game against Sao Tome and Principe – and conceded 21 goals.

“Henceforth, if I remain in the technical committee, if he submits a professional list he would come and justify the list in front of the committee explaining why he invited each player based on their statistics and club performance.

“From our side, we’ve said Peseiro can’t do the job, if you look at how he runs the affairs of the team it seems the Nigeria national team is bigger than him honestly.”

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Meanwhile, Sports Minister, John Enoh, has summoned Peseiro over the poor performance of the Eagles in the 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign.

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Enoh made this known during a media parley with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said, “I am happy to report that I had a meeting with the NFF president, secretary and the Technical Department of NFF regarding the Super Eagles.

“What we came out of that is that I’ve had to request that the coach (Peseiro) be summoned and I think at some point next week there’s going to be an engagement with him.

“All of that is trying to respond to the outcome of these matches, especially the World Cup qualifying games.

While reacting to the call from some football stakeholders that the Portuguese should be sacked over poor results, Enoh said that despite the emotions and passions of Nigerians over football, the decision to sack a coach is not taken due to emotions.

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“As a minister, I am concerned that the Nigeria national team is not delivering, not meeting up with our expectations. The Africa Cup of Nations is so close that we need to be careful in what decisions we make but the next qualification rounds for the World Cup, the next match is in June, so it gives us more time to take decisions going forward.

“AFCON is going to start January 13, are we going to request to fire the coach (Peseiro), I mean the answer is as good as mine.

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“I have found out that in this sector, there are passions and emotions. Where you are seated and where I am providing leadership, you don’t respond, you know you are not driven by passions and emotions.”

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