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Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk: AJ is dangerous throughout a 12-round fight, says former champ Joseph Parker

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Anthony Joshua can be dangerous throughout the course of a 12-round fight, says former opponent and another ex-world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker.

Parker was the first man to go the championship distance with Joshua when he lost the WBO belt to the then-unified champion in 2018.

The New Zealander dismissed suggestions Joshua’s conditioning will let him down in his monumental rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, live on Sky Sports Box Office on August 20.

“He can always be dangerous,” Parker said of Joshua. “He possesses the natural heavyweight ability to hurt people and to hurt other heavyweights. Let’s see what his plan is coming into this fight and see where his head’s at. You can be physically in great shape but mentally if you’re not there it’s a waste of time.

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“He was a good champion and he can be champion again. It’s just that it’s up to him now. It’s up to him and his new team to make the changes that he needs to attack what Usyk’s going to bring. There’s a lot of support for him. Everyone’s supporting him here in the UK. But also Usyk’s got a lot of support as well from his home so we’ll see what happens.”

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“I would have to side with Usyk [winning] just because of the confidence that he’s going to come in with from the first fight. But it’ll be interesting,” Parker told Sky Sports.

“I see it being a great fight. The first fight was a fantastic fight. Not sure what Joshua’s doing with his team, in terms of changing his trainer and how he’s going to adjust and change his style coming into the second fight.”

To fight his way through to the Usyk-Joshua winner, Parker would have to beat Joyce twice. The Londoner has a rematch clause which he can trigger if he loses the first contest.

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“The plan is just to focus on this fight, get the job done and then rematch again in December. Do the same thing, get the job done and win and see what’s next. The heavyweight division always changes. It doesn’t stay in one position for a long time. You’ve got the rematch with Joshua and Usyk and things might change, someone else might come into play,” Parker said.

“My plan is to win. Every fight is win, win, win,” he continued. “Win, then rematch in December and win again on Sky. The first fight’s going to be on BT and the second fight’s going to be on Sky. They wanted a rematch clause to protect [his position].

“If it’s an exciting fight I think people would love to see it again but if it’s not we’re still stuck in this rematch clause.”

Given their respective styles in all likelihood it will be a thrilling fight. “He’s tough,” Parker said of Joyce. “Very tough, very tough fight, big challenge. He’s bigger than me.

“His record speaks for itself. Fourteen fights, 13 knockouts. He does possess power, he’s got a great engine, we’ve seen that he can take a punch and he’s ranked highly in the WBO and WBC above myself and there’s a reason why. Because he’s a great challenge for anyone and he’s got a great amateur pedigree.

“I think it’ll be a great fight and hopefully it lives up to what we think it should be or could be.”

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Joshua training camp insight

Olympic super-heavyweight bronze medallist, and Team GB boxing captain Frazer Clarke has been training alongside Joshua in Loughborough.

He was in the camp before the former champion set his training base up in Jeddah for the final few weeks before the Usyk rematch.

Clarke has been impressed with what he’s seen and is adamant that Joshua’s conditioning will hold out.

“He’s running. He’s running hard to get fitter,” Clarke told Sky Sports. “[People say,] ‘AJ’s big, he’s full of muscle, he blows out after six rounds.’ He’s running and he’s training very hard.

“Running’s not the be all and end all but he’s training very hard to counter-act that. It’s one of the things he’s recognised he could improve on from the first fight. And it’s simple maths, I didn’t do enough of this,” Clarke continued, “so I’ll do more of this. Tick that box.

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“You have about 10 boxes as a fighter going into a fight that you need to tick. If you tick eight of them you might get lucky, you might win. If you tick 10 of them, you give yourself every chance.

“For me he’s ticking all them boxes.”

 

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Olise’s late strike gets Palace point against United

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Michael Olise has helped Crystal Palace get a point against Manchester United in their 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park Stadium on Wednesday night.

The midfielder’s late strike in extra-time, 91′, levelled the game against United, who had controlled the lead since the 43rd minute of the first half after Bruno Fernandes’ fine finish put the Red Devils ahead just before the break.

A relentless Olise scored from a free kick with a left-footed shot to the top right corner. The equalising goal saw United’s dream of replacing defending EPL champions City in the second place on the league table, fade away, as they remain third with 39 points, having played a game more than City.

Crystal Palace remains in 12th place with 23 points.

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Atletico Madrid head coach speaks on leaving Atletico Madrid

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Atletico Madrid head coach, Diego Simeone, has insisted that nobody has personally told him to leave the club.

Rumours have persisted that Simeone, 52, could be set to end this 11-year stay at Atletico Madrid at the end of the season.

However, the Argentine has now stated that no one at the club has asked him to quit the La Liga giants.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Atletico Madrid’s Copa del Rey tie with Levante on Wednesday night, Simeone said when asked about reports suggesting he would leave the club at the end of the season: “No one has personally asked me to leave.”

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However, having already been eliminated from UEFA Champions League and sitting 13 points behind leaders Barcelona in the La Liga table, the Copa del Rey is Atletico Madrid’s last realistic opportunity for a trophy this season.

It has been a disappointing campaign for Simeone’s side, as they sit fourth in the league.

Simeone added, “The boys are enthusiastic to reverse this situation that we have experienced since the break and prior to the World Cup. It’s been a regular to a bad season. For me, there is growth after the break, hopefully, we will continue in that line.”

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EPL: Frank Lampard won’t run away – Shaun Wright-Phillips

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Former Chelsea player, Shaun Wright-Phillips has backed his former teammate, Frank Lampard to stay at Goodison Park and turn things around.

Wright-Phillips said his former team-mate does not run away from challenges such as Everton is facing now but would face them squarely

Lampard is in danger of being sacked any moment from now after yet another defeat on Friday.

Everton crashed out of the FA Cup on Friday after they were beaten 3-1 by Manchester United at Old Trafford

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Frank Lampard has now led Toffees to six defeats in their last seven matches and they have also crashed out of the Carabao Cup and are currently 18th in the Premier League.

“Frank Lampard has always been a player and a person that won’t run away from things not going well,” Wright-Phillips told the BBC.

“He is the type of person to try and solve it or try and make the situation a lot better…”

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