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Desert Storm: Will Anthony Joshua or Unbeaten Tyson Fury Be Crowned Undisputed Heavyweight Champion?

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The last undisputed world heavyweight champion was Britain’s Lennox Lewis, who held the WBC, WBA and IBF titles between November 1999 and April 2000. Although the WBO was in existence in 1999, it was lightly regarded by boxing fans until around 2004.

Boxing fans around the world are salivating now that it has been confirmed that the long-awaited fight between Britain’s Tyson Fury and compatriot Anthony Joshua will go ahead in August to decide who is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Fury confirmed on social media on Sunday, 16 May, the bout would take place in Saudi Arabia on 14 August.


©
AP Photo / Andrew Couldridge

Britain’s Anthony Joshua punches Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev during their fight on 12 December 2020

Fury, who will turn 33 two days before the fight, holds the WBC title while Joshua, 31, is the WBA, IBF and WBO champion.

But Fury is unbeaten and is also the lineal champion – meaning he can trace his reign right back to the last undisputed champion, Lennox Lewis, in 2000 – while Joshua has one blot on his record, an embarrassing defeat at the hands of overweight Mexican-American Andy Ruiz in New York in June 2019.

​Joshua avenged that defeat in December 2019, winning on points in Saudi Arabia, and was on a collision course with Fury from the moment the gypsy fighter knocked out Deontay Wilder in a rematch in Las Vegas in February 2020.

But the pandemic struck Europe and North America the following month and all talk of a unification superfight were put on hold, much to the frustration of boxing fans.

 

In January this year, when it became clear the pair were negotiating for the fight, Saudi Arabia was mentioned as one of several possible venues.

In a video message on Sunday, Fury said: “All eyes of the world will be on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I cannot wait, I repeat, cannot wait to smash Anthony Joshua on the biggest stage of all-time.”

Joshua-Ruiz 2 took place at the Diriyah Arena, a 15-000 seater temporary stadium which was erected in the desert just outside Riyadh.

But three weeks after the fight it was dismantled and shipped to Tokyo to become part of the doomed 2020 Olympics.

Saudi Arabia has several football stadiums which could host the fight but daytime temperatures in August are around 45 degrees Celsius.

Temperatures fall considerably after dark and a fight at midnight local time would be broadcast live at 10pm in Britain and around 5pm in North America.

​Joshua has yet to tweet about the fight but it would appear both men have agreed to it, even if they have not yet signed a contract.

Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn said: “It’s the same people we did the deal with for Andy Ruiz, that event was spectacular. As partners, they were fantastic as well, so we’re very comfortable.

“We’re very comfortable. Anthony’s comfortable, he knows those people. They delivered on every one of their promises last time – we’re ready to go,” he added.

The fight will also be partly promoted by MTK, the controversial company who are linked to Irish businessman and alleged drug kingpin Daniel Kinahan.

Fury, who was the underdog when he defeat Wladimir Klitschko to become a world champion first time and when he fought Wilder, will probably start the fight as the favourite.

Joshua’s chin proved to be suspect when he lost to Ruiz and although he has insisted that defeat was an aberration, Fury’s technical and tactical ability could give him the edge.

​If the fight goes 12 rounds and ends in a points victory for either man, then expect a rematch in 2022, probably in London rather than Las Vegas.

But if either man wins a crushing early knockout it is possible the loser will not seek to trigger the rematch clause.

A victorious Fury would almost certainly be forced to complete a trilogy of fights against Wilder, who is to determined to avenge his defeat last year, which he blamed on the heavy Black Lives Matter outfit he wore into the ring.

If Joshua wins he could be tempted to fight Dillian Whyte – who he has defeated before – in a WBC title defence.

Further down the line a string of contenders are champing at the bit to fight the undisputed champion.

They include Britain’s unbeaten Joe Joyce, who won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games, and Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk, an unbeaten former world cruiserweight champion who has now bulked up to 16 stone five pounds to compete as a heavyweight.

Also on the horizon is Trevor Bryan, an American who has a record of 21-0 and stopped Haiti-born Bermane Stiverne – who briefly held the WBC title in 2014 – in January.



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EU to propose universal phone-charger law

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The EU plans to propose laws harmonising mobile-phone, tablet, and headphone chargers and ports on Thursday in a bid to make life easier for consumers, Reuters reports. But Apple, whose iPhones use a special ‘Lightning cable’ has said the move will lead to piles of waste and deter innovation. Rival Android-based devices use so-called ‘USB-C’ connectors, but ‘USB micro-B’ and Lightning connectors account for about a third each of market-share.

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Brexit: British Embassy launches survey on key issues affecting UK nationals in Spain | Brexit | International

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The British Embassy in Madrid has launched a survey aimed at finding out how UK nationals in Spain have been affected by key issues, in particular, the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, a process commonly known as Brexit.

The poll is for Britons who are full-time residents in Spain (not those with second homes) and are covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, i.e. they were officially registered in the country before December 31, 2020, when the so-called Transition Period came to an end.

Questions in the survey address issues such as access to healthcare and the uptake of the TIE residency cards, which were introduced as a replacement for green residency cards (either the credit-card size or the A4 sheet version, officially known as the Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión).

As we approach a year since the end of the Transition Period, we really want to hear from you about the key issues…

Posted by Brits in Spain on Friday, September 17, 2021

The aim of the poll is to gather vital information on the experience of UK nationals living in Spain that will help the British Embassy provide feedback to Spanish authorities. The survey takes around 10 minutes to complete, and all answers are confidential.

Have you heard our Spanish news podcast ¿Qué? Each week we try to explain the curious, the under-reported and sometimes simply bizarre news stories that are often in the headlines in Spain.



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‘The challenge for us now is drought, not war’: livelihoods of millions of Afghans at risk | Global development

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The war in Afghanistan might be over but farmers in Kandahar’s Arghandab valley face a new enemy: drought.

It has hardly rained for two years, a drought so severe that some farmers are questioning how much longer they can live off the land.

Mohammed Rahim, 30, grew up working on a farm along with his father and grandfather in the Arghandab district of Afghanistan’s southern province. Famous for its fruit and vegetables, the area is known as the bread basket of Kandahar.

Like most in the valley, Rahim’s family relies solely on farming. “The fighting has just stopped. Peace has returned,” Rahim says. “But now we face another war: drought.

“Now we have to dig deep to pump water out of the land. It has been two years, there has been little rain and we have a drought here. I don’t know if our coming generations can rely on farming the way our ancestors used to do.”

Pir Mohammed, 60, has been a farmer for more than four decades. “Not long ago, there were water channels flowing into the farm and we were providing the remaining water to other farmers,” says Mohammed. “Before, the water was running after us, flowing everywhere – but now we are running after water.”

The water used to come free from the river but now the daily diesel cost for the water pump is at least 2,500 Afghani (£21).

“We don’t make any profit. We are in loss, rather. Instead, we are using our savings. But we don’t have any other option as we do it for survival,” says Mohammed. “However, the scarcity of water has affected the quality of crops as well.”

About 70% of Afghans live in rural areas and are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of drought.

Last week, Rein Paulsen, director of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience, said severe drought was affecting 7.3 million people in 25 of the country’s 34 provinces.

He warned: “If agriculture collapses further, it will drive up malnutrition, increase displacement and worsen the humanitarian situation.”

Arghandab has been a favourite destination for farming because of the abundance of water and fertile lands. Neikh Mohammed, 40, left the Dand district of Kandahar to work in Arghandab in 2005. When he arrived he was amazed to see the greenery and pomegranate farms.

A dam affected by drought in Kandahar.
A dried up dam in Kandahar. A majority of Afghans are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of drought, as they live in rural areas. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock

“It used to rain a lot here and we could not cross the river and come into our farms. We had a life with abundant water. But the past is another country now,” he says.

According to a report by the UN mission in Afghanistan, many local farmers were caught in the crossfire between the Taliban and the Afghan security forces. The Taliban carried out attacks from thick foliage on the farms, which provided a hiding place, ideal for an ambush.

“For the past 20 years, we did not have peace and could not work after dark in our farms. But now we can stay as long as we want without any fear,” says Neikh Mohammed. “Now the challenge is not just restoring peace but the drought and escalating cost of essential commodities.”

Farmers say they want support from international aid agencies and assistance from the new government headed by the Taliban to help them survive.

Pir Mohammed says: “The real challenge for us now is drought, not war. We need food, water, dams and infrastructure in our country. The world should invest in us and save us.”

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