Deontay Wilder’s fiancee, Telli Swift, is standing like a rock behind her lover, come rain, sunshine and she appears to have confirmed that the Bronze Bomber will activate the option of a trilogy bout with Tyson Fury.
Wilder was condemned to the first defeat of his professional career in Las Vegas, with the American’s trainer throwing in the towel midway through the seventh round.
But despite being left battered and bloodied by Fury, Wilder’s camp seem likely to exercise a third fight between the pair.
As per the contract penned before the duo faced off for the WBC heavyweight world title, the loser would be able to secure another rematch within 30 days of the clash.
But after Wilder was dominated by an inspired Fury, with the Alabama native knocked down in the third and fifth rounds, talk concerning a unification fight with Anthony Joshua began to gather pace.
Wilder’s partner, however, confirmed that the dethroned star is seeking an immediate shot at revenge.
After a lengthy tribute to Wilder, penned following the end of his five-year reign as WBC champion, she wrote on Instagram: ‘#WilderFury3 here we come!! #thesagacontinues #stillourchamp #bombzquad’.
Fury, as the winner of the second bout, would be entitled to a 60/40 percentage split of all the money on the line for the fight, plus the earnings from PPV and ticket sales.
Reality TV star and model Swift predicted before the highly-anticipated encounter that Wilder would knock out his opponent, and re-posted a picture on social media in an attempt to taunt Fury.
Wilder admitted after his corner conceded defeat that he would have preferred to continue to defend his crown, revealing he was prepared to ‘go out on my shield’.
Fury’s promoter Frank Warren also believes that a rematch is likely to happen.
He told Metro: ‘Shelly Finkel [Wilder’s co-manager] rang me the morning after the fight to tell me they would probably invoke the immediate rematch.
‘So that’s where we’re at right now. I’m assuming that the trilogy fight is going ahead.’
As Bong Joon Ho’s South Korean satire becomes the first non-English-language best picture, others see opportunity to “jump on the bandwagon.”
On Jan. 5, Parasite writer-director-producer Bong Joon Ho gave his acceptance speech for foreign-language film at the Golden Globes and entreated the audience, via his translator Sharon Choi: “Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” A month later, the South Korean movie obliterated conventional wisdom with four historic Oscar wins, becoming the first non-English-language film to claim best picture.
International filmmakers and distributors are now eying Bong’s triumphs with hope and hunger: hope that Parasite’s success will open the door to global cinema, giving other non-English-language movies shots at the world’s No. 1 film award; hunger for the sort of global box office returns that, with few exceptions, have been beyond the reach of films made outside Hollywood.
“It’s been a real barrier,” says Korean media mogul Miky Lee, whose CJ Entertainment backed Bong’s film and who recently invested in David Ellison’s Skydance. “Now Parasite really makes it easier. Netflix has trained everybody to watch subtitles in their living room, and now Parasite in the movie theater.”
At the European Film Market — which kicks off Feb. 19 in Berlin and specializes in challenging, foreign-language fare — the movie’s success will be tested. “You can be sure Parasite will be used for every new Asian title now,” says Dirk Schweitzer, an acquisitions exec at European distributor Splendid Films. “It’ll be, ‘This is Parasite meets …’ as people try to jump on the bandwagon.”
“Getting audiences to watch subtitles 10 years ago was a massive challenge … now it’s becoming more and more common,” adds Alex Walton, head of international film sales at Endeavor Content, noting that Parasite “has opened more doors for exhibitors, helping them believe they actually can find an audience with these films.”
In South Korea, Parasite’s Oscar wins sparked a national celebration. South Korean President Moon Jae-in joined the chorus, tweeting that Bong’s social satire “moved the minds of the world with a story that is truly Korean.” Oh Seok-geun, chairman of the government-run Korea Film Council, says the night proved that “the U.S. market is no longer a challenging or distant market for Korean movies.” Parasite’s success, he said, opens the possibility for any filmmaker, anywhere, that “if you make a great movie, many around the world will watch it.”
Lewis Kim, a producer on Bong’s earlier films including The Host and Okja, says he hopes the wins will inspire Korean directors and writers “to have a bigger dream.”
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
People watch a TV screen showing images of South Korean director Bong Joon Ho at the Seoul Railway Station on February 10, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea.
Audiences have certainly embraced Parasite as it unspooled globally since debuting in Korea on May 30. Made for about $11 million by Korean studios Barunson E&A and CJ Entertainment, it has grossed some $170 million worldwide, a figure certain to surge in the wake of Bong’s Oscar haul. Its domestic performance of $35 million and counting for Tom Quinn’s indie Neon (founded in 2017), which picked up the film in October 2018, makes it the most successful Korean film of all time in the U.S. (Its domestic theater count will be upped to as many as 2,000 locations for the Feb. 14-16 weekend.) “The Neon team worked their asses off to get here, all in the service of this amazing movie,” Quinn told THR on Oscar night.
Parasite has smashed records for a Korean movie in territories as varied as France ($11.9 million), Mexico ($3.9 million) and Russia ($1.5 million). In the U.K., Curzon opened the film wide on Feb. 7, timing the bow to take advantage of the Oscar bump. It worked. Parasite grossed more than $1.3 million in its first two days in the territory, a record for a non-English-language movie. “It’s a game-changer,” says Charles Cohen, whose Cohen Media Group owns Curzon and the Landmark chain in the U.S. “I think it’s a great vote of confidence for world cinema.”
In Germany, Parasite hasn’t left theaters since its October bow there, earning $3.8 million to date. “We knew it had potential, but no one expected this,” says Moritz Peters of indie distributor Koch Films, which prebought the movie two years ago based on Bong’s script alone. Koch is expanding the film’s release to capitalize on the Oscars, more than doubling the screen count (to 250-plus).
Parasite isn’t the first Asian film to strike global box office gold, but it’s been nearly 20 years since Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon conquered the world, winning four Oscars in 2001 (though not best picture) and earning $213 million. Zhang Yimou’s Hero, which was snubbed by the Academy but grossed $177 million worldwide, followed in 2002.
Unlike those, or Zhang’s 2004 follow-up House of Flying Daggers (one Oscar nom, $92 million global take), Parasite is not a wuxia action film, all high-wire sword-fighting and escapist period drama. Bong’s satire is set very much in the real world, and its themes of social exclusion and the gap between rich and poor could have been torn from today’s headlines.
Peters believes Bong’s film built on the critical momentum of such recent socially aware art house titles as Lee Chang-dong’s Burning and Hirokazu Koreeda’s Japanese drama Shoplifters (like Parasite, a Cannes Palme d’Or winner).
If Parasite can convince audiences to jump the subtitles barrier, it will be due, in no small part, to Netflix, the studio some viewed as a loser on Oscar night with just two wins from 24 nominations. The streaming giant, which backed Bong’s previous action-adventure drama Okja, was the first U.S. major to fully embrace international content.
Netflix has been plowing money into foreign-language films and series for years, offering to its 167 million worldwide subscribers the chance to stream Mati Diop’s Senegalese drama Atlantics, Nora Fingscheidt’s German art house hit System Crasher or Jung Ji-woo’s Korean musical rom-com Tune in for Love.
“Netflix created this new global market for non-English language content,” says Florian Gellinger, a European visual effects producer and Academy member whose credits include Avengers: Endgame and the Netflix series Dark. “There’s a demand, a global market, for non-English-language content that just wasn’t there five to 10 years ago.”
Even before Parasite’s wins, dealmakers at Sundance were feeling the film’s impact on acquisitions. “With the success of Parasite, I am hopeful distributors — both traditional and streamers — will be willing to take a chance on international films,” says ICM’s Jessica Lacy. “Steamers are increasingly looking at things on a global basis.”
As other studios begin to roll out their own global streaming platforms, Gellinger expects them to follow Netflix’s lead and add more subtitled content. “The Oscar wins for Parasite will be taken as a very welcome signal that the public will accept non-English programming,” he says.
Miyuki Takamatsu of Japanese film sales group Freestone Productions calls Parasite’s win a “revolutionary moment for film people in Asia.” But she’s not yet convinced its success can be easily replicated: “We film people have always known we are borderless and that a good film is a good film,” she says. “But to see this recognized at the Academy Awards, in front of the entire world, it’s a very powerful moment.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s staffers were on the scene at all the star-packed celebrations surrounding Oscar weekend.
Oscar winner Taika Waititi toasts with Piper-Heidsieck in the engraving lounge after the telecast.
Oscar winner Taika Waititi toasts with Piper-Heidsieck in the engraving lounge after the telecast.
Popular Actor and Evangelist Mike Bamiloye and his wife, Gloria are now grandparents as their first son, Dami who got married to his lover, Ella, in November 2018 welcomed a beautiful bouncing baby girl this month.
The little girl was christened Gloria, for her striking resemblance with Gloria Mike-Bamiloye.
Sharing the good news, Mike Bamiloye wrote “Welcoming the Arrival of: Gloria, Oluwasemilogo, Oluwatumininu, Praise, Zion. While the Location of #TheTrain Journey of Faith was going on, the Baby was arriving at home.”
The father of the newborn also took to his Instagram page to share the good news, he wrote;
“Join us to praise the lord. He added a beautiful daughter of Zion to the family. Make welcome Gloria, Praise, OluwaSemilogo, OluwaTumininu, OluwaSeyifunmi, Deborah, Osayuware, OluwaDamilare, Zion photo credit @smhphotographyshotz.”
Efe Ajagba, a 2016 Nigerian Olympian now has a 12-fight winning run with 10 knockouts after defeating his opponent Iago Kiladze at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California on Saturday, December 21.
Recall, Noble Reporters announced that the 10 knockout champion, Efe Ajagba promised that he will honor Nigeria by defeating Lago Kiladze.
The Georgian and Ukrainian professional boxer was knocked out twice in the fight; first in the second round and in the fifth round.
Though the 25-year-old Nigerian heavyweight prospect was dropped by 33-year-old Kiladze in the third round, he got it back together and re-took control in round four before dropping Kiladze again in the fifth with a vicious right hand.
Though the stubborn Kiladze refused to stay down, his corner called for a halt to the fight after Ajagba closed in on him again.
A fight against fellow Briton Tyson Fury can be easily fixed if the Gypsy King snatches the WBC Belt from Deontay Wilder, says Anthony Joshua.
The two-time Heavyweight champion had offered to spar with Fury ahead of his rematch against Wilder but later regretted making the offer public.
“You know when I look back at some of the s**t I say I think, ‘why did I say that?!,’’ he reflected about his offer to spar with Fury, “So now we’re going to talk about it and give more publicised things to talk about!”
However, the 30-year-old believes he can learn something from his fellow countryman who is just a year older.
“Fury is a world-class fighter and I’m a world-class fighter that is still trying to improve so I can become like an elite-level fighter.
“Sparring Fury is only going to do me good, in my opinion. So I’m never too big for my boots where I can’t learn anymore.
“So that opportunity, for me to spar Fury, is for my own benefit as well.”
All through 2019, there had been much talk about Joshua and Wilder meeting but agreements between both camps always ended in a waterlog.
AJ believes his quest to unite the entire heavyweight division can be realised in record time if Fury emerged victorious against his February 2020 opponent.
“I think if Fury had it, he and I would have got a deal done already now.
“So that’s why I was rooting for Fury to win because I just want to fight and collect my last belt.”
Joshua’s next fight will see him take on IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev in March or April.
Reigning West African Boxing Union (WABU) lightweight champion, Rilwan “Real One” Oladosu, has declared that his title defence against Ghana’s Ezekiel Anan will require minimal effort.
The encounter is one of the four title bouts at the nine-fight GOtv Boxing Night 20, which holds at Lagos’ Tafawa Balewa Square on 28 December.
Speaking after a sparring session yesterday, Real One claimed that Anan stands no chance of causing an upset.
“This is my first title defence and I’m very sure, it will be easy. Anan is deceiving himself if he is nursing the ambition of returning home with the title. He should just come and enjoy the hospitality Nigerians are known to provide. But that hospitality will not extend to the ring, where I’m the master,” said the champion.
He claimed to have defeated the best Ghanaian boxers, a level to which he believes is way above Anan’s.
GOtv Boxing Night 20 will be headlined by the World Boxing Federation (WBF) Intercontinental Heavyweight title fight between Onoriode “Godzilla” Ehwariemi of Nigeria and Ariel “Chiquito” Baracamonte of Argentina.
Also at the show, WABU welterweight champion, Nigeria’s Nigeria’s Rilwan “Baby Face” Babatunde, will defend his title against another Ghanaian, Sanitor Agbenyo. There will also be the national super bantamweight title bout between Sadiq “Happy Boy” Adeleke and Opeyemi “Sense” Adeyemi.
There is also an all-female super featherweight clash between Cynthia “Omo Bobby” Ogunsemilore and
The event will also feature live musical performances from “Bolanle” crooner, Zlatan; “Up to Something”
singer, Mayorkun, and “Mercy of the Lord” performer, Oritsefemi.
The best boxer at the show will win a cash prize of N1million as well as the Mojisola Ogunsanya
Nigerian heavyweight boxer, Efe Ajagba has declared that nothing will save Lago Kiladze from getting knocked out tomorrow at the Toyota Arena, Ontario, California.
Undefeated “The One and Only” Ajagba will enter the ring for the 12th time with strong hope of another victory, which would help him consolidate his march towards the world heavyweight title.
The 10 round affair is an under card action for the World Boxing Council (WBC) World Super Welter Title between contender Tony Harris and Ajagba’s training partner Jermell Charlo.
The Nigerian withdrew from his last bout against Congo-born Belgian, Jack Mulowayi in October due to a back injury and won his last fight against Ali Eren Demirezen of Turkey by unanimous points’ decision in July.
“I am very ready for this fight. I pulled out of my last bout because of a back injury and before then I defeated Demirezen through unanimous decision but this time, it will be a knockout out,” Ajagba said.
“He is a good boxer if you look at his record. He started very well and he is definitely more experienced than I am but I am more determined. He has not won in his last four fights and I want to ensure I add another loss to his record.”
Ajagba made the headlines all over the world last year when his opponent, Curtis Harper, walked out of the fight after touching gloves and the bell sounded to start the opening round, making it the shortest fight on record.
He was Nigeria’s sole representative at the Rio Olympics boxing event in 2016 where he lost to Ivan Dychko in the quarterfinals.
Georgia’s Kiladze, 33, is a former World Boxing Association (WBA) Inter-Continental cruiserweight champion and has lost four of his professional fights and has not won any of his last four fights going into his clash, but he has a strong scorecard of 26 wins, 18 via knockouts.
World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Anthony Joshua is to present his title belts to President Muhammadu Buhari at a yet to be decided date.
The Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, said he briefed the Federal Executive Council, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday, about Joshua’s win.
Joshua regained his titles from Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr during a repeat match in Saudi Arabia last Saturday.
Joshua, who suffered a shock defeat to the Mexican-American at Madison Square Garden six months ago, became heavyweight champion once again by unanimous decision from the judges in Diriyah.
IBF, WBA, IBO and WBO boxing champion of the world, Anthony Joshua has stated that he will like to fight Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury and he has the necessary style and technique to beat them both.
As Tweeted by Festus Keyamo in reaction to Anthony Joshua’s victory against Andy Ruiz in Saudi Arabia last night.
Buhari salutes Joshua over Ruiz Jr. victory
President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a message of congratulations to Anthony Joshua following his victory over Andy Ruiz Jr, which ensured he regained his world boxing titles which he lost to the Mexican six months ago.
Buhari, speaking through his Special Adviser Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said he was saluting Joshua for bringing joy to millions of Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, who had rooted for him to regain the titles he lost about six months ago.
In a tweet on the verified Government of Nigeria Twitter handle, the President said: “The downfall of a man is truly not the end of his life. There’s always another, and better day. This is a lesson we must all learn from you as a country.”
Adesina’s tweet concluded by adding: “He wishes @anthonyfjoshua well as he seeks to bring more glory to Nigeria, and to the boxing profession.”
Saturday’s night win meant Joshua became a two-time word heavyweight champion by exacting revenge over Ruiz Jr in dominant fashion with a unanimous points victory in a tense rematch in Saudi Arabia.
Six months on from the night where Ruiz stunned boxing, Joshua risked his career being left in tatters with a second defeat but served up 36 minutes of movement and well-timed punching to take the IBF, WBA and WBO titles back to Britain, reports the BBC.
After cutting his Mexican rival inside the first round he simply never looked back and picked out smart jabs and right hands throughout before being serenaded with chants of “AJ, AJ, AJ” by the 14,000 or so fans in the largely full Diriyah Arena.
Ruiz never looked close to landing a knockdown and when scores of 118-110 118-110 and 119-109 were read out, Joshua jumped up and down in the ring in celebration, just as the man who had wrecked his US debut did in June.
…IBF, WBA, WBO
Anthony Joshua has defeated Andy Ruiz Jr at the Diriyah Arena, Saudi Arabia to reclaim his IBF, WBA and WBO titles.
Joshua lost the titles to Ruiz in a shock June defeat in New York. With his victory, Joshua has joined greats such as Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield on the list of heavyweights to reclaim world titles on the first attempt.
Dominating from the outset, Joshua won by margins of 118-110 on two scorecards with the third judge making it 119-109.
Mexican-American boxer, Andy Ruiz who spearheaded one of the biggest upsets in boxing by defeating Anthony Joshua to win the world heavyweight titles in New York in June, has blamed his defeat in their rematch on three months of partying and celebration.
The boxer who rolled out his excuses at the post match conference, said he partied, became overweight and undertrained for the rematch which took place in Saudi Arabia on Saturday December 7.
Andy Ruiz said: “Three months of partying and celebrating affected me, what can I say?
“Being overweight, I wasn’t fluid enough, I wasn’t moving the way I wanted to move.
“I think if I’m lighter I’m going to let my hands go and be a completely different fighter.”
When asked what he would have done differently if granted a rematch against Anthony Joshua, he said;
“Listen to my coach. Listen to my dad. And take it more seriously.
“I’m OK, I’m just a little disappointed. I should have listened to them.
“I tried to do the training on my own. I should have listened to them more.
“There’s no excuses…the partying and all that stuff got the best of me.
“For being out of shape I did pretty good, I took all his shots.”
Ruiz recognized that he lost a wide decision to Joshua but said he holds a victory too. He said the scores are tied with one win apiece and he wants a trilogy bout.
“I know for the third one I’m going to be a lot better.”
He added: “There’s a lot of responsibility being a champion of the world. I think the partying and all that stuff got the best of me. Next time it’ll be a lot better.”
…all he focused on was to survive running all over the ring.
WBC Heavyweight Champion of the world, Deontay Wilder has slammed Anthony Joshua for his “weak winning mentality” after the British-Nigerian boxer defeated Andy Ruiz on Saturday night in Saudi Arabia to reclaim his four heavyweight title.
Joshua, won with points and during the fight could be seen moving around the ring to avoid getting a knock out punch from Ruiz and Wilder has now slammed the boxer’s tactics saying if he was the one that Ruiz had knocked out in the first fight, he would have put Ruiz’s body on the ground, while also warning fans not to get their hopes up of a Joshua- Wilder rematch.
His mentality was to survive, he ran around the ring and was on his bike all day
Wilder, told The Athletic on Sunday morning: “Joshua did what he had to do to get the win. He ran around the ring and was on his bike all day,
“Basically, he had Klitschko in the camp and he was a lot like Klitschko. That jab-grab-hold method. That’s all he did tonight.
“You want to dominate guys, man. Maybe I’m just too rough, too hard-core and too much of a dream for this time and era, maybe the world wants that nice s***.
“My mentality is so different from these other fighters. But when I think of myself as a champion, you want to come out there and whoop his ass.
“I’m not coming in, after losing to this guy, to just dance and grab and jab and hold. I’m going to show the world and convince them I am the very best and that no one is close to me.”
“How can no-one say I’m not the very best in the world now?”
“I’ve given you what you pay for each and every time, especially when we’re talking about a heavyweight bout.
“Fans come to see knockouts. They come to see something dramatic, a body lying on the canvas, spread like it’s having birth. That’s what people want to see, and that’s my mentality.
“Joshua had many times he could’ve gone for the finish after he landed the right hand.
“When you land the right hand, you’ve tackled the distance.
When you land that punch, you know you’re in exact position for the second time around. But he was so hesitant… Joshua’s mentality was to survive. The Klitschko method.
“The difference is my mentality is that of a beast, a warrior, a king, an emperor, all those things.
“If he calls himself a king, he’s just on the nicer side of it. This is a brutal sport and that’s how I treat it. I ain’t showing no love for anybody in that ring.”
AJ declared after beating Ruiz that he will like to face Wilder but the American insisted: “I don’t think we’ll ever see a unification bout. We’ll never see it, and I don’t want people to get their hopes up on it because it’ll never happen.
“They couldn’t say anything about fighting me. They couldn’t mention my name. They went around me
“I’m too dangerous. You’ve seen what I do in the ring. I don’t play around
“And they know if Ruiz can get Joshua out of there, imagine. That’s why they stayed away from me.”
Andy Ruiz v Anthony Joshua
Venue: Diriyah Arena, Saudi Arabia Date: Saturday, 7 December
Coverage: Live BBC Radio 5 Live commentary with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app
‘One Night: Joshua vs Ruiz’ – watch documentary which relives one of boxing’s greatest upsets on iPlayer here
“He’s humbled now. It will either make him a better individual, a better fighter, a better person, or it might just destroy him.”
Former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson is in no doubt about how big Saturday night is for Anthony Joshua.
Six months after the Briton was stunned by Andy Ruiz Jr in New York, he gets his shot at redemption – his chance to join greats such as Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield on the list of heavyweights to reclaim world titles.
Ruiz, meanwhile, can prove one of the greatest sporting upsets in recent memory was no fluke.
Saudi Arabia is the venue for what has been billed as the ‘Clash on the Dunes’.
But who will win? Here’s all you need to make your mind up before the ring walks on Saturday at 20:45 GMT.
Joshua: ‘I’m punching like a horse kicking backwards’
What Andy Ruiz Jr did next
Long read: Inside the 24 hours that shook boxing
The ‘what if’ questions
“It has been 30 years I have been on the road for the BBC and this fight is going to be in the top six of all the events I have covered,” said 5 Live Boxing’s Mike Costello.
Here are some of the key questions from the original fight that have fans, pundits and the media guessing what might happen next:
Can Joshua simply fix the ‘complacency’ he was accused of in some quarters and be more disciplined and patient?
Or was there really something wrong behind the scenes before the first fight? (And will we find out more post-fight, as Joshua has promised?)
Will Ruiz’s focus and desire have been lessened by his first victory?
And will the fact Ruiz fought six weeks before the first bout mean he is not as fit this time?
Has Joshua recovered psychologically from being knocked down four times in the first bout?
‘A colossal upset’ – Relive Anthony Joshua’s shock defeat by Andy Ruiz Jr in June
What the experts think
Joshua starts a 4-9 favourite with most bookmakers, while Ruiz is around a 2-1 underdog. You can send your own predictions for a fight that has split opinions to #bbcboxing.
BBC Sport boxing correspondent Mike Costello: “There has to be a fear that Joshua’s punch resistance will not improve at this stage of his career but I believe this time he will be more patient when he has success and his power from long range will be decisive.”
BBC Radio 5 Live boxing analyst Steve Bunce: “I think Ruiz might need to be rescued. I think if Joshua has his confidence back we may see Joshua win and Ruiz rescued from his bravery late in the fight.”
WBA world super-middleweight champion Callum Smith: “If Ruiz wins again I wouldn’t be one bit surprised. I do think you’ll see a more switched-on Joshua who is more like Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko. It could be boring but I’m going Joshua late.”
Hall of fame promoter Bob Arum: “I like Ruiz to win again. He is really an under-rated guy. His low centre of gravity works well against a big heavyweight and his hand speed is phenomenal. His style plays to Joshua’s weaknesses.”
Former world heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman: “I am leaning at the moment to Ruiz by knockout. I just think Joshua has lost weight. I feel he may have lost muscle and that can be detrimental.”
WBA and IBF world super-lightweight champion Josh Taylor: “I see Ruiz edging the fight just because of Joshua’s past record in struggling against shorter, more compact opponents.”
Watch: Fight predictions iPlayer special
What about Joshua’s weight loss?
Podcast: Joshua’s ‘stunning revelation’
Saudi royal wants Ruiz-Joshua ring as souvenir
Watch: Relive Ruiz’s sensational upset of Joshua in June
Six months have passed since Ruiz’s rotund body shape was questioned before he shocked the world. And on Friday he weighed in 15lbs heavier than last time at 20st 3lbs. He has not been heavier for a fight in more than 10 years.
Joshua’s revelation earlier in fight week that he might drop from 17st 9lbs to under 17st was described as “nothing short of startling” by Costello, who added: “It makes you think, what is in his mind?”
On Friday, Joshua confirmed his prediction by weighing in at 16st 13lb – his lowest mark in five years. But what could that mean on fight night?
Added speed for Joshua? A chance to carry less bulk and aid his engine? The ability to throw snappy punches over slower, more loaded shots?
But, on the flip side, will the power that floored Ruiz in round three of their first contest be diminished? And will carrying less weight lower his resistance to punches?
And for a heavier Ruiz, is that a lack of training? Or will it make him more durable than last time, when he took some punishment and still won through?
Will it be rowdy in Saudi?
‘I’ve had to reinvent myself’ – Joshua on Ruiz Jr rematch
Very few British fans have been seen in the Saudi capital in fight week, although Friday’s weigh-in saw around 200 turn out. Ruiz was also roared on by small clusters of Mexicans.
Some Joshua fans, draped in Union Jacks, told BBC Sport the access to tickets – which range from £105 to £10,500 in price – was straightforward.
Fans who do get to Diriyah Arena – and organisers say tickets were bought in 65 countries – will sit in a 15,000-seat venue that did not exist two months ago.
Neil Leifer – the photographer who captured one of the most iconic images in sport as Muhammad Ali stood over a floored Sonny Liston in 1965 – will be one of those attending. His presence alone tells you this fight is a big deal.
Joshua responds to Saudi ‘sportwashing’ claims
What next? The scenarios
A second Ruiz win would spark immediate talk of him facing WBC champion Deontay Wilder, who is due to meet Tyson Fury for a second time in February.
Wilder and Ruiz share the same advisor, so boxing could, in theory, be within touching distance of a first ever bout for all four heavyweight belts.
There is no rematch option in the contract this time, so were Joshua to win, he too could look to Fury or Wilder to set up a captivating 2020 in the glamour division.
On the other hand, a second loss would limit Joshua’s options in the short term and undoubtedly produce calls for him to hang up his gloves.
Even in defeat, that would seem a harsh verdict on a man who has achieved so much in so little time.
But Costello concludes: “It will be a long, long way back.”
Tyson will be ringside. So will Joshua be better or destroyed?
…The crown came off, and — more than a year later — so have the gloves.
A Ukrainian beauty queen who was stripped of her titleafter pageant organizers learned she had a child is now suing the Miss World organisation, reports the New York Post.
Veronika Didusenko, 24 announced her intention to fight the pageant bosses on their “discriminatory” policy that prohibits mothers or married women from participating in the pageants.
“I have launched a legal challenge against @MissWorldand this marks the new phase in our joint fight for justice,” she wrote on Instagram.
She says her argument hinges on the Equality Act of 2010, which “protects against discrimination based on certain characteristics, including marriage, maternity and sex,” she wrote.
In September 2018, Didusenko, a divorced mother of one, won the Miss Ukraine pageant. But her reign didn’t last long. Four days later, the pageant poobahs stripped her of her title.
“In accordance with the rules for conducting the National Beauty Contest ‘Miss Ukraine,’ a person who wishes to take part in the National Beauty Contest ‘Miss Ukraine’ must comply, among other things, with the following requirements (valid for the period of the contest): — not / was not married; — has no children,” the Miss Ukraine organisation said at the time.
Didusenko, who has a 5-year-old son Alex, said she was aware of the rule prohibiting mothers from entering the contest. But she insists pageant organisers encouraged her to compete anyway.
“Why should a woman be excluded from entering just because she’s a mother? It doesn’t make any sense,” she tells the BBC. “Being a mum doesn’t have any implication on my ability to be professional or be a successful model or do my job. So those rules didn’t make any sense to me.”
She is being represented by human rights attorney Ravi Naik.
The Miss World Pageant takes place December 14 in London. The organisation has not returned The Post’s requests for comment.