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By Maloney L. Samaco
Thu, 13 Feb 2020

Unified IBF, IBO, WBA, and WBO world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is still of the opinion that Tyson Fury will triumph over WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in their title rematch on February 22 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. During their first encounter they fought to a controversial split draw last December 1, 2018. The judges scored 115–111 for Wilder, 114–112 for Fury, and 113–113. The deal provides the loser to have an option for a third fight. Joshua is very interested to battle the winner to unify all heavyweight titles to become the undisputed champion.

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Joshua believes that Wilder has to score a complete knockout over Fury to come out victorious which he failed to accomplish during their first match. Wilder was able to knock Fury down twice in the fight. In round 9, Wilder floored Fury with a short left hook followed by an overhand right. Fury beat referee Jack Reiss’ count and finished the round. In round 12, Wilder connected a right-left combination which decked Fury down forcibly on his back. The crowd, the commentators and Wilder himself believed the fight was over. Reiss looked at Fury on the canvas and began giving him a count. Unexpectedly, Fury beat the count. Reiss directed Fury to walk towards him and when he found that the former unified champion was alright he ordered the action to resume.

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"Wilder coming through is better because [a fight with me] is what people have been eagerly anticipating. But I think Fury can win. For Wilder to win he has to knock Fury completely out, and he couldn't do that the first time," Joshua was quoted by Sky Sports. "For Fury to win, he can hurt Wilder or out-box him. Fury has more to his arsenal so that's why I'm leaning to him. Fury can punch a bit. He's underestimated with his punching power which makes him dangerous. If you underestimate someone it makes them dangerous because you don't respect them until you get hit." Joshua thinks Fury is a really good boxer and has the advantage. He added that Wilder isn't the best of boxers but he has a tough right hand and if you can avoid that, you can beat him. "Good luck to Fury - it would be great to have two heavyweight champions here in England," continued Joshua.

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Wilder believes Fury received a long count from referee Reiss, giving him the chance to get up in time. He claimed that nine out of ten referees would have stopped the contest immediately after the 12th round knockdown. According to CompuBox statistics, Wilder landed 71 punches of 430 thrown (17% rate), and Fury landed 84 punches of his 327 thrown (26% rate). Wilder performed less accurately in this first fight than he usually did in his previous fights. Fury's shots out-landed Wilder's blows in 9 out of the 12 rounds. Both Wilder and Fury only landed double digit punches in 4 separate rounds.

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USA Basketball has released the 44-man preliminary list for the U.S. men’s national basketball team to defend the title at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The final composition of the team will only consist of 12 players. Here’s the list of the 44 candidates for Team USA Olympic basketball team:

Bam Adebayo (Heat)
LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
Harrison Barnes (Kings)
Bradley Beal (Wizards)
Devin Booker (Suns)
Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
Jimmy Butler (Heat)
Mike Conley (Jazz)
Stephen Curry (Warriors)
Anthony Davis (Lakers)
DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
Kevin Durant (Nets)
Paul George (Clippers)
Draymond Green (Warriors)
James Harden (Rockets)
Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
Joe Harris (Nets)
Tobias Harris (76ers)
Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
Dwight Howard (Lakers)
Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
Kyrie Irving (Nets)
LeBron James (Lakers)
Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
Damian Lillard (Blazers)
Brook Lopez (Bucks)
Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
JaVale McGee (Lakers)
Khris Middleton (Bucks)
Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
Chris Paul (Thunder)
Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
Marcus Smart (Celtics)
Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
Klay Thompson (Warriors)
Myles Turner (Pacers)
Kemba Walker (Celtics)
Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
Derrick White (Spurs)

* * *

James is a strong candidate for a fourth U.S. Olympic stint, which would equal the Olympic participation of Carmelo Anthony, a record for a U.S. male basketball player. Durant and Paul are aiming to be like James, Anthony and David Robinson as Team USA’s only three-time male Olympic basketball players. All 12 members of Team USA to the 2019 FIBA World Cup are finalists to include Barnes, Brown, Joe Harris, Lopez, Middleton, Mitchell, Plumlee, Smart, Tatum, Turner, Walker and White.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.

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