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Ringside news LIVE: Joshua would KO Fury says Hopkins, Khabib set to face Gaethje at UFC 253, CM Punk comeback

FIGHTING TALK

DANA WHITE has teased a possible showdown between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje at UFC 253.

While over in boxing, legend Bernard Hopkins believes Anthony Joshua will make a 'serious statement' and KO Tyson Fury when the pair finally meet in the ring.

Follow all the latest fighting talk from the world of boxing, WWE and MMA below...

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    MONUMENTAL FIGHT

    Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez could fight on Mount Rushmore or at Alcatraz as part of bizarre plans.

    Alvarez, 29, is planning to return by September, but faces taking a pay cut with fans restricted amid the coronavirus pandemic where there will have to be reduced crowds.

    But even more unprecedented measures are being considered including America’s national memorial sculpture and the island that homes to their most notorious prison.

    De La Hoya told the Palm Springs Desert Sun: “A venue like Fantasy Springs is very possible. It’s something we’ve discussed internally.

    “So, if our options are Mount Rushmore and Alcatraz and Fantasy Springs, I wouldn’t mind going to Fantasy Springs because it would be the most convenient for us because of our partnership with the casino.”

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    AJ FOR THE KO

    Former two-weight world champion Bernard Hopkins believes Anthony Joshua will stop Tyson Fury in their expected dust-up next year.

    The 55-year-old American – who now works as a promoter for Golden Boy – has backed AJ to make a statement when he finally faces his British rival inside the ring.

    Speaking on Sky Sports’ Toe 2 Toe podcast, he said: “Joshua vs Fury is a fight that both guys could win or lose.

    “I like Joshua to be tested, to get his feelings hurt early – that might be a knock-down but he will get up.

    “Because of the lesson that he learned being, not unprepared, but overconfident he paid a big price. He redeemed himself.

    “Now that is in his memory – what not to do ever again – Joshua beats Fury by knockout late.”

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    ICYMI – HOP & SKIP FOR BILLY

    Boxing legend Bernard Hopkins believes Billy Joe Saunders has turned down the chance of a lifetime in dodging Canelo Alvarez.

    Despite chasing the fight for years, Saunders decided not to accept a September showdown, insisting he needed a longer fight camp.

    Speaking to Sky Sports, ‘B-Hop’, who promotes Canelo, said: “You should always be prepared.

    “Billy Joe Saunders is not a rookie in the game. Billy Joe Saunders has been in some highlighted moments.

    “He understands, he had a taste of the high level.

    “He missed out and there's no guarantee, especially in the world of boxing, that Saunders will get a call from anybody, pertaining a world champion, the biggest spotlight you can get – pandemic or not – opportunity.”

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    CHILD'S PLAY

    WWE Raw Women’s Champion Asuka has revealed that she would love to face Becky Lynch after the Irish star’s pregnancy.

    The Man will transform into the Mum in December after announcing her and fiance Seth Rollins are expecting their first child in December.

    That forced the Irish Lass Kicker, real name Rebecca Quin, to step away from the ring for the foreseeable future.

    She also relinquished the Raw Women’s Championship, which she had held for over a year, to Money in the Bank winner Asuka.

    Lynch has already hailed the Empress of Tomorrow as a huge inspiration to “working mums” to return to wrestling after giving birth.

    And speaking to SunSport ahead of her Extreme Rules title defence on Sunday – with the help of SmackDown’s number one announcer Funaki as translator – Asuka put her former rival top of her list.

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    IGE FOR AN EYE

    Dan Ige was left with a gruesome eye injury after losing to Calvin Kattar at Fight Island.

    The featherweight pair headlined a midweek card in Yas Island, with Kattar earning the judges verdict.

    ge’s right eye was completely closed by the end of the five round main-event.

    After the win, Kattar, 32, said: “I was happy to go out with my team and finally give ourselves a main event win, and what better spot than out here in Abu Dhabi on Fight Island.

    ”We just follow where the opportunities are at, we had a big one here in Abu Dhabi, like I said, I’m just happy to go and capitalise.”

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    SHARK SHOOTER

    Mike Tyson will take on a great white SHARK in an incredible man vs beast challenge.

    Tyson will feature on the annual summer TV programme Shark Week.

    The week-long summer hit, televised on Discovery Channel, in 2017 featured Olympic legend Michael Phelps racing a simulated great white shark.

    But this year heavyweight legend Iron Mike will take on the ocean's best.

    It is not entirely clear how the 54-year-old former boxer will challenge the shark.

    But iconic ring announcer Michael Buffer will be calling the shots.

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    WELCOME TO THE GUN SHOW

    Arsenal ran out for the second half against Liverpool with the sound of WWE star Triple H's theme tune blaring.

    Fans loved the choice of music and it seemed to do the trick for the Gunners as they hung on to pull off a shock 2-1 win over Liverpool.

    Speakers at the Emirates Stadium blasted out Motorhead's The Game just as the Gunners stars jogged back onto the field after the interval.

    One said: “Anyone else hear Triple H theme tune before the second half of the Arsenal v Liverpool game.

    “Was expecting him to come storming down the tunnel spitting water every where.”

  • GOOD MORNING FIGHT FANS

    Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to fight Justin Gaethje this year despite the recent death of his father.

    That is according to UFC president Dana White, who expects the showdown to be the main event for the upcoming UFC 252 pay-per-view.

    He said: “I don’t think it’s off the table. I’m just waiting to hear from him. I’m not messing with Khabib.

    “I’m leaving him alone until he’s ready to talk and letting him mourn and do what he has to do.

    “I reached out to him the day of … I haven’t heard back from him since.”

    Meanwhile, Tyson Fury has roared he’s coming for Deontay Wilder as the WBC heavyweight champion posted a clip of him training on social media.

    But it is a message that he said during the clip that has left fans talking, as Fury roared: “Wilder, I’m coming for you sucker.”

    Finally, Hollywood star Charlize Theron is open to a shock move into WWE and would love a match with Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks.

    After being asked if she wanted to face the pair by Kofi Kingston, she said: “Wow, is this an invite? Yes! When and where?

    “I know we're in a crisis situation right now, so it's not any time soon.

    “But that sounds awesome and I will get my ass kicked.

    “So that would be really entertaining for everybody to watch because I am a mere actor.

    “But that would be so much fun.”

  • LIGHTS OUT

    UFC stars are turning knock-turnal in Abu Dhabi in their desperate bid to stay awake for their early morning shows.

    They are holding the bouts between 4am and 8am local time to maximise PPV sales back home in the USA.

    Abu Dhabi is 11 hours ahead of the US’s West Coast, including their Las Vegas home, and eight hours ahead of East Coast states like New York.

    READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

  • NEW START

    Hollywood star Charlize Theron is open to a shock move into WWE and would love a match with Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks.

    After being asked if she wanted to face the pair by Kofi Kingston, she said: “Wow, is this an invite? Yes! When and where?

    “I know we're in a crisis situation right now, so it's not any time soon.

    “But that sounds awesome and I will get my ass kicked.

    “So that would be really entertaining for everybody to watch because I am a mere actor.

    “But that would be so much fun.”

  • BROCK SIDELINED

    Brock Lesnar is reportedly set to miss WWE’s Biggest Party of the Summer.

    Lesnar lost the WWE Title to Drew Mcintyre at WrestleMania 36 and has not appeared on WWE television since.

    Earlier in the year, speculation mounted that McMahon wanted a rematch between the Scottish Terminator and former UFC champion to headline SummerSlam.

    But WrestleVotes claims those plans for Lesnar have been scrapped in a “tough decision” due to the lack of fans in attendance.

  • FIGHT CLUB

    Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to fight Justin Gaethje this year despite the recent death of his father.

    That is according to UFC president Dana White, who expects the showdown to main event the upcoming UFC 252 pay-per-view.

    He said: “I don’t think it’s off the table. I’m just waiting to hear from him. I’m not messing with Khabib.

    “I’m leaving him alone until he’s ready to talk and letting him mourn and do what he has to do.

    “I reached out to him the day of … I haven’t heard back from him since.”

  • EXCLUSIVE BY JOE BROPHY

    AJ Styles has admitted that WWE are missing their “biggest star” Roman Reigns after RAW drew its lowest ratings ever.

    He told SunSport: “You can't deny the fact that Roman Reigns is one of the biggest stars in WWE.

    “He's WWE. I mean, he's the guy. so to get him back could be a big help.

    “When I've got a title opportunity, it was against Roman Reigns. Unbelievable match.

    “I’ve watched it back. Wow. I can't believe we did all this stuff that was really good.

    “So, yeah, Roman Reigns is a big part of the reason why my career's where it's at.”

  • BEACH BREAK

    Former UFC champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk has taken a break from training as she posted bikini selfies by the pool and beach.

    The ex-strawweight queen was left with a brutal hematoma following her defeat against Zhang Weili in March.

    Jedrzejczyk made a fast recovery and eyed a rematch.

    But she first appears to be focussing on rest as she holidayed in Bulgaria.

  • CON ARTIST

    Conor McGregor celebrated his 32nd birthday in luxury on the French Riviera.

    Along with long-term partner and mother of his two children Dee Devlin, a new £500,000 'Casino' watch made its way to the party.

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    FIGHT ISLAND BACK-UP

    UFC president Dana White revealed Fight Island will serve as a back-up option if events in Las Vegas are axed due to coronavirus restrictions.

    That will include UFC 252’s headliner between Stipie Miocic and Daniel Cormier.

    White said: “My backup plan would be Fight Island. We might be living here. Anything is possible.

    “If Nevada shuts down and doesn’t allow us to do fights in Nevada, yeah, I’m going to be spending a lot of time in Abu Dhabi.”

    The UFC returned for the first time amid the pandemic in May and staged three fights in Florida.

    They have since worked exclusively from their Apex Center in Las Vegas.

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    GSP TEASE

    The UFC have teased welterweight legend Georges St-Pierre making a shock comeback to challenge current champion Kamaru Usman.

    It comes after Usman, 33, successfully defended his title against 35-year-old fan-favourite Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 on Fight Island.

    The question was then asked on Twitter who should challenge for the belt next, with contenders Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns on the list. But a surprise entrant was GSP.

    The UFC icon retired last February but has not fought since beating Michael Bisping for the middleweight title in November 2017.

    That was the first time GSP had been in the Octagon since 2013, after he retained his strap by contentious split-decision against Johny Hendricks and then walked away.

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    NO HOLLO VICTORY

    Alexander Volkanovski has claimed Dana White wanted Max Holloway to beat him at UFC 251.

    White claimed he needed to “tighten up” the judges after Holloway’s defeat to the Australian on Fight Island.

    Volkanovski controversially regained his featherweight title after a split decision victory.

    He was dropped in the opening round and then again in the second, but managed to fight until the end.

    Volkanovski, 31, has now taken a cheeky dig at White for favouring his opponent.

    “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think that Dana wanted him to win.”

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    MANNY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS

    Floyd Mayweather was told his legacy does not match up to Manny Pacquiao’s – even if he has earned $1billion.

    Despite Mayweather’s points win over Pacquiao in 2015, the richest fight in history, the argument between who has had the better career rages on.

    And former champion Buddy McGirt, now a trainer, argues PacMan’s titles in eight divisions leaves him in no doubt who the winner is.

    He told eNews: “I’d say the eight-division champion because it’s something you will always be remembered for.

    “You still got a lot of money. You don’t have a billion dollars, but you got something your kids and grandkids could remember.

    “It’s a legacy, something that lives on forever.”

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    IT’S NO CON

    Conor McGregor has already hinted he could be ready to come out of UFC retirement.

    The Irishman, who turned 32 yesterday, retired for the third time in four years after announcing his decision in May.

    Despite scepticism, UFC president Dana White and McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh have backed up the retirement claims.

    But the Dublin southpaw appears to now be at least teasing a change of mind.

    He posted a picture with the caption: “Thanks for the birthday wishes everyone yous know the drill, Stay Ready.”

    McGregor decided to retire while he was unable to fight amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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    VAN MAIL

    Paige VanZant is continuing to cultivate her stardom away from the Octagon by selling personalised messages for fans.

    The 26-year-old – who suffered a first round defeat against Amanda Ribas at Fight Island over the weekend – earns more cash through Instagram than MMA as she has had just one fight since January 2019.

    With 2.6 million followers, VanZant, 26, is looking to make the most of her online empire.

    In April, she posted news that fans can now pay her to read out personalised messages to friends and colleagues.

    She told her Instagram followers: “I know the world is kind of going through a rough time right now.

    “So if you want to send somebody some words of encouragement, a birthday shoutout, anniversary shoutout, anything like that… You can actually hire me to do so.”

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    COMING FOR YOU

    Tyson Fury has roared he’s coming for Deontay Wilder as the WBC heavyweight champion posted a clip of him training on social media.

    The Gypsy King – twice a heavyweight champion of the world – is preparing to defend a belt for the first time as he looks to inflict a second defeat on the Bronze Bomber.

    Unlike when he lost motivation in the aftermath of his epic win against Wladamir Klitschko in 2015, Fury appears more focused than ever as he looks to establish himself as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time.

    But it is a message that he said during the clip that has left fans talking, as Fury roared: “Wilder, I’m coming for you sucker.”

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    HANDS OF TIME

    Conor McGregor celebrated his 32nd birthday with a £500,000 ‘Casino’ watch – adding to his multi-million collection.

    The former two-division UFC champion, who retired in May, is vacationing in French Riviera with his long-time partner Dee Devlin.

    And according to TMZ, to mark the occasion McGregor was gifted a brand new Astronomia Casino watch, made by Jacob & Co.

    The watch – worn also by rapper Drake – features a globe-shaped ceramic ball and a 1-carat Jacob-cut white diamond which constantly rotates.

    It is accompanied with an alligator strap and 18k rose gold folding buckle.

    McGregor was recently pictured wearing a £111,000 Rolex watch, which at the time took his collection to £700,000.

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    NOR THANKS

    Jorge Masvidal has snubbed a big money fight with Conor McGregor and demanded a rematch with Kamaru Usman.

    Masvidal lost a gruelling encounter to the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ Usman at UFC 251 at Fight Island on Saturday night.

    But having only had six days notice for the fight, Masvidal wants another crack at the champion.

    And even though a fight with the Irishman would pull in huge money for Masvidal, the American is not bothered and wants to go after Usman’s Welterwight belt instead.

    Speaking after the fight, the 35-year-old told ESPN: “Usman obviously, it’s a no-brainer.

    “Usman. Could they offer me bigger names and pay me more money? Yes. For a fact. But if it’s up to me, Usman.”

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    DEVASTATED

    Tyson Fury’s hero cut man Jorge Capetillo was left devastated as his gym was ransacked by thieves.

    It comes just days after the boxing coach contracted Covid-19 and was forced to close his gym for two weeks.

    But while in quarantine it appears his Las Vegas gym was broken into, with Capetillo sharing images of the aftermath.

    Capetillo operates both out of his own gym and Top Rank’s.

    He has recently been training former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr.

    But Capetillo shot to fame after he performed heroics on Fury’s horror gash sustained against Otto Wallin last September.

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