News from Sporting Agenda

 

  • Joshua out for revenge in the desert

    AJ is on a mission. Having lost his world heavyweight crown in New York in one of boxing’s greatest ever upsets, Anthony Joshua is out to reclaim his belts from the Mexican-American butterball, Andy Ruiz Jnr, who stunned the boxing world back in June. Despite being a late stand in for Joshua’s intended opponent, and an extraordinary physical difference between the two, the enormously out of shape Ruiz Jnr showed unexpected power and skill to inflict a first professional defeat on Joshua. However, for this rematch, in Dariyah, Saudi Arabia, billed as “Clash on the Dunes”, Joshua knows he can’t underestimate his opponent, and will surely not let lightning strike twice. It’s likely to be brutal, but it’s hard to see anything other than AJ coming away with the spoils, along with his $60 million purse.

  • Newbury all set for Winter Festival

    A week on from the hitherto unbeaten Altior losing out to Cyrname at Ascot, thereby ending a 14 race winning streak, Newbury takes centre stage this weekend with its Winter Festival, the  showpiece of which is the Ladbrokes Trophy, formerly the highly prestigious Hennessy Gold Cup. Always one of the highlights of the racing calendar, this year should be no different, with any number of realistic contenders entered. However, before that, Friday sees a highly competitive Ladbrokes Novices Chase followed by the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle, which should provide a battle royal between Paisley Park, Thistlecrack and Unowhatimeanharry, three of National Hunt’s biggest stars. With Aintree and Cheltenham to come over the next fortnight, followed by the King George VI at Kempton Park on Boxing Day and then Chepstow’s Welsh Grand National, you could say it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

  • New look Davis Cup Finals kick off in Madrid

    The inaugural Davis Cup Finals tournament is currently taking place week in Madrid. The eighteen team event is the brainchild of Barcelona footballer, Gerard Pique, with the new abridged format comprising round-robin group matches of two singles and a doubles, followed by a knockout phase.  Great Britain, having successfully negotiated their way to the last eight, will now face Germany in a bid to reach the semi-finals, and with it automatic qualification for next year’s event. Having Andy Murray back in their ranks is a huge boost for Great Britain, although, like patum peperium, he should be used sparingly, but with Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund as back up, not to mention the world class doubles pairing of Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski, they have little to fear. Whether they can reproduce the heroics of 2015 remains to be seen, but they’re looking good.

  • England youngsters up against experienced Kiwis

    Having almost replicated last summer’s epic World Cup final by winning a topsy-turvy T20 series with the aid of another super-over, England and New Zealand now don their whites for a couple of test matches. England, under a new head coach following Trevor Bayliss’s post-Ashes departure, have looked to the future with an injection of youth as they prepare for a test and ODI tour of South Africa starting in December. However, New Zealand are a very good side and will be no push over at home, whilst no doubt also looking for some revenge for recent World Cup defeats, be it cricket or rugby. It should be a tight but fascinating encounter.

  • Tennis big boys back in town

    Once again the tennis circus is back in town, as the season-ending ATP Finals take place at London’s O2 Arena. With the world’s top eight men’s singles players and doubles teams in action there should be plenty of scintillating tennis on view. Sadly, Andy Murray hasn’t yet regained the required ranking having come back from hip surgery, but “the big three” are all here, with Federer seeking a seventh win at the event, whilst Nadal and Djokovic are battling it out to end the year as world number one. Meanwhile, some of the young guns on the circuit, namely Medvedev, Zverev, Berrettini, Tsitsipas and Thiem, are not there just to make up the numbers and will be very much hoping for some upsets. There’s plenty to play for and it’s definitely one to watch

  • Football season hotting up as winter kicks in

    With the FA Cup first round kicking off this weekend, the football season really is taking shape on all fronts. Liverpool, almost faultless thus far, host Premier League champions Manchester City in a pivotal Premiership match this weekend, looking for a win which would open up a nine point gap over their rivals going into the international break. Meanwhile in Europe, it’s looking extremely healthy for the British clubs to progress in the Champions and Europa Leagues. On the international stage, having slipped up against the Czech Republic, before defying  the racists in Bulgaria to win 0-6, England just require a single point from their last two group matches, at home to Montenegro and away in Kosovo, in order to ensure qualification for Euro 2020. It should be a breeze, but take nothing for granted. 

  • Amazing Murray triumphs in Antwerp

    Who said Sir Andy Murray’s career was over? Well, Andy Murray did, but it seems he was quite wrong. Nine months on from undergoing hip surgery in a desperate attempt to live pain-free and even prolong his remarkable tennis career, Murray has not only become the first player to resume top-level singles after effectively receiving a new hip, but he has also now won the European Open in Antwerp, coming from behind to defeat fellow Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in a close fought final. 961 days on from his last title, Murray describes this as one of the biggest wins of his career, and he now heads off to next month’s new look Davis Cup finals in Madrid to represent Great Britain for the first time since 2016, which is just as well given the lack of form that Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans are showing. And then it’s hopefully onwards and upwards into 2020, and who knows, another Wimbledon title?