Manny Pacquiao gets date for Adrien Broner bout

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Manny Pacquiao will defend his WBA world welterweight title against Adrien Broner on January 19 in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao has held world titles in eight divisions from flyweight to light-middleweight and is set to continue his glittering career in what will be his 70th professional contest.

The 39-year-old had been linked with a return bout against rival Floyd Mayweather as well as a showdown against British fighter Amir Khan, but announced on Twitter he will instead take on Broner.

Speaking at a press conference in New York, Pacquiao said: “I want entertain people and give a good show on January 19, that’s why I am inviting everyone to come and watch and don’t miss the opportunity for this great and prestigious fight that we are going to do in the ring with Adrien Broner.

“I know my opponent is fast, he is a high-calibre fighter. We have to work hard and train hard for this fight so that the people will be happy on January 19.

“I want to fight the greatest fighters and greatest opponents in the world and one of them is Adrien Broner.”

Pacquiao captured a secondary welterweight crown – Keith Thurman is the WBA’s Super champion – by stopping Lucas Mattysse in the seventh round of their fight in Kuala Lumpur in July.

That was his first knockout since 2009 and the Filipino improved his record to 60 wins, seven defeats and two draws, but is 5-5 in his last 10 professional contests.

Broner, a former super-featherweight, lightweight, light-welterweight and welterweight world title holder, was once considered the heir apparent to Mayweather.

The brash American’s speed and power carried him to a 27-0 record, but he has since lost his way and has suffered three defeats in his last 10 outings.

He has fought only once this year in a majority draw against Jessie Vargas in April and he was initially respectful of the eight-time world champion in New York.

Broner said: “I’m really thankful. There were a lot of people who wanted this fight and God blessed me to get it. I guess I am just the chosen one.

“He’s a future hall-of-famer. It’s going to be a helluva fight. All the things he’s done in this game is unbelievable. I have only got a chance y’all could dream of, I don’t even know how I’m feeling right now.

“It means a lot to me. A win, I turn a legend overnight.”

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Tony Bellew loses final fight as Oleksandr Usyk retains cruiserweight titles

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Tony Bellew was knocked out in the eighth round as his brave bid to overcome undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk ended in heartbreak at a raucous Manchester Arena.

In his final professional bout, Bellew was attempting to become the first Briton to hold all four major world titles – plus the prestigious Ring Magazine belt – in a weight class simultaneously.

The heavy underdog made a courageous start in an electrifying atmosphere but was denied a fairytale finish to his career as Usyk (now 16-0, 12KOs) demonstrated why he is rated among the finest fighters on the planet.

Usyk gradually started to establish his dominance and closed the show emphatically, flooring his rival with a devastating one-two, prompting referee Terry O’Connor to wave off the count after two minutes of the eighth round.

He therefore retained his WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO titles at 200lbs and may now have the heavyweight scene – and Anthony Joshua in particular – in his sights.

An emotional Bellew told BBC Radio 5 live afterwards: “I gave it everything I had, he is an exceptional champion. He is everything I have feared. He is the best I have ever fought.

“I had a great plan, I tried my best, but it wasn’t good enough. He is just so hard and awkward, putting pressure, tap, tap, tap, then he stings. He overpowers you and is bigger than you think.

“He is probably the best cruiserweight who ever lived. It is him or (Evander) Holyfield – I would love to see that fight.

“Heavyweights stay away, he takes a great shot and I don’t even know if I hurt him. He is even better than it says on the box.

“It is my final walk away – I have been doing this for 20 years, and now it is over.”

Bellew was tempted to delay his retirement plans after being called out by Usyk immediately after the Ukrainian had won the World Boxing Super Series, in the process achieving the rare feat of unifying all four major world belts.

Never one to shirk a challenge, the Liverpudlian acknowledged he would need to “shock the world” against a London 2012 gold medallist who had made significant strides in his 15-fight professional adventure.

Bellew, stepping back down to the 200lb division after taking on British rival David Haye at heavyweight in two lucrative outings, perhaps stole a cagey opening round on the back of some aggression just before the bell.

Usyk started to establish his southpaw jab at the start of the second round but Bellew proved he would not be content to simply soak up the punishment.

A couple of counter right hands brought the crowd to their feet before Bellew stood in centre ring urging his opponent to come forward, which he duly did with a couple of lead lefts in the third.

Usyk then landed his best punch of the fight in the fourth round when a short left momentarily stunned Bellew.

Usyk, at 31, four years Bellew’s senior, gradually started to wear down his Merseyside opponent, who was saved by the bell at the end of the sixth when his legs betrayed him after another bruising left.

Bellew was starting to slow down and was visibly fatigued when the end came, with Usyk following up a sharp right jab with a punishing left hook that put Bellew on his back.

The 35-year-old, who finishes his career with a record of 30 wins, three defeats and one draw, was ahead on two of the judges’ scorecards up to that point and courageously attempted to get to his feet.

But the fight was ended by O’Connor, leaving Bellew in tears after being led to his corner.

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Floyd Mayweather sensationally signs with MMA promotion Rizin and takes on kickboxing star

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Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has sensationally signed with Japanese mixed martial arts promotion RIZIN Fighting Federation and will compete on their New Year’s Eve card in Saitama.

The unbeaten 41-year-old was unveiled at a Tokyo press conference and it was announced he would take on promising MMA starlet and kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa.

Mayweather has not fought since stretching his undefeated boxing record to 50-0 after stopping UFC superstar Conor McGregor in 2017.

The American, who has won world boxing titles in five different weight categories, has never fought professionally in MMA, however, the rules set is yet to be determined.

The bout is to be held at the RIZIN.14 event and speaking at the press conference, Rizin president Nobuyuki Sakakibara said (via/Josh Gross): “First we had to convince Mr. Mayweather to come to the ring on the Rizin ring on Dec. 31. As you know Mr. Mayweather is undefeated. But all his fights have been in the U.S. He has had a wish to fight outside the U.S.

“We’re happy we’ve convinced him to come to Japan for this history making even. In the second phase once we knew Mr. Mayweather would be in the Rizin ring on NYE, we thought of the appropriate opponent and there was only one: Tenshin

“Regarding rules and weight we have more work cut out for us, but we feel this will be a great fight so many people will be excited to see. We’re so happy Mr. Nasukawa accepted this in a flash.”

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