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Tombim Open: Emmanuel, Imeh face tough hurdlesand

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Nigerians will begin their quest for a memorable outing at the Tombim Abuja Open Nigeria FI Futures on Tuesday with the quartet of Sylvester Emmanuel, Joseph Imeh, Emmanuel Audu and Michael Michael all scheduled to face tough opponents in the first round of the $25, 000 prize money championship.

 

Spain-based Emmanuel, who is sponsored by Rainoil, keeps a date with Ronnie Schneider of the USA while Imeh, the top-ranked player by the Nigeria Tennis Federation, confronts Dutchman Stephan Garritsen.

Emmanuel Audu faces a tough battle against Remi Boutillier of France just as Michael Michael, a wild card beneficiary, confronts another Frenchman Jaimel Angele. In some of the first round ties decided on Monday, top seed, Markus Eriksson of Sweden, progressed to the second round with a 6-0, 7-5 win over Suraj Prabodh of India.

 

Austrian second seed, Maximiliano Neuchrist also advanced to the second round following a 6-4, 6-4 win over Kazuma Kawachi of Japan. Indian trio of Aryan Govewas, Dalwandar singh and Karunday singh also moved to the second round with 6-4, 6-2; 7-6, 7-6; and 6-4, 6-3 triumphs over Kenyan Ismael Mzai, Frenchman Thomas Setodji and Swiss Jakub Paul respectively.

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Wilder offers Joshua $50m for heavyweight mega-fight

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Deontay Wilder told Anthony Joshua “the money’s in the bag” as prospects rose Wednesday of a blockbuster world title unification bout between the unbeaten heavyweights.

In a Twitter video posted Wednesday, America’s World Boxing Council world champion Wilder backed up reports that his camp had emailed Britain’s Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn an offer of a minimum of $50 million.

“I’ve got something special for you,” Wilder tells Joshua in the video. “By the way, all the money is in the bag. I expect you’ll be a man of your word.”

Joshua, who unified the World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organization heavyweight titles by out-pointing New Zealand’s Joseph Parker on March 31, had already been recorded saying he’d “take $50 million up front” to fight Wilder.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Wilder promoter Lou DiBella had confirmed the offer for a fight in the United States sometime between September and December.

“We’ll see how badly he wants the fight,” DiBella told the newspaper. “Anthony Joshua has said he’d accept this offer. If Eddie Hearn is not looking to stop it from happening, they now have an extraordinary offer to consider.”

ESPN reported that both camps had confirmed the offer, adding that it was for one fight, with no rematch clause, and would have to be the next bout for each fighter.

The winner of a Joshua-Wilder bout would be the first man to hold all four major heavyweight titles simultaneously, and Joshua told the BBC this month that he’d rather face Wilder than Russian Alexander Povetkin, the WBA mandatory challenger.

Joshua, 28, won his first world title in 2016 and has made five defenses, taking his record to 21-0 with 20 knockouts.

Wilder, 32, improved to 40-0 with 39 knockouts when he knocked out previously unbeaten Cuban Luis Ortiz in the 10th round in Brooklyn, New York, on March 3.

AFP

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Messi scores in trademark tussle in EU court

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Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi may register his name as a trademark for sports equipment and clothing, the EU’s second-highest court said, as he was famous enough to overcome phonetic similarities with Spanish bicycle clothing brand Massi.

The case reached the EU General Court after the Spanish brand successfully complained to the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The EUIPO said that Messi and Massi were almost identical visually and phonetically and some would find it difficult to the tell the two apart, but the court disagreed.

“Mr Messi is, in fact, a well-known public figure who can be seen on television and who is regularly discussed on television or on the radio,” the court said on Thursday.

Widely considered one of the world’s greatest soccer players, Lionel Messi, 30, scored his 600th professional goal last month and is the all-time highest scorer for both Barcelona and Argentina’s national team, reports Reuters.

The court said that even though some people may not know Lionel Messi, this was unlikely to be the case for those buying sports equipment.

Messi can still appeal the decision at the EU Court of Justice.

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Rohr leaves spaces for two alternate players

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Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr, will make space for two alternate players after releasing his final list of 23 players for this year’s World Cup on June 1.

 

With the Eagles’ final squad for Russia 2018 set to be issued a day before their penultimate build-up friendly to England on June 2, Rohr hinted he would take along two extra players in the advent of injuries to any member of the selected 23.

 

The 64-year-old German also disclosed that Nigeria’s provisional list of 35 players would be forwarded to FIFA on Monday May 14 exactly a month to the kickoff of the World Cup. The provisional list would be a prelude to the three-phase last lap of World Cup camping for the team.

Our correspondent learnt that players on the provisional list would open camp for the next phase of the build-up in Abuja and play a friendly against DR Congo on May 28, before departing for London for the June 2 clash with England.

The team will then be pruned to a final roster of 23 players, whose names will be submitted to FIFA latest by Friday June 1.

 

Nigeria’s final list will be submitted 24 hours before the friendly against England at Wembley Stadium, but Rohr said there would be two extra players on standby with the team in London in case of any injury.

After the battle with the Three Lions, the Eagles will then proceed to the third and final phase of camping in Austria, where they will take on Czech Republic in the last friendly game on June 6 before flying to their World Cup base camp in Yessentuki, Russia.

 

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