Daily Briefing

Sport shorts: Spurs and Arsenal slug it out to host Anthony Joshua fight and Team GB selects climber Shauna Coxsey for Olympics

Ten things from the world of sport on Tuesday 11 February

1. Gloves are off in north London 

Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are known for their bitter rivalry on and off the football pitch, but now it’s escalated to the boxing ring. 

The Daily Mirror reports that the Gunners have joined Spurs in the battle to host Anthony Joshua’s next title fight, which is potentially against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in June.

Heavyweight champion Joshua is keen to fight in London after bouts in New York and Saudi Arabia and promoter Eddie Hearn said the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was the “frontrunner” to stage the event. 

However, Arsenal are also keen and the Gunners hope to “nick” the fight from their rivals and bring boxing to the Emirates Stadium. 

On Joshua vs. Pulev in north London, Hearn said: “Terms are, I’d not say agreed, but we’re in a good position. We have an agreement in principle for a June fight. 

“Spurs is our preference and now Arsenal have come in. It’s not been done before at Arsenal, but I don’t see why not. 

“If you want to establish yourself as a sports entertainment destination, it’s a pretty big coup to get this fight. 

“It’s the north London race for this fight. Tottenham is our preference, but we’re talking to Arsenal and they’ve come in and said, ‘How do we make this happen?’.”

2. Emery criticises Gunners 

Former Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has gone public with his criticism of the Gunners following his sacking last November. 

“Arsenal was a club on a downward slope for two years before I arrived,” said the Spaniard. “We lost our four captains: [Laurent] Koscielny, [Petr] Cech, [Aaron] Ramsey and [Nacho] Monreal.

“They were personalities that we missed this season to stay on the right track, and some stars did not have a good attitude and asked for more than what they were giving back.”

Emery accuses Arsenal players of lacking a ‘good attitude’

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3. No ban for tennis star Farah

BBC Sport reports that Colombian tennis player Robert Farah will not be banned for a positive doping test after the International Tennis Federation accepted that the presence of anabolic steroid Boldenone was from eating contaminated meat in his home country.

The Wimbledon and US Open doubles champion said: “Two weeks before the test mentioned… I did an anti-doping test in Shanghai which had a negative result. 

“I was also tested at least 15 other times randomly in the international circuit throughout the year with the same negative result. 

“As stated by the Colombian Olympic Committee in 2018, this substance is found frequently in Colombian meat and may affect athletes’ test results.”

4. Climber Coxsey selected for Tokyo 2020

Shauna Coxsey will make history after being selected as Team GB’s first ever Olympic sport climber. 

The 27-year-old said: “I am really excited to be part of Team GB and to have the privilege of joining so many incredible athletes to represent our country and sport climbing on the world’s biggest sporting stage.”

Climbing makes its debut as an Olympic sport in the summer Games in Tokyo. 

5. Striker Ighalo in United squad

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that new signing Odion Ighalo will be in the squad for next Monday’s Premier League trip to Chelsea. 

Solskjaer said: “Yeah, he is going to travel with us. We will just see his fitness work this week and I think we will get him sharp. We want to integrate him as quickly as we can because, of course, he is desperate to play for us.”

6. Messi’s the ‘dream’ signing 

Italian newspaper Tuttosport reports that Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is “the dream” signing for fans of Serie A giants Inter Milan and Juventus. 

Messi’s future at Barcelona has been questioned after his public spat with sporting director Eric Abidal and social media has been rife with rumours of where he could go if he ever decided to leave the Spanish champions. 

If Messi did leave Barcelona for Juventus, he would form a strike partnership with great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

That certainly would be the dream team for Juve fans...

7. LeBron ‘in the hat’ for US Olympic squad

ESPN reports that NBA star LeBron James is considering a return to the Olympic Games. 

Los Angeles Lakers forward James, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, said: “My name is in the hat, and it’s always predicated on one, my body, how my body is feeling at the end of the season. I hope to make a long playoff run. And then where my mind is, and then where my family’s head is. So it’s a lot of factors, but my name is in the hat.”

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8. Mercedes and Lewis to begin talks 

Mercedes may have revealed the livery for their 2020 car yesterday, but the biggest topic of conversation remains the future of star driver Lewis Hamilton.

Sky Sports reports that negotiations are set to begin between the team and the six-time Formula 1 champion and The Times adds that the Silver Arrows are ready to offer the Briton a £46.5m-a-year deal to stay. 

Wolff: Mercedes and Hamilton are the ‘obvious pairing’

9. England’s asset management 

England cricket coach Chris Silverwood is planning to rotate pace bowlers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood to ensure they avoid injury as much as possible. 

“Maybe they don’t have to play every game,” he told reporters. “Maybe they can play one on, one off - every now and then they play together. That’s an exciting prospect. 

“My dream would be to have three fast bowlers all working together at any given point - one of them sat out, getting his feet up, getting the rest that he needs. And we can keep him on the park for longer. It’s all part of managing our assets.”

10. Back pages: Alli accused of ‘dangerous racism’

One story dominates the back pages this morning and that’s the hot water Dele Alli is in after his joke about the coronavirus.

“Dele in the dock” is the headline in a number of papers, who report that the Tottenham and England midfielder stands accused of “dangerous racism” after appearing to mock the spread of the virus in China.

Today’s back pages

Dele Alli is ‘in the dock’ over coronavirus joke

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