Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury ‘not a difficult fight to make’, says Frank Warren

Tyson Fury’s UK-based promoter Frank Warren insists “our door is open” to agree “the fight he wants” against Anthony Joshua.

Fury (WBC) and Joshua (IBF, WBA and WBO) hold every major belt between them and Warren is in “ongoing talks” with promoter Eddie Hearn to stage a fight that would crown the undisputed champion of boxing’s glamour division.

“It’s not a difficult fight to make. Whatever is on the table is 50-50,” Warren exclusively told Sky Sports.

Joshua & Whyte's chaotic first round 🔥🌪@AnthonyfJoshua and @DillianWhyte had a fiery first round that carried on after the bell when they met back in 2015

“Fury is the No 1 heavyweight but we don’t say 60-40. 50-50 down the middle.

“Once we get the offer that we’re supposed to be getting, we’ll be in a position to sit around the table and knock it into shape. It’s not about me or [Joshua’s promoter Hearn’s company] Matchroom. It’s about getting this fight made.

“If we can’t make this happen between us, then we’ve got to point the finger at whoever doesn’t make it happen.”

Joshua is first seeking a UK location for his mandatory title defence against Kubrat Pulev, while Fury is contracted to a third fight with Deontay Wilder.

Fury previously told Sky Sports: “All going well, god willing, we get on the big fight with me and Joshua, the all-British showdown and I can give the fans what they want to see.”

Warren said: “I’m very excited at the thought of this fight. But both fighters have contracts at the moment – AJ against Pulev and Fury against Wilder.

“If an offer came up, that the Pulev fight had to be avoided, or our contracted Wilder fight had to be avoided, then we need to make that happen. Let’s get it on.

“We’ve been waiting for various offers. Nothing has arrived yet. There have been ongoing talks.

“Fury? I know I speak on his behalf – he wants the fight. More than anything, he wants the fight.

“I don’t think Matchroom want the fight.

“All day long, Tyson Fury beats AJ.

“I had this conversation 18 months ago when Tyson came back. It’s not an issue. This is the fight he wants.

“It’s the first time ever four belts would be contested in the ring at heavyweight between two Brits. The No 1 heavyweight champion, undefeated, Tyson Fury is the most popular sportsman in the country at the moment.”

Top Rank’s Bob Arum, who promotes Fury in the US, exclusively told Sky Sports: “If Fury beats Wilder and if Joshua beats Pulev, which I don’t want because [I promote] Pulev, then we would go ahead and do Fury vs Joshua next year.

“I don’t think the negotiations would be fraught with difficulty. We could negotiate the deal, if we met in person, over the course of one day.

“We are not known for playing games. We understand Eddie. I worked for many years with his father Barry.

“My prediction would be: we get a deal done over the course of one day.”

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Joshua would “sign now” for two fights against Fury in 2021, Hearn previously told Sky Sports.

Warren replied: “There will have to be a rematch. But that’s not an obstacle. There are no obstacles to stopping this fight happening.

“Our door is open. We’ve all signed a non-disclosure agreement. We’re waiting for an offer.

“At our end, it is not a problem.”

Joshua previously told Sky Sports: “Logically to prove yourself as No 1, I have to fight Tyson Fury. He has to fight Anthony Joshua.

“What it will prove, me and him fighting? There will be one dominant figure in the heavyweight division that will have all of the belts and become undisputed.”

AJ sparring his cousin 👀😅 @AnthonyfJoshua and his cousin Benga watch back one of their sparring sessions.

Warren insists their dream meeting would be one-sided in the WBC champion’s favour.

He said: “Has AJ got a better jab than Fury? No.

“Is AJ a bigger puncher? I don’t think so.

“Has he got a better chin? I don’t think so.

“Has he got the hand speed or footwork of Fury? I don’t think so.

“Tyson is so good in every department. When you saw him get off the floor from that punch by Wilder it tells you what he’s all about.”

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Floyd Mayweather’s offer to pay for George Floyd’s funeral is not the first time he has displayed such kindness

Floyd Mayweather has still never publicly spoken about the time he paid for the funeral of his former opponent. For the loudmouth nicknamed ‘Money’, his silence is more revealing than the showmanship he is known for.

The retired boxing great has offered to pay for the funeral of George Floyd, the African-American whose death in police custody has sparked widespread protests in the USA, but such an act is something Mayweather has done before.

In 2011, he quietly and discreetly took care of the finances when Genaro Hernandez, who he had shared the ring with, was laid to rest.

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Mayweather and Hernandez were hardly friends.

The build-up to their fight in 1998 was spiky and filled with insults – a 21-year-old Mayweather was beginning to understand that making himself a villain was great for business. As such, he provoked and prodded the respected Hernandez before challenging for his WBC super-featherweight championship.

Mayweather was unbeaten in 17 and two years removed from winning an Olympic bronze medal but, by beating Hernandez at the Las Vegas Hilton, he became a world champion for the first time.

He would go on to become king in five divisions and retire with a 50-0 record as an all-time great but his fight with Hernandez was his first major acid test at the top level.

Hernandez had lost just once in 40 fights, to Oscar De La Hoya, but was forced to retire on his stool after eight one-sided rounds in the young and bombastic Mayweather’s favour.

“It took me a couple rounds to feel him out,” said Mayweather. “But after the second round, I started using my jab, and then I took control of the fight.”

Hernandez said: “Father Time caught up with us. He’s a true champion, and he’ll be a champion for a long time. He was just too quick for me.”

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London, UK #TMT #TBE

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Their paths seemed destined never to cross again. Hernandez retired after the defeat.

Mayweather became the biggest and loudest star in the sport. He beat Arturo Gatti, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton while flaunting the riches that he was rewarded with. He was absolutely brilliant and knew it.

But fascinatingly, Mayweather was arguably at the peak of his arrogant and obnoxious ‘Money’ alter-ego when, in 2011 when Hernandez passed away aged 45, he made a private gesture that he still refuses to acknowledge.

He paid for the funeral of his former opponent without fanfare or publicity. Hernandez’s medical bills had been picked up by promoter Bob Arum.

Two years later, Mayweather told ES News: “My room had posters. The fighter above me? Genaro Hernandez. He was unbelievable. I said: ‘No fighter will ever beat him’.”

It was a display of generosity not least because he knew the Hernandez family were struggling financially.

It was not the only time Mayweather’s public mask fell.

He also paid for the funeral of heavyweight legend Joe Frazier, who boxed Muhammad Ali.

Mayweather has become known for sponsoring turkey giveaways on Thanksgiving in communities who can’t afford to buy their own celebratory meals.

He paid for the prestigious Golden Gloves amateur boxing tournament to take place in Michigan, his home state, when it threatened to fall through due to financial problems.

The word on the street is that he gives extremely generously to the homeless who he sees in Las Vegas.

It is a remarkable paradox that the boxer who has repeatedly fallen foul of the law while encouraging his own distastefully wealthy reputation is capable of acts of such kindness.

His latest gesture to the family of George Floyd, amid an influx of sportspeople weighing in on his death and the resulting protests, was also done quietly through choice. It comes months after Mayweather lost his uncle and former trainer, Roger, and his ex-partner and the mother of his children Josie Harris.

Rest in peace to our ancestors who fought & died for our freedom. Rest in peace to all the Afro-Caribbean descendants that have been murdered, sent to jail, denied jobs, racial profiled, lynched, shot & suffocated! All because of the colour of our skin. When the lights are turned back on tomorrow, what would you like to see? I’m so proud of the BLM movement. The peaceful protests! Are you? ✊🏾

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It was explained via Mayweather Promotions on social media that the CEO of the boxer’s The Money Team music label, Anzel Jennings, grew up with George Floyd in Houston. Jennings put George Floyd’s family in touch with Mayweather who has committed to covering the cost of four funeral services planned to remember him.

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European Tour already planning a UK Swing in 2021 schedule

The UK Swing will again feature on the European Tour next season, while players could be mic’d up when competition returns in July.

Tour chief executive Keith Pelley confirmed on The Golf Show that “a different form” of the UK Swing, which features six events back-to-back starting on July 22, is already being planned for the 2021 season.

Pelley last week unveiled a modified schedule for the remainder of this year, with the British Masters at Close House heralding the return to action for the European Tour, with further events to follow at Forest of Arden, Hanbury Manor, Celtic Manor and The Belfry.

“There is no question we’ve learned a lot from creating this UK Swing and, no doubt, next year there will be a different form of it,” he said. “I’m pretty well convinced that the British Masters next year will have a couple of other events side-by-side.

“We’ve had 30 tournaments that have either been postponed or cancelled, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is the only tournament to be remaining in its original slot. It’s been a complex and comprehensive process to put this schedule together, but this is a glimpse of the future and I’m really excited about 2021.

“We have created and funded these tournaments all on our own, but now we’re looking for partners and we’ve already had some great interest from some who love the concept of the UK Swing.

“And our great broadcast partner in Sky is excited about it and, of course, during the UK Swing there will be £500,000 being donated to charity from the European Tour as well as £50,000 to the host venues.”

The six UK events will all be played without spectators, but Pelley is hopeful of having a selection of players and caddies wearing microphones to enhance the viewing experience for those watching live on Sky Sports Golf.

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Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez tempted to Japan by Ryota Murata, a ‘LeBron James-type’ figure and a national icon

Ryota Murata is the subject of fascination in Japan, a superstar who shines so bright that he is tempting Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to the Land of the Rising Sun.

It would be a remarkable decision for Mexico’s Canelo, one of boxing’s biggest stars, to have his first fight outside of his home country or the US in a place where the local media admits he is largely unknown.

Japan has its own boxing star, Murata, a handsome and charismatic personality who frequently appears on daytime TV shows and enjoys the type of adulation from his countrymen that the Mexicans bestow upon Canelo. These two forces, heroes in their homes but anonymous in each other’s, are on a lucrative collision course.

Canelo’s promoter, Golden Boy president Eric Gomez, told Sky Sports: “He wants to fight abroad and we have discussed with him fighting in Japan, a homecoming in Mexico, and the UK. He has considered all of those options and, before he retires, he will fight abroad.

“It’s about his brand. He wants to become a more international star, not just fighting in the US. He wants to become an even bigger star than he is now. He has fans all over the world and he wants to build on that.”

Murata’s name was a surprise addition to the list of possible opponents for Canelo earlier this year, adding to Britain’s world champions Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith.

He offers something unique.

Murata is “one of the most recognised individual-sport athletes in the country”, according to a Sky Sports source, above the sumo wrestlers who compete in Japan’s national sport.

For Canelo, Murata offers a key to unlocking the Asian market.

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Murata won Olympic gold in 2012 but, crucially, did so as a middleweight. Japan hadn’t won boxing gold since a bantamweight in 1964 but Murata, as the nation’s heaviest-ever Olympic champion, was also their 100th gold medallist. He became a source of wonder for his size and a celebrity was born.

A book-lover with a Bachelor degree and quick wit, a documentary about Murata’s life was a hit and his fights were broadcast to a massive audience.

“He understands what his fans and public are looking for,” a source in Japan said.

A second source added: “He used to be a badass when he was younger, in his teens, but he is now known as an intelligent person.

“It is hard to tell if Murata enjoys his fame or not. He does not try to make himself look bigger than who he is.

“I don’t think he wants to be a rock star. He got into pro boxing, which he had once denied he would do, because he thought [it would give him] the biggest success in his life.

“His nature as a competitor drove him; he certainly knew that he was a rare heavier-weight class Japanese boxer and wanted to achieve something not many Japanese had done by winning a world title, which he has eventually achieved.”

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Bob Arum’s Top Rank sensed an opportunity and snapped Murata up to their promotional outfit, but his American debut was underwhelming.

He outpointed Gunnar Jackson then said: “I could not respond to expectations and it was a lame performance. I’m ashamed by my weak boxing.”

A controversial split decision in his first world title fight went against him in favour of Hassan N’Dam. Such was the dispute, the WBA suspended two of the judges involved and apologised to Murata.

The Japanese hero won the rematch by stoppage in Tokyo and reacted: “I thought that the fans were going to desert me, saying: ‘There’s no way a guy like this can become a world champ’. But they still came out and I want to express my utmost appreciation.”

He picked up the WBA ‘regular’ middleweight title – at the time, Gennadiy Golovkin held the ‘super’ version plus the IBF and WBC.

The humble Murata said: “Boxing lovers will know there’s a stronger middleweight champion than me out there. I’ll try my best to beat him.”

Bob Arum’s dream was to create an Asian mega-fight between Murata and Golovkin, who has Korean heritage, but more disaster struck.

Murata was shocked in 2018 by Rob Brant in what was supposed to be a Las Vegas showcase.

“I’m really bad against boxers who are quick on their feet. I took a lot of blows,” Murata said. “It’s the first time I’ve taken such a beating.”

He turned down his right to a rematch and considered retiring but eventually a second fight was arranged in Japan.

“He’s like a LeBron James-type figure over there,” Brant said. “When we went to the press conference, there were more people than were at some of my early pro fights.”

Murata knocked Brant out to reclaim his WBA ‘regular’ belt last year. Canelo holds the WBA ‘super’ title.

“I don’t believe Canelo’s name is known by the general public [in Japan],” a source said.

“Everybody knew Mike Tyson back in the day, but not Canelo or any other global stars in the sport today.”

Floyd Mayweather won an exhibition fight against Tenshin Nasukawa in Japan 18 months ago but both Sky Sports sources believe the locals had little idea of who he was.

“Everybody knew Michael Jordan but LeBron James is not as famous among the public, although LeBron is probably as good as Jordan,” the source compared.

“But among the boxing fans here, it would be a big event if Murata fights against Canelo at the Tokyo Dome, at which no boxing matches have been hosted since Mike Tyson fought Buster Douglass in 1990.”

The second source added: “It will be a big event but the market is limited to boxing fans. However, people will learn about Canelo when press conference is held. Canelo is not famous yet. I would say Golovkin is more famous.

“In general, people don’t know boxers outside of Japan.”


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Murata and Naoya Inoue, the three-weight world champion and pound-for-pound knockout artist, are “as famous as Japanese boxers could possibly become” in their country.

How the coronavirus pandemic impacts Canelo’s plans remains to be seen.

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England head coach Shaun Wane lays out plans after Ashes cancellation

Shaun Wane is confident England’s Rugby League World Cup ambitions will not be hampered by the cancellation of this year’s Ashes series.

England were due to host a long-awaited three-match series against old rivals Australia in October and November, but that has now been shelved as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Head coach Wane remains optimistic the national team will be able to get some sort of contest – even if it is against the England Knights team – this winter and is eager to set up a mid-season international in 2021, although even if those plans fall through he insists his squad will be well-prepared for next year’s World Cup on these shores.

  • Wane still striving to become better

“I will never say I am at a disadvantage to someone,” Wane said. “If we do not get any games, we will have camps, have days and sessions.

“Me and my staff just have to make them the best quality for those players. I will never ever make excuses.

“I haven’t got a fixed number of games in my mind, but I would like to have a game at the end of this year and a mid-season game.

I will never say I am at a disadvantage to someone. If we do not get any games, we will have camps, have days and sessions.

Shaun Wane

“A game against the Knights, we would get something out of that because there are certain areas we want to concentrate on and it would be a bit more intense. If that is what we need to do, and if we have two games, then I think we will be in good shape going into the World Cup.”

Wane has already considered the prospect of a revival of the Exiles concept, which saw the best of Super League’s overseas players take on the England team from 2011 to 2013, as a possibility for the end of the year.

Matches involving Wales, Scotland or Ireland, who are all planning for next year’s World Cup too, are another possibility. However, Wane is adamant any potential opponent must provide high-quality competition for the England team.

“The other day I was in the garden and I picked an Exiles team of players I’d seen in Super League, and it was a very strong team – it was as good as any Test team,” Wane said. “So, it would be great for the fans over here to watch a game like that of that standard.

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Sources: MLB mulls shorter season, prorated pay

    ESPN MLB insider
    Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”

Unable to yet reach a return-to-play agreement, Major League Baseball has discussed playing a shorter schedule in which it would pay members of the MLB Players Association their full prorated salaries, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

Though MLB does not intend to propose this to the players, the possibility of implementing a schedule of around 50 games that would start in July has been considered by the league as a last resort in the event the parties can’t come to a deal, sources said.

Players have held out for a full prorated portion of their salaries based on a March 26 agreement with the league, and in an offer Sunday proposed a 114-game schedule that would cover 70.3% of their original salaries. A 50-game schedule with full pro rata would pay the players 30.8% of that number.

Language in the the March agreement appears to give commissioner Rob Manfred the right to deliver a season schedule after “good faith” discussions between the league and the union.

“Based on that feedback received from the Players Association,” the agreement reads, “the Office of the Commissioner will construct and provide to the Players Association, as promptly as possible, a proposed 2020 championship season and postseason schedule (or multiple schedule options) using best efforts to play as many games as possible, while taking into account player safety and health, rescheduling needs, competitive considerations, stadium availability, and the economic feasibility of various alternatives.”

In the first section of the agreement, under the “Resumption of Play” heading, it reads: “By entering into this agreement, the Office of the Commissioner, the Players Association, the Clubs, and Players recognize that each of the parties shall work in good faith to as soon as is practicable commence, play, and complete the fullest 2020 championship season and post-season that is economically feasible.”

A shortened schedule would run in contrast with what the players sought in a proposal sent to the league Sunday. The league’s first proposal to the union offered an 82-game schedule with significant salary cuts. Multiple players told ESPN they would not abide a shorter schedule, with one saying, “We want to play more games and they want to play less. We want more baseball.”

The league, which has contended it will lose money each game it plays without fans and with players making their full pro rata, has pushed for a shorter season due to fears of a second wave of the coronavirus potentially wiping out its postseason and the revenue that comes with it. The economic feasibility language in the scheduling section also could serve as a rationale from the teams for a shorter season.

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Serie A announces fixture list for remainder of season

Serie A teams will play two games a week for the rest of the season once the league restarts on June 20.

There will be matches almost every day from the restart until the final day of the season on August 2.

There are 12 rounds of fixtures remaining, with four other games also outstanding.

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Serie A will resume with those four matches which were postponed from previous rounds, starting with Torino vs Parma and Verona vs Cagliari on June 20.

The following day sees third-placed Inter Milan host Sampdoria while Atalanta entertain Sassuolo.

The first full matchday will be on June 22 with three games, including leaders Juventus at Bologna.

Second-placed Lazio, who are one point behind Juve, will play their first game two days later away to Atalanta.

Juventus will host Lazio on July 20.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) issued a 40-page document on Monday outlining strict new rules for the resumption of Serie A.

Teams must go on and off the pitch at different times with the number of people in stadiums is limited to 300, including players, staff and journalists.

However, Italian media reports that discussions of allowing limited numbers of fans to attend will be discussed at the federation’s next meeting.

“It’s something I really wish for with all my heart,” said FIGC president Gabriele Gravina. “It’s unthinkable that in a stadium that can hold 60,000 there’s not space for a small percentage of fans with the necessary precautions.”

The Italian Cup will be completed in the week before Serie A restarts. The first legs of the semi-finals have already been played: AC Milan drawing 1-1 with Juventus and Napoli winning 1-0 at Inter Milan.

A strict medical protocol has been put in place which includes the contentious, and potentially problematic, regulation that if one person at a club player or staff tests positive for Covid-19, the entire group must go to a training camp retreat for 14 days.

The FIGC hopes that will be shortened if the number of new cases in Italy continues to decrease.

“Football has never asked for shortcuts,” said Gravina. “There are clear rules that allow you to continue activity, isolating an athlete or member of staff, and continuing training.

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MLBPA proposes 114-game season, sources say

    ESPN MLB insider
    Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”

The Major League Baseball Players Association delivered a return-to-play proposal to MLB on Sunday that includes a 114-game season, deferred salaries in the event of a canceled postseason and the option for all players to opt out of a potential 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns, sources familiar with the details told ESPN.

The proposal, which was the first from the union and came on the heels of an MLB plan that was loudly rejected by the players, comes at a seminal moment as baseball tries to become the first major American professional sport to return. While players expect the league to reject it, they hoped that it would serve as a bridge to a potential deal this week.

The 114-game season, which under the union’s proposal would run June 30-Oct. 31, is likely to be immediately dismissed by the league, which has proposed an 82-game season and suggested that the more games teams play this year, the more money they lose. The union remains steadfast that players receive their full prorated salaries, while MLB’s plan included significant pay cuts that affected the highest-paid players the most but covered all levels.

The inclusion of potential deferrals in Sunday’s proposal was an acknowledgement by the players that amid the coronavirus pandemic and unrest around the country, cash-flow issues could prove problematic for owners. The deferrals would occur only if the playoffs were canceled, a concern the league has voiced, and would total $100 million. It would apply to players whose contracts call for $10 million-plus salaries and include interest to make them whole.

Deferrals could be a part of any counter from the league, which had not officially responded to the union’s proposal Sunday. With the desire to start a season by the first week of July, both parties recognize time is of the essence for a deal.

While MLB’s 67-page health-and-safety protocol draft included the ability for high-risk players — either with pre-existing conditions or with family members more susceptible to COVID-19 — to opt-out of the season, the union’s proposal suggests they can do so and receive salary. Players not deemed high-risk would be able to opt-out but would not receive salary.

Other parts of the players’ proposal, sources said, include:

• Expanded playoffs for two years; MLB’s proposal suggested one year of a postseason that goes from 10 teams to 14

• A salary advance of $100 million to split among players during the so-called spring training 2.0 that leads up to the regular season

• Additional commitments to players wearing microphones on the field and other broadcast enhancements

• Offering to hold events like an offseason All-Star Game or Home Run Derby to generate additional revenue

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Jose Mourinho: Spurs boss warns quality of Premier League may not return instantly

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho says the Premier League may take a while to hot up once it resumes next month.

The league is provisionally set to restart on June 17 after a three-month shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Teams are stepping up their training programmes, this week agreeing the protocols for limited contact training, with further advancements set to come into play soon.

But with only three weeks until the big kick-off – and uncertainty around the possibility of friendlies – Mourinho has warned fans not to expect the premier product straightaway.

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“We’re going to make sure that progressively we’re going to arrive on matchday one and be ready,” said the Portuguese, who confirmed fit-again quartet Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko, Son Heung-min and Steven Bergwijn would all be involved in contact training on Monday.

“We say ready but you look at the Bundesliga and we can feel a difference in quality and intensity between the first match and the third match.

“When you saw Bayern against Dortmund in the third match you feel immediately, ‘wow that’s a proper match’.

“I think the same will happen [here]. Teams are going to progressively reach the level which is what happens in normal pre-season.

“It’s very difficult for teams to arrive at the first game of the season on August 7 or 10 and is really in the top.

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