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Tyson Fury ends Wladimir Klitschko’s heavyweight reign

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DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) — Tyson Fury defeated Wladimir Klitschko by unanimous decision Saturday to end the Ukrainian’s 9 1/2-year reign as heavyweight champion and fulfill his father’s prophesy from the day he was born.

Born three months early and weighing just one pound (.45 kg), Fury wasn’t given much chance to live, but John Fury told doctors it was his destiny to live and become heavyweight champion of the world. He named the second of his six sons Tyson, after Mike Tyson.

Twenty-seven years later, the 2.09-meter (6-foot-9) Tyson Fury, who is of Irish-Gypsy heritage and comes from a bloodline of bare-knuckle champions on both sides of his family, finally lived up to his name.

“It’s something I’ve been working on for my whole life,” Fury said. “I’m bred to be a fighter.”

After a bruising encounter that ended with cuts near both of Klitschko’s eyes, referee Tony Weeks went to the judges’ scorecards.

Cesar Ramos and Raul Caiz Sr. scored it 115-112 each, while Ramon Cerdan had it 116-111 in favor of the undefeated Briton (25-0, 18 KO).

Fury took Klitschko’s WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight belts, as well as the minor IBO title, and attention turned immediately to a potential rematch.

“We have a rematch clause in the contract,” Klitschko promoter Bernd Boente said.

“I’m a fighter so I will take on all challengers,” Fury said. “I came here tonight, took the world title. Whatever happens next is a blessing. The interest in the next fight will be huge.”

Fury, 12 years younger than the 39-year-old Klitschko, taunted and baited the champion at various stages, prompting jeers from fans at the 55,000-seat soccer stadium in Duesseldorf.

Klitschko (64-4, 53 KO), contesting his 28th title fight, was cautious until attempting a recovery in the final rounds, but suffered his first defeat since April 2004.

“The speed was missing. Reach played a big role. I tried but it didn’t work,” said Klitschko, who at 1.98-meters (6-foot-6), was in the unusual position of facing someone taller. Fury, who weighed in at 112 kilograms (247 pounds) also had half-kilo (1.1 pound) weight advantage.

“I saw my face in the mirror and it didn’t look so nice. But that’s boxing,” Klitschko said.

Klitschko, the premier heavyweight of his era, relinquished the IBF belt he had held since 2006, the WBO title he’d owned since 2008, and the WBA crown he’d had since 2011.

The other major belt, the WBC title, was held by Deontay Wilder of the U.S. That was vacated in 2013 by Klitschko’s older brother Vitali, the current mayor of Kiev, Ukraine.

The buildup to the fight had seen Fury dressing as Batman and serenading and insulting Klitschko, and even complimenting him on his scent.

“I’ve said some stupid things,” an emotional Fury said of his pre-fight talk and antics. “Wladimir, you’re a great champion and thanks for having me. It was all fun and games in the buildup.”

Earlier Saturday, Fury threatened to call off the bout unless an issue with the canvas being too soft was resolved.

There were also issues over gloves and glove-wrapping. Vitali Klitschko oversaw Fury’s glove-wrapping, but the Fury camp was incensed when the younger Klitschko wrapped the gloves without any of them present. That spat was resolved when he agreed to re-wrap.

Fury was itching to go from the start, and he ran into the first round to put Klitschko off kilter. The Briton also goaded Klitschko during and after the round.

Fury then landed a big right on Klitschko in the fifth, when he opened a small cut under his right eye, and taunted him again.

The Briton’s intensity seemed to drop as Klitschko improved, but still he needled him in the seventh, when he urged Klitschko to “come on” and baited him with his hands behind his back, prompting more jeers.

Klitschko replied to an uppercut in the ninth with a big right of his own before Fury was warned for punching the back of his head. But then he had Klitschko in trouble in the corner.

Klitschko needed a response, and sought it in the 10th, by which time there was blood coming from his left eye, too.

Fury had a point deducted for hitting behind the head in the 11th and both fighters gave their all in a furious final round before raising their arms in celebration. The Fury camp’s celebrations seemed more sincere.

“I am perhaps the sixth or seventh British heavyweight champion of the world and I believe I am the first Irish heavyweight champion of the world, so big that up,” said Fury, who also revealed that his wife, Paris, is expecting their third child.

“I got the news yesterday that we were pregnant. We were trying for two years so this is obviously the icing on the cake,” Fury said.

Manny Pacquiao loses WBO welterweight title on points to Jeff Horn

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BRISBANE, Australia (AP) Manny Pacquiao lost his WBO welterweight world title to Jeff Horn in a stunning, unanimous points decision in a Sunday afternoon bout billed as the Battle of Brisbane in front of more than 50,000 people.

The 11-time world champion entered the fight at Suncorp Stadium as a hot favorite but got more than he bargained for against the 29-year-old former schoolteacher.

Still, Pacquiao dominated the later rounds and the result could have gone his way.

Pacquiao’s long-time trainer Freddie Roach predicted the fight would be short and sweet but Horn – unbeaten in his 17 previous professional fights – applied pressure by winning some of the early rounds and Pacquiao needed treatment during the 6th and 7th rounds for a cut on the top of his head that resulted from a clash of heads.

The judges scored the fight 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113, with Horn immediately calling out Floyd Mayweather Jr., after the fight, declaring himself “no joke.”

Roach had said earlier in the week that he’d think about advising Pacquioa to retire if he lost the fight, but that would depend on how he fought.

Pacquiao’s camp had talked about a rematch with Mayweather if he got past Horn, hoping to avenge his loss on points in the 2015 mega fight. That seems to be a distant chance now.

Pacquiao, who entered the fight with a record of 59-6-2, 38 knockouts, was defending the WBO title he won on points against Jessie Vargas last November.

Mayweather vs. McGregor odds: Sportsbooks set betting lines, props for fight

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Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stand to collect a massive payday whether their superfight is a charade or a combat sports classic, and there’s plenty of upside for bettors too.

With the bout set, Mayweather is a -600 moneyline favorite against the +400 underdog McGregor at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.  Mayweather will put a 49-0 ring record on the line in the August 26 bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, while McGregor, a UFC champion at two weights, might prove a point just by having a decent showing.

The moneyline has tightened considerably since the first rumors about the fight. Last November, Mayweather opened at -2250 and McGregor opened at +950. Evidently, many MMA fans found McGregor irresistible at that price, as it steadily dropped, falling to +450 by late April. That was also the point where the moneyline on ‘Money’ came down to -700.

The over/under on rounds is 9.5. A 10-round fight is uncharted waters for McGregor, but 13 of Mayweather’s last 14 fights have gone at least 10 rounds. Twelve have gone the full 12 rounds; the Mayweather-McGregor betting odds on whether the fight goes the distance pays +125 if it does, and -175 if it’s stopped early.

McGregor also pays +120 if he wins by decision, which is the standard outcome for his bouts against full-time boxers. McGregor’s method-of-victory props include +700 for a knockout and +3300 for victory by decision.

There is little in the way of past performance to go on here, since McGregor hasn’t boxed since he was a teenager in Ireland. Mayweather’s defensive skills should allow him to parry any early onslaught from McGregor, who is a knockout artist in the UFC octagon and rarely has fights go more than two rounds.

The round prices offer the most potential profit for Mayweather backers. One can assume that the skilled defensive fighter might dance around while McGregor goes out hard. It might be prudent to scale down expectations of a quick finish – +3300 for Mayweather winning in Round 1, +2500 for Round 2 – and look at the slightly later rounds. Rounds 4 through 6 are listed at +1600 and +1400.

While Mayweather’s round prices trace a reverse parabola, McGregor’s round prices are relatively stable. The Irishman offers +4000 for a win in Round 1, or each one from Rounds 4-7. There is a slight drop to +3300 for both Round 2 and 3.

Another way to bet on the Mayweather-McGregor fight is the 4.99 million total for pay-per-view buys. The over hitting would require beating the audience for Mayweather’s 2015 fight against Manny Pacquaio (4.6 million). McGregor also holds the UFC’s PPV record of 1.65 million, set at UFC 202 in August 2016

With boxing and MMA fans creating a larger fanbase and the event being scheduled for the dog days of late August – before the NFL and college football blot out everything else on the sports landscape – 5 million buys seems doable.