Anthony Joshua believes Deontay Wilder could be working on a "master plan" as the American's silence following a high-profile defeat to Tyson Fury continues. 

Fury brilliantly dethroned WBC heavyweight champion Wilder with a seventh-round stoppage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in February. 

A trilogy fight was supposed to happen before the end of 2020, but Fury claimed this month that the bout will not take place as he has grown weary of waiting for Wilder to fix a date. 

Joshua, who holds the WBO, IBF and WBA heavyweight titles, has in the past been frustrated in his own attempts to face Wilder. 

The Briton, who recovered from a first career loss to Andy Ruiz Jr to regain the belts last December, is interested to know Wilder's current situation. 

"I don't know, so I can't speak on everyone's situation, but just from my humble opinion, after a loss, things change," Joshua, who is preparing to face Kubrat Pulev in December, told Sky Sports News. 

"You distance yourself. The world is cruel. You've got to have a thick skin. 

"Either he's putting together a master plan - he's in a lab right now, with his science glasses on, studying Fury's every move. Either he's doing that, or he's sitting at the edge of that lake, with his head in his hands and thinking, 'What's going on?' 

"One minute you're on top of the world, and the next minute you're not. That's the name of the game we're in."

In the aftermath of his loss to Fury, Wilder's reasons for the defeat were somewhat bizarre, ranging from claiming he was weakened by heavy ring-walk attire to unfounded claims about Fury's gloves, which the Briton denied. 

Joshua is keen to hear more from Wilder and wants to see the American back in the ring. 

"It's interesting as to say, 'Why hasn't he spoken?' But when he does speak, we'll soon find out. For me to make speculation as to why he hasn't spoken, I can't because only he knows," he added. 

"But I can't wait for him to address the reason why the fight isn't going to happen at the end of the year. What happened in the first fight? Why he lost. 

"Was it the costume, was it the glove situation? It would be really good to hear the reasons as to why and even better, I hope he does come back, because he's a great asset to the heavyweight division, and like the Dillian situation, I would like to understand how he found the strength to pull himself up."

Teofimo Lopez Jr. called out Devin Haney after the American star stunned Vasyl Lomachenko to unify the lightweight division.

Lopez dethroned Lomachenko by unanimous decision to add the WBA, WBO and WBC 'franchise' titles to his IBF belt in Las Vegas Saturday.

The 23-year-old emerged victorious over 12 rounds at MGM Grand, where he became the youngest four-belt champion since the WBO was founded in 1988.

After snapping Lomachenko's 13-fight winning streak, Lopez (16-0) turned to 'regular' WBC champion and American rival Haney (24-0).

"Man, take me to 140," Lopez said after judges scored the fight 116-112, 119-109 and 117-113 in his favour.

"Or I could fight the two-time email world champion Devin Haney if they want that."

Haney replied via Twitter, writing: "Lopez vs Haney 2021 Let's do it! AllTheBelts".

Lomachenko had the pedigree heading into the bout, stemming back to a glittering amateur career that included two Olympic gold medals, through to winning world titles in three different divisions in the paid ranks. 

But the Ukrainian star was also coming off a 14-month layoff as Lopez controlled the early rounds before withstanding a late rally.

"Just tried to keep pressuring him," Lopez said. "Just don't give him the jab, don't let him set up. Every time he did want to throw, I had something ready for him to stop the momentum.

"He was on a 14-month lay-off, and I knew it was going to take time for him to catch up." 

Despite Lopez's early superiority, Lomachenko insisted: "I think the first half of the fight he got more rounds than I did, but in the second half of the fight I took over.

 I definitely don't agree with the scorecards. At the moment, I thought I won. But the results are the results."

Teofimo Lopez Jr. dethroned Vasyl Lomachenko as he became the unified lightweight champion by unanimous decision in Las Vegas.

All eyes were on the MGM Grand, where Lomachenko put his WBA, WBO and WBC belts on the line in the blockbuster unification bout against IBF holder Lopez.

Lopez (16-0) emerged victorious over 12 rounds on Saturday, the 23-year-old completing an upset against pound-for-pound Ukrainian star as he unified the lightweight division inside the Las Vegas bubble.

The judges scored the fight 116-112, 119-109 and 117-113 in favour of unbeaten American Lopez, who snapped Lomachenko's (14-2) 13-fight winning streak after withstanding a late flurry to become the youngest four-belt champion since the WBO was founded in 1988.

"I'm a fighter," said Lopez afterwards. "I gotta dig in deep. I knew he was coming. I didn't know if they had him up on the scorecards or not, and I love to fight.

"I can bang, too. I don't care, man. I'll take one to give one. That's what a true champion does. I find a way to win."

It was a clash to decide the number one lightweight and a showdown between two fighters at contrasting stages of their careers.

Lomachenko had the pedigree heading into the bout, stemming back to a glittering amateur career that included two Olympic gold medals, through to winning world titles in three different divisions in the paid ranks. 

Lopez, meanwhile, had long been talked about as boxing's next big star, long before brutally taking the IBF title from Richard Commey inside two rounds last December.

Lomachenko was slow out of the blocks as Lopez took control of the first half of the fight, outworking the 32-year-old with his speed and pinpoint accuracy.

Out of sorts, Lomachenko – back in action following a 14-month layoff – eventually came into the fight in the eighth round but by that time, the damage had already been done.

Sensing he was behind, Lomachenko ramped up the pressure with a late rally in the championship rounds, however, Lopez landed significant shots to halt his opponent and become the new lightweight king.

Vasyl Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez have the chance to prove who is the number one lightweight on Saturday, as two fighters at contrasting stages of their careers clash in Las Vegas.

The much-anticipated unification contest takes place inside Top Rank's MGM Grand's Bubble, a mouthwatering main event in which the two leading protagonists both have a point to prove.

Lomachenko has the pedigree, stemming back to a glittering amateur career that included two Olympic gold medals, through to winning world titles in three different divisions in the paid ranks. 

Yet the Ukrainian – considered not just the best at the weight but also a leading contender to be recognised as the pound-for-pound king – is putting more than just the WBA and WBO belts on the line. 

His reputation is at stake against a fighter – and a father – who have not been shy in making clear their intentions for a while, long before Lopez Jr became a champion himself by brutally taking the IBF title from Richard Commey inside two rounds last December. 

Teofimo Lopez Sr has long been convinced his son has the power and precision to expose the lauded Lomachenko – and did not mind telling him as much when they were in the same hotel lobby in December 2018. 

That meeting sparked a rivalry that has simmered ever since. On Saturday, though, the heat will be turned up to boiling point. The trash talk has riled Lomachenko, now Lopez has to back it up.

The undefeated 23-year-old has age on his side and is the more comfortable at the limit, a heavy handed hitter who has – so far – backed up both his and his father's confidence with 15 straight wins. 

Still, this is different – this is Lomachenko, a supremely skilled boxer who has needed to move through the divisions to find bigger challenges in every sense. He has normally passed those tests with flying colours, too.

Is this a step too far, though? Can, as his dad has always believed, Lopez be the one to solve 'The Matrix' inside the ring? Thankfully, boxing fans do not have to wait too much longer to find out. 

RECENT HISTORY

As already mentioned, Lopez was ruthless against Commey to claim the IBF strap, handing the dethroned champion the first stoppage loss of his professional career.

That followed on from wins inside the distance over Diego Magdaleno and Edis Tatli earlier in the year, though Masayoshi Nakatani went 12 rounds in July 2019 before being beaten comfortably on the scorecards.

In contrast to his next opponent, Lomachenko's previous outing saw him require the scorecards to triumph against Luke Campbell in August 2019. A knockdown in the 11th helped lead to a comfortable points win, though the final margins did not do justice to the Englishman's brave efforts.

Campbell's compatriot Anthony Crolla had been crushed four months earlier, while the impressive Lomachenko CV includes victories over Jose Pedraza and Jorge Linares at lightweight.

TALE OF THE TAPE

VASYL LOMACHENKO

Age: 32
Height: 5ft 7ins (170cm)
Weight: 9st 6lbs (135 pounds)
Reach: 65.5ins 
Professional record: 14-1 (10 KOs)
Major career titles: WBO featherweight, WBO super-featherweight, WBA, WBC & WBO lightweight

TEOFIMO LOPEZ

Age: 23
Height: 5ft 8ins (173cm)
Weight: 9st 6lbs (135 pounds)
Reach: 68.5ins 
Professional record: 15-0 (12 KOs)
Major career titles: IBF lightweight

THE UNDERCARD

Alex Saucedo, whose only loss came against Maurice Hooker in 2018, and the undefeated Arnold Barboza Jr go up against each other in a super-lightweight clash that should help whet the appetite for what is to follow on the menu.

In the same division, Josue Vargas takes on Kendo Castaneda, while unbeaten super-middleweight Edgar Berlanga is up against Lanell Bellows in an eight-rounder. However, the main course is all that really matters this weekend.

WHAT THE FIGHTERS HAVE TO SAY..

Lopez Jr to Stats Perform News: "I expect him to get hurt, badly, with the explosiveness I bring to the table. I knew I was the underdog coming into this. Listen, it doesn't motivate me any different, it doesn't change anything, you know what I mean? That is really what it comes to. I knew I was going to be the underdog coming into this fight."

Lomachenko on his opponent's pre-fight talk: "For me, it's just words. On Saturday, we will see."

Promoter Bob Arum on Lomachenko: "He doesn't want an easy fight or to win a decision, he wants to win by destroying his opponent. Floyd Mayweather was a great defensive fighter. But unlike Mayweather, Loma is always looking for a way to destroy his opponents. That's what makes him a fan-friendly fighter."

Anthony Joshua's fight with Kubrat Pulev has been confirmed for December 12 at the O2 Arena in London. 

Joshua was due to face the Bulgarian at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in June for the defence of his IBF, WBA and WBO world titles. 

However, the fight was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and promoter Eddie Hearn suggested an all-British unification bout with Tyson Fury could take place this year if a new date was not fixed with Pulev. 

It has now been confirmed Joshua will his face mandatory challenger in his first fight in England for over two years, marking his return to the ring since defeating Andy Ruiz Jr in a rematch in Dubai last year. 

"December 12 is the date and once again the heavyweight belts go up in the air and it is my sole focus to make sure that come December 13 they are in their rightful place in the UK," said Joshua, as per Sky Sports. 

"The O2 is the original lion's den, I have a lot of history with the arena, but without the fans something huge is missing. I am really hoping that, safety permitting, we might be able to bring some boxing fans in, but we will have to see. I respect every opponent and I respect Pulev. I wish him well during his preparation." 

Pulev, 39, has lost just one of his 29 professional bouts - a knockout at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. 

"For a small country of Bulgaria to stand up for the heavyweight titles is a great accomplishment," said Pulev. 

"This fight is for my late father and all Bulgarians around the world. I'm coming to London to seize the heavyweight championship of the world." 

Hearn sees this as the "final hurdle" for Joshua ahead of a planned double-header with Fury, set for 2021. 

"After a challenging year for everyone, to end with the unified world heavyweight championship is very special," he said. 

"Over a year after regaining his crown, Anthony Joshua takes on yet another dangerous opponent in mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. AJ's resume is unrivalled, and this is the final hurdle until we challenge for the undisputed crown next year."

Teofimo Lopez believes his "explosiveness" can hurt Vasyl Lomachenko as he embraces his underdog tag ahead of Saturday's bout.

Lopez (15-0) and Lomachenko (14-1) will face off at the MGM Grand in a lightweight unification bout.

The holder of the IBF title, Lopez is supremely confident, although accepts he is the underdog against the Ukrainian.

"I expect him to get hurt, badly, with the explosiveness I bring to the table," Lopez told Stats Perform News.

"I knew I was the underdog coming into this. Listen, it doesn't motivate me any different, it doesn't change anything, you know what I mean?

"That is really what it comes to. I knew I was going to be the underdog coming into this fight."

While Lopez last fought in December last year, Lomachenko is in action for the first time since August 2019.

Lomachenko has been unsure how the long lay-off would impact him, but the 32-year-old said he was ready.

"We have a long time and we are always still in our shape," he said.

"We prepare 100 per cent and this preparation was the biggest preparation in my career, my professional career."

Vasyl Lomachenko is unsure how his long lay-off will impact him in Saturday's lightweight unification bout against Teofimo Lopez.

Lomachenko (14-1) will put his WBA and WBO titles on the line at MGM Grand, while bidding to win Lopez's IBF crown.

The Ukrainian is in action for the first time since August last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Asked how the longest lay-off of his professional career would impact him, Lomachenko was uncertain.

"I'll check on Saturday, I don't know," he told a news conference on Wednesday.

"I never stay one year outside ring, now it will be first time and I don't know."

Lopez, meanwhile, has had a lengthy absence of his own, having won the IBF title against Richard Commey in December last year.

"I feel great. For both of us, it's the same thing. We haven't had this long of a lay-off," he said.

"Even though during the time with quarantine and everything that was hitting, the pandemic, I was still working out, trying to stay on that as much as possible.

"I'm a big 135-pounder so I always stay in shape, always stay in shape. And I'm ready and I'm more than excited for this fight."

Lopez is defending his IBF title for the first time and his experience has been questioned ahead of facing Lomachenko.

But the 23-year-old, who is 15-0 with 12 knockouts, said he was ready for the challenge.

"I mean hey, that's what it takes to go from a good fighter to a great, all-time fighter," Lopez said.

"You've got to do things like this and we spoke about this for a while now. Why am I going to go back on my word? I talk the talk and I walk the walk and I believe that I can and I know I will become undisputed world champion."

Tyson Fury claims his trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder is off because he has been wearied by the American's attempts to fix a date.

A Wilder-Fury trilogy has been touted after the latter stripped the American of the WBC title in February's rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas after a draw in the first fight in 2018.

Wilder (41-1-1) has the right to a third bout against British star Fury (30-0-1) but, although December 19 was suggested as a possible date, nothing has been finalised.

There have been claims Wilder no longer has a contractual clause for the rematch, which would leave Fury free to face Anthony Joshua instead, but Wilder's co-manager Shelly Finkel told Sky Sports last week: "They are wrong, we will fight in December."

Yet Fury himself claims to be frustrated by attempts from Wilder's camp to push back the date for the bout.

"I was looking forward to smashing Wilder again. A quick and easy fight," he told The Athletic.

"But Wilder and his team were messing around with the date. They don't really want to fight the lineal heavyweight champion. They know how it ends. The world knows how it will end: with Wilder on his a** again.

"They asked me if I would agree to push it to December. I agreed to December 19. Then they tried to change the date again into next year. I've been training. I'm ready. When they tried moving off December 19 and pushing to next year, enough was enough. I've moved on."

Fury is apparently prepared to let Wilder "win a few fights" before facing him again.

He added: "I am the best fighter in the world. The lineal heavyweight champion. The two-time Ring magazine heavyweight champion. The WBC heavyweight champion. And before the end of 2021, I will be the only man on this earth with a heavyweight championship belt."

A deal for two 2021 fights between Fury and Joshua, who regained the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight world titles by beating Andy Ruiz in a rematch last December, was agreed in principle in June.

Deontay Wilder's camp have denied reports a third blockbuster heavyweight showdown with Tyson Fury has been abandoned.

A Wilder-Fury trilogy has been touted after the latter stripped the American of the WBC title in February's rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Wilder (41-1-1) has the right to a third bout against British star Fury (30-0-1) and while December 19 has been talked of as a potential date for their next battle, nothing has been confirmed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been claims that Wilder no longer has a contractual clause for the rematch, leaving Anthony Joshua to take on Fury instead.

However, Wilder's co-manager Shelly Finkel told Sky Sports: "They are wrong, we will fight in December."

It comes as Fury's co-promoter Frank Warren raised doubts over the in-demand fight.

"I don't know if that fight can get on this year," Warren told BT Sport. "Promoters on both sides, we have worked very hard to make it happen, but it's looking like it will not happen.

"There's talk about it happening next year. Tyson has been training like a lot of guys solidly since February, and he wants to fight this year.

"My concern is Tyson's welfare and well-being, and delivering what he wants, so he will fight this year. Contractual commitments are what they are, but contracts do not go on forever and if the fight cannot be delivered within the contractual period, Tyson will move on and maybe revisit the fight another time.

"He will be out this year because that's what he wants."

Deontay Wilder has made a bad mistake in ending his long association with trainer Mark Breland, according to fellow heavyweight Dillian Whyte.

Wilder is no longer working with Breland ahead of a third fight with Tyson Fury, with the American's co-manager Shelly Finkel confirming reports of the split to World Boxing News.

It was Breland - a former world champion - who threw in the towel to halt the second bout against Fury in February, as his fighter came under heavy punishment in the seventh round having already suffered two knockdowns.

However, Wilder was unhappy with the timing of the stoppage as he lost for the first time in his professional career, in the process ending his reign as WBC champion.

Yet Whyte has branded his rival an "idiot" for making such a major change to his team, insisting Breland made the correct call based on his own experiences in the ring.

"I think it's the worst mistake he's ever made, because Mark Breland is the only person in his team that actually was a boxer and actually was a world champion," Whyte told Sky Sports. "He was the only person that didn't care about money or fame.

"Someone who was actually from an emotional point [of view], someone who understands, thinking about his health and did the right thing by throwing the towel in, because he could have got seriously hurt.

"He was getting hit with punches that weren't knocking him out, they were concussing him. Mark Breland knows what it's like, because Mark Breland has been in the same position Wilder was in. He's someone that cares about the athlete and the boxing side of things."

He added: "Deontay Wilder is an idiot, he clearly can't see it. Good luck to him, it's his team, he can do whatever he wants.

"But I think it's a bad mistake. Mark Breland is the only one that knows boxing in his team."

Wilder has a rematch clause to face Fury again, though a date and venue for their third clash is yet to be confirmed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Whyte was next in line for a shot at the WBC champion until suffering a shock loss to Alexander Povetkin in September. The pair are booked for a rematch on November 21.

UFC stars Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier have agreed to face one another in a charity mixed martial arts fight.

The pair discussed the exhibition proposed by McGregor – who claimed to be retired for a third time in June – on Twitter, with the former featherweight and lightweight champion saying it would have "zero to do with the UFC".

The Irishman said the proceeds of a pay-per-view deal could be donated to charities chosen by both fighters and suggested a date of December 12 in Dublin.

In a tweet to Poirier, McGregor said: "Hey bro! You want to do an MMA charity fight? Zero to do with the UFC.

"I will donate half a mil [sic] towards your charity for it. Sell it on PPV or work a TV deal and we work out other charities that are close to my heart also. I am engaged in many. Strictly a charity 'exhibition'.

"No weigh ins. Open weight, unified rules. I will arrange all travel fare for you and family. McGregor Sports and Entertainment MMA, in association with The Good Fight Foundation."

Poirier responded: "I'm in! Let's do it! A lot of people will benefit from this."

At that point, McGregor said they should continue the conversation in private.

McGregor was the victor when he fought Poirier at UFC 178 in September 2014, scoring a first-round TKO.

The 32-year-old is set to return to the boxing ring and face eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, whose camp has said he will donate his earnings from the fight to victims of the coronavirus pandemic in the Philippines.

Talks are ongoing and no date or venue has been set, though McGregor claimed it would take place in the Middle East.

Jermall Charlo outlasted Sergiy Derevyanchenko via unanimous decision to retain his WBC middleweight title, while twin brother Jermell became unified world junior middleweight champion.

Identical twins Jermall and Jermell headlined Saturday's main events at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

In the first bout, Jermall Charlo overcame Derevyanchenko over 12 rounds, with all three judges scoring the fight 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110 in favour of the American.

"I made my team proud and I did what I was supposed to do," said Jermall, who improved to 31-0. "I executed the game plan. [Trainer] Ronnie Shields told me that I passed the test tonight. I'm happy to go back to the drawing board now and figure out what's next.

"He was tough, but I knew he was going to be tough. I knew he'd come to fight, I just didn't know how and when he'd try to turn it up. I felt like I never really let him turn it up and that was the game plan.

"I studied well and I didn't let the pandemic affect my training. I just want to keep fighting and not let any negative interrupt the positive."

And Jermell Charlo capped a clean sweet after his brutal eighth-round knockout of Jeison Rosario in the second fight.

Jermell (34-1) struck Rosario in the stomach with a powerful jab, flooring the Dominican boxer in the eighth round and he failed to make the count.

With the win, Jermell snatched the WBA and IBF junior middleweight titles and added them to his WBC strap.

"Dreams do come true and I believe this is part of my dream and part of my destiny," Jermell said. "My twin brother is excited. We're going to go do our bubble turn-up. He's my biggest fan. I love him to death.

"We're getting ready to take over," he added. "We're the new era of boxing."

Conor McGregor slammed the UFC for holding him back from fighting in the octagon as the former champion switches to boxing and prepares for a showdown with Manny Pacquiao.

McGregor and boxing legend Pacquiao are set to go head-to-head in the ring in 2021 – a huge portion of the earnings to be donated to those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the latter's aide Jayke Joson said on Saturday.

Irishman McGregor announced his decision to retire in June, having returned to the UFC in January after a 15-month absence and knocked out Donald Cerrone at welterweight in just 40 seconds.

McGregor has not fought since – the former featherweight and lightweight champion had been planning to fight three times in 2020, but the COVID-19 crisis scuppered that strategy.

UFC president Dana White has previously hinted at a possible comeback next year after revealing he is working on some "fun stuff" for McGregor, however, the 32-year-old hit out via Instagram.

"The very first shot of the fight," McGregor wrote as he discussed his 2017 defeat to unbeaten boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. "Right on the button through the guard. I didn't even put anything into that shot. Just placed it. It was hard for me not to dwell on the full 12 rounds that were potentially ahead of me and hold back my shots early.

"Still tho [sic] right on the absolute button. The first punch thrown. Remember the experts saying I wouldn't land even one lol. I landed more than them all. The picture above is the very first punch of the fight thrown, and landed, and inside the very first second of the fight. Bums all of them 'experts'. Listen to none of them! Really I should have just sat right thru that shot and took his head off and f*** the distance. If it didn't work out just give him a good boot into the neck and get DQ'd [disqualified] and fined and who'd give a f***. I'm upset I fully followed the rules for that fight to be honest. Floyd deserved a volley at the least. A shoulder even, break the face.

"Manny not so much tho [sic] I don't think, but I will see how the build-up goes and wait to hear what bitter old Freddie Roach has to say and then make a decision. My Whiskeys at half a b and climbing I could take a fine. I'd rather fight MMA anyway not sure why I've been held back like this, it's borderline criminal at this stage.

"The biggest number generator in the game asking for four fights since February this year and getting left on seen. It's pretty f***** up when I keep thinking of it. I've been right here this whole time. Bob Chapek, do you copy! I repeat, Bob Chapek - Do You Copy!

"Anyways boxing it is for now and I'm up for this! I hope no bottling takes place here. I'm already agreeing to these limited rules and holding back my full array of weapons. Let's get it going guys. Much love, the champ champ."

Manny Pacquiao will fight former UFC champion Conor McGregor in 2021 to raise money for victims of coronavirus.

On Friday, McGregor – who sensationally retired in June – claimed he was set to step into the ring with boxing legend Pacquiao in the Middle East next year.

Pacquiao's camp confirmed the bout on Saturday, with the 41-year-old's Filipino aide Jayke Joson saying via ESPN: "For the sake of all the Filipino Covid-19 victims, Senator Manny Pacquiao will be fighting UFC superstar Conor McGregor next year.

"The huge portion of his earnings will proceed to those who are affected nationwide by the pandemic."

McGregor – who has not fought since his win over Donald Cerrone in January – lost to unbeaten boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August 2017.

Pacquiao (62-7-2) fought twice last year, winning the WBA (Super) welterweight title by beating Keith Thurman in July 2019.

Mairis Briedis earned a majority decision win over Yuniel Dorticos to claim the World Boxing Super Series final and IBF cruiserweight title.

Briedis received the Muhammad Ali Trophy after defeating Cuban Dorticos on Saturday, with two judges scoring the fight 117-111, while another had it 114-114 in Munich, Germany.

Dorticos (24-2) was the aggressor but Latvian Briedis – a former WBC and WBO champion – landed the more noticeable blows with a number of right uppercuts to dethrone the IBF holder.

"It feels like a dream," said Briedis (27-1), whose only professional defeat has come against Oleksandr Usyk in 2018.

Meanwhile, world champion Josh Taylor retained his WBA and IBF light-welterweight belts thanks to a first-round knockout of Apinun Khongsong.

Taylor's body shot sent the undefeated Thai fighter to the canvas in incredible fashion at York Hall in London.

"I felt it [the punch] sinking in straight away," Taylor told BT Sport. "I didn't know it had hurt him to that extent until I saw him on the floor.

"He [Khongsong] was the heaviest puncher I have ever been in with. I could feel the weight of his power. That switched me on to take my time and be patient.

"It was a great shot but I'd like to have shown what we've been working on in the gym. But you don't get paid overtime. I can go and get a pint and a pizza."

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