Kubrat Pulev warns Anthony Joshua he will not step aside for Tyson Fury bout

Kubrat Pulev says he will not step away from his shot at the world heavyweight belts and warned Anthony Joshua “you either fight or vacate the title”.

The Bulgarian is mandatory challenger for Joshua’s IBF title but their planned bout on 20 June was postponed.

It led to talk of Pulev being paid to step aside so Joshua could face Tyson Fury for all four heavyweight belts.

“I can’t understand why we are still postponing instead of fixing a date and venue and getting to work?” said Pulev.

“Enough is enough. I can’t wait to win this fight.

“I see how people are afraid of me and are trying to face someone else before me. That’s not how a real world champion should act.”

Pulev was due to face Briton Joshua in 2017 but withdrew because of injury and was also in mandatory position when Joshua lost to Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019.

Joshua holds the IBF, WBA and WBO belts and has talked of his desire to face WBC champion Fury, who is due to face Deontay Wilder for a third time when boxing returns following its shutdown because of the coronavrius pandemic.

It would appear the two British heavyweights will need to wait and win their respective fights with neither Wilder nor Pulev appearing likely to accept ‘step-aside’ money.

“I did it once when I didn’t have to do it for Joshua to have his second match against Ruiz Jr. Everything was against IBF’s rules, but I compromised,” said Pulev.

“A year has passed and they always have a reason to postpone, not to fight against me. There are two options. You either fight or vacate the title.”

When and where a contest between Joshua and Pulev can take place is unknown because of the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Monkey studies encouraging for coronavirus vaccine

Two studies in monkeys offer some of the first scientific evidence that surviving COVID-19 may result in immunity from reinfection, as well as a positive sign that vaccines under development may succeed.

In one of the new studies, researchers infected nine monkeys with the new coronavirus. After they recovered, the team exposed them to the virus again and the animals did not get sick.

In the second study, the same researchers treated 25 monkeys with experimental vaccines and then exposed them to the coronavirus. In the vaccinated animals, “we saw a substantial degree of protection,” said Dr Dan Barouch.

Coronavirus: Watford and Burnley confirm positive tests

One player and two staff at Watford and Burnley assistant manager Ian Woan are among six positive Premier League tests for coronavirus.

The other two are at a third club, the details of which have not been revealed.

Players and staff who have tested positive will now self-isolate for seven days.

It comes as squads started non-contact training on Tuesday, as the Premier League steps up plans for a restart.

A total of 748 players and staff from 19 clubs were tested. Norwich City did their tests on Tuesday.

Watford confirmed a player and two members of staff had tested positive but they would not be naming those involved as they had asked for medical confidentiality.

Before the news about Watford’s positive tests emerged, captain Troy Deeney said he would not return to training because he feared for his family’s health. 

“We’re due back in this week. I’ve said I’m not going in,” Deeney, 31, told Eddie Hearn and Tony Bellew on the Talk the Talk YouTube show.

“It only takes one person to get infected within the group and I don’t want to be bringing that home.

“My son is only five months old. He had breathing difficulties, so I don’t want to come home to put him in more danger.”

Burnley said Woan was “asymptomatic” and “currently safe and well at home”.

“He will remain in close communication with club personnel regarding his re-engagement in training once he is clear of the virus,” the club added.

The Premier League has been suspended since 13 March because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 92 fixtures remaining.

Malaysia raids migrants in area under enhanced lockdown

Local media in Malaysia are reporting authorities have begun a raid on undocumented migrants in an area of Kuala Lumpur that is under enhanced lockdown.

The Star newspaper reported immigration trucks entering Petaling Jaya Old Town on Wednesday morning and that police were providing assistance. 

In a statement, local MP Maria Chin Abdullah, who was distributing food aid when the trucks arrived, urged the authorities to stop using COVID-19 as an excuse to crack down on migrants.

“The prejudice and discrimination they are facing is unacceptable,” she said. “No one should be faced with such indignity especially at a time of crisis like this.”

There have been raids previously in other parts of the city with large populations of migrants.

Britain’s Rolls-Royce to lay-off 9,000 jobs

British engine-maker Rolls-Royce said that it would need to lay-off at least 9,000 of its 52,000 staff to make annual cost savings of 1.3bn pounds ($1.59bn) as it seeks to cope with the downturn in air travel caused by the pandemic.

“We are proposing a major reorganisation of our business to adapt to the new level of demand we are seeing from customers,” chief executive Warren East said in a statement.

“As a result, we expect the loss of at least 9,000 roles from our global workforce of 52,000.”

The job losses would mostly take place in its civil aerospace business, the company said, as it started consultations with unions.

Senate demands immediate reversal of power privatisation

The Senate on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to consider a comprehensive review of the power privatisation policy with a view to reversing the current arrangement.

The red chamber said Nigerians would not enjoy stable power supply in the next 10 years if the activities of the distribution companies were not reviewed and restructured.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, stated this on Tuesday after the Senate had considered and approved a motion by Senator Gabriel Suswan on the power sector recovery plan.

He said, “We gave power to them (power generation and distribution companies) and they still come to the public to ask for funds.

“I think it’s time for Nigeria to consider reversing the privatisation of the power sector or they should just cancel the entire privatisation process completely.

“If we leave it, we may not have power for another 10 years.”

Lawan said, “The privatisation of the power sector has, so far, not been successful. We expected efficiency and effectiveness in the power supply.

“The Discos have no capacity to supply us power. The Gencos have challenges too.

“It is not a good commentary that we should continue to give them money. They’re private businesses. We need to review this privatisation.

“Our committee needs to investigate trillions spent. That’s a lot of money.

“Try to find out what has happened so far. Government needs to look at this whole thing.

“Maybe, government is not doing its own part. We need to find out.

“There is lack of capital, lack of investment. We feel very bad because we have no electricity and the country is suffering.”

The Senate also urged the Federal Government to suspend the planned electricity tariff increase due to take effect from July given the increased hardship occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.

The upper chamber also commended the Federal Government for the proactive initiative to establish the N1.7tn Covid-19 crisis intervention fund to cater for critical issues on effective management of the pandemic.

Suswam, had while leading debate on the general principles of the bill, said stable and uninterrupted power supply was also a critical factor in management of COVID-19 pandemic patients at the designated isolation and treatment centres across the country.