Staring contests, shouting matches, some shoving. Even a near mix-up with some members of the audience.
All part of the predictable pregame show, if you will, when heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and challenger Jarrell Miller shared a makeshift stage at Madison Square Garden in New York on Tuesday.
The title fight, the heralded Joshua’s U.S. debut, isn’t until June 1. The WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belt holder is unbeaten (22-0, 21 knockouts), but has fought only in the United Kingdom, where he has filled London’s Wembley Stadium and Cardiff’s Principality Stadium for defenses of his title. Now, it’s the Garden, an arena synonymous with boxing, but a new locale for the champion.
“I am not here to win a popularity contest. I don’t want to focus on the recognition part,” Joshua said. “That’s a losing battle. But as far as fighting around the world, I like to fight wherever the market is. … Madison Square Garden is massive. Madison Square Garden is really big, brilliant. Wembley holds a lot more people, but this is something different and new territory.
“We’ve built it from the ground up in the U.K., and now we’re coming over.”
Photo: Earl Wilson / New York Times
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He’s coming over to Miller’s backyard; the heavyweight known as Big Baby (23-0-1, 20 knockouts) is from Brooklyn.
Miller wasn’t slow to insult Joshua at every turn Tuesday, calling the Briton everything from “phony” to “no role model” to a “prom queen.”
In other words, the usual for the hype before a big fight.
The bout will be streamed by DAZN in the United States and televised by Sky Sports in the U.K.
Soccer: On a scoreless night in the Champions League, not even Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez could find a way to get a goal.
Barcelona’s attackers were held in check by host Lyon in a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16, and host Liverpool and Bayern Munich also drew 0-0 in a match between five-time champions.
The return legs are March 13; the away teams would each need a draw to advance. The host teams would need to win to advance.
• Fired U.S. men’s national-team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann received a $3.35 million settlement of his contract with the U.S. Soccer Federation, and his replacement, Bruce Arena, was given a $300,000 settlement after resigning after the U.S. failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, according to the USSF’s tax filing.
Dave Sarachan, Arena’s top assistant, was the interim head coach from October 2017 through last November. He had a base salary of $223,656 during the fiscal year.
U.S. women’s coach Jill Ellis earned $291,029 in base pay during the fiscal year, which did not include a major tournament. Her compensation was topped by under-20 men’s coach Tab Ramos, who had $295,558 in base pay plus a $30,000 bonus.
Motor sports: IndyCar will require its cars to have titanium debris deflectors on the cockpit beginning with this year’s Indianapolis 500. Justin Wilson was killed in 2015 when a piece of debris from another car struck him in the head.
Courts: Former NBA forward/center Glen “Big Baby” Davis has agreed to pay $15,000 to avoid up to five years of jail time on drug charges. Davis was arrested at a Maryland hotel with 4 ounces of marijuana and a briefcase containing $92,000 last February, and indicted on seven counts of drug possession and distribution.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Heavyweight-Joshua-makes-U-S-media-debut-13629124.php.