UEFA and F1 to Complete Seasons Together in Abu Dhabi

UEFA and F1 to Complete Seasons Together in Abu Dhabi

An agreement has been made between UEFA and liberty media to ensure the commercial and sporting integrity of the Champions League and Formula 1 survive during the coronavirus outbreak. Plans have been drawn up for a closed-doors Super Tournament in Abu Dhabi. The state will host a truncated Champions League tournament from a single venue, with multiple matches staged each day.

The Abu Dhabi F1 circuit will be used for sprint races on the days between football matches. The track has several configurations and the belief is the spectacle of numerous shorter races – something seen in junior formulae – will go some way to make up for the loss of the high-flying global tour.

UEFA will invoke Clause 14.7 from its combined agreement with member associations to void domestic leagues to ensure their crown jewel competition can be completed. It’s understood there are reservations to the move in Madrid and Germany over fears Sheikh Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, could use the tournament for political favour following Manchester City’s trouble with Financial Fair Play.

Both Liberty Media and UEFA will increase their respective prize funds – with the assistance of the Abu Dhabi royal family – to convince teams and nations the benefits outweigh any downsides.

Once the deal is officially ratified, it’s expected the first two weeks in August will be revealed as dates for the tournament. Football will then go into a shortened pre-season phase, Formula 1 may pause the season again in the hope it can be revived later in the year.

Groves vs Eubank Jr Result: Brains beat Blind Hope

Groves vs Eubank Jr Result: Brains beat Blind Hope

It seems Chris Eubank Jr read all the big fight previews and agreed, to such an extent he decided there was no point entering the ring with a game plan.

That may be a little harsh, he did have Plan A, which was to swing aimlessly for a winning knockout punch. It’s one thing to realise your opponent has better boxing craft, quite another to decide this means you should abandon anything resembling boxing tactics.

Fair enough, Eubank Jr was unlikely to ever be ahead on points by occupying the centre of the ring and outworking Groves with intelligent jabs and counterpunches. But he could have taken rounds by successfully hustling The Saint. Getting on the inside and landing telling punches – against a proven world class boxer – requires careful plotting.

Rushing your man is a quick way to hand over the fight. George Groves did show signs of openness but that’s to be expected with the amount of wild punches being thrown. By the sixth round any doubts in his mind vanished. He knew the points were racking up in his favour. Keeping him at arm’s length seemed easy, avoiding when up close never looked too much of an effort.

Eubank Jr did sustain a cut above his right eye, which bled profusely, but it wasn’t a telling factor in this fight. The major difference was experience and brains over the arrogance of youth. Chris Eubank Snr was an original, an eccentric one-off who could box. His son comes across as a deluded braggart.

Tonight, George Groves made Chris Eubank Jr look like an amateur. An amateur with a poor amateur background.

It’s the start of a new chapter for Groves. A chance for a fresh start, and if the shoulder injury he sustained in the final round isn’t serious, he’ll go on to win the World Boxing Super Series. While this is going on, Eubank Jr should watch this fight on repeat every day and take notes on how to box.

If you want to reach the top level you need to learn how to use brains before dropping the bombs.

There’s no better example in the world of a man who knows this than George Groves.

Groves vs Eubank Jr: Boxer versus Bravado

Groves vs Eubank Jr: Boxer versus Bravado

The bookies have installed Chris Eubank Jr as favourite in the semi-final of their World Boxing Super Series clash, proving hype catches the attention of casual fans. The Eubanks have made two careers out of furore. Eubank Senior was no doubt one of the best during a competitive generation. A true boxer who ran out of answers when faced with hardman Steve Collins.

The three losses that closed out his career were the exclamation point highlighting his long decline. They shouldn’t overshadow his boxing prowess. His personal, and carefully crafted, style outside the ring was a distraction that often counted against him, especially as historians focus on the performer.

So it’s with some irony that his son enters his biggest bout to date and isn’t seen as the natural boxer out of the two competitors. His best chance is to make Groves deviate from the plan to box. As we saw against Billy Joe Saunders, Eubank Jr can be put in his shell when the other guy remains disciplined.

Those bookies odds have been shaped by the Eubank Jr gimmick convincing people he’s better than the man holding two belts, as much as Groves’ historical bouts, namely the Carl Froch fights, have swayed opinion.

Cliché alert: some boxers are never the same after a big defeat. Until Groves wins the next big one, there will be a question mark over him. Has the Froch experience scarred him forever? The Eubank Jr fight is the next big one. A win here deletes the years of carrying around inner turmoil.

History doesn’t tell the story of how he out-boxed Froch for two fights, or how the Nottingham fighter needed to pull out the best punch of his career to stop him. It just says he lost. Twice.

To drive home that fact, Carl Froch works tirelessly at working a reminder into every appearance he makes on Sky Sports. If you didn’t know already, Carl Froch once filled Wembley and beat George Groves.

The time to kill the bogeyman has arrived.

He’s endured the painful memory of what happens when he allows adrenaline to dictate his approach. If he remains mindful of his goal – and how to achieve – Chris Eubank Jr will be in for a long night of boxing. One where he becomes a frustrated and beaten opponent.

The fight could come alive in the second half when Eubank Jr realises the points are against him and he needs to do something to remove the judges from the equation. At that point, all eyes will be looking for the knockout win.

The wise man would still fancy Groves. If he can endure the onslaught, he can also deliver more telling power punches to a chin that has never been tested.

Groves famously once said: “Everything for a reason.” All those setbacks have been for tonight, the reason: to take back the respect he should never have lost, to make this his time. In doing so, he will expose the Eubank brand for what it really is.