Amir Khan vs Kell Brook huge showdown on February 19 next year is CONFIRMED

Kell Brook promised to knock out Amir Khan and send him into retirement after their long-awaited February 19 clash was finally confirmed. 

There had been fears that both men may retire without ever having faced each other but Boxxer officially announced the event on Monday morning. 

Both men have a huge number of fans and no doubt it will be a sell-out on neutral ground in Manchester’s MEN Arena. 

Amir Khan and Kell Brook went back-and-forth in a heated press conference

Khan will take on his British rival Brook next year on February 19 in Manchester

Khan and Brook both turned up the temperature and went back-and-forth 

Former WBA and IBF light-welterweight champion Khan, 34, last fought in July 2019 when a victory over Billy Dib took his record to 34-5 (21 KOs).

Brook, an ex-IBF welterweight title holder, was most recently in action with defeat to WBO champion Terence Crawford in November 2020. The 35-year-old’s record is 39-3 (27 KOs). 

Both men addressed the media on Monday afternoon at a press conference held to promote the 2022 fight. 

When asked why there is such animosity between them, Brook said: ‘He’s always seemed to veer off from fighting me, he’s never given me any respect, he’s never acknowledge me, he’s saying “fight this guy and I’ll fight you”, win a world title and I’ll fight you, he’s always run away. He’s got nowhere else to run now, this is the biggest fight out there for him. It has been so frustrating for me, I’ve been wanting this for many years.’

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Khan is in the twilight of his career and this could be the best way to bow out if he does

There was palpable tension on both sides and Brook seemed the more aggravated

And when given the right of reply, Khan said: ‘I respect him as a fighter, he’s fought big names but in the last 10 years I’ve fought two of the best pound-for-pound fighters. I never ran from Kell, never needed to and what I’ve achieved in the sport speaks for itself.’ 

‘It is like I’m coming levels down, taking this fight. I’ve fought the best around the world, conquered America and for me to give the British fans this fight I am coming levels down. People want to see me punch him in the face and that’s what they’ll see.’ 

The Sheffield fighter responded: ‘He’s living in coocoo land. He’s getting knocked clean out, he needs to go back to being a celebrity. I am going to knock you spark out. 

Brook, like Khan is a former world champion and the pair previously sparred together 

Brook said he felt disrespected by Khan, who previously said he hadn’t heard of him 

‘I’m going to look over you and say “I told you Amir, I told you I’d knock you spark out”. I’m going to retire you this fight. Believe me if he can remember my name after this fight when he comes around, he will give me respect.’

‘You’re bitter about this celebrity life because what has got me here is my performances,’ Khan snapped back. 

‘You better get in that gym and start training, you look well overweight as you are now.’ 

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Manchester United: Young Boys Champions League clash could be at neutral venue

Ralf Rangnick’s first Champions League match in charge of Manchester United may not take place at Old Trafford as planned, according to reports.

The 63-year-old German was confirmed as the Red Devils’ new interim boss on Monday after he emerged as the man to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s short-term successor last week.

The venue of his first European match at the helm has been thrown into doubt with uncertainty over whether Swiss outfit Young Boys can travel to Old Trafford on December 8 because of the Omicron coronavirus variant, according to The Telegraph.

The report claims that UEFA are trying to find out whether the Young Boys squad would have to quarantine back in Switzerland for 10 days following the clash in the UK next week.  

It reports that if the elite sport exemption rule does not apply then the originally planned home group tie would be changed to a venue in a neutral country, or postponed if a neutral venue cannot be found.

There will be chaos regarding tickets and travel costs if the match venue was to be moved with just over a week to go.

Man United’s Champions League clash against Young Boys ‘could be played at neutral venue’

Ralf Rangnick’s first United Champions League match may have to be moved from Old Trafford

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Switzerland uncovered its first ‘probable’ Omicron case on Monday, while Swiss voters backed the government’s pandemic response plan in a referendum by a clear majority 24 hours earlier.

It has paved the way for the continuation of exceptional measures to stem the rising tide of Covid-19 cases.

The government’s tally of Sunday’s vote showed a wider-than-expected majority of 62 per cent of voters support laws that require Covid health passes to enter bars, restaurants and certain events.

Countries are rushing to impose new border rules in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus Omicron variant

It came as Switzerland reported its first probably case of the Omicron variant on Sunday, as entry requirements were tightened to check its spread.

The case relates to a person who returned to Switzerland from South Africa around a week ago, the Federal Office for Public Health said on Twitter.

Testing will clarify the situation in the coming days, it added. Switzerland announced it has banned all Britons with immediate effect amid concerns of the rising cases of the Covid super-mutant Omicron. 

United progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League last week as caretaker boss Michael Carrick guided them to 2-0 win over Villarreal.  

What do we know about the Omicron variant? 

Scientists have said they are concerned about the B.1.1.529 variant, named by the World Health Organisation as Omicron, as it has around 30 different mutations – double the amount present in the Delta variant. The mutations contain features seen in all of the other variants but also traits that have not been seen before. 

UK scientists first became aware of the new strain on November 23 after samples were uploaded on to a coronavirus variant tracking website from South Africa, Hong Kong and then Botswana. 

On Friday, it was confirmed that cases had been identified in Israel and Belgium but currently there are no known cases in the UK.

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told Good Morning Britain on Friday that sequencing is being carried out around the UK to determine if any cases have already been imported. 

Work is also under way to see whether the new variant may be causing new infection in people who have already had coronavirus or a vaccine, or whether waning immunity may be playing a role.  

Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute in Oxford, has said the new variant will ‘almost certainly’ make vaccines less effective, though they would still offer protection.

Pfizer/BioNTech, which has produced a vaccine against Covid-19, is already studying the new variant’s ability to evade vaccines. 

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Gary Neville urges Ralf Rangnick to usher in a revolution at Manchester United

Gary Neville has urged Ralf Rangnick to completely overhaul Manchester United both on and off the pitch after the German was confirmed as the club’s interim manager on Monday morning.

Rangnick has been hired on a short-term contract to coach the first team until the end of the season before he then takes on a consultancy role for two years.

The German replaces Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was sacked earlier this month, while the Red Devils look for a new permanent manager. 

Gary Neville urged Ralf Rangnick to completely overhaul Man United both on and off the pitch 

Rangnick replaces Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a short-term contract until the end of the season, but Neville wants him to change the culture at United when he becomes a consultant

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The 63-year-old has joined from Lokomotiv Moscow, where he was manager of sports and development, and will take over from caretaker boss Michael Carrick. 

Rangnick, who began coaching in the early 1980s, is a proponent of ‘gegenpressing’ and is well known for his ability to build, develop and mould football clubs into successful units both on and off the pitch.

The likes of Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann have all credited Rangnick as being a huge influence on their coaching principles.

Neville, who has been a fierce critic of United’s outgoing executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and his strategy towards football matters, welcomed Rangnick on Twitter but urged him to completely overhaul the club during his time in Manchester.

Neville tweeted: ‘Welcome to the Greatest Football Club in the World Ralf Rangnick.

‘A contract for 6 months to coach the team. 

‘A contract for 2 years to coach the club.’ 

Earlier this month, Neville laid out the challenges facing Woodward’s successor.

United have not won the Premier League since 2013 and have been through four managers since Sir Alex Ferguson walked away over a decade ago – David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer.

Speaking on his Sky Sports podcast, Neville called for major changes at the heart of the club if they are to compete with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea again.

Neville has been a fierce critic of United’s outgoing chief Ed Woodward (pictured)

Rangnick will lead Cristiano Ronaldo and Co for the rest of the season before stepping upstairs

He said: ‘The new CEO must stamp his own authority on it and he has to assess everything’s in place and put in place.

‘He’s got to assess the names of the coaches you’ve mentioned [Kieran McKenna, Mike Phelan, Carrick], the backroom staff, the recruitment, all the infrastructure that’s been put in place over this last two or three years it’s got to be tested, it’s got to be stress tested. 

‘They’ve to work out whether that backroom team and the football knowledge in the club can challenge this club [Manchester City], we know the people here have been at Barcelona with Pep Guardiola, they’ve built dynasties at Barcelona, they’re building another one here.

‘You’ve got smart people at Liverpool, you’ve got hardened people, brutal, fantastic operators at Chelsea. So you’ve got to work out if you’re the CEO of Manchester United, Ed Woodward ultimately over the last eight years has failed in his football objectives.

‘On the business side, it’s fine he may have done a good job, I don’t know. But on the football side, the football objectives have failed. The new CEO has to come in and decide if he wants to play Football Manager or whether he wants to put really competent people in place, step away from it, take the role that say Martin Edwards, David Gill or other owners of other clubs let experts in football deal with that.

‘Three managers have been appointed in the last eight years or given extensions and been sacked within months; David Moyes was sacked within seven or eight months of a six-year contract, Jose Mourinho was sacked three or four months into a three-year contract and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been given a three-year contract and he’s been sacked so you have to say it’s not gone well.’  

Speaking after his appointment had been confirmed, Rangnick said: ‘I am excited to be joining Manchester United and focused on making this a successful season for the club.

‘The squad is full of talent and has a great balance of youth and experience. All my efforts for the next six months will be on helping these players fulfil their potential, both individually and, most importantly, as a team.

‘Beyond that, I look forward to supporting the club’s longer-term goals on a consultancy basis.’

First-team coach Carrick – who has overseen a Champions League win over Villarreal and a draw at Premier League leaders Chelsea, where he dropped Cristiano Ronaldo – will remain in caretaker charge until Rangnick’s work visa is finalised.

‘Ralf is one of the most respected coaches and innovators in European football,’ said United’s football director John Murtough.

‘He was our No 1 candidate for interim manager, reflecting the invaluable leadership and technical skills he will bring from almost four decades of experience in management and coaching.

‘Everyone at the club is looking forward to working with him during the season ahead, and then for a further two years in his advisory role.’ 

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