Whats your State of Mind?

As the State of Mind charity prepares to take over the Super League for an entire round, Andrew Riley went along to the AJ Bell stadium in Salford to see what the charity does and how you can be part of a world record attempt this coming Wednesday…

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How do you promote a sport full of power and passion?

By not bothering to show any of the sport itself according to the new RFL Super League 2018 launch video.

Recently, the RFL marketing department have managed to get a couple of things spot on. The new OuRLeague app is fantastic. Superb content, really engaging and easy to use. During the World Cup it became the go to app for info on England and what the players were up to.

Then we get the 2018 launch video…

We know that professional rugby league players are supremely fit. We also know that the Brownlee brothers are superb athletes as well.

What we dont see is any reason for watching the sport when the season starts in just over a week.

Where are the big hits, the jinking runs through defences, the offloads and the magic? Apparently, the public dont need to see the skill of the players, but images of them running up and down in the snow tell you all you need to know about the lack of imagination shown by the RFL marketing department.

The RFL have some superb staff, but marketing needs a shake up.

Why advertise along the M62?

You’re playing into the hands of those who look down their noses at the sport and call it parochial!

Advertise along the M6 and the M1. It’s a summer sport, entice people heading to Bridlington, Scarborough, Blackpool and the Lake district to take in a game, not those who already know where games are played.

What does this video tell anyone who accidentally happens upon it about the game these athletes play?

Nothing…

I appreciate that there is an air of change at Red Hall and Media City with Nigel Wood leaving, but if we allow the game to continue to stagnate at every level, which is what we are in danger of doing if we don’t look for a candidate for his position from outside of the sport, we are in danger of the sport as a whole dying.

Thats not just my view, but one given to me by one of the most respected writers on the sport. As it was a private conversation, I’m not going to name him here, but it shows just how far those who write about the sport feel the game and it’s leadership have sunk.

Indeed, he felt that by the time of the 2025 World Cup, the UK version of the game may well be entirely amateur.

Can Joshua defend his title? Andrew Riley looks at his opposition

Given the retirement earlier this week of former champion  Wladimir Klitschko, Britains Anthony Joshua has to look elsewhere for a challenge in November. Andrew runs his eye over the two main contenders.

First in line is Cuban fighter Luis Ortiz, who has an impressive record of 23 knockouts from 27 wins, although time may not be on his side, being 38.

The WBA says Joshua and Ortiz have 30 days from 3 August to agree the fight.

He is a former WBA interim heavyweight champion, having held the title from 2015 to 2016. He had won the title in 2014, but this was nullified via no contest when he was stripped of the title due to failing a drug test.

He made his professional debut aged 30, beating Lamar Davis in under 80 seconds of the first round.

Ortiz also signed with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom sports in 2016, believing it was the fastest way to stardom, although this was later shown to be on a fight by fight basis.

It had been reported Ortiz was negotiating to fight current WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder, but with the Joshua fight likely to be a much bigger payday, and for two of the belts, this is unlikely to take place now.

Ortiz spokesperson, Jay Jimenez told Boxingscene: “We are next. We have no problem fighting on that date of November 11th in Las Vegas. Our mandatory takes precedent over Pulev’s and they know that.”

A statement on wbaboxing.com read: “According to the resolution sent on January 11th, 2017, to both parties, it was reported that the winner of the Joshua-Klitschko fight, held on April 29th, 2017, had to face Ortiz after 120 days.

Joshua has also been told he must face IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev before 2 December or risk being stripped of his belt.

However, promoter Eddie Hearn says he has documentation to show that Ortiz is next in line, then Pulev before a possible unification bout with Deontay Wilder. Wilder, who holds the WBC version of the heavyweight title posted the following on Twitter:

However, Hearn told Sky sports news:

“The IBF resolution following the Klitschko fight is a public document for everyone to see: ‘after the rematch there will be no request for a unification considered by the IBF’.

 “Obviously we now have to fight Pulev and Ortiz and it’s going to be a tough balancing act. The Pulev mandatory was called some time ago and we already have signed correspondence that if it’s not Klitschko then Pulev must be next.

“I would say right now the plan is Pulev, Ortiz then if Wilder still has a belt then AJ can relieve him of that next summer.”

“AJ is 100 per cent up for fighting Pulev, 100 per cent up for fighting Ortiz and 100 per cent up for fighting Wilder and he wants to do it in a way to try and capture all belts,” said Hearn.

“It’s going to be difficult but let me tell you this young man fears no one.”

And after all that, on the distant horizon, lurks the ever present former champion Tyson Fury…Who again announced his retirement from the sport.