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Joshua knocks out Pulev, edges closer to dream fight against Tyson Fury

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Anthony Joshua floors Kubrat Pulev three times in a spiteful and vicious performance that would have grabbed Tyson Fury’s attention, reports Skysports.

Joshua knocked his opponent out in the ninth round of their world heavyweight championship fight at The SSE Arena, Wembley, on Saturday night.

He floored Pulev heavily on three occasions, twice in the final round, and ended the fight with a vicious right hand to retain his IBF, WBA and WBO titles.

The explosive performance from Joshua would have demanded the attention of Tyson Fury – they remain on a collision course to decide an undisputed champion in 2021.

Undefeated WBC champion Fury holds the only major belt outside of Joshua’s grip and a meeting between them would be the biggest match in world boxing – after delivering this thrilling knockout in front of a crowd of 1,000 people plus boxing great Floyd Mayweather, Joshua moved a step closer to making it a reality.

His first fight since avenging a shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr a year ago would have ended explosively in the third round had his challenger Pulev not possessed a warrior-like determination to continue when he was felled, but there was no escaping the eventual knockout.

Joshua barely broke eye contact with his challenger from the moment he strode over the top rope and into the ring, then their pre-fight fist bump was aggressive and intense.

When the punches began flying, Joshua landed a series of jabs and Pulev clipped him back with a left hook.

When Joshua let his hands go for the first time with a four-punch salvo in the second round, Pulev smiled sarcastically back at him.

Joshua smashed Pulev with a perfectly-timed right hand in the third round that badly hurt his challenger.

Joshua hunted him, desperate for the knockout, and landed a brutal barrage of uppercuts and hooks which eventually toppled Pulev to the canvas.

It seemed likely to be all over but Pulev, whose only previous loss in 29 fights was against Wladimir Klitschko, survived to the bell after which he threw an illegal shot that fizzed past the champion’s face.

Joshua, eyes bulging and tongue out, stared a hole through Pulev and spoke to him as the next round was set to begin.

He regained his composure and, in the fifth, cracked home a big right hand which didn’t budge Pulev, who ended the round strongly after some feisty back-and-forth trash talk.

A spiteful fight became gritty and rugged in the sixth when Pulev began winging wild swings that didn’t hit their target, but did force ugly exchanges.

Three consecutive uppercuts from Joshua hurt Pulev in the seventh but still the tough Bulgarian would not cede ground.

Pulev then landed his best punch, a straight right hand, in the eighth.

But Joshua closed the show in the ninth with another colossal uppercut which crumpled Pulev to the floor for the second time.

Still Pulev rose but a right hand from Joshua sent him flying backwards and split his lip bloodily, ending the fight in a flash.

The fight that the boxing world now craves is Joshua vs Fury – they each have other challengers circling, Oleksandr Usyk and Deontay Wilder respectively – but the two Brits putting every heavyweight belt on the line would be an historic occasion.

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Tokyo2020: Okagbare, Nwokocha Qualify For 100m Semi Final

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For the very first time in nine years, two Nigerian athletes will be running in the semifinals of the women’s 100m after Blessing Okagbare and Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha qualified from their respective heats Friday in Tokyo, Japan, Newspremises reports.

 

Nwokocha had to run a new personal best of 11.00 seconds to secure her qualification to the semifinals in her debut at the Games.

 

The 20 year old has also moved into fifth in the Nigeria all-time list behind Okagbare (10.79), Glory Alozie (10.90) Mary Onyali (10.97) and Damola Osayomi (10.99).

 

The home-based athlete who ran 11.09 seconds to secure her qualification for the Olympics in March at the MOC Grand Prix in Lagos will however need to make further history by breaking the 11 seconds barrier as the fifth Nigerian woman to do so to stand a chance of joining Onyali and Okagbare as debutants who ran all the way to the final of the event.

 

She has been drawn to run from lane nine in the third semifinal heat with the fastest woman alive, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, Daryl Neita of Great Britain, Teahna Daniels of the USA and fellow African, Muriel Ahoure of Ivory Coast.

 

While Nwokocha qualified for her first semifinal, Okagbare will be running in her third since she made her debut in the event at the 2012 Olympics in London. The 32 year old ran 11.05 seconds to win her first round heat.

 

She has been drawn in the first semifinal heat alongside two heavyweights of the event, defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica who ran 10.82 seconds to win her first round heat and Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, the 200m world champion two years ago in Doha, Qatar who ran 11.07 seconds to come second in her first round heat.

 

The 2008 Beijing Olympics Long Jump silver medallist will be in action at exactly 11.15 am Nigerian time on Saturday.

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No Golden Slam: Djokovic In Shock Olympics Semifinal Defeat, As Zverev Wins

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The highest-ranked tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic has been eliminated in the semi-final of the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

 

Djokovic who lost to Alexander Zverev of Germany 1-6, 3-6, 6-1, was attempting to be the first man to achieve the Golden Slam by winning all four major Grand Slams and Olympics Gold in the same year.

 

The unplayable Serb had earlier won the Australian Open, Rolland Garros and recently the Wimbledon, with only the Olympics Gold and US Open titles to spare.

 

Only the legendary Steffi Graf has achieved the Golden Slam, having won all four major Grand Slams as well as the Olympics Gold in Seoul ’88.

 

Djokovic will play for bronze against Carreno Busta, who was defeated 6-3 6-3 by Karen Khachanov (Zverev’s opponent in the final).

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10 Nigerian athletes banned from Tokyo Olympics

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Ten athletes from Nigeria among 18 athletes banned from participating in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.
While the names of the affected athletes were not released, a statement from the Athletics Integrity Unit indicated that a total of 18 athletes had been declared ineligible, with Nigeria being the most affected.
According to the AIU, the 10 athletes from Nigeria failed the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15.
It stated, “Under the framework of Rule 15 governing National Federation Anti-Doping Obligations, which came into force in January 2019, National Federations are accountable for ensuring appropriate anti-doping measures are in place in their respective jurisdictions.
“Among other things, the Rule sets out minimum requirements for testing on the national teams of ‘Category A’ federations deemed to have the highest doping risk and considered as a threat to the overall integrity of the sport.
“The key requirement in Rule 15 is that an athlete from a ‘Category A’ country must undergo at least three no-notice out-of competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than 3 weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event. Only then do they become eligible to represent their national team at the World Athletics Championships or the Olympic Games.
“For the year 2021, the seven identified ‘Category A’ National Federations are: Belarus, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Ukraine.

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