Joshua knocks out Pulev, edges closer to dream fight against Tyson Fury – Newstrends
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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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UCL: Osimhen helps Napoli snatch late draw against Barca as FC Porto defeat Arsenal

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Victor Osimhen

UCL: Osimhen helps Napoli snatch late draw against Barca as FC Porto defeat Arsenal

Victor Osimhen scored as Napoli drew 1-1 with Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League (UCL) second-round match.

The 25-year-old equalized for the Serie A champions in the 75th minute, after Robert Lewandowski put Barcelona ahead at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Wednesday.

Osimhen spun away from Inigo Martinez inside the box after Zambo Anguissa’s pass reached him. The Lagos-born striker rolled the ball past Ter Stegen, who went the wrong way, and into the goal.

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The match marked Osimhen’s first start for Napoli since December 23, 2023, when he was sent off in a 2-0 loss to Roma.

He played an important role in the Super Eagles of Nigeria’s silver-winning effort at the just ended Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire.

In the other game of the night, Galeno’s late goal helped FC Porto defeat Arsenal 1-0 at the Estadio do Dragao.

Galeno picked up the ball 35 yards outside Arsenal’s goal area deep into stoppage time, proving that the best play was saved for last. The Brazilian carried the ball forward before finding his place and bending a shot past Raya’s stretched limbs into the net.

UCL: Osimhen helps Napoli snatch late draw against Barca as FC Porto defeat Arsenal

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Guardiola apologises to Phillips for comments about weight

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Pep Guardiola

Guardiola apologises to Phillips for comments about weight

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has apologised to Kalvin Phillips for saying the midfielder was overweight when he returned from the 2022 World Cup.

Guardiola had told reporters that Phillips was not in the right condition to go through training sessions after returning from Qatar, where he was used for only 40 minutes in two substitute appearances in England’s campaign.

Phillips endured a wretched time at City after signing from Leeds United in 2022, making only six starts in 18 months, and the 28-year-old joined West Ham United on loan last month.

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After making the switch to West Ham, the midfielder said his confidence had taken a “big knock” from Guardiola’s comments.

“Yeah, I’m sorry,” Guardiola told reporters on Monday.

“I apologise to him. I spoke to him before making the comment. I never, ever don’t speak to the team before I say something here, or the player in that case.”

City, who are third in the Premier League, can close the gap to leaders Liverpool by one point if they beat Brentford at home later on Tuesday.

Guardiola apologises to Phillips for comments about weight

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Osimhen gets new coach as Napoli hire Calzona to replace sacked Mazzarri

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Francesco Calzona

Osimhen gets new coach as Napoli hire Calzona to replace sacked Mazzarri

Struggling Napoli sacked Walter Mazzarri on Monday and brought in Slovakia coach Francesco Calzona just two days before hosting Barcelona in the Champions League.

The 62-year-old Mazzarri became the second man to be sent packing this season by the ailing Italian champions.

Mazzarri took charge in November after Rudi Garcia was dismissed but Napoli then fell to ninth in Serie A ahead of Wednesday’s last 16, first leg with barca at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

“I thank Walter Mazzarri, a friend of the De Laurentiis family and Napoli, for having helped the team in a tricky period,” said Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis on X, formerly Twitter.

De Laurentiis confirmed that Calzona has been hired, reportedly until the end of the season, and will be in charge on Wednesday night.

“It’s always painful to sack a friend,” said De Laurentiis in a short interview with Sky Sport.

“But we need to consider that in Naples you have to give Napoli fans something extra. Now we’re going to try to do that with Francesco Calzona.”

Calzona guided Slovakia to Euro 2024 but has a huge job on his hands as he returns to Napoli, where he was an assistant under Maurizio Sarri and during Luciano Spalletti’s trophy-less first season with the club.

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The 55-year-old will reportedly keep his job with Slovakia while also trying to drag Napoli back up the table after the disappointing end to Mazzarri’s brief second spell in charge of southern Italy’s biggest club.

Mazzarri helped return Napoli to the upper echelons of Italian football between 2009 and 2013.

He guided Napoli to the 2012 Italian Cup, beating undefeated league champions Juventus in the final to win the club’s first trophy in over two decades.

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