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Joshua beat Ngannou with second round knockout

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Former world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua floored Francis Ngannou three times in two rounds at Riyadh’s Kingdom Arena on Saturday in a knockout win that put him right back in the reckoning for another title shot.

The big British-Nigerian sent the 37-year-old Cameroon-born former UFC heavyweight champion, a two-fight professional boxing novice, to the canvas in the opening round with a straight right to the chin.

The “Knockout Chaos” fight then lived up to its billing in spectacular fashion as Joshua sent him crashing again in the second, first with a right-left combination and then an explosive right after he had beaten the count.

The referee stepped in and stopped the fight, with Joshua declared the winner by knockout victory and Ngannou out cold and receiving treatment before getting back, stunned, to his feet.

Far more had been expected from Ngannou after he knocked down WBC champion Tyson Fury in his first bout in Riyadh in October and went on to lose on a split decision, but Joshua was merciless.

“It is what it is,” he told the crowd, teasing out the words.

Fury, who fights Ukraine’s WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO champion Oleksandr Usyk in a rescheduled unification bout in Riyadh on May 18, was watching from ringside.

“I’m just here to fight. I’m going to go back to my cage, lock myself away, and then I’m going to be let out when it’s time to fight again,” said Joshua, hungry for a chance against the winner of the Usyk v Fury fight.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn sent out his own call: “There’s a brilliant fighter down there in Tyson Fury. Please beat Oleksandr Usyk, because you will get the biggest fight of all time.”

“That is one of the most destructive knockouts I’ve ever seen.”

Joshua said he had told Ngannou he was an inspiration and he could come again.

He said, “I told him he shouldn’t leave boxing, he can do well.

“Remember, he’s two fights in and he’s fought the best. He can go a long way if he stays dedicated.”

Fighting earlier on the undercard, New Zealand’s Joseph Parker beat Chinese heavyweight Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang to take the WBO interim title on a majority points decision.

Parker’s victory came in spite of suffering two knockdowns.

Parker, who beat American former WBC champion Deontay Wilder in Riyadh in December, picked himself up after a straight left in round three and came back from a left-right combination in the eighth.

The ringside judges scored the fight to Parker 113-113, 114-112 and 115-111.

“We are contracted to have a rematch, so we will do it again,” said Parker.

Britain’s Nick Ball and Mexico’s WBC featherweight champion Rey Vargas earlier fought a split-decision draw in spite of the challenger twice flooring the belt-holder.

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Juventus releases statement after order to pay Cristiano Ronaldo’s unpaid wages

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Italian giants Juventus have released a statement after being ordered to pay their former player, Cristiano Ronaldo his unpaid wages.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS, ordered the Serie A giants to pay Cristiano Ronaldo his unpaid wages.

The court gave the verdict following a dispute arising from pay reductions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ronaldo, who now laces his boots for Saudi Super League side, Al-Nassr, told the court he was owed €19.5 million ($20.81 million) by the Turin giants in unpaid wages.

The Court ruling will see Juventus pay Ronaldo around half that amount, with a €9.8 million settlement reached.

The Italian giants quickly moved to make a statement after the ruling, stating, “The arbitration tribunal ruled Juve had to pay half of the sum requested by the 39-year-old Portugal striker.

“They partially granted the request made by [Ronaldo]… ascertaining Juventus’ pre-contractual liability resulting from the failure of negotiations and ordered the defendant to pay an amount of approximately Euro 9.8 million.”

Juventus have also hinted at their desire to contest the ruling in their statement, saying:
“The Company, also with the support of its legal counsel, is reviewing the decision made by the arbitration board, reserving all assessments and initiatives to preserve its rights.”

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Real Madrid knock Man City out of Champions League on penalty shootout

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Real Madrid have progressed to the semi finals of the UEFA Champions League after knocking out Man City 4-3 on penalty shootouts on Wednesday.

The Premier League and La Liga giants played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at the Bernabeu last week and continued to inflict blows on each other at the Etihad.

Rodrygo put Real Madrid ahead on 12 minutes and for a long time it appeared as though his goal would be enough, but Kevin de Bruyne scored with 15 minutes remaining to send the tie to extra-time.

Neither side found a winner in the extra 30 minutes and Real emerged triumphant from a tense penalty shootout.

Real Madrid will face Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals after the German giants knocked out Arsenal.

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Aruna lose to Freitas, exit ITTF World Cup

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Quadri Aruna, Nigeria’s top table tennis player, has exited the International Table Tennis (ITTF) World Cup after losing by 1-3 (12-10, 11-9, 11-9, 3-11) to Portuguese Marcos Freitas in the group stage.

The Men’s singles game on Wednesday at the Galaxy Arena, Macao, China, saw the Portuguese claim the first three sets but a comeback from the Nigerian in the last set was not enough to scale over the line.
Aruna had started his campaign at the World Cup on a good note with a 4-0 (11-6, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6) convincing win over Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzalez to set the final group 15 tie against Freitas.

Aruna occupied the top spot in the group as Freitas had earlier beaten Gonzalez 4-0 (17-15, 11-7, 11-7, 11-1), but the Nigerian had more points than the Portuguese and was rated number one in the group.

The tie between Aruna and Freitas decides the winner of the group and who will then advance to the knockout of the competition.

With Aruna falling short, Freitas will face Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan in the Round of 16 on Thursday.

The tournament which began on Monday will end on April 21.

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