Thursday , 19 July 2018
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Boxing: Anthony Joshua, Povetkin fight slated for September 22

The eagerly anticipated fight between current International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Organisation (IBO) World heavyweight title holder, Anthony Joshua and Russian boxer Alexander Povetkin is billed to take place on the 22nd of September 2018 at Wembley.

The date was confirmed by Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.

“I can’t wait to return to Wembley on September 22 for what I believe will be one of the biggest tests of AJ’s career” said Hearn. “Last time he was there he produced one of the most dramatic fights and endings in the history of the sport and I expect this fight to be full of energy and drama. Povetkin is a Top 3 Heavyweight and extremely dangerous but in AJ I see the best Heavyweight in the World today and I think we will see a major statement.

“It will be another huge night for British boxing with major championship fights on the card and another one of those special nights and atmospheres that will be watched by millions all around the World.”

Anthony Joshua said he is anticipating the fight and cant wait to get back to training in preparation for the showdown.

“I can’t wait to get back in the ring, the end of March feels a long time ago now.” said Joshua . “Povetkin is a serious challenge that I will prepare meticulously for. He has serious pedigree and only a fool would underestimate what he brings to the table.

Training hasn’t stopped for me, but the next 10 weeks ahead will be intense both mentally and physically. I will push myself to breaking point to make sure I am in peak condition for another huge night for British boxing at Wembley Stadium on September 22nd.”

Povetkin is confident of causing the upset after brutally knocking out David Price in his last outing.

“The battle for the World title has always been my goal.” said Povetkin. “I fought for the moment to face the strongest in the World and on September 22 I get my opportunity. Anthony Joshua has four belts and I want them all. I’m glad that our fight will finally take place, the meeting of two Olympic Champions in the ring is destined to be a breath-taking event.”

Putin gives World Cup fans visa-free Russia entry all year

President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that foreign visitors holding “fan ID” cards for the World Cup could have visa-free entry to Russia for the rest of 2018, news agencies reported.

“Foreign supporters who currently have fan IDs will be able to benefit from multiple entries into the Russian Federation without a visa until the end of the year,” agencies quoted him as saying after France’s victory over Croatia in the World Cup final in Moscow.


FIFA only recognises Pinnick as NFF president – Infantino

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino says the world football ruling body recognises only Amaju Pinnick as president of Nigeria Football Federation, and will not accept any outside interference in NFF’s affairs.

Infantino, while responding to questions at a press conference in Moscow on Friday, said Pinnick was duly elected and in accordance with FIFA rules.

“The situation is very clear. Pinnick was duly elected some years ago, and FIFA is aware of all this.

“It is also clear to all within the family that there can be no interference in the running of the national federations by any party, especially those outside the football family.

“So, Pinnick is the President of NFF for FIFA, because he is the one elected,’’ he said.

The FIFA president added that Nigeria as a member-association of FIFA, would then be at the risk of facing the world body’s sanctions if the situation continued as it is now.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NFF has Chris Giwa as its president currently, owing to a compliance with a court order.

Giwa had obtained a Jos court order to take over the running of affairs at the NFF in compliance with a Supreme Court order.

The apex court had directed all parties involved in the matter to return to the lower courts for another look at the case against NFF’s Sept. 30, 2014 elections in Warri.

Giwa had insisted that his earlier election on July 24, 2014 in Abuja should stand, while Pinnick’s election in Warri took place contrary to laid-down regulations.


Serena becomes the first mother in 38 years to reach Wimbledon final

Serena Williams demonstrated that having a baby had not robbed her of any of her phenomenal tennis skills when she became the first mother in 38 years to reach the Wimbledon final.

She demolished Germany’s Julia Goerges 6-2 6-4 on Thursday.

Goerges had come into her first Grand Slam semi-final having belted more winners (199), more aces (44) and more unreturned serves (113) than anyone else in the women’s draw.

But those statistics counted for little when she came up against an opponent who is in hot pursuit of a record-equalling 24th major.

Remarkably, the 36-year-old was back in a Grand Slam final just 10 months after giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia.

“It’s crazy. I don’t even know how to feel because I literally didn’t think I’d do this well in my fourth tournament back in 16 months,” said the American.

Serena won the 2017 Australian Open while in the early stages of her pregnancy.

“When I don’t have anything to lose, I can just play so free and that’s what I’m doing.

“This is not inevitable for me, I had a really tough delivery and multiple surgeries and almost didn’t make it to be honest.

“I couldn’t even walk to my mailbox, so it’s definitely not normal for me to be in a Wimbledon final.

“I’m enjoying every moment.”

That enjoyment was clear to see as she dashed Goerges’s hopes of setting up an all-German final with Angelique Kerber in 70 unforgiving minutes.

The 13th seed had never taken a set off Williams in three previous meetings and unfortunately for her, the American was once again at her dominant best on Thursday.

In each set Goerges was broken in the sixth game and she simply did not have the firepower or belief to stop the seven-time champion from surging to a 20th successive win.

Williams was back giving the crowd a one-arm raised victory twirl after reaching a 10th Wimbledon final when her opponent swiped a lob behind the baseline.

At 181st in the world, Williams is the lowest ranked player to reach the women’s final.

However, that number will fool no one, and especially not Kerber who was runner-up to the American in the 2016 final.

Chelsea sack Conte as manager

The long-running saga over Antonio Conte’s future appears to have been resolved with Chelsea sacking him as manager and appointing Maurizio Sarri, according to media reports on Thursday.

The BBC said the 48-year-old Italian’s two year reign — which brought league success in 2017 and the FA Cup last season — was ending although they added Chelsea would not comment.

However, Conte’s apparent dismissal drew a response from Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas, who liked a tweet a Chelsea fan posted about Conte having been sacked although the Spanish 2010 World Cup winner subsequently claimed he had liked it by accident.

Conte leaves with the best win percentage 65.1% of any of Chelsea’s managers in the Premier League era.

Former banker Sarri, 59, will be Chelsea’s ninth full-time manager since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.

Conte — who had a year to run on his contract — is seen to have contributed to his own demise by falling out both with the players and the board as the sheen of the title victory quickly disappeared.

His intense training methods angered senior players and he alienated the board with disparaging treatment of Spanish striker Diego Costa and constant carping over the club’s failure to replace top players with those of similar ability.

However, while present players may have had issues with Conte, former Chelsea legend John Terry, who left after the league title winning campaign had nothing but praise for him.

“Thank You Boss,” Terry posted on Instagram alongside a photo of the two of them holding the Premier League trophy.  “Great man, Great manager. I wish you every success in the future.”

Sarri has been favourite to succeed his compatriot after impressing as manager of Serie A side Napoli, who have replaced him with former Chelsea handler Carlo Ancelotti.

Sarri, who split his time between banking and playing football before he took up coaching aged 40, has not won a major honour in three years at Napoli but has guided the club to finishes of second, third and second again.

The chainsmoking former Empoli manager — who will have to restrain himself on the touchline in England where smoking is banned — was named Serie A Coach of the Year in 2016-17.

The main reason for the prolonged saga has been compensation.

Conte is due a reported £9million ($11.9million) if he remains out of work for the season and with the major jobs such as Real Madrid and the Italy national post — which he occupied for two years till after Euro 2016 — filled it is likely he will sit the year out.

Napoli are also expecting compensation of around £4.5million for Sarri, who is under contract even though he is no longer their coach.

Sarri is believed to have agreed to bring former Chelsea favourite Gianfranco Zola — whose managerial career has stalled after a series of failures — along as one of his backroom staff.

Sarri has also presented a list of players he would like to sign.

They reportedly include Brazil-born Italy international midfielder Jorginho from Napoli, CSKA Moscow’s Russian playmaker Aleksandr Golovin and Italian defender Daniele Rugani from Juventus, the side that edged Napoli in the Serie A title race.


JUST IN: Croatia beats England 2-1 to secure World Cup finals slot against France

Croatia has made history with its first World Cup final slot after beating England 2-1 in a gruelling match that dragged into extra time in Moscow.

Croatia was oner goal down at half time but rose to the occasion,  equalizing in the second half before scoring a decider at extra to beat all expectations by pundits.

They face France in Sunday’s finals while England will fight for third place with Belgium.



JUST IN: Real Madrid announce Ronaldo transfer to Juventus

Real Madrid have confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo will leave the club to join Juventus.

The Serie A champions swooped to sign the Portugal captain after he indicated that he was considering leaving Madrid after their Champions League final win in May.

On Tuesday, Juventus president Andrea Agnelli flew from Pisa to Greece to meet Ronaldo, who is on holiday in Kalamata, and his agent Jorge Mendes arrived from England later on to join them.

Ronaldo is said to have agreed a four-year contract that will see him pocket €30 million (£26.5m/$35m) per season and Madrid have since confirmed that they have allowed him to make the move to Turin in a transfer expected to be worth upwards of €100m (£88m/$117m).

“Real Madrid CF communicates that, in response to the will and request expressed by the player Cristiano Ronaldo, he has agreed to transfer to Juventus FC.”

Ronaldo, 33, reached global superstar status after becoming the world’s most expensive player when he joined Madrid from Manchester United in 2009.

During his nine-year spell at the Santiago Bernabeu, Ronaldo won 15 trophies, including two La Liga titles and two Copa del Rey crowns.

He helped Madrid to La Decima in the Champions League final with Atletico Madrid in 2014 and played a crucial role in Los Blancos winning the competition in each of the last three seasons.

And the Santiago Bernabeu club thanked the star for all he had done during his time there, adding to their statement: “Real Madrid wants to express its gratitude to a player who has proved to be the best in the world and who has marked one of the brightest times in the history of our club and world football.

“Beyond the conquered titles, the trophies achieved and the triumphs achieved in the playing fields during these 9 years, Cristiano Ronaldo has been an example of dedication, work, responsibility, talent and improvement… For Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of the great symbols and a unique reference for the next generations.

“Real Madrid will always be your home.”

Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, will now have the chance to win a European league title with a third club after completing a shock move to Turin.

Madrid, meanwhile, have already denied making bids for Paris Saint-Germain duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as they prepare for the 2018-19 season under new coach Julen Lopetegui.

The former Spain coach takes over from Zinedine Zidane after the Frenchman surprisingly decided to resign after Madrid beat Liverpool in Kiev.

Nigeria cancels sporting event after protest by ‘maltreated’ athletes

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) on Sunday cancelled the All Nigeria Athletics Championship holding in Abuja, following protests by participating athletes over poor welfare.

Sunday Adeleye, AFN Technical Director, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that the decision followed an emergency meeting of the board of the AFN regarding the protest.

“The decision we have reached is that the championships is cancelled and we further decided that we are going to select athletes who will represent Nigeria at the All African Senior Athletics Championships,” he said.

The All Nigeria Athletics Championships, which kicked-off at the Abuja National Stadium of Saturday, was supposed to be the National Trials for athletes expected to fly Nigeria’s flag at the All African Senior Athletics Championships.

Asaba, Delta State, is billed to host the event in August.

NAN reports that athletes had earlier on Sunday barricaded the tracks at the Abuja National Stadium and demanded talks with the AFN board to address poor welfare condition and failure to redeem outstanding allowances.

NAN also reports that some of the athletes decried the harsh welfare conditions with which they compete at any event organised by the AFN.

They also criticised the athletes’ representative on the AFN board for not representing their interests adequately on the board.

All efforts to return the athletes to action proved abortive, as they held a meeting and decided that they would not compete except their grievances were looked into.

The AFN board was forced to hold an emergency meeting of members present.

The outcome was the decision to cancel the National Trials.

Adeleye, who had hoped the issue would be resolved, later told NAN that some of the protesting athletes misinterpreted what constituted logistical provisions for the event.

“We call it All Nigeria Championships but we cannot take care of over 600 athletes by ourselves as a federation”, said Adeleye, who is the athletes’ representative of the board of AFN, said.

“How do we put over 600 athletes in hotels? It is called trials, where you come and try to be selected. If you are selected, then we will adequately take care of you,” he said

The three-day event started on Saturday and was supposed to end on Monday. (NAN)

Amaju Pinnick Appointed CAF 1st Vice President

President of the Nigerian Football Federation, Amaju Melvin Pinnick has been appointed to replace embattled Ghana Football Association President, Kwame Nyantakyi as CAF’s 1st Vice President.

Pinnick, who is set to slug it out with several other candidates in September’s NFF elections was chosen for the position after his brilliant performance with the Nigerian football governing body. His new position was communicated across in a letter from Africa’s football governing body.

The former Delta State Commissioner of Sports is currently in Russia, at the 2018 World Cup where he has played a role as Match Commissioner in Sweden’s victory over Switzerland. He is also set to be in charge of proceedings as match commissioner as Uruguay and France go head to head in a World Cup Quarterfinal encounter.

He was most recently a member of CAF’s Executive Committee and will use his vast experience in football administration to make his new position a successful one.

BREAKING: England beat Colombia on penalties

England is through to the quarter finals of 2018 World Cup after though match with Colombia.