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Anthony Joshua loses world titles to Oleksandr Usyk after thrilling clash

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Anthony Joshua lost his world titles for the second time in four fights as Oleksandr Usyk was crowned heavyweight champion.

Favourite Joshua was on the back foot from the opening bell as Usyk made a fast start to his attempt to become a two-weight world champion.

And the Ukrainian had his rival in trouble at several points in the fight – and almost stopped him in the dying seconds with Joshua finishing the bout backed up on the ropes.

All three judges then awarded the fight to Usyk by scores of 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113.

Joshua was defending his three world titles for the second time since snatching them back from Andy Ruiz Jr two years ago.

He had been out the ring since stopping Kubrat Pulev last Christmas – and had been poised to fight fellow world champion Tyson Fury this summer.

But Fury was instead ordered to fight Deontay Wilder for a third time, leaving Joshua to accept the challenge of Usyk.

The Ukrainian bulked up to heavyweight having conquered the cruiserweight division.

He stopped Chazz Witherspoon on his debut in boxing’s premier division before outpointing Derek Chisora behind closed doors.

And 67,000 fans packed into the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to see whether he could dethrone Joshua.

The moustachioed challenger entered the arena wearing a space helmet before Joshua jogged to the ring as he took the acclaim of his home crowd.

As the first bell rang, Usyk looked to shed his reputation as a slow-starter. He landed the best shots of the opening round via his left hand as he looked to flummox Joshua with his movement.

Joshua looked to be busier with his jab in the second stanza but was struggling to use his considerable height and weight advantages to pressure Usyk.

And the visitor landed a stinging left hook in the third round as he looked to press home his early advantage before he was served a reminder of Joshua’s power when the champion landed a right hand on the bell.

The home crowd did their best to rally their man to a response but he looked short of ideas through the fourth round.

Joshua’s right hand remained dangerous but he was unable to set up the shot with any conviction while Usyk’s precise movement was still giving cause for concern.

By the halfway stage it was still the challenger who was in control on the scorecards but Joshua offered a glimmer of hope by landing with his right hand towards the end of the sixth.

But Usyk had no intention of taking a step back and rocked Joshua with a left hand in the seventh round which sent him staggering towards the ropes.

Joshua switched his attacks to the body in the eighth round as he looked to soften up Usyk and narrow his likely deficit on the scorecards.

Usyk began to show the first signs of fatigue in the ninth round as Joshua managed to close the distance and force his rival to hold on.

Joshua’s right eye was beginning to swell up by the 10th round as both men showed an increasing willingness to trade at close quarters.

And Usyk looked to take full advantage of Joshua’s injury as his left hand continued to find its target in the penultimate session.

Joshua was left needing a stoppage in the final three minutes – but instead it was Usyk who finished strongly.

Ultimately, it was left up to the judges to seal Joshua’s fate and condemn him to a second professional defeat.

On the undercard, Lawrence Okolie made a successful first defence of his cruiserweight world title.

The Londoner, who is managed by Joshua, stopped mandatory challenger Dilan Prasovic in the third round.

After a quiet opening session, Okolie dropped his opponent in the second round but the Montenegrin recovered to hear the bell.

But he was down again in the next round and was unable to beat the count.

Earlier, Callum Smith announced himself to the light-heavyweight division with a brutal knock out of Lenin Castillo in the second round.

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Ten Hag to sign two strikers after 2-1 defeat to Brighton

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Manchester United have opened talks to sign Benjamin Sesko and Marko Arnautovic, ESPN reports.

United have contacted Bologna about Arnautovic, who has previously played in the Premier League for Stoke and West Ham.

United manager, Erik ten Hag, has pressed the club to sign an experienced forward who would be content with a back up role off the bench.

Arnautovic is 33 years old and Ten Hag is a fan of the player after working together at FC Twente.

The move for Arnautovic is considered separate from that of Sesko.

Chelsea are also interested in the 19-year-old, although Salzburg would rather keep him until next summer.

Ten Hag was asked after the 2-1 defeat against Brighton on Sunday about the need for new players.

The Dutchman replied: “I don’t go into names and I think in this preseason, 250 players are involved or linked with Man United, so that’s it.

“We have two strikers [Ronaldo and Martial], maybe a third one, [Marcus] Rashford.

“We considered him as a striker, but he had a really good season on the left side and he had two really good chances but the typical nine wasn’t available today.”

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Tobi Amusan wins 100m hurdles gold

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Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan has won the gold medal in the women’s 100m hurdles at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The world champion successfully defended her title at the Alexander stadium on Sunday.

This is coming days after she won gold and bagged the world record at the World Athletics Championships in the US.

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Ligue 1: What PSG coach said about Messi after bicycle goal against Clermont

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Paris Saint-Germain manager, Christophe Galtier has hailed Lionel Messi after the Argentine forward scored a bicycle kick in his side’s 5-0 win over Clermont in the Ligue 1 fixture on Saturday evening.

Galtier watched as PSG cruised to their first win of the new Ligue 1 season, with a 5-0 victory away to Clermont.

A brace from Messi and a goal each from Neymar, Achraf Hakimi and Marquinhos gave PSG the win over Clermont.

Messi scored an overhead kick, which even got the opposition fans on their feet to applaud him in the second half of the encounter.

Speaking after his side’s win, Galtier said of Messi during his post-match press conference: “I spoke with Leo during our stay in Japan and with the defensive sector as well to ensure that he can perform well all the time.

“He has a very sharp, very clear tactical sense. He quickly sees where he has to put himself, and the way he positions himself to play, he’s in an area he likes. He likes to play with the players around him. When Leo smiles, the team smiles too.

“He has been playing at a very high level for 17 years. He had a difficult season last year, he was getting used to it.

“All seasons before, it was a minimum of 30 goals. From the moment he has made complete preparation, that he has his bearings in terms of his family life and his club, his team and his partners, there is no reason for him not to have a great season. When he is playing with Kylian, we’ll have even more offensive power.”

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