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Guardian Sports


Sepp Blatter faces media after re-election as Fifa president – live

Sat, 30 May 2015 10:06:24 GMT

Head of football’s world governing body holds press conference in Zurich after winning a fifth term and blasting US authorities’ Fifa investigation and what he calls Europe’s ‘hate’ campaign

Sepp Blatter blasts US authorities over investigation into Fifa corruption

Here we go, then.

The latest delay gives me an opportunity to flag up Barney Ronay’s colour piece from Zurich on Friday evening:

Even by Fifa standards this was a bizarre and indeed rather disorientating day. Not only is Blatter back, re-elected by a concession on the second round of voting. He is apparently back as a reform candidate, here to root out the corruption, wire fraud and racketeering that afflicted the world’s most lucratively beleaguered sport during the reign of his long-term predecessor, who also happens to have been Sepp Blatter. “We cannot let this go on!” – Blatter announced at one point during his gorgeously, almost sensuously deluded stump speech. And yet, here it is all the same. Still very much going on.

Even in the late-breaking tension of the second vote there was a sense of something massaged, as the gathered Fifa wonks pondered their piles of blue card, muttering behind their hands, brooding over clipboards, and almost apologetically signing off on a ballot that brought Blatter to 133 votes, seven short of a first round knockout.

It sounds like we are just about ready to get this thing started. Again, if you want to watch, the livestream from Zurich is embedded at the top of this article. Oh, there’s another short delay, due to sound bother.

Fifa press conference delayed, apparently to fix a "sound problem".

Owen Gibson reports that Fifa looks set to maintain its allocation of places for the next two World Cups, with Europe getting 14 in 2018 and 13 in 2022.

All World Cup slots maintained as they are until 2018/22 according to exco member Juan Napout. That means 14 for Europe in 18 and 13 in 22.

While we wait, a recommendation for you to check out Marina Hyde’s take on the week’s events. By way of an excerpt:

For those of us who’ve been mired in Fifa-watching for years, the most clear and present danger this week was of succumbing to Stendhal syndrome, and passing out at the majesty of it all. It was difficult not to feel a few ecstatic flutters watching footage of Fifa bigwigs being publicly escorted into police cars with hotel staff apparently shielding them with their dirty linen. Or hearing that a certain US-headquartered sportswear company was soon to face some awkward questions. There are just so many tantalising angles yet to be explored. There has barely even been time to begin properly reminding people that Uefa boss and clean-up-man-come-lately Michel Platini voted for Qatar, and was accused of having been given a Picasso by Vladimir Putin. Denied, of course, with lawyers involved, but we look forward to hearing more about him in the weeks and months ahead.

The only thing I’d have done differently would have been to take Diana Ross along on the dawn raid in Zurich. I very much doubt she’s ever got over that calamitous penalty miss during the 1994 World Cup opening ceremony, and it would have been great for the erstwhile Supreme to have just stood in the lobby of the Baur au Lac hotel and let out a primal scream like Stuart Pearce exorcising his 1990 World Cup penalty miss in Euro 96, in the victory over Spain that put England through to the semis. But Diana aside, the FBI have played a blinder.

We’re still waiting for the press conference to begin. You’re not missing anything.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has been quick to congratulate Sepp Blatter on his re-election, sending a telegram with his best wishes. Reuters report a Kremlin statement as saying:

The head of the Russian state expressed confidence that experience, professionalism and high authority will help Blatter in future encourage the spread in the geography and popularity of football in the whole world.

A reminder that the press conference, which is sure to be essential viewing, begins at 10.30am BST. And you can watch it right here:

Our chief sports correspondent, Owen Gibson, is still pounding the streets of Zurich today and he’ll be at Blatter’s upcoming press conference. His take on those comments that have emerged overnight:

Blatter basically suggests British media and US authorities bitter over losing 2018 and 2022 World Cups so driving campaign to get him out.

Blatter questions why arrests weren't made at ex co in March when fewer media in Zurich: “The journalists made a deal: Blatter out.”

As he had said he would should Blatter be re-elected, the FA vice-chairman David Gill has rejected his place on Fifa’s executive committee. In a statement to the Press Association, Gill said:

This action is not something I take lightly but the terribly damaging events of the last three days have convinced me it is not appropriate to be a member of the Fifa executive committee under the current leadership.

I do recognise that Mr Blatter has been democratically elected and wish Fifa every success in tackling the many troubling issues it faces. However, my professional reputation is critical to me and I simply do not see how there will be change for the good of world football while Mr Blatter remains in post.

Welcome to Saturday’s Fifa liveblog, as newly re-elected president Sepp Blatter prepares to face the media in Zurich. The press conference is due to take place at 10.30am BST, 11.30am local time. He’s been busy already, mind, having spoken to Swiss television channel RTS to decry the conduct of US authorities and bemoan a European campaign of ‘hate’. Some of the key elements:

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England v New Zealand: second Test, day two – live!

Sat, 30 May 2015 10:03:51 GMT

66th over: New Zealand 304-8 (Craig 16, Henry 21)

So it’s Ben Stokes who gets things started, from the Football Stand End. After fielding the first delivery nervously, Henry takes two with a flick to square leg, before pummelling a shorter ball in the same direction for four! No signs of slowing down from the New Zealand batsmen. That’s 300 up, and smart fielding was required to keep it to seven off the over.

The players are out, ready for an 11am start. Why didn’t we start a little earlier, with overs to be made up? Listen, this is England. That’s not how things are done.

McGrath, Walsh, Dev, Hadlee, Pollock, Akram, Ambrose. Those are the pacemen other than Jimmy Anderson that have notched over 400 wickets. He’s being pressed on the issue ahead of play starting, but is staying humble. So we’ll let Vic Marks sing his praises instead.

Here’s Headingley helpers The Yorkies, with attire that in no way conforms to lazy linguistic stereotypes:

A big day for England opener Adam Lyth in prospect – he’s at his county ground, playing his second Test after knocks of 7 and 12 at Lord’s, looking for a marked improvement with the Ashes looming. No pressure, then.

So, New Zealand start the day on 297/8, with Mark Craig and Matt Henry at the crease. Now, nothing says heavy metal like Saturday morning cricket – so here’s one for Luke Ronchi after yesterday’s efforts:

Preamble

Hello. I’ll cut straight to the chase – what we have here is a Test match that’s beautifully poised, even as early as the second morning.

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Andy Murray v Nick Kyrgios: French Open 2015 – live!

Sat, 30 May 2015 10:03:15 GMT

Second set: Murray 0-1 Kyrgios* (sets 1-0) Kyrgios needs to produce some eye-catching play here to match his garish pink shirt, electric blue shorts and fluorescent yellow cycling shorts, and boy does he rise to the occasion. Even Murray acknowledges the excellence of a lovely rolled backhand winner that drags the Scot way beyond the tramlines. An exquisite drop shot is bookended by a couple of big forehands, and that’s the game in the bag. An impressive start to the second set from the ebullient Aussie.

First set: Murray* 6-4 Kyrgios (*denotes player who just served) Clinical. Murray serves out the set to love with some really solid play. He just gets that first serve in and gets it done. There was a time when a British player on the big stage would have put us all though the wringer at such a stage. Those rollercoaster days are gone. And does anyone really miss them?

First set: Murray 5-4 Kyrgios* (*denotes player who just served) Serving to stay in the set, Kyrgios once again shows some fine touches at the net as he holds to 15. Murray will serve for the set, though, which is pretty much what Simon McMahon was anticipating. “Morning Les,” says Simon. “A tough match ahead for sure, but Murray’s superior experience and knowhow on clay, plus the fact that he is high on confidence and supremely fit, should see him through.” Well, it’s looking good so far Simon. Just about.

First set: Murray* 5-3 Kyrgios (*denotes player who just served) Amid multiple breaks of serve and some choice language from both players, you sense that the first man to consolidate a break will claim this set. It appears that man won’t be Murray when he finds himself 30-40 down again. But a superb topspin lob off his backhand side is followed by the cutest of drop shots, and when Kyrgios makes another mistake from the back, Murray has the game, the psychological edge and the momentum.

First set: Murray 4-3 Kyrgios* (*denotes player who just served) Kyrgios belongs firmly to that line of showmen that includes the likes of Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors and Henri Leconte, a point underlined by a wonderful exchange early in the game when Murray draws him in to the net before sending him scampering him back towards the baseline again with a deftly executed lob. Recalling his exploits against Nadal last summer, the Aussie hits the ball through his legs and over Murray, who gets a racket on the ball but can’t put it back in play. Marvellous stuff. Still, tennis is about consistency, not just moments of magic, and Kyrgios makes way too many mistakes. He drops serve tamely in the end and it’s advantage Murray again.

First set: Murray* 3-3 Kyrgios (*denotes player who just served) Murray is remonstrating with the umpire about the now infamous overhead camera that claimed the life of a pigeon earlier in the tournament and has been bothering him all week. He complains that the camera is getting in his eyeline as he serves. Not ideal. And it almost looks like it might prove costly. But at 30-40, Kyrgios slams a forehand out on break point, enabling Murray to open up on the serve and seal the game with an ace. Important hold that.

First set: Murray 2-3 Kyrgios* (*denotes player who just served) The danger signs are clear for Murray here: he’s being drawn into a baseline slugfest with the ebullient Aussie, and that’s the last thing he wants. Give Kyrgios the chance, and he’ll just hit right through you. He also boasts a deft touch at the net, as he demonstrates twice in this game en route to a pretty comfortable hold.

First set: Murray* 2-2 Kyrgios (*denotes player who just served) Looking to consolidate the break, Murray is outrallied on the opening point and then finds himself on the wrong end of an enormous forehand. Another huge forehand draws a groundstroke error from the Scot, and suddenly he’s three break points down. Murray comes out fighting, though, with two big serves … only to double-fault on the third break point. He swipes his racket angrily; Murray knows that was a missed opportunity to edge ahead in this set.

First set: Murray 2-1 Kyrgios* (*denotes player who just served) Kyrgios’s game plan is clear: hit the ball hard, and if that doesn’t work then hit it harder. It doesn’t do him much good here, though. The Aussie belts a reverse crosscourt forehand wide to cough up two break points, and Murray simply gets the ball back in play to claim the game. First blood to the Scot.

First set: Murray* 1-1 Kyrgios (*denotes player who just served) We’ll keep an eye on those drop shots, because Kyrgios is not the best mover when he has to race forward. It was a tactic Murray deployed to wonderful effect when he beat Kyrgios in the last eight of this year’s Australian Open … although, let’s face it, he doesn’t exactly require much encouragement on that front. Another thing Murray did well in Melbourne was to mix up his baseline play – plenty of slice, plenty of changes of pace and direction – to prevent Kyrgios from getting into a rhythm. He does much the same here, opening up a lead with a winning pass before repeatedly frustrating his opponent from the back of the court. Kyrgios digs in to get the game back to deuce, but from there it’s a comfortable hold for Murray.

First set: Murray 0-1 Kyrgios* (*denotes player who just served) Murray won the toss and elected to received. Straight out of the Brad Gilbert school of thought, that one: have a crack at your big-serving opponent’s delivery early on, before they’ve had a chance to warm up. The initial results look promising for Murray, who wins the opening point with a drop shot after a brief rally. At 40-30, the same ploy earns him another point. But Kyrgios finishes the game with a huge forehand winner and a cry of “C’mon!!!” Lleyton Hewitt would approve.

The players are out and have almost finished their warm-up. Kyrgios wandered on to Suzanne Lenglen court wearing pink headphones – ever the showman. Murray followed him out looking calm and relaxed.

Speaking of that fine run, Murray has now racked up 12 consecutive clay-court wins. That impressive sequence has earned him the first clay-court titles of his career, in Munich and Madrid. But Kyrgios won’t care a jot about Murray’s form or reputation, such is his swaggering self-belief.

Good morning and welcome. Today’s narrative has a familiar ring: the next big thing in men’s tennis comes up against one of the big four, and suddenly all and sundry are hailing a new era. How many times have we heard that one over the years dominated by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray? So whether Nick Kyrgios can live up to the hyperbole surrounding him in this morning’s papers is a moot point. Murray, his opponent today, will certainly be hoping not. Still, it can’t exactly be comforting to roll out of bed on a Saturday morning and be greeted by John McEnroe proclaiming your opponent as a potential “No 1 player in the world in the next couple of years” who – with hard work – is on the road to becoming “a truly great player”. Mats Wilander, writing in L’Equipe, was a little more circumspect, highlighting the difficulty the sport’s young pretenders face in upsetting the status quo … but still went on to predict Kyrgios would win at least one major. The young Aussie beat Federer on clay in Madrid recently – and also famously claimed the scalp of Nadal at Wimbledon last year – so Murray will certainly need to be on his guard if he is to continue his fine recent run on the red dust.

Les will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s Kevin Mitchell on Nick Kyrgios, before this third-round match at Roland Garros:

Nick Kyrgios swaggers into his third-round match against Andy Murray on Saturday overflowing with self-belief – and the backing of John McEnroe, who thinks the young Australian hotshot could be “the No1 player in the world in the next couple of years”.

That is baggage to bear but the kid from Canberra whose mother may still not be sure he is going to make it – “She’s a bit weird like that,” Kyrgios says – is not only comfortable with praise, he revels in it.

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Sydney FC v Tottenham Hotspur: post-season friendly – live!

Sat, 30 May 2015 10:03:15 GMT

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The gifs that keep on giving: Roger Federer, rugby, anger and romance

Sat, 30 May 2015 08:45:06 GMT

Featuring a few tricky wingers, a backheel, a defensive shield, red mist, an acrobatic slam dunk and a rugby player who must think he’s playing in the NFL

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Breust helps Hawks on way to comfortable win over Gold Coast

Sat, 30 May 2015 07:25:30 GMT

  • Hawthorn Hawks 14.9 (93) beat Gold Coast Suns 6.4 (40)
  • Melbourne Demons 8.6 (54) lost to Port Adelaide Power 18.7 (115)
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Fifa corruption: Sepp Blatter blasts US authorities over investigation

Sat, 30 May 2015 05:02:45 GMT

Re-elected president of world football’s governing body suggests arrests were timed to interfere with Zurich congress, while IRS official warns of more charges

The re-elected Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, has said he was “shocked” at the way US authorities targeted football’s world body and slammed what he called a “hate” campaign by Europe’s football leaders.

In an interview with Swiss television, Blatter said he suspected the arrest of seven Fifa officials in Zurich on Wednesday under a US anti-corruption warrant was an attempt to “interfere with the congress” on Friday at which he retained his post.

Related: From the mire of corruption, a Fifa leader emerges, it’s … Blatter

Related: Sepp Blatter: how the great survivor won another term amid Fifa crisis

Related: Brazil starts congressional inquiry into corruption after Fifa arrests

Related: The Guardian view on Sepp Blatter’s re-election: football’s missed chance | Editorial

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Amir Khan fights off spirited challenge from Chris Algieri

Sat, 30 May 2015 05:01:10 GMT

Amir Khan outpointed Chris Algieri to stay on course for a September showdown with Floyd Mayweather, but failed to deliver the statement that might have made the fight a mandate.

Khan overcame a spirited challenge from Algieri to win a unanimous decision in a 12-round welterweight fight before a crowd of 7,372 on Friday night. One ringside judge scored it 115-113, while the other two had it 117-111. (The Guardian had it 116-112.)

Related: Amir Khan beats Chris Algieri – as it happened

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Amir Khan beats Chris Algieri – as it happened

Sat, 30 May 2015 03:49:38 GMT

Signing off

Off to the post-fight press conference. Check back later for a fight report from a night that both did and didn’t go according to plan.

Tonight’s official scorecard

Here’s a look at tonight’s official scorecards. The Guardian unofficially had it 116-112. (Apologies for the earlier post of the incorrect scorecard. Working quickly tonight. Mistakes were made.)

Trying to get our hands on an official scorecard as the first of two swing bouts gets underway here. Stand by.

Khan wins by unanimous decision. Judges scores were 115-113, 117-111 and 117-111.

The Guardian has unofficially scored it 116-112, eight rounds to four for Khan, but there were at least four very close rounds in there. And we’re in Algieri’s hometown. So who the hell knows. Waiting on the judges scorecards.

Khan simply in better shape. It showed over the second half of the fight even as Algieri dug deep as if it was his last fight. Another sort of listless round halfway through, but Khan moving nicely, even gracefully at times, throwing combinations to the head and body. A round that could go either way but, eh, I’m giving to Algieri as he really pressed the action at a time when Khan seemed intent to pirouette and throw combos to score.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Khan 9-10 Algieri (Khan 116-112 Algieri)

Khan landing with more accuracy, stinging shots to the head and body. But credit to Algieri, who has slowed but keeps moving forward, throwing – and landing – shots with bad intentions. Big shot from Algieri upstairs! Then a pause in the action and a three-punch combo from Khan. Algieri bouncing on his heels but no longer pressuring Khan and mvoing forward. Fighters circle one another. Not a convincing round by either fighter. A swing round that could go either way, but Khan did seem to dictate (if only barely).

Guardian’s unofficial score: Khan 10-9 Algieri (Khan 107-102 Algieri)

A counter right from Khan to open the round lands with authority. Algieri slowing, less active. Khan showing the class of a champion. What a shot to Algieri’s abdomen by Khan, who has completely take over, landing heavy blows. Oh dear. Khan landing punches at will to the head and body. Another massive shot from Khan. Ten seconds left in the round and Algieri loads up on a big right that connects but not clearly. Khan darts out. He’s won the round easily and seems well in control.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Khan 10-9 Algieri (Khan 97-93 Algieri)

Khan’s conditioning shining through here. Looks fresher in the early stages of the round, moving backwards and punching with pace and accuracy. Algieri’s eyes swollen as he lunges forward. Khan’s winning the round with speed but Algieri still mvoing forward looking to dictate everything. A punishing left from Algieri as the clapper sounds, but Khan comes back with a blistering three-punch combo – nearly too fast for the eye to register – that punctuates a round he was already leading.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Khan 10-9 Algieri (Khan 87-84 Algieri)

More well-schooled combinations from Khan upstairs, but Algieri counters with a heat-seeking right hand that seems to hurt Khan a bit. This pressure, this pace. Then another even bigger right hand snaps Khan’s head back and sprays sweat onto the scoring table. Khan still landing combinations – better here! – a head-body-head combo from the Briton. A very difficult round to score: Khan with the classer combination work, Algieri with the harder punches. A honest toss-up I’ll give to Khan.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Khan 10-9 Algieri (Khan 77-75 Algieri)

Algieri back on the prowl, closing the distance and forcing the fight into a phone booth. Backs Khan up against the ropes and tries his hand at some in-fighting. Then Khan muscles him around and bullies Algieri into the corner, throwing a combination. The referee is very hands-on tonight, not letting these guys work. Annoying. Khan consistently first with his jab now. Wasn’t the case in the earlier rounds. Algieri’s eye swelling more than a bit. Not a ton of effective aggression from Khan but did more, enough to take the round.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Khan 10-9 Algieri (Khan 67-66 Algieri)

Better stuff from Khan here all around. Lands a three-punch combination that doesn’t seem to hurt Algieri but how couldn’t it have. Not sure if Algieri is slowing down or taking a round off. Understandable given the frenetic pace he’s set for himself. Lots of dazzling combinations from Khan. Showing his class here. Easiest round of the night to score.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Khan 10-9 Algieri (Khan 57-57 Algieri)

Not sure anyone saw this sort of action fight coming but here we are. Algieri still moving forward and doing his best to confound Khan’s speed with pressure. Khan backing up, backing up, trying to find any sort of distance to leverage his reach advantage but Algieri gives him no quarter. Khan goes down but the referee rules it a slip. Algieri fighting the perfect fight and – and this is important – he’s committed to the body attack. That could pay dividends in the later rounds. Again, this one could go either way, but I am going to give it to Algieri on pressure and workrate. If it goes the distance, will be interesting to see how these early rounds are scored.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Khan 9-10 Algieri (Khan 47-48 Algieri)

Love Algieri’s game plan here, not playing to his strengths but more to Khan’s perceived weaknesses. Khan lands a punishing combination to the body right there. Do think he’s becoming accustomed to the geometry and rhythm of the fight and is starting to do better work. A very sharp lead left hook for Algieri, who has used thar punch to great effect so far. They exchange in the middle of the ring. A TNT-packed right hook from Algieri detonates on Khan’s jaw. If he had any more power Khan might be floored by now. Very, very close round. Will give to Algieri.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Khan 9-10 Algieri (Khan 38-38 Algieri)

Third round picks up where the second left off, Algieri stalking Khan around the ring. And – oh my goodness – a crowd that seemed very partisan for Khan before the fight seems to be squarely in Algieri’s corner now as they chant his name. Algieri very active, moving forward, throwing punches with bad intentions. Many are missing, but he’s really setting the pace. Algieri really trying to make this a brawl! Algieri missed a lot of punches that round but there’s no doubt who is imposing their plan on the fight and I do think he did enough to nick it.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Khan 9-10 Algieri (Khan 29-28 Algieri)

Algieri really looks like the bigger man, admirably taking the fight to Khan despite what he lacks in speed. Trying to use his size advantage to muscle and bully inside. He’s really backing Khan up, but Amir is able to score while moving backwards. Really like Algieri’s strategy here, trying to make Khan feel the pressure. One minute left and Algieri is really closing the distance here, moving inside with great urgency, trying to cut the ring off. Khan landing punches, scoring even, enough to win the round, though I’m not sure how much effect those blows are having on Algieri.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Khan 10-9 Algieri (Khan 20-18 Algieri)

Khan first off with a nice left-right combination upsatirs, circling back to his left. Immediately looks much faster. Algieri, in flourescent yellow shoes with matching gloves, certainly looks bigger. He’s trying to walk Khan down. Algieri gets Khan up against the ropes and lands a nice combination, whike Khan is trying to counter. Algieri lanks a quick short left while moving inside. Algieri now initatiating the action, landing a right cross flush on Khan’s jaw that staggers Khan and draws a big reaction from the crowd. Still, Khan did enough with the speedy counterpunching to win.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Khan 10-9 Algieri (Khan 10-9 Algieri)

Final instructions

Fighters meeting at the center of the ring. Seconds out. This is it. We’ll pick it up with round-by-round coverage from here on out.

Fighters making entrances

Time for the stripped-down ringwalks that have become the Premier Boxing Champions standard. First out is Algieri, who enters to Nas’s N.Y. State of Mind wearing a Brooklyn Nets hat. Now here comes Khan to Aloe Blacc’s The Man, wearing in a red, white and blue kit.

Lucas star Jeremy Piven at ringside tonight.

Great to have @jeremypiven ringside! He's ready for the main event. #PBConSpike pic.twitter.com/h1gzPnCoRz

Javier Fortuna is your new WBA junior lightweight champion after winning a unanimous decision over Bryan Vasquez. Official scores were 116-112, 117-111 and 117-111. Great fight.

The Fortuna-Vasquez prelim has just ended and it’s a close one. I’ve got it 116-112 to Fortuna, but the scores on press row are all over the map. Waiting on the official cards. Meanwhile in the bowels of Barclays Center, tonight’s A-side is getting loose.

#TeamKhan pic.twitter.com/CcwQPujlVY

What time will Khan v Algieri start?

Saf K chimes in on Twitter to asks what time tonight’s main event starts. We’ve just finished the ninth round of tonight’s final prelim, a 12-rounder, so I’ll venture to guess Khan and Algieri make their ringwalks at 10.15pm ET/3.15 BST.

The pace in Fortuna-Vasquez has slowed a bit in the middle rounds. Good time to look back at a conversation I had with Khan’s trainer Virgil Hunter this week. Found he had some interesting thoughts on the negative public reaction to Mayweather v Pacquiao.

You don’t have educated fans today. And the people on TV, with all due respect to them, they try to program the fan into thinking that, if it’s not a certain way, it’s not a good fight. But that same fan will watch a good strategic soccer game or a basketball game. Strategy, always strategy. Success in life comes from strategy.

...

Javier Fortuna (27-0-1, 20 KOs) in the ring now against Bryan Vasquez (34-1, 18 KOs) with the vacant WBA junior lightweight championship on the line. Well, the regular version, whatever that means. Lots of crowd-pleasing exchanges so far. I’ve got Fortuna ahead three rounds to none on my card. Barclays Center, roughly half-empty in the minutes before this fight, filling up nicely now.

Tale of the tape

Hello! We’re here at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, where just one preliminary fight remains before Amir Khan takes on Chris Algieri in a 12-round welterweight fight. A quick look at tonight’s tale of the tape before we move forward.

Bryan will be here shortly. Meanwhile, here’s his preview of tonight’s fight:

This time last year Amir Khan was on the shortlist of candidates to meet Floyd Mayweather in a Saturday night pay-per-view blockbuster from Las Vegas, the sport’s most prestigious and lucrative platform. Now he’s fighting Chris Algieri on a Friday in Brooklyn on Spike TV, the network that brought you Stripperella, 1,000 Ways to Die and Tattoo Nightmares.

The Bolton puncher has always been proof the road to success is seldom a straight line. Wins over world champions like Devon Alexander, Marcos Maidana, Zab Judah, Andriy Kotelnik and Paulie Malignaggi have pushed him to the fringe of the Hall of Fame discussion, but the high-profile setbacks – a tactically inept knockout loss to Danny Garcia and 54-second destruction at the hands of Breidis Prescott – have often subverted his ascent at the worst possible times.

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Brumbies win over Bulls puts them on top, but Rebels fall short against Sharks

Sat, 30 May 2015 00:14:28 GMT

  • Brumbies 22-16 Bulls
  • Wallabies lock Sam Carter injured in first half
  • Sharks 25-21 Rebels
  • Two tries to Rebels’ captain Scott Higginbotham
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Talking Horses: Saturday’s best bets plus all the latest racing news

Fri, 29 May 2015 23:25:00 GMT

Bogart still possesses a touch of class and could well provide another winner for Kevin Ryan’s in-form yard over a slightly shorter trip at York
Horse racing tips: Saturday 30 May
Dual Arc de Triomphe winner Treve wins Prix Corrida on seasonal return

It is getting on for two years since Bogart (2.55) actually won a race but the old star quality still hangs about him. At 11-1 the six-year-old from Kevin Ryan’s in-form yard is fairly priced, now that he drops down to the minimum trip at York for a Saturday handicap that looks like the day’s big betting race.

The chestnut won at York as a juvenile and again at the 2013 Ebor meeting, giving weight and a beating to Goldream. He did not win last year but he still had a productive three-race spell when he was second behind an impressive Portland winner and was third in Ayr’s Silver Cup.

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Munster look to give Paul O’Connell stylish send-off against Glasgow

Fri, 29 May 2015 22:59:05 GMT

• Pro 12 final will be final game for France-bound veteran
• Glasgow Warriors aiming to go one better after defeat in 2014
Gripping final to cap absorbing domestic season

The most exciting run-in of Celtic/Italian rugby’s 14-year history will hit the finish line in Belfast on Saturday. With no sign of Ulster in this Guinness Pro 12 final it remains to be seen exactly how many turn up at Kingspan Stadium, but if the last month is an accurate form guide then it will be worth the effort.

For Munster, looking for their fourth title, there is the supplementary issue of seeing off Paul O’Connell in style before he takes up residency in France, most likely Toulon. For Glasgow, who are seeing off a handful of players themselves, the agenda is more clear-cut: winning will validate the progress of the last three seasons, in which they have reached back-to-back semi-finals before last season losing their first decider – to Leinster.

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Chris Gayle hammers Essex as Somerset win T20 Blast match on last ball

Fri, 29 May 2015 22:21:07 GMT

• Essex 176; Somerset 177-7
• West Indies batsman Chris Gayle hits 92 off 59 balls

Chris Gayle was Somerset’s star as they secured a thrilling last-ball, three-wicket victory over Essex in their NatWest T20 Blast match at Chelmsford.

After an uncertain start the West Indies batsman hit 92 from 59 balls after Essex had been bowled out for 176. Jesse Ryder and Tom Westley scored half-centuries in a losing cause for the hosts.

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Jonás Gutiérrez hits out at Mike Ashley after release by Newcastle

Fri, 29 May 2015 22:19:00 GMT

• Gutiérrez’s goal against West Ham helped Newcastle avoid relegation
• Defender Ryan Taylor is also to leave St James’ Park

Newcastle have released Jonás Gutiérrez less than a week after he helped stave off relegation from the Premier League.

The 31-year-old started the season battling back from testicular cancer and ended it by inspiring Newcastle to a vital 2-0 win over West Ham. Gutiérrez provided one goal and scored the other in what proved to be his last match for Newcastle, who confirmed Ryan Taylor is also leaving.

Two things I learn from my illness how you can support a player (newcastle fans) and how you leAve a player alone (newcastle owner)

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Atlanta Falcons release linebacker accused of killing girlfriend's dog

Fri, 29 May 2015 21:55:42 GMT

  • Atlanta linebacker was accused of aggravated animal cruelty
  • Shembo allegedly killed girlfriend’s dog via blunt force trauma
  • Falcons announced Shembo was released on Friday afternoon

Police on Friday charged Atlanta Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo with aggravated animal cruelty after his girlfriend’s dog died from blunt force trauma.

Denicia Williams called police on 19 April to report that her ex-boyfriend had killed her dog, Gwinnett County police said in a news release Friday. Williams told police she had taken her Yorkie, Dior, to Shembo’s apartment on April 15. At some point, she left Shembo alone with the dog, and when she found the dog later he was unresponsive.

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Arsène Wenger has no intention of letting Jack Wilshere leave Arsenal

Fri, 29 May 2015 21:30:04 GMT

• Wenger wants midfielder at the club for his peak years
• Wilshere is not certain to start FA Cup final against Aston Villa

Arsène Wenger has said he has never considered selling Jack Wilshere, nor is he about to start. The midfielder, who has been with the club since the age of nine, stated recently that it would hurt if Arsenal sold him and feel strange to wear another shirt. Wenger responded by emphasising his commitment to the 23-year-old.

“I made Jack Wilshere start at 17 years of age,” said the Arsenal manager. “That means that you cannot show a bigger desire of wanting a player. We have always extended his contract and we have been very patient with all his injuries. At some stage I think he must feel wanted. We always stood by him through every difficult moment. Does that mean we want him to stay here for a longer period? Yes, as we would like to benefit from his talent now.” The message to any potential suitors is an unequivocal hands off.

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Gabriel Agbonlahor: Aston Villa’s struggles made it hard to leave the house

Fri, 29 May 2015 21:30:04 GMT

Forward has felt a tough period for the club more keenly than most but hopes FA Cup final will spark a turnaround in individual and collective fortunes
‘FA Cup final will not overawe Jack Grealish’

More than five years have passed since Gabriel Agbonlahor last had the chance to win silverware at Wembley and it says everything about what happened that day that the Aston Villa striker sounds like a man who is about to return to the scene of a crime. Villa were beaten 2-1 by Manchester United in the 2010 League Cup final and a furious sense of injustice still burns inside him.

Under five minutes had gone when Agbonlahor was brought down by Nemanja Vidic in what looked like a clear professional foul. Phil Dowd, the referee, awarded a penalty and James Milner converted from the spot but Vidic somehow stayed on the pitch. United, almost inevitably, turned the game around and Villa, in more ways than one, never recovered.

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Sepp Blatter re-elected Fifa president amid corruption scandal – video

Fri, 29 May 2015 21:08:28 GMT

Sepp Blatter has been re-elected Fifa president after Jordan's Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein conceded defeat at the annual Congress of world soccer's governing body. Voting was due to go to a second round after neither candidate got two-thirds of the vote in the first round. Blatter secured 133 votes and Prince Ali got 73. However, the Jordanian challenger decided to withdraw from the election, leaving 79-year-old Swiss Blatter to celebrate securing another four years in office Continue reading...







Stuart Lancaster looks to England’s future without Dylan Hartley

Fri, 29 May 2015 21:00:03 GMT

• Lancaster: ‘My priority is to move on to players I have available’
• Leicester’s Tom Youngs is likely to become first-choice hooker

Before Stuart Lancaster started his media conference one hour after the announcement that he had dropped Dylan Hartley from England’s World Cup training squad the head coach made it clear that he preferred to talk about Sunday’s match against the Barbarians and the preparations for the World Cup rather than the errant Northampton hooker.

The hooking is dead, long live the hooking. Most of the questions were about Hartley, who was removed from the squad after receiving a four-match ban this week for pushing his head into that of Saracens’ Jamie George in last week’s Premiership play-off semi-final – the player has replaced him in the 50 preparing for the World Cup – which meant he would not be available for the tournament opener against Fiji but Lancaster rarely referred to him in the future tense.

Related: England drop Northampton’s Dylan Hartley from World Cup training squad

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Bath reinvent golden era with a modern twist as Premiership final awaits

Fri, 29 May 2015 21:00:03 GMT

Stuart Hooper and his squad decided ‘to reconnect with what the club are all about’ – now Saracens stand between them and a first league title since 1996

One of the central planks of Bath’s renaissance often goes unnoticed. Even in a Twickenham final week, amid the splendour of the club’s manor house HQ in Farleigh Hungerford, surprisingly few choose to seek him out. “Anyone want to speak to Stuart Hooper?” asks a plucky press officer, sticking her head around the door of the music room: this is Bath, remember. Her audience, their notebooks already full of quotes from Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph, fall guiltily silent. Their editors will always find space for a “Slammin” Sam Burgess story but good old Stuart not so much.

Too many are missing the bigger picture. Hooper was working towards such days long before Burgess arrived. As the club’s captain since 2011, Hooper has seen such respected coaches as Sir Ian McGeechan and Gary Gold come and go. Even Bruce Craig, whose millions have funded the grandest of rugby designs, and Mike Ford, the head coach, are marginally less qualified to pinpoint why the team are back tilting for a Premiership title.

Related: Salary cap may not fit Bath or Saracens but critics have to wear it – for now

Related: Bath and Saracens final may offer a few clues for England at the World Cup

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