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COVID-19: Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev match to be postponed

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The chaos causes by the Convid-19 virus may affect the Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev

The match could be delayed until July due to the world pandemic disease, promoter Eddie Hearn said on Tuesday.

Joshua is due to fight Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20.

But the British star could be forced to give up that date if Tottenham need the ground for a potential extension of the Premier League campaign.

All top-flight football matches have been suspended until early April at the earliest due to the pandemic, causing speculation that the season will be finished in the summer.

Euro 2020 has been pushed back a year to 2021, which has opened up room in the schedule to play domestic matches in June and July if possible.

Hearn, whose Matchroom organisation earlier confirmed the postponement of all boxing events in March and April, has dismissed the prospect of any of his major bouts being staged behind closed doors.

Referring to Joshua’s June 20 date, Hearn told Sky Sports News: “At the moment it’s still in place.

“Obviously with the news of the Euros being cancelled and the possible extension of the Premier League season, Spurs may need that stadium in June.

“We do have an option to run that fight in July as well at the same stadium. Everything now is really a case-by-case situation and a day-by-day situation of trying to think on your feet.

“June 20 is a long time away. It’s still in our plans and we have been speaking to Tottenham to make sure we’re all on the same page and that we know we have the same strategy moving forward.”

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2 more Australian Open players test positive for COVID-19

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Two more Australian Open players tested positive for COVID-19, an official said on Wednesday.

The development came as the Australian government confirmed it would send the quarantine bill for the tournament to Tennis Australia’s desk.

Victoria state police minister Lisa Neville said two players and a non-playing Australian Open participant comprised three new infections reported on Wednesday.

A total of 10 people associated with the Grand Slam, including four players, have now tested positive for the virus.

There has been confusion over the exact numbers, with several test results later reclassified by authorities as “viral shedding” from previous infections.

The viral shedders are not contagious.

Neville said authorities were “very confident” one of the two new player infections was a case of viral shedding.

“Of the other two, it’s less clear that they’re shedding. That will be worked through, and that’s one player and one support person,” Neville told reporters.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said two players reported to have tested positive on Tuesday were also viral shedders.

More than 70 players and their entourage are confined to their hotel rooms for 14 days and unable to train for the Feb. 8 to Feb. 21 Australian Open.

This was after passengers on three charter flights returned positive tests.

Authorities have shelled out huge funds to fly over 1,200 players, coaches and officials on 17 charter flights to Australia to put on the year’s first Grand Slam.

Tennis Australia (TA) boss Tiley said quarantine costs may exceed 40 million Australian dollars, part of which would be covered by the state government of Victoria.

The huge expense and effort to fly in the players during the pandemic has angered some Australians, with thousands of the country’s citizens stranded overseas due to travel restrictions.

Neville was adamant taxpayers would not be footing the bill for the quarantine costs, prompting TA to row back and issue a statement saying tournament organisers would pick up the tab.

A number of players have complained about the hard quarantine, raising concerns they may be at a disadvantage to better-prepared rivals.

Daniel Vallverdu, coach of three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, said organisers needed to give preferential treatment to players unable to train for two weeks.

Kazakh women’s world number 28 Yulia Putintseva complained again of mice in her quarantine hotel room.

Police minister Neville promised more pest control but urged players not to feed the rodents.

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NOC mourns former sports minister, Bala Ka’Oje

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The Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) on Wednesday expressed shock over the news of the demise of the former Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Bala Ka’oje.

The Public Relations Officer of NOC, Phemmy Adetula, in a statement in Lagos noted that the NOC President, Habu Gumel, described the demise of the former sports minister as shocking and unbelievable.

Gumel further described Ka’oje as a good man, gentle, resourceful and always willing to offer solutions to all problems while in office and thereafter.

“This is not the time to lose such an industrious son of our nation, but who are we to query God? Ka’oje will be solely missed.

“On behalf of the members of the NOC, we commiserate with the Federal Government of Nigeria, Kebbi State Government, his immediate family and the sporting community on this sad and irreparable loss,” he said.

Ka’oje, a master’s degree holder in structural engineering from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria was born 60 years ago in Kebbi.

He has since been buried in Abuja according to Islamic rites,” the statement added.

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Messi receives 1st red card of Barcelona career

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Messi receives 1st red card of Barcelona career

Top football star, Lionel Messi received the 1st red card of his career at Barcelonaafter he threw an arm at Asier Villalibre, who had earlier scored a 90th-minute equaliser in normal time to deny Barca victory at the Spanish Super Club final.

Messi shook off a thigh problem to start in Seville and was required to play all 120 minutes as Barcelona attempted to take the game to penalties.

 

Instead, the 33-year-old lost his temper at the end of a combative contest, reacting to a late challenge from Villalibre by chasing and raising his hand to his opponent.

It meant a first ever red card in 753 appearances for Barcelona, to go with his two reds for Argentina in 2005 and 2019.

Messi’s anger will take some of the limelight away from Bilbao, who had already denied the competition a Clasico final by beating Real Madrid in the semi on Thursday and now have completed the set.

It means a title and the perfect start for Marcelino Garcia Toral, who only took over as coach less than two weeks ago.

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