WBO junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor faces Teofimo Lopez Jr. in the main event of a Top Rank Boxing card Saturday at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York (ESPN/ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET, undercard on ESPN+ at 6:15 p.m.).
This is a battle between a former junior welterweight champion, Taylor, of Scotland, and a former unified lightweight champ, Lopez, of Brooklyn, New York. Taylor relinquished his other three major belts to pursue a rematch with Jack Catterall, whom he’d beaten in a controversial decision in February 2022. When that rematch fell through, Taylor set his sights on Lopez.
Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) is a natural 140-pound fighter who has beaten Regis Prograis, Jose Ramirez and Ivan Baranchyk. Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) is fighting in the division for only the third time. His previous fights at 140 pounds were a TKO of Pedro Campa in August and a controversial split decision over Sandor Martin in December.
Both fighters had to be separated during an attempt to face off during Thursday’s news conference. They been actively engaging on social media leading up to the fight and those comments seem to have struck a chord.
“He means what he says and I mean what I say,” Taylor said at the news conference. “There is genuine dislike here. He’s been disrespectful. I’m going to make him pay for his words on Saturday. I can’t wait to get in there. You will see a Josh Taylor win, possibly by KO, and nice and early as well.”
Lopez said he has improved from his last fight and promised to become a two-time lineal world champion.
“What is ‘The Takeover’ if he doesn’t take over the guys that are the kingpins of the division?,” Lopez said. “So, when it comes to Josh Taylor and the junior welterweights, he is the guy. That’s the guy that you have to beat to be the greatest. That’s what we aim for all the time.”
Follow along as Mike Coppinger and Michael Rothstein recap the action as it happens in New York or watch the fights on ESPN+.
ISTANBUL — It was mission accomplished for Pep Guardiola on Saturday night at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, and he did it with the big boss watching from the stands. By delivering Manchester City’s first Champions League title, Guardiola has done precisely what he was hired to do by owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, but by achieving a treble at the same time, he has added the most incredible flourish.
Simply put: Manchester United are no longer the only English club to win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in the same season. Their 1999 triumph has now been matched by Guardiola’s City after Rodri’s 68th minute goal sealed a 1-0 win against Inter Milan.
Since arriving at the Etihad in 2016, Guardiola has won five Premier Leagues, masterminded a domestic treble in 2019 and guided City to 100 points — the only team to do so in the Premier League era — in the 2017-18 season. Despite all that success, the Champions League had been a tale of failure and near-misses, including losing the 2021 final against Chelsea in Porto.
Guardiola had even said before this game that his City side — and his time at the club — could not be regarded as legendary until they won the Champions League. But the wait is finally over, and Istanbul will always now mean just one thing to City and their supporters: ultimate glory.
“It was written in the stars,” Guardiola said. “It belongs to us. I’m tired. Calm. Satisfied. It’s so difficult to win it.”
This was certainly City’s night, but it is really Guardiola’s achievement and his tearful relief at the final whistle told the story of the pressure he has been under to make the club European champions. Sheikh Mansour’s presence at the game probably added to that stress. Despite pumping over £2 billion into the club since buying City in September 2008, he had only previously been to one game, a home win against Liverpool in 2010. The prospect of having to say “sorry, better luck next time” to the man who has bankrolled Guardiola’s team-building project was one the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach probably didn’t want to contemplate.
There’s no doubt Guardiola has been indulged like a favourite child by Sheikh Mansour and the club’s Abu Dhabi hierarchy, but he is the best manager in the world, and perhaps the best of all time — he has been indulged for a reason. He has welcomed the players he’s wanted like forward Erling Haaland, midfielders Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan, winger Jack Grealish, defender Ruben Dias and goalkeeper Ederson, who made two crucial saves from Romelu Lukaku and Robin Gosens as Inter chased a late equaliser, but he has made them all better.
So many clubs have spent fortunes on shiny new signings and failed to see their investment repaid with success. Just look at Chelsea over the past 12 months or United in the 10 years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Money doesn’t guarantee success. It helps, of course, but no manager or coach in the game right now is able to demand — or get — so much from his players like Guardiola. Some, including John Stones, Kyle Walker and Manuel Akanji, have had their games elevated to a whole new level by the former Barca midfielder.
And yet the irony of their victory against Inter is that it was achieved without any of the flair or dominance that have come to mark Guardiola’s City. In the end, Inter didn’t meet the same fate as other elite teams like Liverpool, Arsenal and Real Madrid, all of whom were ruthlessly dismantled over the closing weeks of the season. The Serie A side were dogged and disciplined, with coach Simone Inzaghi’s tactical plan clearly frustrating City.
Guardiola was pained on the touchline at times, especially when an Akanji mistake gifted a chance to Lautaro Martinez that was wasted by the Inter forward. (Ederson did well to narrow the angle and keep his body behind the ball, making the stop look easy.) The City manager also had his head in his hands when Lukaku and Gosens went close to equalising in the final minutes, which could have taken the game into extra time.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)
Even though Inter made City fight for the victory, Guardiola’s side found a way. Phil Foden, a first-half substitute for the injured Kevin De Bruyne, was the spark who upped the tempo, which led to Rodri scoring the game’s only goal after Inter failed to prevent Bernardo Silva’s cross from reaching the defensive midfielder near the edge of the box.
However, City were still unconvincing after taking the lead. It was probably their worst performance for months — Inter also hit the crossbar via Federico Dimarco — but they held on to win.
“This is a really proud moment for everyone at this football club,” City captain Gundogan said. “We work so hard every single day and we have wanted to win this trophy for so long. The Champions League is a beautiful competition and we are all incredibly happy to have won. This team deserves the highest recognition, and winning the Champions League elevates us to the very top of the game.
“To win the treble is something amazing. It is the ultimate achievement for any club team, and we have done it. It reflects the quality we have in our squad, but it also shows how dedicated we are.”
Michallik on Man City’s UCL win: Sometimes you have to grind it out
Janusz Michallik discusses how Manchester City adjusted in the game after Kevin De Bruyne’s injury.
It is a triumph that also means Guardiola can now look Sheikh Mansour in the eye and say he’s done everything asked of him and more. His City side have consistently been the best in England, and now they are definitively the best in Europe. They have broken records galore and even taken United’s proudest claim of being the only treble winner in England. United are now not even the only treble winner in their own city.
All of that is down to Guardiola. While he remains at the Etihad, anything is possible and City can now target other milestones. For example, no team has won four successive English titles, but City can do that next season. No English club has retained the European Cup since Liverpool in 1978, another mark City could match in 2023-24.
Guardiola has taken City to the sport’s highest possible peak and they don’t look like leaving it anytime soon.
Tom VanHaaren, ESPN Staff WriterJun 10, 2023, 06:29 PM ET
Michigan running back Donovan Edwards revealed Saturday that he played the majority of last season with a partially torn patella.
Edwards injured his hand in a 34-3 win over Nebraska on Nov. 12 and had to wear a cast, which was visible and required two screws in his hand. But he also said he injured the patella in the second game of the season against Hawai’i, a 56-10 win on Sept. 10.
“I got that fixed up, had surgery in February and just been rehabbing now,” Edwards said. “I’m up to par now, running, cutting, doing all that good stuff. So, like that recovery wasn’t going to take long, about four months to get full speed, three months for me to feel good.”
Edwards shared carries with Blake Corum last season and ran for 991 yards and seven touchdowns. Edwards noted that his rehab has gone as planned and he is ready for the season to start.
He is now working on trusting himself to run and cut, reaching top speed and getting into playing shape. Edwards said he doesn’t believe that will be difficult to achieve and that he’s already past the difficult part.
“I always thought it’s OK, tendinitis, it’s a little achy,” Edwards said. “I found out against Hawai’i, I made that catch right at the goal line, put my knee back and it just didn’t feel right. I found out it was partially torn and after that just continue to work around it.”
Edwards was able to get relief by sharing carries with Corum, but he carried most of the load against Ohio State when Corum was injured and couldn’t play. In that game, despite the patella injury, Edwards ran for 216 yards and two touchdowns in Michigan’s 45-23 win.
“My leg would’ve had to been cut off to not play,” Edwards said. “Same thing with the broken hand, put a cast on it and I’ll carry [the ball] in my dominant hand. Just got to do what you got to do to come up successful and win a game.”
Inter Milan manager Simone Inzaghi expressed his pride at what his team had achieved even though they suffered a bitter loss to Manchester City in the Champions League final on Saturday.
Inzaghi’s side lost the final 1-0 after a second-half goal from Rodri, but the 47-year-old Inzaghi remained upbeat after a tough season in which he came under heavy pressure before guiding his side to third place in Serie A as well as winning the Italian Cup and Super Cup.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)
“On a night like this, I can’t single players out who played below par. I said yesterday I would not change my players for anyone else, and tonight the world saw why,” Inzaghi told Sky Sports Italia.
“They showed the whole world how well they stood up to Manchester City, a side that everyone knows has so much quality.
“I hugged my players one by one, as they were extraordinary, just as our fans were and deserved a different result, but I hope they were happy seeing the way the team played tonight.”
Inzaghi has faced harsh criticism from fans and media.
“Both I and my players were attacked and admittedly we lost some games that we shouldn’t have lost, but I think we learned valuable lessons from those defeats,” he said, pointing out that the team had won four trophies over the last two years.
“With this spirit, organisation and determination, I think we will be back here again in future,” he added.
Arcangelo won the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
The race was in slight jeopardy after the northeast was engulfed in unhealthy smoke, and the state of New York suspended racing, training, and workouts Thursday.
Skies turned orange that prompted a number of professional sports teams to postpone games over air quality concerns.
The main track is seen prior to the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park, June 8, 2023, in Elmont, N.Y.(Al Bello/Getty Images)
PETA issued a statement Wednesday calling for the cancelation of Thursday’s events, but PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo also asked that the NYRA consider potentially canceling all horse racing throughout the weekend if the air quality conditions persisted.
Thoroughbreds and exercise riders train prior to the 149th Belmont Stakes in 2017, in Elmont, N.Y. (Al Bello/Getty Images, File)
“If the air in New York is unsafe for humans, it will be worse for horses running at top speed,” Guillermo said in a statement. “The safety of the horses must come before profit and tradition, even if it means postponing the Belmont Stakes.”
A view of the starting gate at the Belmont Stakes. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, File)
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday the Belmont Stakes could be canceled if the air quality index on Saturday exceeds 200, the Environmental Protection Agency benchmark for air that is very unhealthy for everyone. However, at 4 p.m. ET, the air index was at a 49 at the racetrack.
The summer transfer window isn’t open yet in Europe, but teams are getting ready for it, and there’s plenty of gossip swirling around. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!
TOP STORY: Gundogan to consider Saudi offer?
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has received an offer from Saudi Arabia’s league in an effort to bring him to a club in their country, according to Foot Mercato.
Gundogan, who captained City in Saturday’s Champions League final victory Internazionale to complete a historic treble, will see his contract expire at the Etihad this month.
Barcelona have been making efforts to sign the Germany international when he becomes a free agent, with it being suggested that the Catalan giants have even reached an agreement with him. There is also interest from Paris Saint-Germain, who will be desperate to emulate City’s achievement of lifting their first ever Champions League title.
However, Saudi Arabia are also making efforts to sign the coveted midfielder when the opportunity arises. This comes as part of their league’s efforts to sign big-name players for their league, having already seen Cristiano Ronaldo join Al Nassr in January and Karim Benzema move to Real Madrid to Al Ittihad last week.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)
– Manchester City are considering making a move worth £60 million for RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol, reports Ekrem Konur. The 21-year-old has also been linked with Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid and PSG.
– Bayern Munich want a decision by June 14 on whether Lucas Hernandez will renew his contract or they should offload the left-back to PSG, according to Christian Falk. The 27-year-old only has one year left on his contract and Bayern are looking to ensure they avoid losing the France international as a free agent.
– Saudi Arabian club Al Ahli has made defender Sergio Ramos an offer of two years with the option for another, as reported by Ekrem Konur. The 37-year-old will be a free agent with his PSG contract expiring at the end of June.
– AC Milan are working to sign Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze, reports Sky Sports Italia, who add that the Spanish club want €25m for the 24-year-old’s transfer. Milan are also looking at Lens star Lois Openda, who also has a reported €40m fee. Milan also are interested Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram, who will become a free agent at the end of June, but whose wage demands of €6m-per-season are considered too high.
– Atletico Madrid’s Alvaro Morata is the priority for AS Roma as they look to bring in a striker during the summer, reports Calciomercato. The 30-year-old is keen to be reunited with Paulo Dybala after having previously played together at Juventus. Roma could look to sign Morata on an initial loan with an obligation to make the move permanent for €30m, or have Roger Ibanez included in a deal.
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