Job done for Anthony Joshua, who once again holds the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles.

The British fighter achieved his aim in the rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr, just about staying far enough away from the kind of trouble that saw him lose the belts in the first place to make amends for the only blot on his professional record.

He could not quite produce the kind of sensational stoppage his opponent managed on a still-scarcely believable New York night back in June, instead choosing to use his physical advantages to dictate from a distance, boxing off the back foot behind a solid jab. Prior to the bout, Joshua had sought out Wladimir Klitschko for advice - this was just the kind of performance Dr Steelhammer would have prescribed during their conversations.

"I took my 'L' and I bounced back," the victor said in the immediate aftermath. While it was far from flashy, the result was really all that mattered for the 2012 Olympic gold medallist.

Hyperbole is so often present in sport, yet it was not too much of an overstatement to state this was a must-win situation for Joshua. Another setback, whether by stoppage or on the scorecards, would have been a disaster. Shock losses are a risk in his line of work – just look at the careers of heavyweight legends Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson – but two defeats on the spin would be tough to overcome.

With that in mind, it made sense for the determined challenger to make absolutely sure history was not repeated. There was simply too much on the line to take any risks. Work commitments forced Jose Mourinho to turn down the offer of a ticket, yet he must have been impressed by Joshua's safety first strategy in the face of such obvious danger.

There were moments during the bout when Joshua had to fight his natural instinct to attack, where he appeared seemingly ready to step into range and follow up a heavy shot with a further barrage, only to realise that was not part of the plan worked on with trainer Rob McCracken. It was as if he had to continually remind himself of the best way to be successful boxing: hit and don't get hit.

My hope is that someone sees my page and decides not to give up. Clean hearts win  pic.twitter.com/yBrHeLq19q

— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) December 8, 2019

It helped his cause that he was up against an opponent who had clearly made the most of his unexpected success.

Having registered over 20 stones on the scales at Friday's weigh-in, Ruiz was unsurprisingly sluggish with his footwork, as if wearing boots full of Saudi Arabian sand, and slow to pull the trigger. At least in defeat his pockets are full, though.

Piling on an extra 15 pounds following the first fight seemed an odd tactic even before the action was under way inside the purpose-built arena. It had taken around six weeks to put the venue together – Ruiz had the opportunity to destroy Joshua's career in the space of six months, in the process proving what unfolded at Madison Square Garden was no fluke.

Instead, once the now-trademark sombrero came off, he was completely overshadowed by Joshua. In more ways than one, there had been too much on Ruiz's plate in the aftermath of that famous triumph in the Big Apple, leading to a lacklustre display that he may live to regret. Despite the beaten boxer stating his desire for the pair to make it a trilogy, a third instalment seems unlikely to be on the agenda for 2020.

And, in turning the focus to next year, you realise that while much went on in the heavyweight division in 2019, not a lot has changed. Deontay Wilder remains the WBC champion, as we tantalisingly wait for that Tyson Fury rematch (fingers crossed for February), while Joshua now once again has the three other major belts in his possession.

Meanwhile, Dillian Whyte – now cleared by UK Anti-Doping - waits for his opportunity to face somebody, anybody, for the chance to get his hands on a world title. Then there is the ultra-talented Oleksandr Usyk, the next in line with the WBO, who has fought just once since moving up in weight.

Maybe the talented Filip Hrgovic – an easy winner against Eric Molina on the undercard in Diriyah – is set to be thrust into major fights, or the promising Daniel Dubois builds on 13 straight wins to make a breakthrough on the global stage.

Despite the strength in numbers and all that has happened in the previous 12 months, the status quo remains the same. By finding the necessary – if unspectacular – way to avenge his first loss, a relieved Joshua knows he once again sits with fellow Brit Fury and the undefeated Wilder as the kingpins among the big men.

Andy Ruiz Jr's trainer, Manny Robles, has suggested the heavyweight only had himself to blame for being out of shape for his rematch with Anthony Joshua.

Six months on from sensationally snatching Joshua's IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight belts, Ruiz was on the wrong end of three lopsided scorecards in Saudi Arabia on Saturday as he suffered a comprehensive points defeat.

There had been significant surprise at the weigh-in when Ruiz tipped the scales at 20st 3lb, more than a stone heavier than he had been for the first fight.

In a post-fight news conference, a sheepish Ruiz admitted "the partying got the best of me" and apologised to Robles and his father for his poor preparation, adding: "I should have listened to them more. I shouldn't have put on all this weight."

Robles told Seconds Out: "We had the time, we had the sparring, the proper sparring, I believe, but it's up to the fighter. It's definitely up to the fighter. 

"I'd rather not discuss that because I don't want to make it seem like an excuse. The better man won, period. Unfortunately, as Andy said, he should have been more committed, he should have trained harder, but what are you going to do now?

"You've got to get back to the drawing board and if he really means what he says about coming back to the gym and training hard then I believe he's definitely a title contender. He can definitely give everyone a run for their money."

Defending his own work, Robles added: "I don't think I lost the connection with my fighter, I just think it's more him, it's more the individual. The individual has to be disciplined, you got to be hungry. I can't want it more than him. He's got to want it."

Ruiz claimed increased media commitments had hindered his preparation, but Robles said: "You cannot let the situation control you. There's 24 hours in a day when you can go and do a press conference or show up some place but then you still have the rest of the day to get back to work, to get back to business."
 

Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown wants to see Ben Simmons attempt at least one three-pointer in every game after the All-Star scored from beyond the arc for only the second time in his career.

Having broken his three-point duck against the New York Knicks last month, Simmons prompted huge cheers at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday when he made a basket from range in a 141-94 thrashing of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Australian point guard finished the contest with a career-high 34 points and was duly set a target by his coach in a post-game news conference.

"This is what I want and you can pass this along to his agent, his family, his friends and to him," said Brown. I want a three-point shot a game, minimum. The pull-up twos ... I'm fine with whatever is open. But I'm interested in the three-point shot.

"The mentality that he has where he's turning corners and taking that long step, that gather step, and bringing his shoulders to the rim and trying to dunk or finish tight, will equal higher efficiency, or getting fouled. That's the world that interests me the most. Those two things.

"The drama of it is overblown. The reality [is] that he can shoot and ultimately it's going to need to come into his game in a pronounced way from an attempt standpoint, that's not overblown. I think the drama surrounding it is completely overblown.

"When I put on my coaching hat and I'm looking at a 23-year-old young man trying to grow his game, it's completely, first, in his wheelhouse. And, secondly, he will be liberated. His world will open up. And I think, in many ways, so will ours."

Simmons was quoted by ESPN as saying: "I'm getting more comfortable. Obviously, throughout time I'm getting more comfortable with the game, and just learning my spots. And just adjusting."

Deontay Wilder has hit out at Anthony Joshua's "dance and grab and jab and hold" approach following the Briton's rematch victory over Andy Ruiz Jr, while suggesting a unification bout between the two heavyweight world champions is unlikely to ever happen.

Having suffered a sensational first career loss when he faced the unheralded Ruiz in June, Joshua reclaimed his WBA, WBO and IBF belts with a degree of comfort in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, keeping his opponent at distance for long periods on his way to a landslide points victory.

However, WBC champion Wilder lamented his rival's lack of aggression.

"Joshua did what he had to do to get the win," Wilder told The Athletic. "He ran around the ring and was on his bike all day. Basically, he had [Wladimir] Klitschko in the camp and he was a lot like Klitschko: that jab-grab-hold method. That's all he did tonight.

"He was so hesitant…Joshua's mentality was to survive. The Klitschko method. You want to dominate guys, man.

"I'm not coming in, after losing to this guy, to just dance and grab and jab and hold. I'm going to show the world and convince them I am the very best and that no one is close to me, especially with what's going on in the division right now. It's a time of proving who is the best.

"How can no one say I'm not the very best in the world now? I've given you what you pay for each and every time, especially when we're talking about a heavyweight bout. Fans come to see knockouts. They come to see something dramatic - a body lying on the canvas, spread like it's having birth. That's what people want to see, and that's my mentality."

A mandatory defence against either Oleksandr Usyk or Kubrat Pulev appears likely to represent Joshua's next task, even though he said he "would love" to face Wilder.

"I don't think we'll ever see a unification bout. We'll never see it, and I don't want people to get their hopes up on it because it'll never happen," said the American.

"His promoter [Eddie Hearn] talks about what they've accomplished, how many people attend, how they sell out this and that, but the thing is, nobody gives a f*** about those statistics and numbers. People want to see your heavyweight in there with our heavyweight! That's it! We're tired of hearing that other s***.

"I'm too dangerous. You've seen what I do in the ring. I don't play around. And they know if Ruiz can get Joshua out of there, imagine [what I could do] …that's why they stayed away from me."

Wilder was also highly critical of Ruiz, who acknowledged he had not prepared seriously enough for the rematch with Joshua after "three months of partying" to celebrate his first win. 

A disgusted Wilder said: "Ruiz said he was doing great [before the fight], not letting this moment get to him, but in the end you hear him saying he ate too much and should've trained harder … like, what the f***? What do you mean you ate too much and could've trained harder?

"I take this s*** seriously. I don't know what their mentality is, but I didn't become champion of the world just to say, 'put me in the record books. At least I can say I was a champion. They can never take that away from me!' 

"I'm here for legacy. Long live the king! That's my mentality, and America should love a world champion like me."

Warren Gatland believes the knee injury that deprived Wales of Gareth Anscombe was a decisive factor in the country's Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat to South Africa.

Gatland saw a glittering career as Wales coach end in disappointment as they again fell short of World Cup glory in 2019.

Having overseen defeats in the semi-finals in 2011 and quarter-finals in 2015, Gatland guided his side to the last four in Japan, only for them to suffer an agonising 19-16 loss to the Springboks.

Anscombe sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury in Wales' warm-up game with England, and the fly-half's absence was keenly felt by Gatland as they were denied by the eventual champions.

"We gave it everything in that semi-final against South Africa and at 16-16 with 10 minutes to go we were in control of the ball, the momentum had swung our way, I thought we were going to win and get ourselves into a World Cup final," Gatland told WalesOnline.

"It wasn't to be but that's just rugby, it's sport. I was gutted.

"That was the first time that I felt we really missed a player and that was Gareth Anscombe. He was a big loss for us.

"I've loved my time in Wales. The people have been amazing."

Enormous applause around the stadium as Warren Gatland signs off from Wales duty. What a twelve years it's been. #DiolchWarren pic.twitter.com/7z4swrAGw1

— Welsh Rugby Union (@WelshRugbyUnion) November 1, 2019

"Rhys Patchell did really well for us in a World Cup and Dan [Biggar] was excellent.

"But I just felt that the balance we had with Anscombe and Biggar beforehand, they complemented each other really well. They're different types of players and you're able to use them differently and use your strengths differently.

"It was the first time in my entire coaching career I felt that the loss of one player had a real effect.

"If you lose someone like [Taulupe] Faletau – and we know how good he is – we've got other players who are able to fill the space.

"A fit Faletau at his best would have been significant but there are other quality loose forwards there, so I felt like we could manage that.

"Anscombe is someone that we missed."

Matt Jones denied a fast-finishing Louis Oosthuizen to secure his second Australian Open title in Sydney on Sunday.

Jones became a dual winner of the tournament after holding on for a one-stroke victory following his final-round 69 at The Australian Golf Club.

Winner of the Australian Open in 2015, Australian golfer Jones entered the final day with a three-shot advantage.

But 2010 Open Championship winner Oosthuizen (66) threatened to spoil the party when he eagled the 72nd hole and cut Jones' lead to just one stroke.

Jones, however, managed to save par on the par-five 18th to claim the Stonehaven Cup at 15 under.

He joins an elite group, including Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Peter Thomson, Greg Norman and Jordan Spieth, as the only players to have won the title twice.

Amateur Takumi Kanaya (71) and Aaron Pike (69) finished tied for third at nine under, while Paul Casey (72), Greg Chalmers (67), Denzel Ieremia (71), Cameron Tringale (73) and Chun-An Yu (67) were a shot further back.

The Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks won big in the NBA thanks to Ben Simmons and Luka Doncic.

Simmons scored a career-high 34 points as the 76ers humbled the Cleveland Cavaliers 141-94 in Philadelphia on Saturday.

The All-Star was almost unstoppable in 26 minutes of action, making 12 of 14 field goals and hitting nine of 12 free throws to help the 76ers improve to 11-0 at home.

Philadelphia stayed perfect on home court despite the absence of Joel Embiid due to a left hip contusion.

Reigning Rookie of the Year Doncic, meanwhile, fuelled the Mavericks' 130-84 demolition of the New Orleans Pelicans.

Doncic posted 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds in 26 minutes for the Mavs, who led 64-52 at half-time.

 

Westbrook records triple-double

Russell Westbrook had his third consecutive triple-double in the Houston Rockets' 115-109 win at home to the Phoenix Suns. Westbrook finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. Rockets team-mate James Harden scored 34 points.

 

Cavs set season low

It was a tough night for the Cavaliers. Their 36 first-half points set a season low for points in a half, less than the 40 they managed against the Orlando Magic on Friday.

Lonzo Ball endured a forgettable game. The Pelicans guard was one of nine from the floor for just two points in 27 minutes. He also missed all seven of his three-point attempts.

 

Simmons drops another three

Prior to this season, Simmons had never made a three-pointer in the regular season. He is now up to two following this effort from beyond the arc.

 

Saturday's results

Dallas Mavericks 130-84 New Orleans Pelicans
Philadelphia 76ers 141-94 Cleveland Cavaliers
Indiana Pacers 104-103 New York Knicks
Houston Rockets 115-109 Phoenix Suns
Utah Jazz 126-112 Memphis Grizzlies

 

Raptors at 76ers

It is back-to-back home games for the 76ers (16-7), who welcome reigning champions the Toronto Raptors (15-6) to Philadelphia on Sunday. The 76ers will be looking to stay unbeaten on home court, while the Raptors can snap a two-game losing streak.

Jermall Charlo defended his WBC middleweight belt by stopping Dennis Hogan in the seventh round at the Barclays Center.

Charlo was too good for Hogan in Brooklyn on Saturday, with the unbeaten champion delivering a vicious left hook to send the Irish contender into the ropes.

Hogan – who was also dropped in the fourth round – staggered to his feet but referee Charlie Fitch stopped the fight 28 seconds into the seventh.

American Charlo preserved his unbeaten record at 30-0 in the 12-round main event.

"I just took a shot and made sure I landed right on the money," Charlo said of the knockout blow. "He took a shot back at me, but of course my power prevailed tonight. 

"The middleweight division is wide open. I'm the WBC middleweight champion, I'm going to go and enjoy this and get back to the drawing board. I'm here to fight whoever."

It was the first time in Hogan's (28-3) career that he had been stopped inside the distance during a 31-fight career.

"I wanted to keep going, but the decision was fair enough by the referee," said Hogan. "I didn't see the punch coming on the second knockdown. I was trying to keep boxing him, but then, all of a sudden, I was on the ground and the fight was over."

Chris Eubank Jr claimed the WBA's interim middleweight title after Matt Korobov suffered an early shoulder injury in Brooklyn.

Making his debut in the United States, British boxer Eubank (29-2) was declared winner by TKO in the second round on Saturday.

Russian Korobov (28-3) appeared to hurt his shoulder 20 seconds into the second round and referee Steve Willis eventually stopped the fight at Barclays Center.

"I feel like I was just about to get my swagger on," Eubank, who was back in action for the first time since beating James DeGale in February, said. "I hit him with a shot, and he turned around and stopped.

"I was about to go at him, but the referee told us to stop. I guess something happened with his shoulder, I don't know.

"There's nothing to take from the fight, I threw like three or four punches. I was just warming up.

"Karma is a real thing, whatever he's done, I don't know, there's a reason whatever happened, happened.

"This wasn't my dream debut here, I wanted to get my knockout and excite the fans."

 

Anthony Joshua said he "would love" to unify his belts against Deontay Wilder as the prospect of a highly anticipated heavyweight showdown edges closer after the British boxer regained his titles.

In a rematch with the man who sensationally dethroned him in June, Joshua reclaimed the WBA, WBO and IBF belts by unanimous decision against Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

Joshua produced a calculated performance to avenge the only loss of his professional career – the challenger prevailing 118-110 on two of the scorecards and 119-109 on the other.

After becoming a two-time heavyweight champion, attention quickly turned to Joshua and a potential blockbuster with WBC holder Wilder, who is set to meet Tyson Fury in a rematch.

Asked whether he wanted a unification bout against Wilder, Joshua told reporters: "Yeah, definitely. I would love to. I've united four.

"It's hard to keep and unite them. We will see what happens. I think me chasing, same in the fights, it may come crashing down. I'm just gonna let the path take its course. When the opportunity presents itself, I'll step up and take the challenge."

While Joshua versus Wilder is the fight everyone wants to see, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist is open to facing Ruiz again in Saudi Arabia to complete the trilogy.

"The great thing is his view on Saudi Arabia," Joshua said when asked about Ruiz's determination for a third battle. "That's a positive because he was a bit wary at first, so it's nice to see he has changed his opinion.

"It's neutral ground and territory. If he is keen, [Oleksandr] Usyk and [Kubrat] Pulev, Ruiz, I don't want to mention the other guys names, you know who they are but when they're ready.

"I've fought a lot of great names on my record and beaten some good names too. Andy is still on that list because we make good music. He is a good dancing partner."

Before any potential bouts with Ruiz and Wilder, Joshua has mandatory commitments to fulfil.

The WBO ordered Joshua make his mandatory defence against Oleksandr Usyk within 180 days, while the IBF wants the heavyweight champion to face challenger Kubrat Pulev.

"Let's rock and roll," Joshua said. "No problem."

Promoter Eddie Hearn added: "There's an IBF mandatory and WBO mandatory. Tonight is about celebrating the victory.

"Pulev is the IBF mandatory. Usyk is the WBO mandatory. I see him [Joshua] wanting to take both of those fights as well.

"We will have to speak to the governing bodies, see who goes first. Then deal with that. Joshua will have a nice Christmas, and we will work behind the scenes."

Andy Ruiz Jr admitted he came in too heavy for his rematch with Anthony Joshua but promised to be in the "best shape" if, as he hopes, the heavyweights meet again.

Having stepped in as a late replacement for Jarrell Miller, Ruiz shocked the boxing world when he recorded a seventh-round stoppage win over the previously undefeated Joshua in June this year.

However, the IBF, WBA and WBO champion failed to prepare properly for their second bout, staged in Saudi Arabia, weighing in at 20 stone and three pounds for his first defence of the belts.

In contrast, a slimmed-down Joshua - who had registered under 17 stone on the scales for the first time in over five years - was ready to go the distance, controlling the bout from start to finish as he recorded a unanimous points win on the scorecards.

Ruiz hopes the pair will make it a trilogy of fights by facing each other once again in 2020, as well as praising his successful opponent for doing "a hell of a job".

"It was his night. I didn't prepare how I should have, I gained too much weight," he told Sky Sports Box Office. "I don't want to give too many excuses, he boxed me around.

"[The weight] affected me. I thought I'd feel stronger, thought I'd feel better.

"I tried to train myself, but I don't want to give no excuses. Anthony Joshua did a hell of a job.

"If we do the third fight, you best believe I'm going to get in the best shape, be in the best shape of my life."

When asked if he would be willing to face Ruiz again, Joshua replied: "Without a doubt. Listen, if you heard – we are going to do a third."

Anthony Joshua wanted to show the "sweet science" of boxing after putting in a controlled performance to outpoint Andy Ruiz Jr and become a two-time champion of the world.

The British heavyweight regained the WBA, WBO and IBF titles that were sensationally snatched from his grasp by the same opponent earlier this year, winning their rematch by unanimous decision on Saturday.

Ruiz dropped his rival four times to force a seventh-round stoppage in New York back in June, yet never threatened to pull off a repeat result at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia.

Instead, Joshua controlled proceedings throughout, boxing behind his jab as - for the most part - he stayed safely out of range. Two of the judges at ringside scored the contest 118-110 in the challenger's favour, with the other official's card recording a 119-109 verdict.

In his post-fight interview, Joshua revealed he fought in such a manner out of respect for Ruiz - and also aimed a shot at those who had suggested he should retire after losing his perfect professional record six months ago.

"A man like me makes no excuses, this is about boxing, I'm used to knocking guys out. I got caught last time, no excuses, I gave him the credit," the 30-year-old told Sky Sports Box Office.

"I respect Andy and his trainer [Manny Robles] so much, I wanted to show the sweet science of this lovely sport. Stay hungry, stay humble - I'm humble in defeat and will stay humble in victory.

"It is all about preparation. One day, when I release a book, I will talk through my career. Careers are all about experience; there is no losing and no winning, it is about creating memories in this great game we all love.

"I took my 'L' and bounced back. Everyone can do it – life is a rollercoaster. What do you want me to do? Give up? I hear certain people saying I should retire. Come on, man. Please, respect us, this is what we love to do."

Promoter Eddie Hearn was delighted to see Joshua prove his critics wrong after the "humiliation" he suffered on his American debut. 

"That is beautiful. They wrote him off – they said he was all hype," Hearn said. "He had to come back from humiliation in Madison Square Garden. He is a two-time heavyweight champion of the world, give him the respect [because] he is a great individual."

Anthony Joshua regained the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles in Saudi Arabia, avenging the only loss of his pro career in the process, as he recorded a landslide points win over Andy Ruiz Jr.

The rematch between the pair failed to emulate the fireworks they produced in New York back in June, Joshua instead opting to utilise his reach advantage and box behind the jab.

There were occasional moments of success for Ruiz, who had stunned the boxing world when he sensationally stopped the Briton to claim the belts at the famous Madison Square Garden.

However, his reign as champion proved to be short-lived, all three scorecards understandably going in Joshua's favour. The challenger prevailed 118-110 on two of them, with the other score reading 119-109.

The 2012 Olympic gold medallist made his plan clear from the start, even when a big right hand in the first opened up a cut to the side of Ruiz's left eye.

Rather than rush in looking to finish the job, a tactic that cost him dearly in the first meeting, he opted to stay patient and stick to the plan laid out by his trainer, Robert McCracken.

Joshua was admittedly left bleeding himself after taking a blow in the second round, though it was one of the few occasions Ruiz – who had surprisingly weighed in 15 pounds heavier than earlier in the year - managed to catch up with his foe.

While the reigning champion controlled the centre of the ring for the majority of the contest, his inability to close the gap left him a long way behind as the rounds ticked by.

Even when Ruiz beckoned him in during the 12th, Joshua refused to take any risks. His restraint was duly rewarded with a unanimous victory, meaning he is once again on top of the world after getting the job done in Diriyah.

Henrik Stenson recorded his first tournament win in over two years as a stunning late eagle helped him clinch the Hero World Challenge on Saturday.

Top spot on a star-studded leaderboard changed hands on several occasions during a gripping final round, with Stenson making his move on the par-five 15th at the Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas.

The Swede came close to holing out his long-range approach shot to the green for an albatross, instead having to settle for a tap-in putt that moved him to 18 under par.

Three straight pars saw the 2016 Open champion sign for a score of 66, leaving him to watch on as those big names still out on the course attempted to catch him.

A fast-finishing Jon Rahm tried his best, an eagle of his own at the 15th sandwiched between birdies.

However, the Spaniard failed to pick up the shot he required over his closing two holes to draw level with Stenson, leaving him a shot adrift in second place.

Patrick Reed, who was handed a two-shot penalty during his third round after appearing to shift sand from behind his ball at the 11th hole, was along in third on 16 under, ahead of Tiger Woods.

A birdie at the seventh had Woods in front at 14 under but, after picking up another at the 11th, his hopes of victory were dealt a telling blow when he bogeyed the par-four 11th.

Justin Rose and Justin Thomas ended up tied together on 13 under, one clear of overnight leader Gary Woodland, whose topsy-turvy 73 included a double-bogey seven at the third.

Dillian Whyte declared he had gone through "hell" after he followed up being cleared by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) with a unanimous points win over Mariusz Wach in Diriyah.

The British heavyweight was in the ring 24 hours after UKAD announced they had dropped a doping charge against him that stemmed back to claims of an adverse finding before his triumph over Oscar Rivas in July.

Whyte had already been confirmed on the undercard to Anthony Joshua's rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr prior to the announcement on Friday, though he was understandably not at his best after taking the bout at short notice.

Wach - a former world-title challenger - proved to be a tough obstacle to shift during the 10-rounder, the Polish fighter even enjoying fleeting moments of success in a slow-paced contest.

Still, 'The Body Snatcher' finished strongly to get the nod from all three judges - then admitted in his post-fight interview that he had found it tough while waiting for his name to be cleared.

"I've been off for six months. There have been people screwing me left, right and centre for the past six months, and my mind has not been in the right place, but I carried on training," he told Sky Sports Box Office.

"I took this fight at three weeks' notice, came in about a stone and a half overweight, but I knew that, with my defence, I could get the rounds through. I wanted to stop him, but he's tough.

"I've been through hell these last couple of months, man, but we're here. I'm as tough as old boots."

In the chief support act to the main event in Saudi Arabia, Michael Hunter and Alexander Povetkin battled it out in an absorbing 12-round heavyweight fight that finished as a draw.

Hunter appeared to have his opponent in trouble on more than one occasion, but Povetkin came through the difficult moments to hear the final bell.

The Russian's efforts saw him get the nod 115-113 from one judge, with another tallying it the same in Hunter's favour. The third, however, could not split the pair, the 114-114 card leaving both fighters keen to do it all over again in 2020.

Shaq Thompson has signed a four-year contract extension with the Carolina Panthers to keep him with the franchise through 2023.

Agent Doug Hendrickson told ESPN it is a $54.2million pact with a maximum value of $57m, with $28m guaranteed and containing a signing bonus of $16m.

Thompson, 25, was due to become a free agent at the end of the season as he was playing under the fifth-year option.

He was drafted with the 25th overall pick in 2015 and has started every game for the 5-7 Panthers so far this season, making a career-high 93 tackles along with having three sacks and the same number of passes defended.

"Shaq is our type of person and our type of player," general manager Marty Hurney said as the team announced the extension on Saturday. 

"He's proven that he can play linebacker at a very high level, and he's got all the traits you want. 

"He's smart, he's physical, he can run and he's very versatile. He fits the blueprint for what we want at the position."

Thompson said of his new deal: "It means everything. What this organisation has done for me and my family, it's just tremendous.

"It feels good. It shows they have trust in me and faith in me to go on with the future of this young team that we have. 

"They see that I can help and I can be a part of the leadership of this group. That's really big for me. 

"They showed loyalty and love towards me and my family. I was able to show them that I have potential. This is my first year being a starter and I've been able to show what I can do.

"I want them to know I'm going to give it my all. This is just the beginning for me."

Leinster made it 10 wins from 10 to start the season as they routed Northampton Saints 43-16 in the European Champions Cup to move five points clear at the top of Pool 1.

The Irish province, beaten in last season's final by Saracens, ran in seven tries to beat Premiership leaders Saints, who came into this game having won both of their first two games in this competition.

Three Dan Biggar penalties, added to a try from Ahsee Tuala, meant Northampton led 16-14 with two minutes remaining in the first half.

However, Andrew Porter dotted down for Leinster's third try, following earlier scores from James Lowe and Rhys Ruddock, to ensure the visitors were leading 19-16 at the interval.

Northampton then failed to score a second-half point, while Cian Healy, Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath and Ed Byrne all crossed in Leinster's handsome victory.

Ulster moved top of Pool 3 as John Cooney's 79th-minute penalty earned them a 25-24 success over Harlequins.

Both sides scored three tries apiece, Elia Elia going over twice for Quins, but Cooney kept his cool from the 10-metre line to seal the win for Ulster.

Defending champions Saracens were beaten 10-3 by Munster to suffer their second loss in Pool 4.

Peter O'Mahony crossed for the game's only try in the 31st minute, with all the points scored prior to the interval, and the only sour moment for Munster came in the 82nd minute when Arno Botha was dismissed for dangerous play.

Teddy Thomas accounted for two of Racing 92's six tries in their 40-19 rout of Ospreys, who were left to rue Dan Evans' red card after just 37 seconds.

The full-back was given his marching orders for kicking Thomas in the face as he collected a high ball, and Ospreys never recovered.

Elsewhere, Lyon beat Benetton Treviso 28-0, while Glasgow Warriors edged past La Rochelle 27-24.

The Cleveland Browns have activated tight end David Njoku off injured reserve ahead of their Week 14 encounter with Ohio rivals the Cincinnati Bengals.

Njoku, who has not played since suffering a wrist injury in the win over the New York Jets in Week 2, will now return to give quarterback Baker Mayfield another weapon over the final four games.

A first-round draft pick in 2017, he had four touchdowns in each of his first two seasons in the NFL and caught a pass in the end zone from Mayfield in Week 1 of the 2019 campaign against the Tennessee Titans.

The Browns are 5-7, two games back from the Pittsburgh Steelers, who currently hold the final berth in the wildcard race.

Eli Manning will start for the New York Giants against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14 after Daniel Jones was officially ruled out of the game.

Quarterback Jones - who took over as the Giants' starter in Week 3, leading the team to back-to-back victories in his first two NFL outings - has not practiced all week due to a high ankle sprain.

The rookie suffered the injury in the 31-13 home loss to the Green Bay Packers last Sunday, a result that extended New York's losing streak to eight games.

Manning will now make his 245th start for the franchise in an all-NFC East battle in Philadelphia on Monday.

"He looks good. He's had a good week. He always has a good look in his eye," Giants offensive coordinator Mike Shula said on Friday.

The two-time Super Bowl winner will be aided in his return by the availability of Golden Tate. The wide receiver is set to feature after clearing concussion protocol, but tight end Evan Engram is again out.

They will also be without Jabrill Peppers; the safety has been placed on injured reserve, bringing an end to his campaign, due to a back injury. 

Sean Chandler - signed off the practice squad - takes Peppers' place on the roster, while the fit-again Kareem Martin replaces fellow linebacker Chris Peace, who - like Peppers - is also done for the season.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.