Joshua Recruits Navy Seals ahead of his Fight

Anthony Joshua has drafted in US Navy Seals to condition his responses to the seismic shock of being knocked down and semi-conscious.Just as he was by Wladimir Klitschko and only just recovered his senses in time to rescue his world heavyweight titles and his unbeaten record.

Just in case Andy Ruiz Jr catches him with a disorientating punch in Madison Square Garden tomorrow.Comrades of the elite unit who killed Osama Bin Laden have been preparing Joshua for any recurrence of his Wembley Stadium crisis by showing him photographs of soldiers who had been shot.

‘Then the military guy explained how they deal with that and how to control the situation,’ says Joshua. ‘Seals are put under enormous pressure to find out how they will react to extreme happenings.‘Say I have a plan to beat Ruiz but he comes out and clips me with one big shot. What’s the best I can do to get over it? It’s a lot to do with communication within your team, simplifying all our jargon and giving us a target to get us through these Saturday nights.

‘So now I’ve added a lot more information to all my experience down the years. It’s part of a lot of things I’m exploring to keep me improving. Keep me ahead of this one tough game.’ That includes recruiting a psychologist for the first time since he was with Team GB and winning Olympic Gold.

‘The psychology is fascinating,’ he says. ‘I got interested when I heard that Mike Tyson’s famous old trainer Cus D’Amato was also a psychologist and he got into Tyson’s mind.

‘You learn about how your brain reacts. Sometimes he works me with me one-to-one. Sometimes he works with my team without me and then they have to implement it with me.‘Then we debrief. We discuss strategy on a daily basis. We don’t wait until the end of camp and suddenly find out oh f***, we should have done this or that.

‘Better that we all sit round the table every day and be open and honest with each other. I talk about where I’m struggling a bit and everyone else does the same. We come up with the answers.

‘I’ve found myself asking my trainer Rob McCracken to do extra training at weekends instead of taking the days off. It’s to do with the way I am. If I am convinced I’m going to learn something I’ll put in the time. Otherwise not. Make me understand why we’re doing something and I give 100 per cent.

‘This is a better way than just turning up for training and then beasting myself to keep condition and focus.‘Everything we do now is for a purpose. I have four of the five championship belts but I’m still learning. For a week we might work on the right hand but are more creative about how we set up the punch. Just as importantly we enjoy it. We have fun. As a result I’ve got more energy.’ Joshua certainly is full of animated life here. He describes the Seals as ‘tough mothers’ but they have boosted his self-confidence.

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Alexis Sanchez to make Movie Debut

Alexis Sanchez may have had a season to forget, but the Manchester United forward will be hoping he has more success with his debut film.

The 30-year-old stars in Mi Amigo Alexis, which is released in his native Chile on Thursday.

Executive producer Rocio Jadue told BBC Sport the film was Sanchez’s idea and filming took place last year.

“Everybody loves him [in Chile],” said Jadue. “He is considered a big hero.”

The film, from award-winning director Alejandro Fernandez Almendras, is not a biopic, but tells the story of 12-year-old Tito who accidently meets his idol Sanchez.

“The unexpected friendship between the child and the idol brings teachings for both: Tito discovers his true path in life and Alexis is reunited with the stories from his childhood that make him remember the reason why he loves football,” reads the film’s synopsis.

Sanchez, who is reportedly United’s biggest earner, has struggled with injuries and form since moving to Old Trafford in January 2018 from Arsenal and has been linked with a move this summer.

Chelsea Lift Europa League title

*Hazard Brace Blows Arsenal Away; Chelsea Win Europa League

Eden Hazard’s brace helped Maurizio Sarri claim his first major trophy as Chelsea crushed Arsenal 4-1 in the Europa League final in Baku on Wednesday.

In perhaps his final appearance before a mooted move to Real Madrid, star man Hazard struck two second half goals to confirm Chelsea’s second triumph in six seasons in this competition.

Olivier Giroud sparked the landslide against his former employers in the 49th minute before Pedro put a second past retiring Gunners goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Alex Iwobi pulled one back in between Hazard’s double but Arsenal faded horribly after half-time and, having finished fifth in the Premier League, are now consigned to another season outside the Champions League.

Now we wait for who will lift the Champions League.

Valencia Shock Barcelona to win 8th Copa del Rey

Valencia Shock Barcelona to Win the Copa del Rey

Valencia are the new Copa del Rey champions after beating Barcelona and denying the Blaugrana a fifth consecutive cup success.

After their woeful Champions League capitulation against Liverpool, Barcelona sought to placate their frustrated fans with a domestic double having wrapped up the league title with three games to spare in April.

But goals from Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo handed the champions a shock defeat at the Benito Villamarín Stadium that piles more pressure on Ernesto Valverde – with Lionel Messi’s effort with 18 minutes left nothing more than a consolation.

The Catalans could have won their fourth domestic double in five years on Saturday but it was not to be.

Liverpool produce Europe’s greatest comeback

Liverpool produced the greatest comeback in the club’s European history by beating FC Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield to reach the 2018-19 Champions League final.

Trailing 3-0 from the opening encounter in Spain six days ago, the Reds’ hopes of overcoming the Spanish giants on aggregate were alive, yet slim, at kick-off.

But Jürgen Klopp’s remarkable team achieved what many considered impossible courtesy of two goals apiece from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum on a scarcely believable night in L4.

And so Liverpool will contest a second successive Champions League final, facing the winners of the other semi-final between Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid on June 1.

Barcelona, meanwhile, crashed out of the Champions League by blowing an enormous lead for the second consecutive season in unbelievable fashion. 

After Origi’s first goal in the opening minutes, Liverpool’s dominance continued. The team was stronger on the ball, looked more confident and never gave up, and in the second half everything went right.

Minutes after coming on, Wijnaldum finished this ball inside the box to make it 2-0, leaving Liverpool a goal away from potentially forcing extra time:

Then just three minutes later, Wijnaldum did it again with a header goal:

As the match seemed destined for extra time, Liverpool caught Barcelona napping with a corner kick incoming. Trent Alexander-Arnold walked away from the ball as if he was giving up the set piece, but then he quickly saw Origi all alone and took it, setting up an absolutely jaw-dropping fourth goal:

With that, the comeback was complete and Barca fell short of its goal, as it has done each of the last four UCL seasons. 

Messi scores 600 Club goal

Lionel Messi has reached another milestone in his legendary career, hitting his 600th goal for Barcelona with a wonderful free-kick against Liverpool in their Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday.

Messi scored number 599 earlier in the match, pouncing on a rebound from a Luis Suarez shot and walking the ball in, before curling home a lovely strike for his 600th moments later. 

The Argentine becomes just the seventh player in history to reach the 600-goal mark at the club level, though he was beaten to the milestone by eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Ronaldo and Messi, who have dominated world football for the last decade, are joined on the exclusive list by Brazilian legends Pele and Romario, Germany’s Gerd Muller, Slavia Prague hero Josef Bican and Hungarian Ferenc Puskas. 

Messi’s first goal for Barcelona came exactly 14 years ago, on May 1, 2005, against Albacete . He has since grown into arguably the biggest star in the game, having won the Ballon d’Or on five occasions, 10 La Liga titles and the Champions League on four occasions. 

At 31, Messi is also a five-time winner of the European Golden Shoe and claimed the World Cup Golden Ball at the 2014 tournament in Brazil. 

His performance on Wednesday leaves Barcelona in prime position to add to that remarkable haul. 

The club have already won La Liga this season and reached the Copa del Rey final, while a 3-0 result against Liverpool leaves them on the verge of reaching the Champions League final, though a trip to Anfield for the second leg remains. 

It also continues a trend for Messi of dominance over English teams in European play. 

The Barcelona star has netted 26 times in just 33 matches against Premier League clubs in the Champions League, the best haul for any one player against any country in the competition, though he does share that record with Ronaldo, who has netted 26 times against German clubs. 

Barcelona will travel to Liverpool next Tuesday for the return leg, and should they progress they will face either Ajax or Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid on June 1.

Tiger Woods completes sports greatest Comeback

Tiger Woods completed a comeback from personal and professional adversity on Sunday, capturing his fifth Masters title and his 15th major tournament with a victory that snapped a decade-long championship drought and instantly returned him to the top of the sports world.

It was a monumental triumph for Woods, a come-from-behind victory for a player who had had so much go wrong on the course and off after his personal life began to come apart on Thanksgiving night in 2009.

As such, it was only fitting that after he walked off the 18th hole on Sunday, his one-stroke victory secure, his path to the official scoring office was gridlocked with well-wishers, including many of the golfers he vanquished over four grueling days at Augusta National Golf Club.

Woods triumphed in almost stoic fashion, playing with shrewdness and determination over the final stretch of holes while the other players who were grouped with him on the leaderboard took turns succumbing to the pressure of trying to win the Masters.

And although Woods did bogey the final hole, he did so with a two-stroke lead, victory in sight and the knowledge that he could give one of those strokes back and still win the tournament.

Only when he tapped in his final putt did Woods let loose with a joyous shout that revealed how much the victory meant to him.

Tiger Woods after winning the Masters

At 43, Woods became the second-oldest winner of the Masters, behind Jack Nicklaus, who won here in 1986 at age 46 and who holds the record for victories in major tournaments, 18. And Woods’s victory immediately reverberated beyond golf and, for that matter, sports.

The win even led to a rare moment of agreement between President Trump and former President Barack Obama. “What a fantastic life comeback for a really great guy!’’ the President said on Twitter. “To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit and determination,’’ Obama posted.