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Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev set for December but ‘very strong chance’ of being without fans, admits Eddie Hearn

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anthony joshua vs kubrat pulev set for december but very strong chance of being without fans admits eddie hearn scaled

ANTHONY JOSHUA will defend his three world heavyweight titles against IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev in the first week of December – probably behind closed doors.

That’s according to Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, who still hopes to hold Brit AJ‘S bout with the Bulgarian 39-year-old at London’s O2 Arena.

World champion Anthony Joshua has four months to prepare for his title defence against outsider Kubrat Pulev

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World champion Anthony Joshua has four months to prepare for his title defence against outsider Kubrat PulevCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Two-time European heavyweight champ Kubrat Pulev is set to face Anthony Joshua, having challenged for the unified world title in 2014

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Two-time European heavyweight champ Kubrat Pulev is set to face Anthony Joshua, having challenged for the unified world title in 2014Credit: Instagram @kubratpulev

Hearn told ESPN: “We know AJ’s only going to fight once this year, so we want to give ourselves the best opportunity to bring in a crowd, and that would obviously be the later the better.

“But it’s still not a gimme at all. There’s still a very strong chance that AJ will have to fight behind closed doors.”

Joshua‘s initial date of facing rank outsider Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20 was ditched due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And Hearn said of The 02: “Their regulations comply with the government, so at the moment they’re closed.

“So they would need to open up. We’d need to get an understanding from the government what is allowed in arenas. Are you going to open at 50 per cent [capacity]?

“Are you going to open up 100 per cent? There’s a lot of work that has to go into that with the government and The O2.”

AJ might then have to meet the WBO’s No1 challenger Oleksandr Usyk before possibly closing on a title unifier with Tyson Fury, which would arguably be the biggest fight in British boxing history.

Anthony Joshua remembers fear of prison life inspired him to turn young life around and become boxing superstar

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8.40pm Man Utd transfer news LIVE: Alex Telles terms ‘AGREED’, Sancho TOP target, Khedira FREE, Traore backup

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THE transfer window rolls on for Manchester United – and reports suggest they are close to landing Porto’s Alex Telles.

And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side kick off their season this weekend, hosting Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

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UFC Fight Night – Covington vs Woodley FREE: UK start time, live stream, TV channel and prelims

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COLBY Covington and Tyron Woodley face-off in the main event of UFC Fight Night 178 this weekend.

This is the final match-up before UFC goes back to Abu Dhabi for a host of major duels.

Woodley and Covington have been wanting to fight since 2018

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Woodley and Covington have been wanting to fight since 2018Credit: Getty Images – Getty

What TV Channel is UFC 178 on?

The fight will be shown on BT Sport 1.

It can be live streamed on BT Sport’s website and app.

They will start their prelims at 11pm BST.

Earlier prelims will be shown on UFC’s Fight Pass for subscribers as normal.

In the US, all prelims can be watched on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ in English and Spanish.

How can I watch UFC 178 for FREE?

EE mobile customers can get a FREE three-month trial of BT Sport by texting SPORT to 150.

You can then cancel the trial at any time.

LB ufc fight islandv2

What is the fight card?

Main card (BT Sport 1, 1am Sunday)

  • Colby Covington vs. Tyron Woodley, Welterweight
  • Donald Cerrone vs. Niko Price, Welterweight
  • Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gerald Meerschaert, Middleweight
  • Johnny Walker vs. Ryan Spann, Light Heavyweight
  • Mackenzie Dern vs. Randa Markos, Women’s Strawweight
  • Kevin Holland vs. Darren Stewart, Middleweight

Preliminary Card (BT Sport 1, 11pm Saturday)

  • Mirsad Bektic vs. Luiz Garagorri, Featherweight
  • Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Mara Romero Borella, Women’s Flyweight
  • Jordan Espinosa vs. David Dvorak, Flyweight
  • Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Sarah Alpar, Women’s Bantamweight
  • Journey Newson vs. Randy Costa, Bantamweight
  • Andre Ewell vs. Irwin Rivera, Bantamweight
  • Darrick Minner vs. T.J. Laramie, Featherweight

What have they said?

Woodley has warned Covington that he is willing to strike him illegally to win the bout.

He has implied that he will not be in control of his hands and they could land anywhere in the fight, including his opponent’s groin.

He said: “I’ll let them go upside his head, body. I might even punch in the sack for the warning, bap. I will take the warning or even the point deduction, I feel good guys.”

The pair were first supposed to fight when Woodley was champion in 2018.

But both men accused the other of not taking up the offer.

Conor McGregor in talks over UFC return next year as Dana White reveals pair are ‘working on some fun stuff’

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Football betting tips: Bruno Fernandes goal, Arsenal to beat West Ham and Werner to net – Premier League predictions

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football betting tips bruno fernandes goal arsenal to beat west ham and werner to net premier league predictions

WE’VE another bumper set of Premier League fixtures to get our teeth into this week after the top-flight returned in style.

New-look Chelsea did the business at Brighton on Monday Night Football, Liverpool were pushed all the way by Leeds and Arsenal were ruthless as they swatted aside new-boys Fulham.

 It was a winning start for Mikel Arteta as Arsenal cruised to a 3-0 win at Fulham

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It was a winning start for Mikel Arteta as Arsenal cruised to a 3-0 win at FulhamCredit: Getty

This weekend we’ve selections for you from three big matches, starting at the Theatre of Dreams…

Man Utd vs Crystal Palace, Saturday 5.30pm (Sky Sports)

They’re a week late to the party, but will Man Utd be worth the wait?

Expectations are high at Old Trafford after Ole’s men stormed into the Premier League top four with a superb run of form post-lockdown.

We’re not going to read too much into the friendly defeat to Aston Villa last weekend – although plenty of fans did – but do keep in mind that Solskjaer might be without ELEVEN players.

Palace were absolutely dismal in the post-lockdown world but Roy Hodgson, calm as ever, refused to panic.

His patience was rewarded last weekend as the Eagles began the new season with three points, beating Southampton 1-0 at Selhurst Park.

The visitors have great memories of a shock victory last time they came to Old Trafford – but we’re not backing them to repeat the trick.

United are a measly 1/3 to win the game and that’s a low price for a side who might be rusty after such a bizarre pre-season.

LB man utd card2

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But Palace drew a blank in four-straight Premier League games between June and July, going down to Liverpool, Leicester, Aston Villa and Wolves without landing a blow.

And on six of their last seven visits to this ground, they’ve failed to score –  we just don’t fancy them to do the business.

Everything points to a comfortable afternoon for United – injuries aside – with a win to nil for the home side a tasty 23/20.

We’re also a big fan of United/United on the half-time/full-time market at evens.

You could get 3/1 on Bruno Fernandes netting on his United debut against Wolves earlier on this year.

The bookies aren’t daft and now the Portuguese star is just a 6/5 shot for a goal in this opening fixture after finding the net 12 times since that cold February evening.

With the Red Devils winning penalties for fun, their resident 12-yard specialist really should be an odds-on shout anytime to score – so don’t miss out.

SunSport’s best bets

  • Man Utd to win to nil: 23/20 (BET HERE)
  • Red Devils to be winning at half time and full time: EVENS (BET HERE)
  • Bruno Fernandes on the scoresheet again: 6/5 (BET HERE)
SPORT GRAPHIC Man Utd Top Fixturesv2 5

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Arsenal vs West Ham, Saturday 8pm (Sky Sports)

An early-season London derby at the Emirates – and a chance to make a few bob on West Ham‘s struggles.

On paper this is the home-banker of the weekend, with the Hammers in an absolute state and the Gunners buoyed by an excellent opening day win over Fulham.

Willian was particularly impressive in that 3-0 victory, while Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng has now put pen-to-paper on a bumper three year contract.

That could be the biggest signing of the summer for Arsenal, who have kept hold of their prize asset while strengthening in weaker areas.

Usually a recipe for success – and the complete opposite to West Ham.

Fans and players alike were up in arms at the decision to sell Grady Diangana to West Brom and morale is at an all-time low in East London.

And that definitely showed on the pitch in the 2-0 loss to Newcastle last week, where the Hammers failed to get our of first gear.

 Arsenal would have been locked in a relegation battle without Aubameyang in 2019-20

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Arsenal would have been locked in a relegation battle without Aubameyang in 2019-20

They’re a basket case on and off the pitch at the moment – and we reckon 1/2 on an Arsenal win should be jumped on before it goes.

We can see that price shortening before kick-off and considering the Hammers have won just one of their last 13 meetings with Arsenal in the North of the capital – losing the last five in a row – it looks a cracker.

We can see the Gunners flying out of the gate, straight on the offensive.

That makes the price of 10/11 on Arsenal to score first in the opening 45 minutes a brilliant price.

There’s plenty of positivity around the Emirates after last week’s performance and the hard work that’s gone into this transfer window.

But Willian could be potentially the bargain of the summer if he continues to pull the strings as he did at Fulham.

Aubameyang will get a lot of attention from punters to score – and is odds-on as a result – but we like the Brazilian to open his account with a home debut goal.

Priced up at 23/10, that’s the value.

SunSport’s best bets

  • Arsenal to beat West Ham: 8/13 (BET HERE)
  • Gunners to net first in opening 45 minutes: 10/11 (BET HERE)
  • Willian on scoresheet for new club: 23/10 (BET HERE)

Chelsea vs Liverpool, Sunday 4.30pm (Sky Sports)

How about this for a Sunday treat?

New-look Chelsea host the champions in the first big heavyweight tussle of the new season.

And this one really has potential to be a stormer.

Liverpool were all over the place at the back against Leeds last weekend, conceding three goals despite the West Yorkshire side mustering just three shots on target.

Frank Lampard will have studied that game and will hope his expensively-assembled frontline can do similar damage.

It wasn’t quite as comfortable for the Blues down at Brighton as the scoreline suggested, but Lampard will take every hard-fought victory no matter how it comes.

New-boy Kai Havertz had a baptism of fire and didn’t quite look up to speed, at one point pinging a cross-field ball straight into the posh seats under no pressure at all.

And there are doubts over Timo Werner’s fitness after he picked up a knock.

We said in our preview last week that this Chelsea experiment will take time – and we’re leaving along the 21/10 on a home win as a result.

TOB GRAPHIC WERNER V FIRMINOV4

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That’s a massive price and some will be tempted, but we’d much prefer to play this one safe and back goals.

We went for over 3.5 goals in the Leeds match and that had won before 35 minutes, with the price on lightning striking twice a very tempting 6/4.

It might be the history books swaying this one a bit, but only one H2H between the clubs here at the Bridge has featured four or more goals since 2015.

At that price though – and with these players on show – we say go for it.

Three of Liverpool‘s five away matches in the post-lockdown schedule saw over 3.5 goals win, while nine of Chelsea’s 19 home matches saw a goal frenzy.

With both sides going for early season bragging rights, it definitely won’t be dull.

Especially with Chelsea’s goalkeeper situation still up in the air.

kepa

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If Kepa starts, you back the Blues to concede, it’s that simple.

The Spaniard has let in nine goals from the last 13 shots on target he’s faced in the Premier League. Pretty grim stuff.

Klopp will have his men shoot on sight and we don’t see how the home side can escape with a clean sheet – so back Chelsea to concede two or more against the champions.

Werner’s injury situation is one to monitor but the German is expected to feature in Sunday’s showdown.

He showed flashes of brilliance in the Brighton win but didn’t get a guilt-edged chance to showcase his lethal finishing.

If Werner starts, you’re backing him to score at 6/4 anytime which is a monster price.

And for those of you feeling brave, 4/1 on the former RB Leipzig man to net the opener is tempting too.

SunSport’s best bets

All odds from Ladbrokes are correct at time of publication.


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