A summary of sports events and persons in the news on Saturday.
Andy Ruiz Jr. dethroned British title-holder Anthony Joshua with a stunning seventh-round stoppage at New York's Madison Square Garden on Saturday to become the first Mexican-American World heavyweight champion.
Joshua, previously undefeated and fighting for the first time in the United States, was defending his IBF, WBA and WBO titles but was knocked down four times in the fight before the referee waved off the contest in the seventh.
Ruiz had not been given much chance of beating the champion given he had just five full weeks to prepare after Joshua's scheduled opponent, Jarrell Miller, tested positive performance-enhancing drugs.
Joshua said the defeat was hard to take but that he would be back.
"Boxing is a tough sport. I trained hard, I stayed dedicated. And I just got beat by a good fighter tonight," he said. "It'll be interesting to see how far he goes but good luck to him.
"I gotta bounce back. This is all part of the journey. Fighter by heart, boxer by trade."
Ruiz was dropped to the canvas in the third but the heavy brawler came back to down the Brit in the same round and Joshua was lucky to survive.
Joshua appeared to recover and worked his jab well over the next few rounds but Ruiz landed big body shots in the sixth to put the champion on the back foot.
Joshua went down again in a flurry of Ruiz punches with nearly two minutes left in the seventh and while the British fighter got off his knees just in time to beat the count his legs looked like jelly as he made his way to a neutral corner.
The referee asked him if he was okay to continue before waving his arms to end the fight, prompting wild celebrations in the ring by Ruiz and his trainers.
Neymar under investigation for rape
A woman has accused Brazil soccer player Neymar of raping her in Paris, according to a Sao Paulo police report seen by Reuters, alleging that the world-renowned sports star drunkenly assaulted her at an up-market hotel in the French capital.
The accusation was the latest blow for the Brazilian, who last month was stripped of the captaincy of the national team and has seen his international reputation suffer amid incidents of indiscipline.
Neymar’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Globo website, which first reported the news, said a representative for Neymar declined to comment, awaiting details of the allegations.
Neymar’s father, Neymar Sr., said in a local TV interview: “If public opinion is not cleared up, and if we can’t show the truth rapidly, this will snowball. If we have to show Neymar’s WhatsApps and the conversations with this girl, we will, because it is clear that it was a trap.”
He added that they were living “difficult moments.”
According to the police report, the unnamed woman told investigators in Sao Paulo that she met Neymar on Instagram and he suggested they meet in Paris, where he plays for Paris St Germain.
Neymar’s assistant sent her plane tickets and on May 15 she checked in to the Hotel Sofitel Paris Arc Du Triomphe, according to her account.
The Sofitel hotel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The woman told police that Neymar arrived at the hotel that night “apparently drunk,” and that they talked and “caressed.”
“However, at some point, Neymar became aggressive, and through violence, practiced sexual intercourse against the will of the victim,” the police report says.
The woman told police she returned home to Brazil two days later without telling French police about the alleged rape because she was “emotionally shaken and afraid to register the facts in another country,” according to the report.
Neymar is currently in Brazil, training with the national soccer team ahead of this month’s Copa America. Late last month, the country’s football federation replaced him as captain for the tournament with his Paris St Germain team mate Dani Alves.
Earlier in May, Neymar was banned for three matches by the French football authorities for hitting a fan after PSG’s French Cup final loss to Rennes, and was also reportedly involved in a dressing room fracas with his PSG team mates.
Paris St Germain did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Brazil’s football federation (CBF) declined to comment.
American Lawson banned for four years for positive drugs test
American long jumper and sprinter Jarrion Lawson has been suspended for four years after testing positive for the banned substance epitrenbolone, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Saturday.
Lawson, the world long jump silver medallist, has denied any wrongdoing, saying the substance could have entered his body through the consumption of tainted beef.
He and his team will appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Lawson said.
"I am innocent and I maintain confidence that eventually things will be righted," the athlete said in a statement provided by his agent Paul Doyle.
The AIU, in charge of drugs testing in athletics, announced Lawson's ban on Twitter. It had provisionally suspended Lawson in August 2018 while the case was being adjudicated.
Lawson, 25, has said the likely source of the epitrenbolone was contaminated beef he consumed at a Fayetteville, Arkansas restaurant in June 2018.
An out-of-competition doping control test the next day indicated the presence of epitrenbolone.
"Having now researched Trenbolone, we have discovered that it is a USDA approved steroid, legally used in the United States in the production of beef,” Lawson said in a 2018 statement.
The AIU panel, in making its decision, said Lawson had failed to prove how the substance entered his body.
But Doyle, Lawson's agent, called World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations flawed.
"It is absurd that the WADA code places such an impossible burden on athletes to prove the source. How can you go back and test meat that was eaten months ago?" he said in a statement.