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Heavyweight boxer Molina hit with two-year drug ban

Anthony Joshua beat Molina in convincing fashion back in 2016. Credit: PA

American heavyweight Eric Molina has been given a two-year ban for failing a drug test after his December 2016 defeat to British boxing star Anthony Joshua, UK Anti-Doping has announced.

The 36-year-old Texan tested positive for dexamethasone, a corticosteroid that is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency for in-competition use, in a routine test after the IBF heavyweight title bout at the Manchester Arena.

Molina, who was stopped by Joshua in the third round of a one-sided fight, did not deny taking the substance or contest the anti-doping rule violation, but he did question the length of the ban.

His argument was that he had not intentionally set out to cheat and the dexamethasone, which is used as an anti-inflammatory, was contained in a vitamin B12 supplement he frequently used called Tribedoce DX.

According to the national anti-doping panel's written decision, Molina said he had asked his brother to buy more of the supplement whilst he was in Mexico, with the implication being that the ingredients are slightly different to the product sold in the United States.

Molina admitted to being injected with the supplement and acknowledged that he had not checked the ingredients or asked for any expert advice before taking it.

In a statement, UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said: "Every athlete is solely responsible for what is in their system and must adhere to the strict liability principle.

"All athletes at any level should familiarise themselves with the WADA Prohibited List and ensure they do not put themselves in a position where they may breach anti-doping regulations."

'I wouldn't swap Ronaldo for Salah' says Zidane

Salah faced Ronaldo's Real Madrid when he was playing for Roma. Credit: PA

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane insists he would not swap Cristiano Ronaldo for Liverpool's Mohamed Salah.

The two forwards, who have both scored 44 goals in all competitions for their clubs this season, are set to go up against each other when their sides meet in the Champions League final in Kiev on Saturday.

When asked if he would swap Ronaldo for Salah, Zidane, quoted by as.com, said at a press conference on Tuesday: "No, I have Cristiano and I talk about my players."

While five-time winners Liverpool are in their first European Cup final since 2007, Real are the two-time defending champions, have won the trophy three times in the last four years, and have done so 12 times in total.

When asked if he thought Liverpool were more hungry, Zidane said: "I can't tell you about the opponent. I don't know what they are.

"What I can say is that we will have the same desire as always. This club is what it is - the same enthusiasm, dedication and desire as always. And nobody can take that away or tell us that we are less hungry than others. No one.

"We are Madrid and this club is what it is. We always want more and we will give everything to try to do it in the best way."

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West Ham appoint Pellegrini as new manager

Pellegrini has signed a three-year-deal with West Ham. Credit: PA

Manuel Pellegrini has signed a three-year contract to become West Ham's new manager.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester City boss succeeds David Moyes, having left Chinese Super League club Hebei China Fortune over the weekend.

Joint-chairman David Sullivan hailed Pellegrini's track record of winning the Premier League title with City as crucial to his chances of ushering in a new era of success at the London Stadium.

"I am delighted to welcome Manuel Pellegrini to West Ham United," Sullivan said on the club's website. "He is one of the world's most respected football coaches and we look forward to working with him.

"It was important that we appointed someone with knowledge and experience of the Premier League, who already has an understanding - not only of the teams and players we face - but of West Ham United and our ambitions.

"Manuel brings a reputation for attacking football and getting the best out of his players. We believe he will attract new talent to the London Stadium as well as improving the current squad.

"Above all, he is a winner, who knows what it takes to succeed at the highest level and is driven to continue that success. Manuel is the first West Ham United manager to have a Premier League title on his CV, and we believe that his experience, quality and proven record of taking teams forward quickly will ensure that he is successful here."

Gustard quits England for Harlequins role

Gustard will take up his new post after England's tour of South Africa. Credit: PA

Harlequins have confirmed the appointment of England defence coach Paul Gustard as their new head of rugby.

Gustard, 42, will take up his new post with the Aviva Premiership club after England's tour to South Africa next month.

He replaces John Kingston, who revealed in April that he would be leaving Quins at the end of the season.

"Harlequins is delighted to announce that England defence coach Paul Gustard will join the London club as head of rugby, following the conclusion of England's summer tour to South Africa," Harlequins said in a statement.

Former Leicester, London Irish and Saracens flanker Gustard has worked alongside England head coach Eddie Jones since January 2016 and is under contract with the Rugby Football Union until after the 2019 World Cup.

"Opportunities like this don't come along very often," Gustard said. "To be given the chance to lead a club as rich in talent, heritage and support as Harlequins is hugely exciting.

"My relationship with Eddie is strong and positive. He has supported me in accepting this new role and I will continue to have a strong relationship with him on our tour to South Africa and beyond."

Gustard helped England to a first series win in Australia, plus back-to-back Six Nations titles in 2016 and 2017, but Jones' side had to settle for fifth this year.

Harlequins finished 10th in the Premiership after winning only seven of their 22 matches.

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