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With their preseason odds of winning the English Premier League ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 to 1, bookmakers across the world will have to pay out millions of dollars if the Leicester City happens to pull it off. Therefore, it’s a little hard to comprehend why some betting firms have already decided to declare the club as champions. This is especially true when you consider Leicester is hanging onto first place in the 20-team league by just five points with four games and 12 points still to play for in the 2015/16 campaign. They have a five-point lead on second-place Tottenham Hotspur and sit 10 up on third-place Arsenal.
The inevitable has finally happened as Aston Villa became the first English Premier League club to be relegated this season when they dropped a 1-0 decision at Old Trafford to Manchester United on Saturday, April 16th. It was just a matter of time before the dreadful team was officially relegated and they’ll be playing in the second-tier English Championship League next season. This is the first time the Birmingham-based club has been relegated since the 1986/87 season when they were sent packing from the old First Division to the Second Division. The team has been in the Premier League since the division was launched in 1992/93.
Left-handed relief pitcher Daniel Stumpf of the Philadelphia Phillies has been handed an 80-game suspension without pay for failing a performance-enhancing drug test. Major League Baseball (MLB) handed out the punishment to the 25-year-old on April 14. This is Stumpf’s first year in MLB and he rookie was banned after testing positive for a substance named dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, which is a known anabolic steroid which is typically used to increase strength and speed.
However, it doesn’t appear that the drug had any positive effect on his early-season performance since the rookie had an earned-run average of 40.50 in his three appearances after pitching two-thirds of an inning and allowing three runs against. He didn’t record an out in his debut on April 7th as he walked a pair of batters and then gave up a grand slam. Stumpf’s current contract sees him paid the minimum MLB wage of $507,500 this season which means he’ll be losing a total of $221,858 in pay. If Stumpf plays in the minors this year his salary drops to just $41,400. The pitcher was taken by the Phillies in the latest winter-meeting draft for unprotected players.
Kobe Bryant’s legendary two-decade NBA career came to a fairytale ending on April 13th when he scored 60 points in his swansong as his Los Angeles Lakers downed the Utah Jazz by a score of 101-96. Bryant managed to score 50 points in a game for the first time since February of 2009 and scored 23 in the fourth quarter to help his teammates come from behind after trailing by 15 points. It was certainly a bittersweet moment for the club and its fans though since it was also the final game of the 2015/16 NBA campaign, which ended up being the worst ever in the Lakers’ history.
Undefeated WBA heavyweight champion Lucas Browne (24-0, 21 Kos) of Australia is on a mission to prove that he didn’t take any performance-enhancing drugs prior to his bout against former champion Ruslan Chagaev (34-3-1, 21 Kos) of Russia. Browne managed to come from behind to stop Chagaev in the 10th round of their March 5th contest in Chechnya, but then failed the post-fight drug test. Officials said Browne’s first test indicated that he had a banned substance named Clenbuterol in his system.
However Browne and his promoter, former world champion Ricky Hatton, pointed out that Clenbuterol is known to be a fat-stripping drug that is mainly used by bodybuilders. In addition, the substance may be fed to cows to improve their meat quality. Hatton said it doesn’t make sense for a heavyweight boxer to try to lose fat or weight since there’s no weight restriction in the division. Browne and Hatton also claim that it was their idea for both boxers to submit to drug tests by the VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association). VADA said Browne’s A test was positive, but they still don’t have the results of his B urine sample.
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