Deontay Wilder KOs Dominic Breazeale in 1st round to defend heavyweight belt

Deontay Wilder got back into the win column Saturday night, knocking out Dominic Breazeale with an overpowering right hand in the first round to defend his heavyweight title.

Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) hurt Breazeale (20-2) with a right to the head early in their fight at Barclays Center in New York, but the challenger had recovered from that early onslaught. But there was no coming back from the right later in the round that immediately dropped Breazeale, who was trying to get up as referee Harvey Dock counted him out at 2:17 of the round.

Wilder was coming off his draw against Tyson Fury in December, the first fight of his pro career that wasn’t a victory. Wilder wanted a rematch with Fury or a unification match with fellow champion Anthony Joshua, but when those couldn’t be made settled for a mandatory defense of his WBC title.

• Josh Taylor relieved Ivan Baranchyk of the IBF super lightweight boxing title after winning their fight in Glasgow, Scotland, by unanimous decision.

ELSEWHERE

Nadal, Djokovic set up Sunday final

After losing in the semifinals of three straight clay-court tournaments, Rafael Nadal looked more like his old, dominant self when he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 to reach the Italian Open final.

In Sunday’s final, Nadal will resume his rivalry with top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who faced an unusually high number of drop shots from Diego Schwartzman before winning 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3.

In the women’s tournament, Johanna Konta rallied past sixth-seeded Kiki Bertens 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 in nearly three hours, and Karolina Pliskova beat Maria Sakkari in the other semifinal, 6-4, 6-4.

Hockey: Alex DeBrincat had two goals and an assist, Patrick Kane added three assists and Cory Schneider made 21 saves to help the United States rout Denmark 7-1 for the Americans’ fourth straight victory during preliminary play at the world championships in Slovakia.

Jeff Blashill became the winningest U.S. coach in world championship history in the top division with his 18th career victory in 23 games. The U.S. is 3-1-0-1 in Group A and plays Germany on Sunday.

Russia beat Latvia 3-1 in Bratislava and leads Group B with a 5-0-0-0 record. Canada beat Germany 8-1 for its fourth straight win, and Norway beat Italy 7-1. In late games, Sweden edged Switzerland 4-3, and Slovakia scored three goals in the first 11 minutes in beating Britain 7-1.

College tennis: Michaela Gordon and Janice Shin secured clinching matches and defending NCAA women’s champion Stanford beat North Carolina 5-2 in Orlando to advance to its fourth straight NCAA final.

The Cardinal face Georgia, which beat Duke 4-2, in Sunday’s final, which starts at 2 p.m. PDT and will be telecast on the Tennis Channel.

College softball: Stanford was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament with a second loss to Boise State, 2-0, at the Florida regional in Gainesville. The Cardinal (33-20) lost to Boise State 9-1 on Friday night, and beat Boston College 13-2 in five innings Saturday before losing its second game in the double-elimination tournament.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Deontay-Wilder-KOs-Dominic-Breazeale-in-1st-round-13856946.php.

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