Daily Digest: Sandy Ryan signs with Eddie Hearn to start professional boxing career

In today's news: British boxer Sandy Ryan signs with Eddie Hearn, Ashleigh Barty withdraws from Italian Open, and Carla Ward resigns from Birmingham City.

Sandy Ryan signs with Eddie Hearn

Britain's Sandy Ryan has taken one step closer to her first professional fight after signing with Matchroom Boxing, led by world famous promoter Eddie Hearn. The 27-year-old Ryan will now be training in the super-lightweight division with Clifton Mitchell and targeting world titles.

"I’m really happy to have signed with Matchroom,” Ryan said. "I’m looking forward to showing the world everything I can do. We will move at a pace to achieve my goals of becoming a multi-weight world champion.”

Ryan announced she was entering the world of professional boxing in March after she failed to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She is the reigning welterweight Commonwealth Games champion.

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Ashleigh Barty withdraws from Italian Open

World number one Ashleigh Barty withdrew from her quarter-final clash against Coco Gauff at the Italian Open. The Australian was leading 6-4, 2-1 when she called her physio with a left thigh issue.

Barty had been enjoying a period of dominance, recently winning the Stuttgart Open and reaching the final of the Madrid Open. Fans will be hoping her withdrawal was a precautionary measure.

Gauff will now progress to a semi-final match against either Poland’s Iga Świątek or Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina. The remaining semi-final will be played between Czech Republic’s Karolína Plíšková and Petra Martić of Croatia.


Simona Halep a doubt for Roland-Garros

In more tennis news, world number two Simona Halep has cast doubt on her chances of recovering from injury in time for the French Open.

The reigning Wimbledon champion revealed she had a “small tear” in her calf, picked up during her Italian Open second round tie against Angelique Kerber this week. "I will fly home and begin recovery in the pool and gym on Monday,” the Romanian said. “I'm staying positive and will do everything I can to speed up my return."

Roland-Garros begins in Paris on May 30th. Halep previously won the tournament in 2018.


Carla Ward resigns from Birmingham City

Carla Ward has stepped down as manager of Birmingham City after a tumultuous season at the club. She inherited a side in August with only eight senior players available, and worked against the odds to keep the club in the Women’s Super League.

Ward has been viewed as a “mediator” between the club and the players, who have been unhappy with their facilities and access to medical support. The 37-year-old manager said in a press conference today that the season hadn’t been “sustainable mentally and physically.”

“Stepping away and allowing someone else to come in [is] important because ultimately, number one is it's got to be about Birmingham City staying in the WSL."


Emma Hayes prepares for Champions League Final

Emma Hayes has been doing the media rounds as Chelsea’s Champions League Final against Barcelona gets closer.

Speaking to BBC Sport, the manager revealed she was confident her side could triumph.

"I really respect Barcelona but I cannot wait to play them," she said. "It's our time and there's so many players in that dressing room that can win the football match for us – we've seen it in recent weeks - the amount of players that have popped up all over the pitch to determine the outcome.

"Have we got better every week, even when we're not at our best? Yeah. When we're not at our best we've still got it.”

Former player Eni Aluko told GiveMeSport Women she thought Chelsea could “absolutely” defeat Barcelona on Sunday. The final kicks off at 8pm.

Nancy Gillen

Interested in: Football

Nancy has experience in reporting across a range of sports, but is particularly passionate about increasing the coverage of women's sport. She can usually be found celebrating or lamenting the latest Arsenal result.