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Donnie Nietes fights for vacant IBF flyweight title at Pinoy Pride 40

ALA Boxing's Pinoy Pride series heads back to the 'Mecca of Philippine Boxing' Cebu and they kick 2017 off with a world title fight, as former long-time light flyweight king Donnie 'Ahas' Nietes targets his third world title when he meets Thailand's Eaktawan Mor Krungthep Thonburi for the vacant IBF world flyweight championship.  Nietes, the longest reigning Filipino boxing world champion, made the move to flyweight in 2016, after years of dominance at the light flyweight division. In his debut at 112-pounds, Nietes, 34, showed that he had the speed and the power to hang with the bigger boys after dismantling former world champion Edgar Sosa at Pinoy Pride 38 in Carson, California.  The native of Murcia, Negros is currently ranked at '3 in the IBF flyweight division.  Nietes' opponent Krungthep on the other hand, is ranked just below at fourth, and will be bringing a massive winning streak with him to Cebu. The 27-year old former Thai flywieght champ has won his last fifteen contests, eleven coming via KO or TKO.  This will be the third time Krungthep he faces a Pinoy, as he's stepped inside the ring with Froilan Saludar, and most notably, Nietes' teammate Albert Pagara.  ALA Boxing also announced via a press release that joining Nietes on the Pinoy Pride 40 card in Cebu will be rising stars Mark 'Magnifico' Magsayo and Jeo 'Santino' Santisima.  The 21-year old Magsayo (15-0, 11 KO) scored his biggest win to date when he last fought in Cebu, knocking out former champion Chris Avalos in the sixth round. The Tagbilaran, Bohol native followed that up with a dominant unanimous decision win over Ramiro Robles in California.  Santisima (12-2, 11 KO) on the other hand, has won his last ten fights, and in dominant fashion, with nine coming via stoppage. In his last outing, the 20-year old Masbatenyo scored a fifth-round TKO win over the very tough Rex Wao in Cebu.  Pinoy Pride 40 is set for April 29th, with a venue yet to be decided.  .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports31 min. ago Related News

56 quick thoughts on DeMarcus Cousins trade to New Orleans

56 quick thoughts on DeMarcus Cousins trade to New Orleans.....»»

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Roger Federer says Laver Cup will be a tough competition

KAREL JANICEK, Associated Press   PRAGUE (AP) — The new Laver Cup team tennis tournament is supposed to be a 'tough' contest, not an exhibition, according to Roger Federer. The competition will pit a team of the best six European players against the top six from the rest of the world. The inaugural edition is scheduled for Sept. 22-24 at the O2 Arena in Prague. The following year, it moves to the United States. 'The idea is to absolutely have a tough tournament, tough matches, the better man wins, that's the idea of the Laver Cup,' Federer said Monday. To promote the competition, Federer played some rallies against Tomas Berdych on a boat cruising the Vltava river to a crowd watching from the famed Charles Bridge. Bjorn Bjorg will captain Europe while John McEnroe will do the same for the opponents. The tournament is to honor Rod Laver, an 11-time major champion who won two calendar-year Grand Slams. No ATP rankings points will be awarded, but Federer insisted that an exhibition 'is not how the captains see it, that's not how Rod Laver sees it. He wants us to represent our part of the world with pride and try our very best and also win for our teammates.' The teams won't be named until after the U.S. Open, but it's not clear yet if all players who will formally qualify via the rankings will be available. What is for certain, organizers said, is that Federer and Rafael Nadal, the finalists at this year's Australian Open, will be on the European team. With Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka possibly on the team, Europe seems to be the one to beat. 'On paper, we look as the big favorites,' Federer said. 'We have more depth in Team Europe that we can choose from.' The tournament will include three singles and one doubles match every day. Federer was clear about his choice of his possible partner for the doubles. 'I guess I would love to play with Rafa just because of our rivalry has been so special,' Federer said. .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports1 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

It s Carnival in Rio and Nishikori might take a look

RIO DE JANEIRO — Kei Nishikori and the Rio Open will be upstaged this week. He's the top-seeded player, but not the best show in town......»»

Source: philstar philstarCategory: sports1 hr. 33 min. ago Related News

Neymar loses appeal, will stand trial for Barcelona transfer

MADRID (AP) — Neymar has lost his final appeal and will stand trial on corruption charges related to his transfer to Barcelona four years ago. Barcelona, Brazilian club Santos, and the company run by his parents also lost their appeals and will stand trial after a complaint brought by a Brazilian investment group which said it received a smaller compensation because part of the transfer fee was concealed by those involved. Prosecutors are seeking a two-year prison sentence and a fine of nearly $10 million for Neymar and his father on corruption charges, although they are not likely to face any jail time if found guilty because they would be first-time offenders. Prosecutors are also seeking a fine of about $9 million from Barcelona and $7 million from Santos. .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports1 hr. 39 min. ago Related News

Brazilian footballer in tears after racist chants in Serbia

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Partizan Belgrade midfielder Everton Luiz was in tears after persistent racist chants during his team's victory over Rad in the Serbian league. The Brazilian, who joined Partizan last year, played through monkey chants and other abuse, including a racist banner in the stands where Rad fans were standing. The banner was removed after intervention from the referee. There were scuffles between the players after the match on Sunday, when Partizan won 1-0, after Everton Luiz showed the middle finger to the Rad supporters. Wiping away tears, Everton Luiz said he 'faced racist abuse during the entire match.' Serbian fans are notorious for racist outbursts against black players. Rad supporters are known for their nationalist ultra-right behavior. On Monday, the Serbian Football Association suspended Rad's stadium in Belgrade until further notice because of the fans' behavior. .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports1 hr. 51 min. ago Related News

Rejuvenated and reinvented, Toure integral to Man City again

Rejuvenated and reinvented, Toure integral to Man City again.....»»

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Brazil fires coach of Rio Olympic football gold medalists

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil's football confederation has fired the coach who led Neymar and company to the country's first Olympic football gold medal in Rio de Janeiro. Confederation spokesman Gregorio Fernandes confirmed on Monday that youth division coach Rogerio Micale was removed after Brazil failed to qualify for the next Under-20 World Cup. In nine games in the South American U20 championship, Brazil won three, drew four, and lost two, ending in fifth position. Micale started with Brazil U20s in May 2015, shortly before the U20 World Cup in New Zealand, where Brazil lost the final to Serbia. After Dunga was removed as coach in June 2016, Micale took over Brazil's Olympic team. Micale's contract was recently extended to the 2020 Olympics. His successor has not been picked. .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports1 hr. 57 min. ago Related News

Monaco teen star Mbappe doing better than Henry at same age

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer   PARIS (AP) — Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe, the rising star of French football, is doing better than Thierry Henry was at the same age. Manchester City fans know all about Henry — Arsenal's all-time leading scorer — but are poised to get a glimpse of Mbappe's talent when the team hosts Monaco in the Champions League on Tuesday. Because of his electric speed and style of play, the 18-year-old Mbappe has drawn comparisons with Henry, a world-class finisher and France's record scorer with 51. Henry used to make the same dazzling runs when cutting inside from the left that Mbappe makes now, and the parallel is made stronger by the fact they broke into the Monaco side as teenagers. Mbappe's first professional goal came at the age of 17 years, 62 days, which just happened to beat the Monaco club record held by Henry. 'Every player wants to write their own history. (Henry) has written his and I hope to write mine,' Mbappe said. 'I just hope it's as good or better.' Where Mbappe has the edge is that he can already play at center forward, a quality that Henry developed at a later age. It is testament to Mbappe's maturity that when called upon by Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim, he has switched easily from left winger to striker. When Jardim rested Radamel Falcao, his main striker, for a French Cup game and a league game this month, Mbappe scored in both. Then, when paired alongside Falcao against Metz recently, he scored a hat trick. 'All that remains is finding his true position, out wide or through the middle,' said Jean-Claude Giuntini, Mbappe's coach with the France Under-17s. Jardim said on Monday that Mbappe 'can play anywhere across the front three' but also suggested there was the option of playing in a deeper role, too. For the game against City, Jardim said Mbappe was competing with Valere Germain for a starting place. Henry became a striker when he joined Arsenal from Juventus in 1999, by which time he was nearly 22. Coach Arsene Wenger converted him from a winger averaging one goal every five games at his previous clubs into the Premier League's most feared marksman. Mbappe, who joined Monaco at age 14, started drawing attention when still shy of his 17th birthday. It was for the way he set up Monaco's goal in a 4-1 loss to Tottenham in the Europa League, turning right back Kieran Trippier inside out before feeding striker Stephan El Shaarawy. Amid growing interest, Mbappe turned down Real Madrid last summer. He previously visited Madrid's facilities aged 14, greeted in person by Zinedine Zidane. 'I was a kid who had the best player in French history speaking to him,' Mbappe recounted. 'It didn't happen because I wanted to stay in my country. I decided to come to Monaco, and I made the right choice.' Monaco has a gift for finding rare talent. Forward Anthony Martial joined Manchester United from Monaco in January last year, aged 20. But Mbappe is showing even more potential than Martial. Like Martial and Henry, he also grew up in the Paris suburbs. Following in their footsteps, he soon joined France's youth academy at Clairefontaine, nestled in leafy countryside about one hour from Paris. The logical choice would seemingly have been to join Paris Saint-Germain. But Mbappe saw better opportunities with Monaco. It's a side known for developing young players, whereas PSG had a reputation for overlooking local talent, having missed out on Henry and Martial. Last May, Mbappe helped Monaco win the Gambardella Cup — the French Youth Cup — by scoring twice in the final against Lens: An Henry-like finish for his first goal and a brilliant strike for his second. Although Mbappe's signature move is stepping over the ball multiple times when running at speed — a hallmark of Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo — he has outrageous trickery of his own. In the Euro Under-19 final against Italy last July, he received the ball down the right flank. Feigning to go one way, he flicked the ball the other way over the Italian player's head and then crossed it. All of this on his weaker foot. He was the tournament's star, scoring five goals as France won. Earlier on, in a 2-0 defeat of Croatia, he scored another Henry-like goal, controlling a long pass perfectly with his right foot, then gliding around the keeper before slotting in with his left. 'He is full of surprises,' Monaco defender Fabinho said on Monday. 'We see this on the training pitch every day. He has amazing ability, he does things that stand out.' That Monaco has managed to keep Mbappe is largely down to a strong family structure. Mbappe does not have a high-profile agent like Mino Raiola, who has Manchester United stars Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic among his elite clients. Mbappe, whose mother played professional handball and whose half-brother played striker for first division Rennes, is represented only by his Cameroonian father Wilfried. When Mbappe was on the bench earlier this season, his father gave a newspaper interview bluntly advising Jardim to pick him. The message got through. ___ AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas in Manchester contributed to this report. .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports1 hr. 57 min. ago Related News

Wozniacki wins Dubai opener after Doha final

BY SANDRA HARWITT, Associated Press   DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an all-American matchup, Alison Riske upset 11th-seeded Coco Vandeweghe 6-4, 6-4 to move into the second round at the Dubai Championships on Monday. The unseeded Riske, making her Dubai debut, has won four of their last five outings. 'I have no idea of that stat, but I'll happily take it,' Riske said, smiling. 'It's in my favor.' Riske and Vandeweghe, a semifinalist at the Australian Open, were winning teammates on the U.S. Fed Cup team that defeated Germany 4-0 in the first round two weekends ago. They arrived in Dubai straight from Maui on Wednesday. Vandeweghe seemed to have difficulty getting her firepower going, which is the cornerstone of her game. In the second set, four of the last five games were service breaks before Riske served out the match at love. 'She was having a little difficulty with her first serves,' Riske said. 'But she was starting to get back in rhythm in the second set there.' Caroline Wozniacki won her first-round match over Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-2, 7-5. The 10th-seeded Wozniacki reached the Doha final last week before losing to Karolina Pliskova. Wozniacki surrendered her serve twice in the match - in the first game of the first set and the third game of the second set - but otherwise was in control of the court. 'I was really pleased with how I was able to just stay focused out there from the beginning,' said Wozniacki, who won the Dubai title in 2011. 'It's much different conditions here. The ball is flying. The court is faster than in Doha.' American teen Cici Bellis, playing her first official match of 2017, upset 17th seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-1, 7-5. Monica Puig, the Olympic gold medalist from Puerto Rico, needed more than two hours to get past Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports1 hr. 57 min. ago Related News

It's Carnival in Rio and Nishikori might take a look

It's Carnival in Rio and Nishikori might take a look.....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports1 hr. 57 min. ago Related News

Simon beats Khachanov to reach 2nd round at Open 13

MARSEILLE, France (AP) — Two-time champion Gilles Simon of France rallied to beat Karen Khachanov of Russia 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the Open 13 on Monday. The seventh-seeded Simon, who won the first of 12 career titles here 10 years ago, next faces either countryman Julien Benneteau or 17-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov. Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny reached the second round with a 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 win against 18-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas, a Greek player ranked 205. Youzhny, who broke Tsitsipas' serve five times, will play either sixth-seeded Richard Gasquet or Robin Haase of the Netherlands. Tunisia's Malek Jaziri beat Russia's Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-3 and next plays defending champion Nick Kyrgios of Australia, who is seeded third in Marseille. .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports1 hr. 57 min. ago Related News

How long should injured pro athletes get workers comp?

How long should injured pro athletes get workers comp?.....»»

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Giants' Cueto still in Dominican Republic with ailing father

JANIE McCAULEY, AP Baseball Writer   SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Johnny Cueto remains in the Dominican Republic helping his ailing father a week after pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, and the San Francisco Giants plan to reach out to him to see how he is doing and whether he thinks he will be ready to pitch for his country in the World Baseball Classic. San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy is not worried about Cueto's preparation. The right-hander has been throwing and working out regularly at the club's academy. 'The WBC is starting to cause a slight concern,' Bochy said Monday. 'He'll be smart enough to know if he's ready or not.' Cueto, who signed a $130 million, six-year contract before last season, went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA and five complete games in 32 starts last year. Bochy said the 31-year-old Cueto ideally would be built up to the range of 50-60 pitches ahead of the WBC. The Dominican squad is set to open against Canada in Pool C on March 9 in Miami. Cueto showed a year ago in his first spring training with the Giants how meticulous a routine he keeps to prepare for a season and even between starts. 'You know Johnny: He's smart. He has a great way of getting ready, he paces himself,' Bochy said. 'You saw last year. ... Johnny knows what it takes to get ready.' Bochy has received video of Cueto's throwing sessions back home and didn't want to speculate on his status for the WBC until speaking directly with Cueto. If Cueto doesn't feel quite ready by March 9, there's also the option that he could join the Dominican Republic team for a later round of the tournament. 'We're fine. This spring has started early, so he'll have plenty of time to get ready,' Bochy said. 'Now, the question will be, will he be ready for the WBC? That's the question we have to answer now, and that's why we're going to call him, we're going to try to get ahold of him to see exactly where we're at. He'll be honest with us. We're going to talk about a lot of things, see exactly where he's at, where he's at mentally, too, how his father's doing. He's got a lot going on right now.' Athletic trainer Dave Groeschner will be away from the Giants to work as athletic trainer for the Netherlands team managed by San Francisco hitting coach Hensley Meulens. .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports2 hr. 30 min. ago Related News

FA Cup: Arsenal advances impressed by 5th-tier Sutton's grit

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer   SUTTON, England (AP) — Relief for Arsenal, pride for Sutton United. On the plastic patch at tiny Gander Green Lane stadium, the gulf in class between teams separated by 105 places in the English soccer pyramid but pitted against each other in the FA Cup was not always apparent. Arsenal wasn't simply allowed to stroll into the quarterfinals by its fifth-tier hosts playing the biggest game in their 118-year history. Arsenal took 26 minutes to break through the dogged resistance, and then winning only 2-0 on Monday. 'If you are 2-0 down you don't want to get really hurt,' Sutton manager Paul Doswell said. 'The players should feel very proud. The problem in sport is when you have lost, you feel disappointed but they put this club on a worldwide map.' If global viewers tuned in for a cup giant-killing they didn't get it, but neither did they witness a rough humiliation for the south London side. Apart from picking the ball out of his net twice, Sutton goalkeeper Ross Worner, a part-time picture framer for a sports memorabilia company who supports Arsenal, had few saves to make. Worner was beaten only by Lucas Perez, a 20 million-euro signing last year, and Theo Walcott, who turned the ball in from Nacho Monreal's cross 10 minutes into the second half for his 100th Arsenal goal. Far from being in awe of a side of millionaire international players who arrived with personal bodyguards, Sutton constantly harried in the pursuit of a goal, and seized on misplaced passes by Arsenal players on an unfamiliar surface in front of 5,000 mostly standing fans. Defeat would have been unthinkable for Arsene Wenger following a 5-1 loss at Bayern Munich in the Champions League which cast fresh doubt on the Arsenal manager's future. 'It was not an easy game at all — every little mistake we made, technically they took advantage of,' Wenger said. 'I don't really enjoy tonight because we absolutely had to do the job and it is tricky. It is important for the confidence of the players.' Having avoided embarrassment, the 12-time FA Cup winners will face another fifth-tier side in the last eight. There won't be another tricky trip into unfamiliar territory, with 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium staging Lincoln City next month. But Wenger is now more than aware just what a challenge a team from the National League can pose. 'That was astonishing,' Wenger reflected on a night when his players had to squeeze into a cramped, sparse brown-walled concrete dressing room. 'They never stopped going until the end, and compared to 20 years ago these teams are fit now and can play at the pace of the Premier League.' Sutton, placed 17th in the National League, was mobbed by its fans who invaded the field, having completed the game with its dignity more than intact. 'They kept going,' Wenger said. 'We were never really in a position where we could really afford to have a little breather.' Far from sitting camped inside its own half to frustrate Arsenal, Sutton ensured goalkeeper David Ospina would have to remain constantly alert. Only the crossbar denied Roarie Deacon, a former Arsenal youth team player, and captain Jamie Collins, a part-time construction worker, angled his header from a corner just too high. Perhaps the greatest tribute to Sutton's tenacity was Wenger bringing top-scorer Alexis Sanchez on in the second half. 'When I looked at my lads at 70 minutes and Sanchez has come on, it was a wonderful thing,' Doswell said, 'but I knew how tired they were. It was quite a cruel thing to do.' And yet even with Sanchez on the pitch, the Chilean Copa America winner could not net a 21st goal of the season. 'We could not afford a light team selection,' Wenger said, 'and that is why I came with basically all the players who were available because we couldn't afford to go out.' What Sutton can now afford is significant upgrades to its stadium, mostly to assist youth teams. This record-breaking journey deep into the FA Cup has earned the club, where many staff including the manager are volunteers, more than 1 million pounds ($1 million). The only blot on the night was police having to intervene to stop brawling fans on the field at fulltime, and Sutton reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw eating a pie on the bench in a stunt that appeared to be linked to a betting company. 'Wayne has become this global superstar on the back of being 23-stone,' Doswell said. 'He's made that a chance to make some more media coverage off the back of it. I don't think it shows us in the best light.' ___ Rob Harris is at www.twitter.com/RobHarris and www.facebook.com/RobHarrrisReports .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports2 hr. 30 min. ago Related News

Barca under pressure from fans after mediocre performances

Barca under pressure from fans after mediocre performances.....»»

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Saunders aims to provide leadership in Phillies clubhouse

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — After moving from the All-Star-laden clubhouse in Dunedin to the young locker room in Clearwater six miles up the road, veteran outfielder Michael Saunders is embracing a leadership role with the Philadelphia Phillies this spring. Saunders, who turned 30 two weeks after filing for free agency this offseason, is an elder statesman in the Phillies' clubhouse and one of just two players, along with fellow newcomer Howie Kendrick, in the team's regular lineup who is not in his 20s. 'I'm not looking to change the way I act or change the way I do things, with my routine or anything like that,' Saunders said. 'There are a few guys in this clubhouse that have been around. If (there's) something that needs to be said, it will be said. But I learned from my first few days in the big leagues that you lead by example.' Saunders signed a one-year, $9 million deal with the Phillies last month after spending the last two seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. The rebuilding Phillies have an impressionable clubhouse this spring, with more than a half-dozen prospects in major league camp. With mainstays Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz gone, the front office made a point to add veterans on one-year contracts this winter, including Saunders, Kendrick and pitchers Clay Buchholz, Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit. Saunders was once a top prospect himself, coming up through the Seattle Mariners' system, and he understands the path to the big leagues isn't always linear. 'The first part of my career, the first two or three years, honestly, I didn't know how to hit at the major league level,' Saunders said. 'I didn't have much of an approach, I didn't have a game plan. I was young. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform. And I wore my emotions on my sleeve. 'I think ever since 2012 I've started to learn how to hit in the major leagues. I think the biggest thing I did was more mental than physical. Really, giving myself permission to fail. And not taking my first or my second at-bat and having it ruin my game. Realizing it's one at-bat at a time. I think that's something that just happens when you get older, you mature, you have more of a solid mental approach.' Saunders enjoyed a breakout season in 2016, when he went to his first All-Star Game. He hit .253 with a career-best .815 OPS and 24 home runs in 140 games. The left-handed hitting Saunders will start in right field and likely hit between third baseman Maikel Franco (25 home runs in 2016) and first baseman Tommy Joseph (21 home runs), two of the promising players in the Phillies' youthful lineup. In addition to providing balance to manager Pete Mackanin's regular batting order, Saunders will be a veteran that other position players can lean on for advice, whether it's how to attack an opposing veteran pitcher or come out of lengthy slumps. 'Learning how to win and, for this franchise learning how to take that next step, that's going to be critical,' Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. 'And Michael has a unique perspective having been a highly touted prospect coming up with Seattle and then certainly a young team when he was there, and then transitioning to a Blue Jays club over the last couple years that was dominated by experience and very talented veterans and seeing it from both sides. 'And I think that, candidly, that perspective that he can bring drew us to Michael Saunders. He can relate to both sides of the coin on that and bring that to our clubhouse and some of our younger players. What does it mean to take that next step and play winning baseball. That's part of the reason he's here.' NOTES: Mackanin said there was a 'good chance' right-handed veteran Jeremy Hellickson would start on opening day for the Phillies for the second straight year. Hellickson went 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts in his first season in Philadelphia last season and returned this winter when he accepted the club's $17.2 qualifying offer rather than testing free agency. . Right-handed pitcher Zach Eflin (right knee swelling) threw a bullpen session without issue on Monday morning. Eflin, who had surgery on both his knees since August, had skipped a throwing session last week. . The Phillies will begin their exhibition season schedule on Thursday in Clearwater when they host the University of Tampa at 1:05 p.m. .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports2 hr. 30 min. ago Related News

Defending champ Querrey wins opening match at Delray Beach

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Defending champion Sam Querrey of the United States began his Delray Beach Open title defense Monday with a victory over Dudi Sela of Israel. Querrey, the No. 4 seed, was leading 6-2, 2-1 when Sela retired. Querrey, who is ranked 35th in the world, advanced to a second-round match with either Jared Donaldson or Mikhail Kukushkin. Last year, Querrey beat Rajeev Ram in the Delray Beach final for his first ATP World Tour title since 2012. No. 8 seed Kyle Edmund of Great Britain also advanced Monday with a 6-3, 6-0 triumph over Adrian Mannarino of France. Edmund next plays Yen-Hsun Lu, who came from behind to beat Bjorn Fratangelo 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan won his first-round match 6-3, 6-3 over qualifier Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium. Nishioka will next face either No. 5 seed Steve Johnson or Stefan Kozlov. .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports2 hr. 30 min. ago Related News

Big punching Wilder believes he can save heavyweights

TIM DAHLBERG, AP Sports Columnist   Deontay Wilder was in the Super Bowl media center in Houston a few days before the game when a somewhat familiar face walked by. Wilder and his girlfriend recognized Andrew Zimmern, who stars in the 'Bizarre Foods' show on the Travel Channel. More telling, perhaps, was that Zimmern recognized him. 'I'm a big fan, champ,' Zimmern said before engaging Wilder in a friendly chat and posing for pictures with the heavyweight champion. A small thing, maybe. But to a fighter with a goal of making the heavyweight division must-see once again it was a promising sign of progress. It's no secret the state of the heavyweight division has been abysmal. Hijacked by the Klitschko brothers and in dire need of some punch and personality, it has become a forgotten part of a beleaguered sport. Wilder believes he can change all that. 'We need to see who's the No. 1 guy, who's the baddest man on the planet,' Wilder said. 'That's the title I want, the baddest man on the planet.' That title, of course, used to be held by Mike Tyson, who truly was the baddest man on the planet at one time. But that was more than two decades ago, and in the interim years you'd be hard pressed to find a heavyweight — champion or not — that most boxing fans could identify much less relate to. 'One man having all the belts is going to play a major factor,' Wilder said. 'Even to me as a champion, it's confusing. Who has what belt? And if it's confusing to me I know it's confusing to the average fan.' Wilder won't do much to advance his claim to the heavyweight crown on Saturday when he defends his title against Gerald Washington, a fighter so unknown that even Wilder found it difficult to say much about him. That the fight will take place in Wilder's home state of Alabama, far from boxing's biggest lights, doesn't help the cause much. That's not entirely Wilder's fault, though the 6-foot-7 slugger has been criticized some for taking the slow road to the top since winning a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. Study a list of his opponents, and it's clear that his 37-0 (with 36 knockouts) record wasn't exactly built against the best of what has been a bad division. But he was on his way last year to board a flight to Russia to fight a hometown opponent when Alexander Povetkin tested positive for meldonium. He wants a big fight against England's Anthony Joshua, but that will have to wait, too. So Wilder is defending his title for the fourth time in Birmingham while continuing to dream of bigger things. It's not easy being patient, especially when Joshua is defending his title against Wladimir Klitschko before an expected 90,000 people on April 29 in London in one of the more fascinating heavyweight fights of recent times. Wilder wants the winner for a title unification fight, though it's unlikely to happen until 2018 at the earliest. He hopes it is Joshua, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist for England who is already a big star at home, in a matchup of two fearsome sluggers. 'The fans, they want to see Joshua and Wilder,' Wilder said. 'They're not really worried about Klitschko. We could fight at the end of the year with a big unification bout.' First, Wilder has some work to do against Washington, who is undefeated himself in 19 fights. The big story line figures to be how well Wilder comes back from a broken hand and torn bicep suffered in his knockout win last July against Chris Arreola. Wilder admits he became somewhat depressed after Povetkin tested positive, and he lost a chance to make his name against him in Russia. He's also been frustrated at the pace of his chase for a big fight against one of the other heavyweight champions. 'I'm just staying patient, which is the hardest part of this sport,' he said. 'You can only control so much, so I don't get my hopes up. The world would be perfect if everything went as the way we wanted it to go, but that's not the case.' Wilder did score a big win in a New York courtroom just after the Super Bowl when a judge ruled in his favor in trying to collect his $5 million purse for the aborted Povetkin fight. But the former waiter at Red Lobster insists he is more worried about building a legacy than cashing in. 'I want my name to echo when it comes to boxing,' he said. 'I want all those people to remember me for good  .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports2 hr. 30 min. ago Related News

TNT's chances against SMB were blurred the moment Castro got hurt

No matter how you look at it, TNT was doomed even before Game 7 started against San Miguel Beer. In fact, the KaTropa were doomed even before Game 6 ended. That's because against the two-time defending champion Beermen in a do-or-die situation, TNT went to work without top star Jayson Castro. And with one day preparation against San Miguel, it was simply a losing proposition for the flagship MVP franchise. The Blur is such a big factor of the TNT system it's hard to imagine the team functioning right with his sudden absence. 'It's hard to sustain. It could have been a different story if Jayson played,' head coach Nash Racela said after TNT's elimination from the All-Filipino. 'We just tried to play our cards correctly but it did not work. Obviously we missed Jayson but of course we don't want to take anything from the San Miguel win,' he added. Castro, who ran the KaTropa offense to near perfection in this series, missed Game 7 due to a hamstring injury. He was in street clothes as his teammates tried to take the the Beermen dynasty Monday night. For one half, the KaTropa looked like they could manage to beat San Miguel. However, the Beermen practically won the series with a huge third-quarter effort, outscoring TNT by 15, 36-21. The champs shot 79 percent from the field in that stretch. 'I was hard. Again, if you play a team like San Miguel na nakaka-shoot ng ganun, mahirap talaga,' Racela said. 'We tried to force them to miss but mahirap. And we had our open shots na hindi rin namin na-shoot,' he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Source: abscbn abscbnCategory: sports4 hr. 12 min. ago Related News