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Casimero makes easy work of Ghanian foe, retains bantamweight belt

The heavily favored Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) only needed three rounds to subdue Micah (24-1, 19 KOs), and gave the Ghana native his first defeat in his pro career......»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarSep 27th, 2020

John Riel Casimero eyeing undisputed champion status after Inoue bout

Reigning WBO Bantamweight World Champion John Riel Casimero has a daunting challenge ahead of him in the form of Japanese knockout artist and reigning WBA (Super) and IBF Bantamweight World Champion Naoya "The Monster" Inoue.  The two 118-pound titleholders are set to face off with all three belts on the line this coming April 25th in Las Vegas, Nevada.  While Inoue is arguably the toughest opponent for Casimero to date, the Pinoy already knows what his next move will be, if he can get past the undefeated Japanese star.  "Itong kay Inoue, pag-tapos nito, ang next fight kukunin ko yung WBC kay [Nordine] Oubaali," Casimero boldly stated during a press conference in Manila, Wednesday. "Kapag nakuha ko na yung apat na belt, kung ano yung plano [ng promoter ko], kung magdedepensa o aakyat ng timbang, kung ano yung para sa kanila na maganda na laban, hinihintay ko lang yung [sasabihin nila], ng promoter ko."  Should Casimero be able to defeat Inoue, he will have in his possession the WBO, WBA, and IBF World Championships. Currently, the WBC Bantamweight World Championship belongs to France's Nordine Oubaali.  Oubaali however, is expected to defend his title against mandatory challenger Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire.  If everything falls into place, we could be looking at an all-Filipino bantamweight unification title bout.  For Casimero, he has no qualms in facing a fellow Filipino for all the marbles.  "Wala namang problema kung mag-haharap talaga kami, kasi trabaho lang naman yung ginagawa namin."  "Magandang laban kung makarating yung puro Pilipino," he added.  Sean Gibbons, President of MP Promotions, who currently promotes Casimero, went into a bit more detail as to what they have planned for "Quadro Alas" moving forward.  "When he beats Inoue, we're going to look at, of course, a rematch. Inoue's giving us the opportunity first to fight, so if he wants a rematch, great, If not, then as John Riel said, it hasn't been done in a long, long time, I can't even remember the last time a unified title was done in bantamweight, all the belts plus The Ring Magazine belt, it would be a monster fight, no pun intended."  "And then after that, I think Casimero has, with the right fights and the right style, he could go up one more division. He's a very thick and strong, he's shown good power, he's kept his power from 108 to 112 to 115, to now, 118. After we unify, we put the belts all together at 118, we'll see what he feels like doing, if he wants to take a shot at 122," Gibbons added.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2020

US NCAA Division I Coaches zero in on young talent at DreamBig Gold Tennis Camp

Manila, Philippines – Junior tennis players who joined the DreamBig Gold Series Tennis Camp at Manila Polo Club, Makati on January 11 and 12, 2020 caught the eye of U.S. NCAA Division I coaches.   Ezequiel Gils of Rice University, Rob Raines of Cornell University and Jesse Frieder from Boston University were more than pleasantly surprised by the Philippine tennis landscape when they watched the tennis players participate in the extremely intensive tennis training camp. Twenty young tennis players were given the rare opportunity to be trained by the Division I Tennis coaches and underwent extensive, hands-on training that gave them an insight on of how US colleges run their athletic programs. “Talent is everywhere. I’ve seen a lot of players who can play at a really high level if they just commit to spending time on the court and practicing. I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on the Philippines in terms of tennis. It’s a place a lot of coaches are missing out on and it’s certainly a place that I’ll keep in mind as I’m recruiting,” added Cornell University Coach Rob Raines. The coaches were impressed with the campers and their eagerness to learn, with Boston U coach, Jesse Frieder specifically praising the student-athletes for their coachability. “The players here are very coachable, which leads me to believe that if they to end up in any of our teams, we could help them reach for the sky because they’re open to learning and improving.” The coaches were particularly impressed with several of the country’s up and coming tennis sensations including, the 16-year old son of former Olympian Bea Lucero - Sebastien Lhuillier - who participated in the camp. According to the coaches, almost all the players showed potential to play at the Division I level.  “Physicality and fitness are so important. It’s so easy to lose to somebody when they hit the ball harder than you because they’re bigger than you are. But if you consistently beat higher-ranked players while winning 3-set matches, you prove to us that you are really tough and gritty. We want to see you in more and more matches because it makes your UTR more accurate and it makes you a tougher tennis player. We want players in our team who are tough; who are not scared of pressure and not scared of the moment.” Coach Frieder said.  Overall, however, the coaches said it will take more than talent to compete at the world level. With resources becoming readily available, it will take proper mindset, grit, and support from the country for young players to dream big and achieve big. “It’s more mindset than perhaps even resources. Having someone who is hungry as a child—and I mean hungry to learn— is crucial. We need somebody who wants to be better today than they were yesterday regardless of what their floor is, in terms of talent and athletic ability,” said Rice University Coach Ezequiel Gils “People who work the hardest, who are disciplined, who go to the gym, who consistently practice buckets of serves, are generally the most confident. You gain confidence from preparation. The more confident the player — the more he or she  is likely to win,” said Coach Jesse Frieder. “Manila has the facilities, and the weather. You can work on having good fitness. This country surely has the possibility of having a champion someday,” Rice University Coach Ezequiel Gils said. Akshay Maliwal, Founder and CEO of DreamBig Events said DreamBig is bringing in more camps and tournaments for tennis, golf and soccer this year, to give local junior athletes the opportunity to be discovered by Division I US universities coaches who can help them reach their personal goals and the country’s dream to have Filipino players compete at the international stage......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2020

2019 Monthly Memorable Sports Moments (Part 2)

The year 2019 was a rollercoaster ride for Filipino athletes and Pinoy sports fans. We saw the highs and the lows, basked in the glory of triumph and felt the agony of defeat. We witnessed history unfold and experienced the best and the worst of Philippine sports. Here’s a look back at the sports news that made the headlines that made the end of the decade a memorable one.   JULY Eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao defeated Keith Thurman via decision to claim the WBA (Super) Welterweight World Championship belt. Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino won as Philippine Olympic Committee president in a special election after the resignation of Ricky Vargas.   AUGUST John Riel Casimero knocked out Mexican Cesar Ramirez in the tenth round to retain the Interim WBO Bantamweight World Championship belt. San Miguel Beer captured the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship. F2 Logistics won the 2019 PSL All-Filipino Conference title.   SEPTEMBER Pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena earned a ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after clearing 5.81 meters in the Salto Con L'asta meet in Piazza Chiari, Italy. Gilas ended the horror trip to China with a 0-5 record in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Japanese-Filipino sumo wrestler Hisashi Mitakeumi captured his second top-division title after defeating Takakeisho in a playoff to win the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament. Pedro Taduran needed only four rounds to dispatch Samuel Salva to become the new IBF Minimumweight World Champion. Kiefer Ravena saw action in the PBA after an 18-month ban.   OCTOBER Caloy Yulo won a historic gold medal in the 49th FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany and also earned a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Nesthy Petecio won the gold medal in women’s featherweight of the 2019 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championship in Ulan-Ude, Russia. Brandon Vera fell short against Aung La N Sang in their ONE light heavyweight bout in Tokyo while Kevin Belingon was submitted by Bibiano Fernandes in their bantamweight title clash. Adamson University won the PVL Collegiate Conference title. F2 Logistics ruled the PSL Invitational Conference.   NOVEMBER Ateneo de Manila University won its third straight title in UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball via tournament sweep while National University completed a six-peat with its 96th straight win in women's basketball. Letran dethroned San Beda University in the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball tournament. Creamline retained its PVL Season 3 Open Conference crown. Reigning IBF Super Flyweight World Champion Jerwin "Pretty Boy" Ancajas' scheduled world title defense against Mexico's Jonathan Javier Rodriguez was cancelled because the challenger’s visa issues.  Nonito Donaire Jr. lost to Japanese KO artist Naoya Inoue via unanimous decision in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series Bantamweight Tournament. Joshua Pacio retained the ONE Strawweight World Championship with a masterful submission win over fellow Filipino Rene Catalan. The Philippines began its fourth hosting of the Southeast Asian Games. Businessman, sports patron and University of the East head coach Bong Tan passed away after collapsing during a basketball game. He was 53.   DECEMBER Pinoy boxer Johnriel Casimero knocked South African Zolani Tete out in the third round to capture the WBO Bantamweight World Championship. Reigning IBF Super Flyweight World Champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas retained his belt after needing just six rounds to dispose of Chilean challenger Miguel Gonzales. Team Philippines won the overall championship in the SEA Games after copping 149 gold medals. Barangay Ginebra and Meralco forged a Finals encounter in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2019

2019 Monthly Memorable Sports Moments (Part 1)

The year 2019 was a rollercoaster ride for Filipino athletes and Pinoy sports fans. We saw the highs and the lows, basked in the glory of triumph and felt the agony of defeat. We witnessed history unfold and experienced the best and the worst of Philippine sports. Here’s a look back at the sports news that made the headlines that made the end of the decade a memorable one.   JANUARY Eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao opened the year on a high note and retained his WBA welterweight title after a 12-round unanimous decision win over Adrien Broner. The Philippine volleyball community mourned the passing of head coach Nes Pamilar. He was 52. Joshua Pacio lost his One straw weight title belt to Japanese Yosuke Saruta via split decision while Geje Eustaquio also parted ways with his flyweight belt. The 44th season of the PBA opened.   Jett Manuel of Barangay Ginebra announced his retirement in the PBA after one season while Chris Tiu hanged his jersey after six seasons with Rain or Shine. Gilas Pilipinas began its preparation for the sixth and final qualifying window for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The Azkals finished its historic AFC Asian Cup debut winless after bowing to South Korea, China and Kyrgyzstan.    FEBRUARY Gilas Pilipinas clinched a golden ticket to the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China after back-to-back wins to close out the qualifiers. Aston Palicte beat erstwhile unbeaten Puerto Rican Jose Martinez via TKO in their WBO Superflyweight world championship eliminator while Vic Saludar retained his WBO minimum weight world title. Arellano University completed a three-peat in the NCAA Season 94 women’s volleyball while Perpetual Help won back-to-back titles in the men’s division and five straight in the juniors play. Seventeen year-old Filipino wakeboarder Raphael Trinidad clinched a silver medal in the open category of the IWWF World Cable Wakeboard & Wakeskate Championships at Pampa Wake Park, Buenos Aires. The Philippine Sportswriters Association feted the finest Filipino athletes  for the year 2018 in its annual awards night.    MARCH Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas announced the composition of the men’s and women’s seniors national team and women’s U-23 squad. Gilas Pilipinas landed in Group D in the FIBA World Cup with Serbia, Italy and Angola after the draw. San Beda University won its second straight NCAA Season 94 beach volleyball title while Emilio Aguinaldo College completed a men’s division repeat. Kevin Belingon lost his One bantwamweight title to Brazilian Bibiano Fernandes to disqualification from illegal blows while Eduard Folayang surrendered his lightweight belt to Shinya Aoki in a submission loss.   APRIL Hidilyn Diaz pocketed three silver medals in the Asian Weightlifting Championship. EJ Obiena ended the country’s decade-long gold medal drought in the Asian Athletics Championships after ruling the men’s pole vault in record fashion in Doha, Qatar. Nonito Donaire Jr. knocked out Stephon Young in the sixth round to retain his WBA superbantamweight belt and advance to the WBSS bantamweight tournament finals wile John Riel Casimero claimed the WBO interim bantamweight title. The San Juan Knights captured the MPBL Datu Cup in a winner-take-all Game 5 over Davao Occidental Tigers. Team Philippines recorded its best gold haul in Arafura Games in Australia. Marathon star Rafael Poliquit died of complications from subdural empyema. He was 30.   MAY Ateneo de Manila University won the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball title while National University bagged its second straight men’s crown. San Miguel Beer captured its fifth straight Philippine Cup championship at the expense of Magnolia. Petron defeated F2 Logistics in three games to retain its Philippine Superliga Grand Prix throne. Jerwin Ancajas scored a 7th round TKO win over Japanese Ryuichi Funai to keep his IBF super flyweight belt. The UAAP and NCAA collegiate press corps feted the best student-athletes in basketball and for the first time in women’s volleyball. Some athletes and sports personalities tried their luck in the 2019 mid-term elections.   JUNE   Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas stepped down from his post after just 18 months in office. Cignal-Ateneo won the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup title.   (To be continued).....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2019

Simone Soars: Biles named 2019 AP Female Athlete of the Year

By Will Graves, Associated Press They’re called “Simone Things,” a catchall phrase for the casual ease with which Simone Biles seems to soar through her sport and her life. The irony, of course, is that there’s nothing casual or easy about it. Any of it. The greatest gymnast of all time and 2019 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year only makes it seem that way. Those jaw-dropping routines that are rewriting her sport's code of points and redefining what can be done on the competition floor? Born from a mix of natural talent, hard work and a splash of ego. The 25 world championship medals, the most by any gymnast ever? The result of a promise the 22-year-old made to herself when she returned to competition in 2017 after taking time off following her golden run at the 2016 Olympics. The stoicism and grace she has shown in becoming an advocate for survivors — herself included — and an agent for change in the wake of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal that’s shaken USA Gymnastics to its core? The byproduct of a conscious decision to embrace the immense clout she carries. “I realize now with the platform I have it will be powerful if I speak up and speak for what I believe in,” Biles told The Associated Press. “It’s an honor to speak for those that are less fortunate. So if I can be a voice for them in a positive manner, then of course I’m going to do whatever I can.” And it's that mission — combined with her otherworldly skill and boundless charisma — that's enabled Biles to keep gymnastics in the spotlight, a rarity for a sport that typically retreats into the background once the Olympic flame goes out. She is the first gymnast to be named AP Female Athlete of the Year twice and the first to do it in a non-Olympic year. Biles edged U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe in a vote by AP member sports editors and AP beat writers. Skiing star Mikaela Schiffrin placed third, with WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne fourth. Biles captured the award in 2016 following a showstopping performance at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where she won five medals in all, four of them gold. She spent most of the following 12 months taking a break before returning to the gym in the fall of 2017, saying she owed it to herself to mine the depth of her talent. Check social media following one of her routines and you’ll find people -- from LeBron James to Michelle Obama to Chrissy Teigen -- struggling to distill what they’ve witnessed into 280 characters or fewer, with whatever they settle on typically followed by multiple exclamation points and a goat emoji, a nod to Biles being considered the Greatest Of All Time. Her triple-twisting double-flip (the “triple double”) at the end of her first tumbling pass on floor exercise is a wondrous blur. Her double-twisting double-flip beam dismount (the “double double”) is so tough the International Gymnastics Federation made the unusual decision to downplay its value in an effort to deter other gymnasts from even trying it. This is both the blessing and the curse of making the nearly impossible look tantalizingly attainable. When Biles learned about the FIG's decision, she vented on Twitter, her palpable frustration highlighting the realness she's maintained even as her first name has become synonymous with her sport's royalty. It can lead to a bit of a balancing act. In some ways, she's still the kid from Texas who just wants to hang out with her boyfriend and her dog and go to the grocery story without being bothered. In other ways, she's trying to be respectful of the world she's built. Take the GOAT thing. It’s a title she embraces — Biles wore a goat-themed leotard during training at the national championships in August — but also takes with a grain of salt, determined to stay grounded even as the hype around her grows. Yes, GOAT happens to be the acronym for her planned post-Olympic “Gold Over America Tour,” but ask her where the inspiration came from and she laughs and gives credit to a friend, Kevin, who came up with it in a group chat. It is both paying tribute to and winking at her status at the same time. Biles has become well aware over the last three years that her every word and action carries far greater weight than she ever imagined. Her most impactful moment of 2019 might not have come during a meet but sitting for an interview on the eve of winning her record sixth national title, when she fought back tears while talking about how USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the FBI failed to protect athletes during an investigation into Nassar's abusive behavior. The moment went viral, as most things surrounding her tend to do these days. “I’m starting to realize it’s not just the gymternet anymore,” Biles said, using the term for her sport's dedicated fans. "It’s an overall thing. It’s weird to get that kind of attention, but at the end of the day, I feel gymnastics has been overlooked in non-Olympic years. Yeah, it puts pressure on me. But I’m not trying to think about all the attention from the outside world.” The attention figures to only grow in the run-up to Tokyo, where she will attempt to become the first female gymnast in more than half a century to repeat as Olympic champion. Her smiling face serves as the exclamation point at the end of every television promo for the Summer Games. Let it be known: The smile is real. That might not have always been the case, but is is now. Heading into the final months of a singular career, she is trying to revel in the journey while anxiously awaiting what's next. Add it to the list of Simone Things. “I feel like this is the beginning of my life and I don’t want gymnastics to be my whole entire life,” she said. “I’m definitely going to soak in the moment and enjoy it so 10 years from now I can look back and say ‘I had the time of my life out there’ ... rather than ‘I was good, but I was miserable.’”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2019

Usman batters Covington, Volkanovski claims title at UFC 245

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press LAS VEGAS (AP) — Kamaru Usman brutally stopped Colby Covington with 50 seconds left in the fifth round at UFC 245 on Saturday night, retaining his UFC welterweight title with a spectacular finish to their grudge match. Alexander Volkanovski took the UFC featherweight title from Max Holloway and became the second Australian champion in the promotion's history with a tactical unanimous-decision victory. Amanda Nunes defended her bantamweight title with a grinding unanimous-decision victory over Germaine De Randamie at T-Mobile Arena. Usman (16-1) closed out an occasionally slow fight with Covington (15-2) in thrilling fashion, knocking down the challenger twice with precise punches and then finishing him on the ground. Usman and Covington took a personal animus into the cage, and the Nigerian-born Usman made good on his vow to derail the career of the divisive Covington, whose grating personality and eager embrace of President Donald Trump have made him a sharply polarizing figure in mixed martial arts. "This one is not just for me," Usman said. “This is for the whole entire world.” Volkanovski (21-1) picked apart Holloway (21-5) with leg kicks and movement for five frenetic rounds, controlling the bout with style and persistence. The 31-year-old challenger born in a tiny coastal town in New South Wales joins New Zealand-born middleweight Robert Whittaker as UFC’s only Aussie champs. The judges favored Volkanovski 48-47, 48-47 and 50-45. Holloway struggled to land consistent strikes while dodging Volkanovski’s barrage of leg kicks, but the long-reigning champ still appeared surprised and disappointed by the judges’ verdict in just his second loss since 2013. “It means the world,” Volkanovski said. “I have two kids at home. Everything is about my family. Spending time away from them kills me, but this is for them, a little early Christmas present for them.” Volkanovski became just the fourth featherweight champion in UFC history, joining Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor and Holloway, who had reigned since 2016. Volkanovski earned his title shot with 17 straight victories, including seven since joining the UFC, capped by a win over Aldo in May. “Featherweight has always had great, respectful champions who always fight the next contenders in line, and I appreciate that,” Volkanovski said. “There’s a lot of people who have earned their shot and aren’t given it, so I’m going to make sure everyone who earns it, gets it.” Holloway has been one of the UFC's most popular and most durable fighters of the 2010s, winning 13 consecutive bouts before he moved up to lightweight and lost a decision to Dustin Poirier for an interim title last April. He returned in July with a featherweight defense over Frankie Edgar before agreeing to a shot for Volkanovski. Covington and Usman started with two busy rounds of striking in which Covington appeared to be landing more blows, but Covington poked Usman in the eye during the third. Usman responded by bloodying Covington in an impressive third-round flurry, and Covington subsequently told his corner that he thought his jaw was broken. Usman took control from there, gradually finishing Covington in his first defense of the belt he took from Tyron Woodley earlier this year. Covington (15-2) won an interim title last year, but then missed a full year of competition due to injuries. Nunes (19-4) earned her 10th straight win and fifth bantamweight title defense over a half-decade of UFC dominance, but the two-division champion had to rely on her wrestling skills to dominate her 135-pound rematch with De Randamie (9-4), the former 145-pound UFC champion. “My game plan was to go five rounds and work the takedown,” Nunes said. “I almost got two submissions, but I made some mistakes and I have to fix that. Just a little bit of the technique was off, but I will fix it and next time I will get it.” After Nunes nearly finished in a one-sided first round, De Randamie surprised Nunes with several effective strikes in the second. Nunes wisely landed multiple takedowns to control the rest of the bout, keeping De Randamie on the mat and unable to land a home-run strike. The judges favored Nunes 49-46, 49-45 and 49-44. “Honestly, I was a little bit off tonight,” Nunes said. “But I’m the champ. I always have Plan A, B, C and more.” Nunes added the featherweight belt last December with her 51-second thrashing of Cris “Cyborg” Justino, cementing her place among the sport’s greats. Still only 31 years old, Nunes has said she will defend that 145-pound belt in her next fight, which would make her the first UFC fighter to defend two titles simultaneously. De Randamie was the first UFC women’s featherweight champion in 2017, but she moved down to bantamweight after she was stripped of the belt. The Dutch kickboxer was stopped by Nunes in the first round of their first meeting in 2013, but she tested Nunes much more extensively this time out. Earlier on the pay-per-view portion of the show, Aldo (28-6) lost a split decision to fellow Brazilian contender Marlon Moraes (23-6-1). Russian bantamweight contender Petr Yan stopped Urijah Faber with a single head kick in the third round. Yan (14-1) battered and bloodied the 40-year-old veteran with two knockdowns in the second before finishing Faber and then calling out two-division champ Henry Cejudo afterward......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2019

Holloway, Nunes eager to show championship form at UFC 245

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press LAS VEGAS (AP) — With a months-long barrage of trash talk and provocative posturing, Colby Covington and champion Kamaru Usman have infused their welterweight title bout at UFC 245 with political, racial and very personal overtones. Before they get in the cage Saturday night, two of the UFC's most durable, likable champions will entertain the mixed martial arts world without pandering or preening. Max Holloway and Amanda Nunes are among the toughest and winningest fighters of their generation, and their latest title defenses against Alex Volkanovski and Germaine De Randamie are both likely to be more entertaining than the main event bout between two wrestlers who sometimes talk better than they punch. Holloway and Nunes aren't complaining, however. They know controversy sells pay-per-views, and they're not mad about being along for the ride on this main event that feels more like a sideshow. “I got to talk a little bit less at the press conferences, which is cool,” Holloway said with a laugh. “Those guys, they've got stuff. I wish I was a little bit lighter and I could have grabbed my popcorn. Things are getting heated up.” The T-Mobile Arena crowd is likely to be strongly behind Holloway, the genial Hawaii native who hasn’t fought in Las Vegas since 2015. His scheduled bout here last year was scrapped at late notice when Holloway exhibited symptoms of a concussion. Holloway went back to work with a renewed focus on recovery and health, citing the examples of LeBron James and other elite athletes who spend millions on recovery and training. “I’ve got some of the greatest minds in MMA behind me, and they make sure I’m good all around,” Holloway said. Holloway was on a 13-bout winning streak against some of the sport’s best fighters until earlier this year, when he moved up to lightweight and lost to Dustin Poirier. Holloway rebounded with a featherweight title defense victory over Frankie Edgar, and his acceptance of another title defense against Volkanovski doesn’t mean he has given up multi-belt championship dreams. “It’s not even the belts that intrigue me,” Holloway said. “It’s being the best mixed martial arts fighter in the world that intrigues me. Being the best in the world is not somebody who stays at a weight and dominates his weight. He’s willing to go to whatever weight. But I'm not overlooking Alex. When you overlook somebody, you lose.” Volkanovski (20-1) has emerged from Australia as a serious contender for the featherweight title with 17 consecutive wins since 2013, including seven straight in the UFC. NUNES RETURNS Nunes already beat De Randamie in 2013, back when Nunes was a prominent contender, but not a champion. After a loss to Cat Zingano in her next bout, Nunes began her current nine-fight winning streak against the greatest women’s fighters in MMA history, from Ronda Rousey and Cris “Cyborg” Justino to Holly Holm and Valentina Shevchenko. De Randamie earned this bantamweight title shot with five straight wins, beating Holm and Aspen Ladd along the way. Nunes has beaten every female fighter who has ever held a UFC belt at 135 or 145 pounds, but she isn't bored. “All the work I've put in has paid off, and I will stay here,” Nunes said. “I'll prove it over and over that I'm the best.” MAIN EVENT Usman and Covington will close the show with the champion’s first fight since he dominated Tyron Woodley to take the belt in March. This meeting between two top-shelf wrestlers seems likely to be a tactical fight leading to a decision, but the fighters’ big personalities have generated ample publicity for two less-than-thrilling combatants. Usman has won 14 straight fights, while Covington has won seven in a row. Both welterweights have striking similarities in their styles, preferring to pin their opponents against the cage or on the mat and gradually grinding out victories. Although Covington is an eager striker, he doesn’t appear to have as much punching power as Usman, who appears to be bigger and stronger. ON THE SHOW The traditional big New Year’s Eve show in the UFC’s hometown has been moved up two weeks in the first year of the promotion’s lucrative deal with ESPN. The UFC still stacked the card, which also includes fights for crowd-pleasers Mike Perry and Urijah Faber, up-and-coming contenders Ketlen Vieira and Petr Yan, and veteran stars Jose Aldo, Matt Brown and Ben Saunders......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2019

2019 setbacks have made Rene Catalan hungry heading into 2020

Rene "The Challenger" Catalan only had one goal when he decided to answer the call to compete in combat sambo at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines – to win a gold medal. While the ONE strawweight division contender looked unstoppable up until the semifinals, he eventually lost to Fajar in the finals, 11-3.  The 40-year-old felt the effects of the heel-hook that Chatchai Ritthidecha applied on him in the semifinals, affecting his mobility against the Indonesian.  It was an unacceptable outcome according to Catalan, but the loss will add fuel to his fire when he makes his return to The Home Of Martial Arts. “I am not satisfied. My main goal was to get the gold medal and I am disappointed. But it’s done. I know I would have gotten that gold medal, but my foot got in the way,” Catalan said.  Catalan last saw action in the Circle when he challenged ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua "The Passion" Pacio at ONE: MASTERS OF FATE last November, losing to the belt holder by submission in round two. But the losses this year keep Catalan hungry heading into 2020, and he promises to turn those frustrations into positive results in ONE Championship. “I’ll do everything to get back to the winning lane. The SEA Games would have started my road to recovery, but I didn’t get it. So now I’m really hungry to get back and I’m excited for my return to ONE Championship,” Catalan said.  “This is an added inspiration. I will work double-time and move my way up for another title shot.” Expecting that things will not get easier moving forward, “The Challenger” promises to stay prepared.  "I am so hungry for that win. I’ll prepare hard for whoever ONE gives to me because I know they will give me someone extraordinary.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 12th, 2019

Casimero dethrones Tete, seizes WBO belt

Johnriel Casimero dethroned South African Zolani Tete on Sunday with a stunning third round technical knockout victory to seize the World Boxing Organization bantamweight belt at the Arena Birmingham, in Birmingham, England. Casimero is now a three-division world champion. JOSEF T. RAMOS.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsDec 1st, 2019

Success didn t come overnight for Yulo, Petecio and Obiena

What makes every victory sweet are the compelling stories behind the most glorious of triumphs. Beyond the statistics, the points, the records, it’s always the journey that make sports conquests inspiring.  For Olympians and champions pole vaulter EJ Obiena and gymnast Carlos Yulo and world championship gold medalist female boxer Nesthy Petecio, success didn’t come overnight. They shared the same experiences where they bled, shed tears, felt pain, experienced regret and lost. It was never easy.   “’Yung sports kasi it can be brutal for us,” said Obiena, who was the first Filipino to book a ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last month. “That kind of makes winning sweet. It’s a series of ups and downs.” “I think everybody here… now we’re champions but we lost a lot of times before we actually won,” he added.   TOUGH ROAD The 23-year-old vaulter remembered how devastated he was when he sustained a knee injury in 2017. Obiena just jumped to a new national record prior to that injury. From there, he needed to work his way back up again. Just like Obiena, Petecio also faced a tough road. The lowest point for the Davaoena was when she lost via a controversial 2-3 split decision to Chinese Yin Jun Hua in the 2018 Asian Games featherweight match that could’ve catapulted her to the gold medal bout.        “’Yung experience ko sa Asian Games sobrang na-down po ako nun kumbaga sabi ko sa sarili ko noon baka hindi para sa akin ang boxing,” Petecio said. “Kasi pinaghirapan ko po yung apat na gold po ako sunud-sunod po doon para i-prepare ang sarili ko sa Asian Games tapos ganoon po ang nangyari. Down na down po ako nun.” It was so painful that the 27-year old pug thought of hanging her gloves for good. “Alam po ni Coach Boy [Velasco] yun, sinasabi ko po kay coach na magtatrabaho na lang po ako kasi naka-graduate naman din po ako ng associate course sa University of Baguio. Sabi ko sa sarili ko kaya ko pala maghanap ng ibang work.” Meanwhile, Yulo was just 16 then when he left his family in Manila to train for three years under the tutelage of Japanese coach Munehiro Kugiyama. One could just imagine what goes through the mind of a teenager in a foreign land away from his parents and friends.     “Sa Japan, nu’ng unang taon ko po dun, actually nu’ng three months ko po dun OK naman po siya di masama,” Yulo recalled. “Pero nalulungkot na po ako noong mga sumunod na araw, nami-miss ko na po ang family ko.” His Japan training did wonders for Yulo as he became a consistent medalist in the 2018 world cup series last year winning medals in Melbourne and Baku in vault and in Doha and Cottbus in floor exercise.   But homesickness and the difficult routine training, Yulo admitted, almost broke him. “Yung mga trainings ko po dun hindi siya masaya, sobra pong hirap. Araw-araw po naiyak ako kasi di ko po siya kaya, susuko na ako,” he said. “Last two years po sinabi ko rin sa coach na magku-quit na ako kasi sobrang wala po eh parang tae di po maganda sobra ang training.” “Pauli-ulit lang po ang araw. Parang hinihintay ko lang po matapos ang araw,” added Yulo. Then Yulo suffered a big blow in 2018 Asiad when he crashed to 7th place in the floor exercise. “Sa Asian Games din po wala ako sa kondisyon nun,” Yulo said. “Pumunta lang ako ng gym para mag-training pero hindi po talaga galing sa puso.” “Hindi po ako makapag-focus nun tuwing competition. Marami rin po kasi akong pagkakamali bago yung preparation ko sa Asian Games din po,” he added. “Hindi po ako nanalo ng medals dun, naka-finals po pero di ako nanalo ng medals. May chance po pero hindi po para sa akin siguro yun.”   REDEMPTION For the three sports heroes, it was when they hit rock-bottom when they realized that they were actually on solid ground where they could stand up and rise above the adversities they faced. It is in the darkest of nights where the stars shine the brightest. After a seventh place finish in the Asian Games, Obiena cleared 5.71 meters in the Asian Championships in Doha, Qatar last April. He then set a new national record of 5.76 meters to rule the Universiade in Naples, Italy last July. Obiena went on a roll as he cleared 5.81 meters in a tournament in Italy last month to secure a berth in the Tokyo Games. “We're very lucky to have the Philippines as the country we represent,” he said. “Sometimes I compete and I'm the only Filipino there in the stadium then I see a tiny flag waving and it's just nice and that kind of makes me happy and makes me feel lucky that I get to show the world that there is a Filipino vaulting here and we actually exist.”    Yulo, on the other hand, needed a short talk with her mother, Angelica, and a trip to the church to clear his mind. “Umuwi po ako at kinausap ko po ang mama saka papa ko. Sinabi ko po sa kanila na nahihirapan na ako, gusto ko na mag-quit. Sinabi ni mama sa akin na, ‘Ikaw, pero sayang kasi ang mga pinaghirapan mo. Nasimulan mo na ba’t di mo pa tapusin?'” “Kinabukasan nagsimba kami tapos nag-sink in po sa utak ko na grabe ang dami ko na ring pinagdaananan sobrang nakaka-stress pala,” he recalled. Clinging on the vow to surpass his bronze medal in the world championship last year, Yulo made sure that he’ll be ready in the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Stuttgart, Germany. “Ngayon tinarget ko talaga na di na maulit ang nangyari dati na umi-stop ako na walang magawa parang naiiyak na lang. Gusto ko lumaban at ipagmalaki sa lahat na kaya ko,” he said. Late Saturday night in the Philippines, Yulo made his historic stride on the other side of the world. Yulo bagged gold in the floor exercise final with a score of 15.300, besting Israeli Artem Dolgopyat (15.200), who dropped his shoulder when the Filipino's score flashed on the screen, and Ruoteng Xiao (14.933) of China. All-around, Yulo wound up 10th in the competition. “Hindi ko ini-expect na maka-medal ako kasi nung nakita ko ang score ng kalaban 15.2 po siya, hindi ko pa po nari-reach ang score [na yun],” said Yulo. After his routine, Yulo sat beside the Israeli gymnast and waited for his score. “Na ano ko na lang sa sarili ko na parang training lang ‘to. Gusto ko ipakita sa buong mundo na maganda ang gymnastics ko, na kahit matalo ako nu’ng araw na yun iniisip ko na lang na ginawa ko ang best ko,” he said. He then made history. Less than 24 hours after Yulo’s feat, on the Eastern Front, a Filipina carried the nation’s pride on top of the boxing ring in Russia. “’Yung mga kalaban ko po hindi po basta-basta po kasi nakikita ko rin po sa kanila na willing na willing din po nila na panalunin ang laban po,” Petecio recalled. “Kung gaano kadami ang suntok ko, dinadamihan din nila. Dinadaan ko na lang po lakas kasi alam kong mas malakas ako sa kanila.” She was a favorite during the prelims up to the semifinals, with the crowd in Ulan-Ude cheering her on. But the complexion changed when she entered the ring before the gold medal match. She was up against the hometown bet.    Despite fighting in hostile territory, Petecio bested Liudmila Vorontsove to annex the gold medal via split decision.    The victory was doubly sweet for Petecio. It was her long-awaited payback.            “Bago po yung final bout ko po, sabi ko po sa sarili ko na ‘Akin na ‘to’. Di ko na ibibigay ito,” she said. “Kasi noong 2014 last world championship nag-silver lang ako tapos Russian ang nakatalo sa akin. So sabi ko hindi ko na ipapaulit po na tatalunin ako ulit ng Russian. Akin na ‘to. Kini-claim ko na po sa sarili ko.” Having the gold medal finally on her neck, Petecio was just happy that she made the right decision just when she thought that her career was already bleak with the stinging Asian Games loss. ”Iniisip ko that time kung ano ang purpose ko kung bakit nag-boxing ako. Binalikan ko po ang insipirasyon ko, yung pamilya ko,” said Petecio, who once lived in a house made of tarpaulin and was financed by then Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to fly to Manila to pursue amateur boxing.     ”Nagdasal po ako kay God nung time na yun na, ano ba talaga ang dahilan kung bakit di niya ibinigay sa akin ang inaasam kong gold sa Asian Games,” she added. ”Nagpursige po ako ulit, bumangon po ako paunti-unti sa tulong ng mga coaches ko din and ito po nakuha ko na ang ginto sa world.” Looking back, the trio now had a clear understanding why they had to go through trials that tested not only their character but also their faith in themselves. “Part of our life is challenges, everyday struggles and its just a series of good memories that makes us who we are now,” said Obiena. The new breed of Filipino heroes are now enjoying the fruits of their hard work and sacrifice. The accolades came pouring in left and right. However, the trio agree that they are just at the beginning of their journey. They still have to make a home stand in the 30th Southeast Asian Games next month. For Petecio, a Tokyo Games ticket also awaits early next year in her attempt in the Asian qualifier in China. Obiena and Yulo also gun for podium finishes in Tokyo.   The road ahead is still long. It will never be a smooth and easy ride. But they will be ready. For flag and country.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2019

Wizards, Beal agree on 2-year, $72 million extension

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press Bradley Beal has agreed on a two-year extension worth nearly $72 million with Washington, a major victory for the Wizards and a move that will keep the All-Star guard out of free agency for at least the next three summers. The agreement was confirmed Thursday by Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein. ESPN first reported the details of the extension. Beal still had two years left on his existing contract. The extension kicks in for the 2021-22 season, has a player option for the following year and means that Beal won’t be part of what has been shaping up to be an NBA free-agent extravaganza in the summer of 2021. The Wizards were willing to give Beal a three-year extension that would have been worth about $111 million over three years. Beal went the two-year route and that protects his future options — he could opt out of the deal in the summer of 2022, coinciding with his 10th year in the league. The 10-year milestone is significant: By having that many years of service, Beal would be eligible to sign a new deal worth in excess of $250 million over the next five seasons. Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard told a story as the team was getting ready to begin training camp of what he says to young players he meets for the first time: Work as hard as Beal. “It sounds easy,” Sheppard said. “Then you come in and you see all the work that Bradley puts in every day, all the leadership he exudes every day. He’s shown time and time again how committed he is to D.C.” Beal has played more minutes than any other NBA player in the last two regular seasons, is one of only five players to not miss a game in that span — and is the lone player to have started all 82 games in both of those seasons. He’s an elite scorer, 12th in the league last season at a career-best 25.6 points per game. And he will be the centerpiece again for a Wizards team that’s without point guard John Wall for the entire season as he recovers from an Achilles injury. Sheppard said Beal is poised for yet another big year, and that the way he was interacting with teammates in recent weeks didn’t give him any reason to believe he wasn’t committed to the team. “He’s ready to play this season,” Sheppard said at his preseason availability last month. “He’s a fantastic, fantastic person. He makes the whole team be better.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 17th, 2019

PH has 5 world boxing champions… and counting!

PROFESSIONAL boxing is alive and well in the Philippines. The country currently has five Filipino world boxing  champions led by Senator Manny Pacquiao who owns the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight belt. The other Pinoys  are  WBA bantamweight king Nonito Donaire,  World Boxing Organization (WBO)  bantamweight interim champion  Johnriel Casimero, International Boxing Federation (IBF) super […] The post PH has 5 world boxing champions… and counting! appeared first on Bandera......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 27th, 2019

PVL: She makes the work easy -- Okumu on Tolenada

Setter Iris Tolenada’s role in Motolite goes beyond being the squad’s designated playmaker. The Fil-American also plays as Motolite head coach Godfrey Okumu’s deputy inside the court. Okumu didn’t need to give much instructions to Tolenada as he would with the other Motolite players because he knows that the setter already has an idea on how he wants their game plan to be executed inside the court. Okumu is confident that his instructions will be relayed to the tee knowing that he’s communicating it with Tolenada, who herself is a volleyball mentor in the US.   “We always talk, before I tell her anything about what I’m expecting from her, I just tell her ‘I know, and I believe you know what I’m about to say and I don’t need to tell you this,’” said Okumu of Tolenada on Sunday following Motolite’s 25-9, 25-20, 25-19, drubbing of BaliPure for a 2-1 win-loss record in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference.   “That’s what I always tell her. ‘I don’t have to tell you this.’ So it’s something that she knows,” added Okumu of the playmaker, who tallied 17 excellent sets and four points. Tolenada, who works as San Francisco State University women’s volleyball team assistant coach and also made a stint as volleyball instructor at Stanford University summer camp, made her return to the league three years since she led Pocari Sweat in the defunct Shakey’s V-League Open Conference crown in 2016.      Playing with a relatively young core, Okumu knows that Tolenada needs a lot of adjustment but the mentor lauds the playmaker for making his work easy.   “I think we have to find a way for the team to jell together, how to defend, how to attack. This player plays this ball perfectly, get the ball, maybe she’s struggling. So those are the things that again we have to find a way as we go so we make it easier for her to know how to play with different spikers,” said Okumu. “But all in all, the work is easy,” Okumu said. “She makes the work easy.” Tolenada welcomes the challenge of leading a young team together with Myla Pablo, whom she has played with before in Pocari Sweat.   “It’s definitely been different,” she said. “They make us feel young but it has been great.” “I think they’re starting to learn. I think Myla and myself, we’re doing our best to be leaders for them and we just tried to drop them in and make them compete as hard as possible,” Tolenada added. “They have the potential so we just to keep on working hard.”   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 25th, 2019

Casimero retains crown with Ramirez KO

     MANILA, Philippines – Johnriel Casimero softened up Cesar Ramirez with body shots before finishing the Mexican off with a left uppercut and right hook in the 10th round to retain the World Boxing Organization interim bantamweight crown Saturday night, August 24 at San Andres Sports Complex. As Ramirez’s mouthpiece flew out ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsAug 24th, 2019

PVL: I have to prove myself – Manilla Santos-Ng

Returning Manilla Santos-Ng has to reintroduce herself. The volleyball legend may have an impressive résumé under her belt but after a decade removed from competitive play, Santos-Ng will have to start from scratch. It’s like her rookie year with De La Salle University all over again. Santos-Ng is staging a comeback since her last stint in the UAAP in 2009 after signing up with newcomer ChocoMucho in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference. “It’s 10 years ago [since I last played]. Sa totoo lang, I consider myself a rookie in this pro-league, bago lang ako,” said the four-time UAAP champion. Just like other newbies, Santos-Ng, who during her time in the UAAP was known for her high-leaping exploits, high-octane offense and solid floor defense, has to vie for playing time under head coach Oliver Almadro. “I really have to prove myself also kung talagang karapa’t dapat kang makalaro,” said Santos-Ng. “Kung maglalaro ka go, if you can contribute go. If not, maybe in some other ways like inspiring the kids.” Santos-Ng has to compete against her younger and taller teammates to convince Alamdro for minutes. And earning her playing time won’t be easy for the 34-year old, 5-foot-4 hitter in a Flying Titans team stacked with young and very talented wing spikers in Kat Tolentino, Shang Berte, Carla Sandoval, Bang Pineda, Cindy Imbo, Shannen Palec and Gyra Barroga.    It’s a big challenge that Santos-Ng knows she has to face. “One thing I like about Coach Oliver is that he’s very honest with us,” said the UAAP Season 71 Most Valuable Player, who played under Almadro back when the mentor worked as deputy to DLSU head coach Ramil De Jesus.   “Kilala ko rin siya na, 'Hindi porke’t kilala kita bibigyan kita ng spot,'” she added. Santos-Ng also acknowledges that she has to work double time to adapt to this generation’s level of play and try to bring back if not exceed her vintage form.    “Honestly speaking may pressure because people are expecting a lot,” said Santos-Ng, who knows very well the hype that was built in her return. “But as I said, I consider myself a rookie here. Naga-adjust pa ako.” The three-time UAAP Best Receiver decided to come back to fulfill her son Kenzi's wish of seeing her in action. “When I decided to come back, I started losing weight muna, low impact. Adaptive phase kasi matagal akong di nakapaglaro tapos nagdyi-gym ako,” she said. Santos-Ng then trained with ChocoMucho’s sister-team Creamline for a few months. “I told my husband I need court skills also so he said since affiliated naman siya sa Rebisco, he asked the management and the management is gracious enough to accept me to train with them,” Santos-Ng said. “And then during training, there was a new team being formed under Coach Oliver. Sinabi ko naman if I could join sa ChocoMucho because Coach Oliver’s there,” she continued. The former Queen Lady Spiker, who had her jersey no. 14 retired by DLSU, is now working on bringing back her hops and hang time that wowed fans a decade ago when the sport’s following was limited only to Filipino volleyball purists.   “Ngayon lang ulit ako tumalon, nitong June. Nu’ng nag-start ako mag-training with Creamline noong February hanggang May more on floor defense lang ako, hindi pa ako kaagad tumatalon,” she said. “Again it’s been 10 years, it’s been a long time baka if nabigla ako ma-injury lang. So noong June pa lang ako nag-start, sakto noong nasa ChocoMucho ako.”         When asked if this generation will have a chance to see the vintage Illa Santos operate inside the court, Santos-Ng answered. “Let’s just say na my teammates nagsasabi na may talon pa rin naman,” she said.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2019

Holly Holm aims for another shocking win vs Nunes at UFC 239

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press LAS VEGAS (AP) — Holly Holm didn't fight in a mixed martial arts cage until she was already a 29-year-old boxing champion of three weight classes. She had both a head start and a huge deficit in her quest to master a second sport in her athletic midlife. Even eight years later, Holm is aware of the unique challenges of her chosen path. She knows she'll probably never face a boxer as good as her in the cage, but she also knows she might never catch up to some of her younger opponents in grappling, jiu-jitsu or the myriad intricacies of the transitions between disciplines. So instead of setting a mundane goal to be the greatest fighter in MMA history, Holm looks at her second career as a chance to do as many unique things as possible. "I always want to do something that hasn't been done before," Holm said Thursday while preparing for her showdown with bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 239 on Saturday night. "No female in the UFC has won the belt, lost it and then come back to get it again," she said. "That's something I can do this week. This is something for my legacy. I want to win no matter what, but I love to have a challenge in front of me like that." Holm (12-4) already had one of the greatest nights in MMA history. She knows her career is likely to be defined by her world-shocking victory over Ronda Rousey in November 2015, making her a UFC champion in her 10th pro fight and transforming her into an international celebrity. Although she lost the bantamweight title in her next bout, her place in the sport was already secure. A victory over Nunes (17-4), arguably the most talented and accomplished woman in MMA history, would be even more impressive than that win over Rousey, whose inadequacies were exposed again by Nunes a year later. But Holm points out an interesting curve in this path: The world was shocked when Holm beat Rousey senseless, but the world now believes Holm can do anything, even after losing four of her past six fights. That's a different kind of expectation, and she is doing her best to bear up under it. "I was the underdog that shocked everybody before," Holm said with a laugh. "But now there's the pressure from having that reputation as somebody who can shock you as an underdog." Holm meets Nunes in the penultimate bout of a stacked card at T-Mobile Arena for the UFC's traditional International Fight Week pay-per-view show. Jon Jones, Holm's teammate in Albuquerque, faces Brazil's Thiago Santos in the main event of a show also featuring veteran stars Luke Rockhold, Jorge Masvidal, Ben Askren, Diego Sanchez, Michael Chiesa, Gilbert Melendez and Claudia Gadelha. Holm and Jones often work out at the same time at Jackson Wink MMA Academy, and Holm pays attention to her tremendously talented, sometimes self-sabotaging co-worker. Even at 37, Holm is still eager to learn new ways to improve. "Jon will come in and spar, but then he'll take somebody aside and just drill one move, one technique over and over and over again," Holm said. "His focus and endurance is inspiring. He can do that for hours, and I've tried to have the same focus." Nunes has held the bantamweight title for three years since she took it from Miesha Tate, who had taken it from Holm. Nunes added the 145-pound featherweight belt last December with her sensational 51-second battering of long-reigning champ Cris "Cyborg" Justino, who beat Holm by decision in December 2017. Holm's loss to Cyborg was her fourth in five fights, but she rebounded with a win last year. Holm is talented enough and famous enough to get this title shot despite her recent setbacks in bouts mostly decided by narrow margins. "I'm a completely different fighter today," Holm said of her progress since beating Rousey. "I've always been on a fast track in this sport. I've had great coaches that are helping me catch up since I left boxing. It's a different feeling now when I go out there." Nunes is a solid favorite in their bout, but the numbers mean nothing to Holm or her fans. Holm is eager to test Nunes' formidable boxing skills — and if she gets another historic knockout and upset victory, Holm will add it to her unique list of accomplishments in this singular fighting life. "It's the high that gets you by," Holm said. "Wanting a victory is like a drug. It keeps you going.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 5th, 2019

Creamline makes easy work of BaliPure for 9th straight win

The Creamline Cool Smashers finished their Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference eliminations bid with a ninth straight win after breezing past listless BaliPure, 25-19, 25-15, 25-18,.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 29th, 2019

Steph Curry makes faithful moves through production company

By Jonathan Landrum Jr., Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Stephen Curry may be a sharpshooting three-time NBA champion, but he is quickly building a career away from the court to inspire the masses through his burgeoning production company. The Golden State Warriors superstar is strategically producing content that focuses on sports, family and faith through Unanimous Media, which he co-founded with Jeron Smith and Erick Peyton. The newly-formed production company already has several projects under its belt including a major studio film, network television show and a couple documentaries in just a year. Curry, 31, said he wants to “uplift people who need to be uplifted.” “We’ve been very selective about the things we want to bring to our audience,” he said. “In our first year, we really wanted to make people think, feel, laugh, cry and challenge them. When I’m out on the court, I’m all about inspiring people with my faith — win or lose. I try to do it with glory and with a smile on my face. We’re trying to take that same idea to our projects.” One of Curry’s latest projects features himself in his original docuseries “Stephen vs. The Game ” on Facebook Watch, a video-on-demand service. The six-episode series chronicles his journey through this past season, featuring behind-the-scenes footage of Curry’s intense training regiment, family life and old videos from his youth basketball career. He and his wife, Ayesha, open up about their first date, and the reasoning behind his ritual of writing the partial Bible verse “I can do all things” on his basketball shoes since his days at Davidson College. The Currys have three children. The upcoming season finale will focus on the Warriors’ injury-riddled playoff run that ended in the back-to-back champs losing the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors this month. “The finish this season was one of the most vulnerable ones,” he said. “Everybody wants the storybook ending where you have all these challenges and bumps in the road, but you end up at the finish line holding up the trophy, but it doesn’t always work out like that. But I learned a lot along the way, and I hope others can learn from watching my walk too.” Smith said it’s all a part of Curry’s plan to impact the world in a positive manner through media. “Everything is definitely by design,” said Smith, a former Nike brand manager and White House deputy of digital strategy during the Obama administration. He is the CEO, and Peyton serves as CCO for the production company. “The first thing executives at Sony told us was that this is a tough business,” he said. “But what has helped us be successful is that everything we’re doing is rooted in purpose. That purpose gives us a point of view as you’re moving forward, as opposed to how a traditional media company would do it.” The docuseries is among a slew of projects from Curry’s Unanimous Media, which is a play off him becoming the first unanimous MVP in NBA history in 2016. Last year, Unanimous Media struck a deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment to produce television and film projects. The production company will have its production headquarters on the Sony backlot in Culver City, California. So far, Curry has received executive producer credits with actress Viola Davis for the new documentary “Emanuel,” which explored life after a tragic South Carolina church shooting in 2015, and the inspirational film “Breakthrough,” a modestly budget faith-based movie that opened third at the box office earning $11.1 million in the first week. “It was powerful movie, but it wasn’t just about the money it made,” Curry said. “It was about the people who text, DM and texted me to get their take on life and faith. Those moments are special.” Unanimous is also behind a mini-golf competition show on ABC called “Holey Moley,” which drew 4.87 million viewers after it premiered June 20. The company is working on a docuseries about a storied high school basketball program in New Jersey called “Benedict Men,” which is expected to release when the streaming platform Quibi launches next year, and a documentary “JUMP SHOT,” which tells the story of Kenny Sailors, who developed the modern day jump shot in basketball. Curry is a part of a movement of NBA players who are creating production companies including LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Kobe Bryant won an Oscar for his animated short “Dear Basketball.” The Warriors point guard said he was inspired to move into the TV and film production space after seeing their success, but he wants to pave his own way with his own message. “Everybody needs examples,” Curry said. “But I’m going to do this my way. They’re doing amazing stuff. This space is big enough for everybody to win. In terms of our projects, we are going to stay true to ourselves. It’s all about changing people’s lives. I never want to get away from inspiring people.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2019

PVL: Selimovic back for unfinished business

Bosnian Edina Selimovic is back to settle unfinished business. The 6-foot-3 middle blocker makes her return to the Philippines two years after her last stint, this time, for newcomer Motolite in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference. Selimovic debuted in 2017 playing for Pocari Sweat, but the towering import saw action in just two games before going down with a torn hamstring that abruptly ended her stint. She was replaced by American Krystak Rivers, who eventually helped the Lady Warriors win the inaugural import-laden conference crown.         “I don’t really want to remember that. It’s really hurtful for me but yes I’m back and I really hope that I’m not gonna have the same issue again. I will finish this season,” said Selimovic, who after recovering from her injury helped her club team in her country win the championship. Selimovic also welcomes the chance of playing with good friend Myla Pablo, whom she played with during her short stint with Pocari Sweat.   “I’m really excited. Myla is a good friend of mine and we became really close here,” she said. “I’m happy that I’m with the same team with her again. I’m excited to play with her.” Selimovic and her partner Cuban Gygy Silva, who is yet to arrive, together with Pablo will lead a relatively young squad composed of the core of University of the Philippines and Adamson University.     “I’m used to play with younger players or even older players so I’m fine, I’m adjusting fine. I don’t have that problem,” said Selimovic, who flew in a few days ago. Looking at the six-team field, Selimovic knows that it won’t be an easy task to bring Motolite to the big stage but it is a goal that the team will try to achieve. “We’re not gonna look at the other teams, we’re gonna look at what’s best for us. Do our work and do our best and play 110% every game. It doesn’t matter who we play against,” she said. Motolite will debut on June 1 against returning BaliPure, which was the last team Selimovic played against in her first foray in the PVL.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

Celtics need best version of Irving back

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com BOSTON — The Boston Celtics are looking forward to getting guard Marcus Smart back, possibly as soon as Game 4 against Milwaukee Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) at TD Garden. They would be better served, however, getting guard Kyrie Irving back. The Irving who led Boston to its victory on the Bucks’ court in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals series was the latest, greatest iteration of the six-time All-Star point guard. Irving scored 26 points, passed for 11 assists and showed such maturity in orchestrating Boston’s attack that, even for a guy who has been on the national stage as long as he has, it seemed like some sort of breakthrough performance. That guy, though, exited this series some time in the 48 hours before Game 2. Kryie 3.0 became Kyrie uh-oh. Irving’s play looked rushed, detached and not at all mature. After hitting 12-of-21 shots in the series opener, he shot a combined 12-of-40 in Games 2 and 3 as the Celtics dropped both. They gave back the homecourt edge they had snatched with the opening victory and now need to win Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) just to force a best-of-three mini-series with two in Milwaukee. Irving had a plus/minus rating of minus-26 in the two Celtics defeats. And most disconcerting, the player who arguably is the NBA’s best at making difficult shots seemed bent on making his shots difficult. Too often he went solo, didn’t probe for something better, didn’t spot or even look for another option. Irving and Boston coach Brad Stevens had a conversation off to the side after the Celtics’ practice Sunday afternoon (Monday, PHL time) of moderate length. Afterward, each spoke with reporters. The point guard wouldn’t share what they discussed, while the coach deftly sidestepped the question. “We just wanted to spend 15 minutes talking about the objection of the Kentucky Derby,” Stevens said. “How that could possibly have happened. And so we just created a conversation as long as the objection, and that’s what we discussed in great detail.” Not likely. Stevens probably talked with Irving about some of the things the coach had said to reporters Saturday and Sunday (Sunday and Monday, PHL time): the need for the Celtics not to settle and not to succumb to whatever chaos Milwaukee’s defense was instigating by getting chaotic themselves. For two days, answering various questions, Stevens has steered the discussion to Boston moving the ball as the surest way to high-quality shots. “One of the things that we have to do as a team is just make those right reads off the first drive,” Stevens said, “and then go from there. We do have to do a better job of getting the ball to the second side of the floor, to the third side of the floor, and hopefully that includes as many paint attacks as possible.” The Bucks’ unveiled a switching style of defense in Game 2, something they hadn’t done much all season. Too often, Irving’s eyes lit up seeing center Robin Lopez or forward Nikola Mirotic isolated in front of him, and the tunnel vision that triggered didn’t even generate the best shots for Irving. Too seldom, the Celtics failed to get Milwaukee’s defense shifting left-to-right, and back again. “We have to make sure we’re patient in getting the best looks,” Stevens said Sunday (Monday, PHL time). “That patience doesn’t mean you ease into it. You have to work really hard and be patient against these guys. Because they do a great job of covering up the paint.” Celtics players made only 9-of-19 attempts inside five feet, a feeble rate by NBA standards. Lopez has been one of the league’s best defending the rim this season, and Giannis Antetokounmpo has the mobility to guard his man away from the hoop and still help inside. Admirably, Irving has been willing to shoulder responsibility, flatly stating after the Game 2 loss: “This is what I signed up for. This is what Boston traded for me for.” After each game, he has given detailed breakdowns of what’s gone right, what’s gone wrong and, most important, what he planned to do in the next game. It’s just that his most recent results haven’t matched his pledges. The Celtics have more talent than the Bucks, and more players capable of carrying them offensively through a game or just a pivotal stretch. But those scorers, from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to Al Horford and Gordon Hayward, are dependent on Irving finding them and delivering the ball in a rhythm. Admittedly, Boston has to cinch things up defensively. Averaging 110 points ought to be enough, if you’re not getting blistered at a 39-percent rate from three-point range while sending your opponents to the free throw line an average of 30 times nightly. Irving blamed all those stoppages for stealing transition opportunities and generally messing with the Celtics’ offense. Even so, he must do what Stevens calls “controlling the controllables” and be his best self. He has gotten the better of his individual matchup with Milwaukee point guard Eric Bledsoe, but that’s not enough. And yes, this is what he signed up for. The great unknowns of this offseason, as in Irving’s future whereabouts, could swing wildly on what happens in the coming days. And what he makes happen. “I’ve got to be me. That’s the easy part,” Irving said Sunday (Monday, PHL time). “The same mindset that I’ve always had. Being aggressive. Being patient. Being able to be aware of the time of the game and where I need to make my impact. Being able to be in the right defensive positions and being able to communicate with my teammates as well. “That’s the easy part though. That’s the fun part, if you go out there and just allow the flow of the game to dictate your instincts.” Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 6th, 2019