Ex-champ's slayer convicted
A Dominican air force sergeant was convicted in the slaying of former boxing champion Agapito Sanchez, the Santo Domingo prosecutor's office said on Thursday. Sergeant Diogenes Nova Rosario shot Sanchez twice in the stomach on Nov. 15, last year during a fight at a Santo Domingo shop where the boxer had been playing dominoes, prosecutor Angel Tejeda Fabal said in a statement. The 35-year-old former junior featherweight champ died two days later from the gunshot wounds. Nova was sentenced to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay court costs and a US$31,000 fine to the boxer's relatives.
Real inject fresh blood
Real Madrid have boosted their squad with the signings of Argentines Gonzalo Higuain and Fernando Gago. Higuain received the club's white jersey on Thursday at his official presentation in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. He completed his 13 million euro (US$17.1 million) move from River Plate on Wednesday and has signed a six-and-a-half-year contract. "I am going try and prove that those who showed confidence in me were not mistaken, I'm going to try and win everyone's respect through hard work," Higuain said. Real confirmed on Thursday the signing of Boca Juniors' Fernando Gago. Gago has agreed to a six-year contract and was due to be presented yesterday, Madrid said in a statement on its Web site. The club gave no details of the fee. On Wednesday, Boca said on its Web site that the Spanish club would pay US$27 million for the 20-year-old midfielder. Boca originally wanted to keep Gago until June next year, and wasn't willing to cede on its transfer fee demand. Boca president Mauricio Macri traveled to Spain earlier this week to hear Real Madrid's offer, but returned on Wednesday without news to announce. But Argentine media reported that the deadlock was ended late Wednesday after Gago renounced his 15 percent of the transfer fee.
Irureta quits Real Betis
Real Betis coach Javier Irureta resigned on Thursday after just six months in charge. Irureta guided Betis to just three wins from its first 15 games of the season. "My contract has been rescinded by mutual agreement but I made the first move. We could have continued like this for much longer but it wasn't good," said Irureta, who added he took the decision before Betis' 1-0 win over Gimnastic Tarragona on Wednesday. "Betis has a lot of life left. In fact it's still in the Cup and as it has a game in hand in the league it can avoid relegation. But there is a lack of confidence for one reason or another and we have taken this decision," the coach was quoted as saying by the Web site of sports daily Marca.
■ Winter Sports
N Korea backs games bid
North Korea has officially backed South Korea's bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, organizers said yesterday. The announcement is welcome news for the Pyeongchang 2014 bid committee, which is promoting the resort's claim to the event partly on the grounds that it would foster reconciliation on the divided peninsula. Pyeongchang, located 150km east of the capital Seoul, is vying with Salzburg in Austria and Russia's Black Sea town of Sochi. Mun Jae-duck, president of the North Korean Olympic Committee, wrote to the bid committee on Wednesday to confirm his support, it said in a statement. It said the letter was also sent to Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee.
Anthony won't appeal ruling
Carmelo Anthony won't appeal his 15-game suspension for his role in the New York Knicks brawl last weekend, according to USA Today and ESPN.com reports. "It is Melo's desire to focus on the issue at hand, not be a distraction to his team and focus on coming back as the best teammate he can be," Bill Duffy, CEO of BDA Sports, the agency that represents Anthony, told USA Today in Thursday's editions. "He's accepting full responsibility. That's a mature response." Duffy and Anthony's agent, Calvin Andrews, didn't return calls on Thursday.
Injured Pierce to sit out
Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce is expected to miss the next two or three weeks of the NBA season with an injured left foot, the club announced on Thursday. An MRI exam revealed the stress reaction, a swelling on bone and soft tissue. The 29-year-old forward suffered the injury last week against Denver but has been playing despite pain for the past five days. Pierce did not train on Thursday and was wearing a protective boot. In 24 games, the playmaker has averaged a team-high 26.6 points plus 7.4 rebounds and a team-best 4.3 assists a game.
All Stars to play next year
An annual all-star game pitting South America's best against another continent's top players will take place in Los Angeles starting next year, South America's soccer organization announced on Wednesday. Conmebol, the South American soccer federation, said that the annual exhibition would run for at least nine years. The first match would likely be held in July or August, but details and dates were still being arranged. Conmebol president Nicolas Leoz said that the organization had reached agreement with Los Angeles for the annual event.
Pens may look for new digs
The Pittsburgh Penguins are off the market and owner Mario Lemieux says the team will look at relocating while it attempts to reach a deal for a new arena. "It is time to take control of our own destiny," Hall of Famer Lemieux said in a statement issued by his team on Thursday. The Penguins are free to move when this season ends following a state panel's rejection on Wednesday of a casino company's offer to build the team a new arena for free.
Williams verdicts rendered
The father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams is liable but won't have to pay damages in a lawsuit that claimed he reneged on a deal for his daughters to play in an exhibition match. A jury on Thursday cleared Venus Williams of all allegations, but said Serena Williams let her father act as an agent. Neither sister must pay damages. The dispute centered on whether Richard Williams had authority to commit his daughters to play in a 2001 match that didn't take place.
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
WOLFSBURG BEATEN: Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored from a penalty, his 34th league goal this season, finishing as the top Bundesliga scorer for the fifth time Werder Bremen gave themselves hope of avoiding relegation from the Bundesliga by thrashing Cologne 6-1 to grab a playoff place on the last day of the season, while champions Bayern Munich routed VfL Wolfsburg before lifting the trophy on Saturday. Japan striker Yuya Osako scored twice as Bremen stole the lifeline of the relegation/promotion playoff place from Fortuna Duesseldorf, who lost 3-0 against Union Berlin and were relegated with SC Paderborn, finishing one point behind Bremen. “We put in a great performance under pressure, but we are aware that we haven’t achieved anything — in the relegation playoff, the emotions will be
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is already in Florida with the rest of his Toronto teammates, and he knows the time to take a stand and counter the NBA plan to restart the season has passed, but his opinion on the matter has not changed. “It sucks,” VanVleet said on Monday in a videoconference of his choice to return to the court during the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter campaign. “It’s terrible timing, but that’s been 2020 for us. We all know the right thing to do is to not play, to take a stand. Morally, yes, that makes sense, but
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already