Chagaev ditches rematch
WBA heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev has pulled out of his rematch against Russian Nikolai Valuev on May 31 because of health problems, his promoter said on Tuesday in Hamburg, Germany. “Ruslan Chagaev is weakened at the moment by a badly treated virus and has to definitely interrupt his training in order to be cured once and for all,” his doctor Michael Ehnert explained. A new date has not yet been set for the bout. The 145kg Valuev — who is more than 2m tall — lost the WBA title to Chagaev in April 2007 on a majority points decision in the only defeat of his career and the pair had been due to meet again in Oberhausen. Since the fight, Uzbekistani Chagaev has been blighted by health problems and has defended his title just once against British fighter Matt Skelton in January. He has an unblemished record of 24 wins with 17 knock-outs.
Council mulls new rule
Cricketers could soon be able to challenge decisions made by umpires during test matches. The International Cricket Council’s cricket committee announced on Tuesday that a trial on an umpire review system will be used in a test series this year, including the Hawk-Eye technology used in tennis. Under the proposal, each team would be limited to a maximum of three unsuccessful challenges per innings. The on-field umpire would consult with the third umpire when a decision was challenged, before the on-field umpire gave the final decision. “The committee recommended that Hawk Eye technology could be used by the third umpire, but only for the purposes of determining the actual path of the ball up until the point that it struck the batsman and not the predictor function of the technology,” the ICC said in a statement concerning leg-before-wicket challenges.
Pacquiao expects tough fight
World Boxing Council super featherweight champion Manny Pacquiao expects the toughest fight of his career on June 28 when he moves up in weight to face WBC lightweight champion David Diaz. The 29-year-old Phillipines legend could complete a quest to capture five world titles in as many weight classes when he fights the 31-year-old American for the lightweight crown in a showdown of southpaws. “This will be my hardest-fought battle,” Pacquiao said. “It has been over three years since I have changed weight divisions and I will be doing it against the lightweight division’s world champion. “But this is my drive for five world titles in five different weight classes and I will not be denied. I am fighting for history, for destiny and for the people of the Philippines.”
■ HORSE RACING
Toxicology scan ordered
The trainer of Kentucky Derby runner-up Eight Belles on Tuesday ordered a toxicology scan as part of any autopsy, intent on dispelling any suggestion the fallen filly may have been doped. Larry Jones said the tests for performance-enhancing substances will come back negative on Eight Belles, who was euthanized after breaking both front ankles Saturday. “I guarantee there were no steroids ever on the horse,” Jones said at a news conference at Delaware Park, site of the filly’s first win. Jones said he was responding to unspecified criticism that his horse must have been given steroids because she was so large. “We’re taking a lot of abuse out there ... We’re being accused of steroid abuse because she was so large,” he said.