‘Human punchbag’ wins
Boxing’s biggest loser avoided a 257th defeat when Peter Buckley won his last bout on points against Matin Mohammed in Birmingham, England, on Friday. Fighting before his home fans, the 39-year-old super-featherweight took his tally of victories to 32 in his 300th pro fight with a 40-38 decision at the end of the four-round contest. Billed as the worst loser in boxing, Buckley has been fighting virtually once a week, and once lost 88 contests in a row. He also has 12 draws on his record, the last being against Mohammed on Oct. 5 in Nottingham. This was his first victory since a decision over Joel Viney in October 2003.
Boston keep Wakefield
Boston exercised an option on pitcher Tim Wakefield on Friday, keeping the veteran knuckleballer on for next season as fellow Red Sox pitchers Curt Schilling and Bartolo Colon filed for free agency. The 42-year-old is on a deal that gives Boston the option to renew his contract on an annual basis at US$4 million per year. In his 14th year with the Red Sox, he had a moderate record of 10 wins and 11 losses with an earned run average of 4.13. He is second in club history with 1,797 strikeouts and has 164 wins for Boston, 28 behind Roger Clemens and Cy Young, who share the team lead with 192. Wakefield struggled in the fourth game of the American League championship series, giving up three homers and five runs, lasting only 2-2/3 innings as Tampa Bay won 13-4.
The Montreal Canadiens suspended Pavel Valentenko without pay on Friday after he left the minor league Hamilton Bulldogs to sign a three-year contract with Dynamo Moscow. Valentenko was in the second year of a three-year, entry-level deal with the Canadiens but opted to sign with Dynamo at the urging of his family, the player’s Ottawa-based agent Rolland Hedges said. The Canadiens made no further comment, but an NHL spokesman said the league has raised the issue with the International Ice Hockey Federation. Valentenko will also need clearance from the Russian Hockey Federation before he can play for Dynamo in their Continental Hockey League, Hedges said. He said Valentenko did not want to return to Russia, but he supports his entire family on his ice hockey earnings and was unable to do that on an American Hockey League salary. The NHL was without an agreement with the Russian federation on player transfers and the two sides remain at odds over last summer’s signing of Nashville Predators forward Alexander Radulov to a three-year contract with Russian club Salavat Ufa.
Celtics hold on to Rondo
Reigning NBA champion Boston exercised a contract option on Friday to keep point guard Rajon Rondo for a fourth season. The 22-year-old, who helped the Celtics defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in last season’s NBA Finals, will make about US$2.9 million in the 2009-2010 season. The campaign will be the option year of his contract. Rondo averaged 10.6 points, 5.1 assists and 1.7 steals last season, his second season with the Celtics. Against the Lakers in the best-of-seven championship series, Rondo scored 9.7 points and added 6.7 assists a game as the Celtics won in six games. Rondo scored 14 points, grabbed six rebounds and passed out five assists on Tuesday as the Celtics defeated Cleveland in their 2008-2009 season opener.
As they celebrated Naomi Osaka’s victory in the final of the US Open in New York City’s Flushing Meadows on Saturday, Tokyoites were eager to embrace their heroines’ stand against racial injustice. Osaka, who won her third Grand Slam title with a victory over Victoria Azarenka, has used her platform to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, wearing a mask bearing the name of a different African American before each of her seven matches in the championship. She had donned masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Philando Castile. On Saturday, she walked
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
THOROUGH THRASHING: Hualien City beat Taichung Blue Whale 2-1, ending their three-year winning streak with one round of matches left and eight points to spare Hualien City on Saturday clinched this year’s Taiwan Mulan Football League title with one game to spare, by beating Taichung Blue Whale 2-1 at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City. Hualien City have scored 38 points this season. Blue Whale are second on the scoreboard with 30 points, while Taipei Bravo are third with 23 points. One final round of matches is to be played on Saturday. It is the fourth league trophy for Hualien City, and ends Blue Whale’s three-year winning streak. Hualien had won the title from 2014 to 2016. Both teams defended well, leaving few chances in front
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7