Donaire beats Sidorenko
Filipino bantamweight star Nonito Donaire stopped Ukranian Wladimiro Sidorenko in the fourth round on Saturday to set up a Feb. 19 world title showdown with Mexico’s Fernando Montiel. Sidorenko was knocked to the canvas twice in the first three rounds and took a hard right to the nose in the fourth that prompted him to take a knee on the canvas. Referee Marcos Rosales halted the bout after 1:48 of the fourth round. “I wanted to make a statement in this fight and I did,” Donaire said. Former world flyweight champion Donaire, 28, stretched his win streak to 24 fights over nine-and-a-half years, improving to 25-1 with his 17th early stoppage. “We worked really hard for this fight,” Donaire said. “I was motivated and now the fight with Montiel is set. I knew I was able to dominate anybody if I’m motivated 100 percent.”
Soto keeps crown
Humberto Soto outlasted Mexican compatriot Urbano Antillon to win a 12-round unanimous decision on Saturday and keep his World Boxing Council lightweight crown with a 10th victory in a row. Judges awarded Soto the triumph by two scores of 114-113 and a third of 115-112. Soto improved to 54-7 with two drawn and 7-1 in world title bouts while Antillon fell to 28-2 by losing his first world title fight. “It was a great fight. Both of us gave our hearts out,” Soto said. “I knew he was coming at me all night. I knew he was going to take everything I had. That’s why I had to keep working.” Antillon, 28, had a point taken in the fifth round for a low blow or he might have earned a draw.
Burns defends WBO title
Scotland’s Ricky Burns defeated Colombian-born Norwegian fighter Andrews Evensen on points to retain his WBO super-featherweight title on Saturday. Burns had won the belt in September by beating Roman Martinez when he recovered from a first round knock down.
Barbarians overcome ‘Boks
Australian wing Drew Mitchell capped an impressive individual autumn with two early tries as a strong Barbarians side beat a much-changed South Africa 26-20 at Twickenham in London on Saturday. The invitational team, who also beat South Africa at Twickenham three years ago, were worthy of their win over a Springboks side that looked a touch weary at the end of a tour that brought wins over Ireland, Wales and England, but a defeat by Scotland.
England wins in Dubai
England produced two late tries to trump Samoa 29-21 and win the Dubai sevens on Saturday, the first tournament of the eight-leg IRB Sevens World Series. The English team’s performance in the final mirrored a day of action in which they had twice come up with last-gasp scores to defeat New Zealand and Australia in thrilling style, in the semi and quarter-finals respectively. “It’s been the story of the weekend,” England captain Ben Gollings said of his team’s rearguard action. Samoa had set up the final against England after seeing off Fiji (24-21) in the semi-finals and the US (38-5) in the quarter-finals. In the tournament’s lower-level play-offs, South Africa beat Australia 19-12 in the plate final, Argentina blanked Zimbabwe 21-0 in the bowl, and Kenya also whitewashed France, 26-0, in the shield.