Williams’ title win panned
Rugby World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams won the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association’s heavyweight title, but his fight against an overweight US opponent who showed little skill or interest in fighting has been disparaged at home. Williams, 26, won the belt with a first round technical knockout over Clarence Tillman in Hamilton, New Zealand, on Wednesday. The fight lasted less than three minutes, with the grossly overweight Tillman showing little enthusiasm for the fight or any technical skill when Williams managed to land his shots, forcing referee Lance Revill to stop the bout. Boxing commentator and historian Bob Jones disparaged the fight, calling Tillman a “joke opponent” and the bout itself a farce.
Sanchez Vicario lashes out
Former Spanish tennis ace Arantxa Sanchez Vicario blames her parents for losing the roughly 45 million euros (US$60 million) she earned throughout her career, in a new book published this week. The 40-year-old, who retired in 2002 after winning four Grand Slam titles and once holding the No. 1 ranking, said she no longer speaks to her parents, whom she accuses of mismanaging the money she earned through endorsements and tournament wins. “They left me with nothing,” she wrote in the book of memoirs called Let’s Go! Memories of a fight, a life and a woman, which hit bookstores in Spain on Tuesday.
Magic, Bird hit Broadway
Showtime is about to have a whole new meaning for Magic Johnson. The story of the NBA Hall of Famer’s rivalry and friendship with Larry Bird is coming to Broadway in Magic/Bird, set to open in April. The two consulted in its production, and Johnson cannot wait to watch their story told. His “Showtime” Lakers of the 1980s were a Hollywood hit, and now he is ready to see his name in Broadway’s lights. Johnson said: “I guess it’s the real Showtime.” It is the second in a planned series of sports-themed plays from producers Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser, the team behind Lombardi. Kirmser says they wanted to tell the story of Johnson and Bird, who started as rivals in college and ended as Olympic teammates and friends.
Maria Hoefl-Riesch injured
Double Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch said she was battling with a “very painful” rib injury ahead of this weekend’s giant slalom and slalom World Cup races in Andorra’s Soldeu--Grandvalira. Last season’s overall World Cup winner took a tumble in training on Tuesday, leaving her with bruising on the left side of her ribcage and an injury to her left shoulder, but no broken bones. “Skiing is currently only possible with painkillers and I hope that I won’t be too impaired, especially in the slalom,” she said.
Plunging driver a hit
An Australian driver flew off a road at 130kph and landed in a riverbed, but was not injured during the Tasmanian state rally. The incident involving 24-year-old George Miedecke, who has driven in some NASCAR developmental series races in the US, occurred on Jan. 28, but has become popular on Internet video sites since a film clip was released this week. Miedecke was driving his father Andrew’s 1970 Ford Capri Perana as it rounded a corner in the Targa Rally and crashed into the Huon River south