Froch stops Bute in the fifth
Britain’s Carl Froch stopped Romanian title holder Lucian Bute in the fifth round to claim the IBF world super-middleweight crown on Saturday. The 34-year-old Froch’s comfortable victory over the unbeaten Bute in his home town of Nottingham, England, made him a three-time world champion after his previous two WBC title wins. Froch, whose record is now 29-2, started brightly and had the 32-year-old Bute in trouble in the third round and again late in round four, roared on by a raucous home crowd. Bute, who came into the fight with a 30-0 record, including 24 knockouts, was caught by a right hand in the fifth, before a flurry of punches from Froch culminated in another right that forced Bute to hang on to the ropes. Referee Earl Brown started a standing count, but Bute’s corner came into the ring to save the Canadian-based fighter from further punishment. “I came here more determined than I’ve ever been before,” Froch told Sky Sports. “I’ve been guilty of switching off in the past, but tonight I’ve been very focused.”
Harlequins win first title
Harlequins sealed their first English league title with a 30-23 victory over Leicester at a sun-drenched Twickenham in London on Saturday, holding off a late surge from the nine-time champions to win a dramatic and entertaining final. England captain Chris Robshaw’s 57th-minute try put daylight between the sides after the first half ended 14-13 to Harlequins, the London-based club who were in disgrace just three years ago following the notorious “bloodgate” scandal. A sixth Nick Evans penalty stretched the lead to 30-13, but Leicester center Anthony Allen instantly reduced arrears with a try and flyhalf George Ford’s penalty took the midlands club to within seven points. Leicester battered the Harlequins line in the hope of forcing extra-time, but they fell short in a thrilling finish. Harlequins winger Tom Williams, who almost quit rugby after the bloodgate incident in which he was found to have fabricated an injury with fake blood to facilitate a tactical substitution during a Heineken Cup quarter-final, sped over for the opening try after nine minutes.
Pellegrini dominates field
Italy’s Federica Pellegrini dominated the women’s 200m freestyle to retain her title at the European championships in Debrecen, Hungary, on Saturday and put down a marker ahead of the London Olympics in two months time. While her time, 1 minute, 56.76 seconds, was hardly spectacular, being only the 12th fastest in the world this year, it was the way in which she controlled the race that caught the eye. She touched the wall almost two seconds up on Germany’s Silke Lippok. Among the men, Serbia’s Milorad Cavic posted the fastest time in the world this year when claiming the 100m butterfly in 51.45 seconds, with Hungarian Laszlo Cseh second in 51.77. Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki won his first major title when lifting gold in the men’s 200m backstroke.
Zabriskie wins time trial title
Garmin-Barracuda rider David Zabriskie won his seventh US national time trial title on Saturday in Greenville, South Carolina, ahead of BMC’s Tejay van Garderen. Zabriskie clocked 40 minutes, 41.44 seconds over the 33.3km course to retain his title. Van Garderen was second in 40:47.90 and Brent Bookwalter was third in 41:08.06. Zabriskie, 33, won his first national time trial title in 2004. He won four in a row from 2006 to 2009 and added a sixth last year.