Igarashi retains title
Japan’s Toshiyuki Igarashi held on to his World Boxing Council (WBC) flyweight title with a narrow victory over Nestor Narvaes of Argentina on Saturday in Sendai, Japan. The 28-year-old defending champion, bleeding from both eyebrows, suffered a one-point penalty for butting, but connected with more punches. “It was a narrow win. It was tougher than I had expected in my first defense of the title. I couldn’t fight well at all,” said Igarashi, who improved his record to 17 wins, including 10 KOs, with one defeat and one draw. Narvaes, 30, who is ranked seventh by the WBC, had stood at 19 wins, including nine KOs, with two draws and one null-and-void.
Yamanaka KOs Rojas
Japan’s Shinsuke Yamanaka knocked out Tomas Rojas of Mexico on Saturday to defend his World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight title in Sendai. The knockout came 36 seconds into the seventh round. It was Yamanaka’s second successful defense of the title he won in November last year, improving his record to 17 wins, including 12 KOs, and two draws. Rojas, 32, and ranked seventh in the WBC, now has a record of 39 wins, including 26 KOs, against 13 defeats, one draw and one null-and-void.
No word yet on long putters
European Tour chief George O’Grady yesterday said he was awaiting word from golf’s rulesmaking bodies about a possible ban on long putters, following fierce debate among players. O’Grady, seated alongside USPGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem at a press conference during the WGC-HSBC Champions in southern China, confirmed the controversial move was under discussion. “There’s certainly plenty of discussion. We’re waiting for notification from the rules-making bodies,” O’Grady said. “I think they work to their own timetable, but the rules of golf are reviewed every four years, so it would have to be considered taking place at the beginning of 2016. We haven’t been formally informed by the R&A [Royal and Ancient Golf Club] or the USGA [United States Golf Association], but they have been talking.” The possible ban on the broomstick or belly putters, which can be held against the body to aid stability, has caused an outcry among players who have used them throughout their careers. Last year, Keegan Bradley became the first player to win a Major with a long putter at the PGA Championship. He was swiftly followed by Webb Simpson at this year’s US Open and Ernie Els at The Open.
SA draw in Aussie warm-up
Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla hit unbeaten half-centuries for South Africa as they warmed up for the first Test against Australia in a three-day match against Australia A, which ended yesterday in a draw. Smith made 60 and Amla 53 before retiring to allow teammates a chance for batting practice in South Africa’s only warm-up match ahead of the Test, which starts in Brisbane on Friday. Jacques Rudolph made 39, JP Duminy 31 and AB de Villiers 24, all shaking off some cobwebs as South Africa reached 277-6 in reply to Australia A’s first innings of 480-7 declared. Dale Steyn then captured the wicket of Liam Davis, adding to his first innings haul of 3-54, as Australia A reached 13-1 in 10 overs before the captains agreed to end the match.