Klitschko to fight Pulev
Wladimir Klitschko is to defend his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight belts against the undefeated Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria in Hamburg, Germany, on Sept. 9. Klitschko said in a statement released by his management yesterday that his opponent “has an impressive record as both an amateur and professional. Pulev has a sophisticated technique and I certainly won’t underestimate him.” The 33-year-old Pulev has 11 knockouts from 20 wins. He became the IBF international champion in 2011 and European heavyweight champion in 2012. The 38-year-old Klitschko has been a heavyweight champion since 2006. The Ukrainian 1996 Olympic champion has an impressive record of 52 knockouts in 62 wins, with the last of his three loses coming in April 2004. However, Pulev said: “I’m ready to replace Wladimir Klitschko as champion.”
Hockaday gets Leeds job
Championship side Leeds United confirmed on Thursday the controversial appointment of former Watford coach Dave Hockaday as the club’s new manager on a two-year deal. Leeds owner Massimo Cellino, who completed his takeover of the club on April 7, reached an amicable settlement with previous manager Brian McDermott on May 30. Hockaday, 56, who arrives from fifth-division Forest Green Rovers, will work alongside the club’s new director of football Benito Carbone. Leeds have also confirmed former Hendon coach Junior Lewis has been appointed Hockaday’s assistant. Former Blackpool and Swindon defender Hockaday left Forest Green last October by mutual consent after a run of seven defeats in eight games. The Gloucestershire club failed to finish higher than 10th in the fifth division during his four years in charge. Leeds fans had been hoping for a big name appointment to help the team return to the Premier League for the first time since 2004.
Japan TV signs US$1bn deal
The IOC has awarded the Japanese broadcast rights for four Olympics through 2024 in a deal worth ￥110 billion (US$1 billion). A consortium including NHK and the Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association secured the rights yesterday to the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, as well the 2022 Winter Games and 2024 Summer Olympics, whose host cities have yet to be chosen. The deal covers broadcast rights across all media platforms, including free television, subscription TV, Internet and mobile. The US$1 billion rights fee represents a 61 percent increase from the previous eight-year period. The consortium signed a deal in 2012 for the rights to the Sochi Winter Games and 2016 Rio Olympics.
Read returns to All Blacks
Backrower Kieran Read, who was voted the best rugby player in the world last year, will return to the All Blacks lineup for tomorrow’s third Test against England after a long battle against concussion. Read has played only one Super rugby match since April 19, when he suffered his second concussion of the season as a result of a high tackle. He was named to play in the first Test against England two weeks ago, but later withdrew as he continued to display concussion symptoms, including dizziness and headaches. Read is now deemed fit to return at No. 8, forcing Jerome Kaino to the blindside flank and Liam Messam to the bench. Highlanders center Malakai Fekitoa starts his first Test, replacing Conrad Smith, who has a broken thumb.