Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

Sat, Aug 11, 2007 - Page 19

■ BOXING

Former champion freed

Former WBA flyweight champion Eric Morel was released from prison on Thursday after serving time for sexually assaulting a teenage girl, and his lawyer said the boxer hopes to resume his career. Morel was sentenced to two years in prison and two years of extended supervision in 2005 after he pleaded no contest to second-degree sexual assault of a drunken 15-year-old girl in 2002. Morel was released from Fox Lake Correctional Institution and will remain on extended supervision until October 2009, said John Dipko, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.

■ BOXING

Cuban duo deny defecting

Two Cuban boxers who went missing during the Pan American Games in Brazil say they ate and drank excessively before a weigh-in and decided to run off because of fears they were too heavy to fight. Guillermo Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic bantamweight champion, and Erislandy Lara, a welterweight world champion, disappeared for 11 days, but were arrested in a resort city near Rio de Janeiro, where authorities say they had partied. The pair were deported to Cuba on Sunday.

■ SOCCER

Zheng returns to the Valley

China captain Zheng Zhi will return to Charlton Athletic for a second spell after signing a permanent deal with the English First Division side, Chinese media said on Thursday. Zheng was due to fly to London yesterday, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing his Chinese club Shandong Luneng. A deal between the clubs was signed after "several rounds of difficult talks," Xinhua quoted Shandong's executive general manager, Han Gongzheng, as saying. Zheng joined Charlton on a six-month loan deal in January, then returned to Shandong in June for an Asian league champions competition. The midfielder scored one goal in five games for Charlton, who were relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season.

■ SOCCER

Expats set to kick off

The fourth season of the Tavern Premier League starts tomorrow, with a record nine clubs competing to become champions of Taipei. For the first time the expat teams are joined in the competition by a local Taiwanese side, Taipei Football Club (TFC). Tomorrow's fixture are Celts FC against Da'an Mixers; reigning champions Carnegies Taipei take on Shane FC; JFC meet the Taipei Eagles; and Taipei Football Club play their first match against Taipei Black Stars FC. All the games take place at the Yingfeng Sports Park, next to Dajia Riverside Park, off Binjiang Street (迎風河濱運動場靠近濱江街, 台北).

■ BASEBALL

Clemens suspended

New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens was suspended for five games and fined an undisclosed amount on Thursday for intentionally throwing a pitch at Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios on Tuesday. The ban, which Clemens can appeal, was scheduled to begin yesterday, when the Yankees visited the Cleveland Indians. Clemens gave up just two hits and a walk with six strikeouts before being ejected by plate umpire Angel Hernandez with a 7-0 lead in the sixth inning on Tuesday. The Yankees eventually posted a 9-2 victory. Yankees manager Joe Torre was also ejected. Torre was suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount following Clemens' actions.