Allakhverdiev wins title
Russia’s Khabib Allakhverdiev won the vacant World Boxing Association super lightweight title on Friday, beating Joan Guzman of the Dominican Republic on a technical decision. Guzman, the former two-division champion, fell to the canvas as he tried to avoid a punch in the eighth round at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. Guzman gingerly walked to a corner, favoring his left leg, but informed referee Luis Pabon he wanted to resume the fight. Allakhderviev (18-0) quickly pursued Guzman (33-1) and landed a left to the head that appeared to have knocked the Dominican down. Pabon did not rule it a knockdown, but Guzman told Pabon and his trainer, Herman Caicedo, he could not continue fighting because of the leg injury. Allakhverdiev scored with two straight rights and a left hook to the head that sent Guzman to the canvas in the third round for the fight’s only genuine knockdown. The win meant Allakhverdiev also retained the IBO light-welterweight title.
Raptors sign Pietrus
The Toronto Raptors have signed French free-agent swingman Mickael Pietrus, the NBA team said on Friday. The Atlantic Division side waived forward Dominic McGuire to make room for 30-year-old Pietrus, who averaged 6.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 42 games last season for the Boston Celtics. Selected with the 11th overall pick by the Golden State Warriors in the 2003 NBA Draft, Pietrus spent five seasons with the Warriors before splitting his last four years between Orlando, Phoenix and Boston.
Spurs fined US$250,000
The San Antonio Spurs were fined US$250,000 on Friday for sending top players home before a game against the Miami Heat, the NBA said on Friday. The Spurs sent four of their top players home to rest before Thursday’s game, which was the final game of a six-game road trip for San Antonio and their fourth game in five nights. “The Spurs decided to make four of their top players unavailable for an early-season game that was the team’s only regular-season visit to Miami,” NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement. “The team also did this without informing the Heat, the media, or the league office in a timely way. Under these circumstances, I have concluded that the Spurs did a disservice to the league and our fans.” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich decided to send Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green home rather than inserting them into the lineup against the Heat.
Lawrie leads in Sun City
Paul Lawrie put on a masterclass in ball-striking to claim a one-stroke lead after the second round of the US$5 million Nedbank Golf Challenge on Friday. The Briton snatched three birdies on the back nine at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa, to post a three-under-par 69 and a four-under tally of 140, one ahead of European Ryder Cup teammate Martin Kaymer of Germany (69). “I struggled a bit with the driver so I hit a lot of three woods off the tee,” 1999 British Open winner Lawrie told reporters. “I also hit a lot of good shots with my irons. The greens though are a little slow and I felt I left a few putts out there.” American Bill Haas (73), the joint overnight leader alongside Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, was in a tie for third place on 143 with Italian Francesco Molinari (71) and South Africans Louis Oosthuizen (72) and Charl Schwartzel (71).