SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

Mon, Mar 25, 2013 - Page 18

BOXING

Stieglitz TKOs Abraham

Robert Stieglitz reclaimed his WBO super middleweight title from fellow German Arthur Abraham on a technical knockout after three rounds on Saturday. “It was a fairly short process,” Stieglitz said. “I thought he’d last longer. I worked hard on my right and it paid off.” Roared on by the crowd in his adopted hometown of Magdeburg, the Russian-born Stieglitz took the fight to the defending champion, opening a cut above Abraham’s left eye in the second round and leaving it swollen shut by the end of the third. Referee Mike Ortega stepped in to end the bout before the fourth after consulting with the ring doctor. Stieglitz improved to 44-3 with 25 knockouts after claiming back the belt he lost to Abraham by unanimous decision in Berlin in August last year. “If he won, he won. Now the third fight is the decisive fight,” said Abraham, who dropped to 36-4 (28 KOs). Stieglitz also indicated the likelihood of another bout between the two. “I’m always happy to fight Arthur Abraham,” Stieglitz said. “I hope the managers reach agreement. I’m ready.”

CYCLING

Porte takes lead

Australian rider Richie Porte won the individual time trial to take the overall lead in the Criterium International on Saturday. Two weeks after winning Paris-Nice for his biggest career victory, Porte was in a good position to win another race heading into yesterday’s third and final stage. Porte won the 7km time trial around Porto-Vecchio in just over 9 minutes — one second faster than Italian rider Manuele Boaro and American Tejay van Garderen, who were also second and third in the standings. Tour de France runner-up Chris Froome was one more second behind in fourth place overall. Yesterday’s final stage is a 176km ride featuring six climbs and finishing with a grueling ascent up Col de l’Ospedale above Porto-Vecchio in Corsica — where the Tour starts on June 29.

CYCLING

Gerrans wins sixth stage

Australian Simon Gerrans won the sixth stage of the Tour of Catalonia on Saturday as Ireland’s Daniel Martin retained his lead at the top of the overall standings. Gerrans, who rides for Orica-GreenEDGE, prevailed in a sprint finish to the penultimate day’s 178.7km run from Almacelles to Valls, beating Belgian Gianni Meersman, already a double-stage winner of the race, and Daniele Ratto of Italy. Race leader Martin extended his advantage over Joaquim Rodriguez by three seconds to 17seconds, with a 45 second gap back to Nairo Quintana.

SOCCER

Costa Rica outraged at loss

Costa Ricans reacted with outrage on Saturday following their country’s World Cup qualifying defeat to the US, angrily claiming the snow-hit match should have been called off. Amid farcical scenes in Denver on Friday, Costa Rica slumped to a 1-0 defeat to their CONCACAF rivals in a match that saw both sides labor through a blizzard on a pitch blanketed in thick snow. Salvadoran referee Joel Aguilar briefly halted the game in the 55th minute, before allowing the match to conclude. However, Costa Rica’s press slammed the decision on Saturday. “Outrageous! We were forced to play in caveman conditions,” the Al Dia newspaper wailed on its front page. “It was the only way they could beat us — the USA froze us in Denver. Why was the game allowed to go ahead?” the paper added. La Nacion newspaper agreed. “Snow was the United States’ best weapon. Costa Rica were frozen out by the poor condition of the pitch,” it said.