Manchester: India’s Vijender Singh made his professional boxing debut with a bang, defeating Briton Sonny Whiting through a technical knock out in the third round at the Manchester Arena here Saturday. The Olympic and world championship medallist began well, attacked through the middleweight bout, and finished off the fight in the penultimate round when the referee stopped the contest. File picture of Vijender Singh. The 29-year-old Indian started off confidently, pushing Whiting into a corner. Vijender sent down an array of punches, and the Briton returned them aggressively, as the first round seemed even. Whiting, who had a 2-1 win-loss record in professional boxing prior to this match, tried to seize the initiative in the second round, but Vijender soon took control and even dropped his guard on a couple of occasions, virtually challenging his opponent to have a go at him. As the clock ticked, Whiting found it difficult to match Vijender's aggression, lost balance and fell on the ropes. Well before this bout, Whiting had told media that he plans to put "this kid" (Vijender) through "absolute hell". Whiting tried to come back into the game in the third round by unleashing a flurry of punches, but Vijender kept his cool and hit some upper cuts and a few jabs which unsettled the Briton, forcing the referee to stop the contest. An elated Vijender later said it was just a beginning and he would have to go a long way. "I am very happy. It’s just a beginning, I have to go a long way,” Singh said.
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Beijing: The leading women's tennis doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis marched into the final of the China Open, thumping the Chinese duo of Chen Liang and Yafan Wang 6-2, 6-3 in a one-sided clash here on Friday. The Indo-Swiss pair, the topmost team in the doubles circuit this year, needed one hour and seven minutes to claim the semifinal in the $4.7 million prize money tournament. Sania and Hingis dominated the match in all departments, winning 32 service points compared to 24 by their opponents at the Beijing Olympic Green Tennis Centre, built for the 2008 Olympic Games. They also achieved 25 return points, five more than their wildcard opponents. They bagged 57 of the total 101 points played and converted five of the nine break points opportunities. The Indo-Swiss duo won 73 of the 131 points played in the match. The top seeds earlier beat the German-Czech pairing of Julia Goerges and Karolina Pliskova 7-6(5), 6-4 in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Sania and Martina are the reigning Wimbledon and US Open champions. Sania has now reached the final of this event for the fourth time in a row, winning the 2013 title with Zimbabwean Cara Black.
Manchester: Lot of surprise, some skepticism and a few brickbats followed his decision to quit amateur Boxing and Indian star Vijender Singh will look to live upto the unprecedented hype when he makes his eagerly-awaited professional debut against Britain's Sonny Whiting here on Saturday. The 29-year-old, who scripted history as an amateur by becoming India's first Olympic and World Championships medallist, is all set to begin a new chapter in his illustrious boxing career. In his debut middleweight pro bout, the strapping six-footer faces a cocky opponent in Whiting, who has promised to put him "through hell". The 26-year-old from Rochester is three-bouts old in the circuit and has a 2-1 win-loss record. Despite the verbal provocation, Vijender has remained his usual composed self and has promised to answer every threat with his punches in the ring. "I am totally focussed and waiting for the right moment to reply in the ring. I am not at all bothered by his comments. I will reply with my punches," Vijender said on the eve of the bout. Vijender, who signed up with Queensberry Promotions in July, is not the first Indian to enter the professional arena with the likes of Gurcharan Singh and Pradeep Sihag having been a regular in the circuit earlier. However, never before has an Indian boxer's professional debut generated this kind of hype. This can largely be attributed to his equally unprecedented success as an amateur boxer, a highlight of which was becoming the world number one in middleweight at one stage. The Haryana-lad would be walking in to a couple of thumping Punjabi songs -- 'Singh is King' and 'Singh is Bling' -- and would look to make sure that the music keep playing at the end of the four round that he will fight tomorrow. "I am looking forward to a winning start. I am not under any pressure, I am taking this as a responsibility. My performance in professional boxing will open new hopes for young Indian boxers. I am eagerly waiting to enter the ring against Sonny. My strategy is to go in and hit very hard," he said. Whiting, who has a knockout victory to his credit, has virtually derided Vijender's amateur record and has vowed to give him a very rude welcome to the pro arena. "I'm a proud fighter who will go in there and give it everything I've got and I'm not laying down in front of anyone. He's making his debut and I'll give him a hard welcome to the professional game. What he's done as an amateur doesn't count, he's now with the big boys in the pros," he has said. Vijender is training under renowned trainer Lee Beard, who is mighty impressed with the Indian's technical knowledge and power. Vijender has been training with him for more than a month and has worked on his endurance during this period. The bout is set to be telecast live on Sony Six at 10.20pm
New Delhi: Swiss maestro Roger Federer has been named as the top-earning tennis player of the ninth straight year, according to business magazine Forbes. The 17-time Grand Slam champion has a combined worth of USD 67 million in prize money, endorsement deals and appearances between June 1, 2014 and June 1, 2015. The 34-year-old world number two, who lost the year's final Slam at New York to top-ranked Novak Djokovic, is showing no signs of slowing down, and is quickly approaching that USD 100 million mark in career prize money. Federer, who has 24 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles also, is the world’s fifth richest athlete on a list headed by Floyd Mayweather. The American boxer, who recently retired undefeated, has an astonishing USD 300 million. His great rival, Manny Pacquiao is second on the list with USD 160 m. Football's two brightest stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are third and fourth at USD 79.9 m and USD 73.8 m respectively, ahead of Federer. They are followed by basketballs superstars LeBron James (USD 64.8 m), Kevin Durant (USD 54.2 m) at sixth and seventh spot. Golfer Phil Mickelson (USD 50.8 m) beats long standing leader Tiger Woods by USD 0.2 m to occupy the eight spot. Basketball player Kobe Bryant completed the top-10 with USD 49.5 m, in the list compiled by Forbes. In tennis ranking, world number one Djokovic has USD 48.2 m (overall ranked 13th) ahead of 14-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal (USD 32.5 m, overall ranked 22nd ) for top three earners. And together with Federer, Djokovic and Nadal have been the world’s three highest-paid tennis players for the second consecutive year with combined earnings of USD 148 m. Earlier this year, Federer was also adjudged the world’s most marketable sports star by the London School of Marketing.
Guangzhou: The Indo-Swiss tennis pairing of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis continued their winning run to reach yet another final when they made it to the women's doubles summit clash of the $250,000 Guangzhou Open here on Friday. The top seeds took just an hour and 12 minutes to beat Israeli-Swedish combination of Julia Glushko and Rebecca Peterson 6-3, 6-4 on the outdoor hard courts of the Guangzhou International Tennis Center. The first set was pretty easy as the reigning US Open champions broke their opponents twice to take the advantage in the match. The second set was a topsy-turvy one as Julia and Rebecca came back strongly to break the reigning Wimbledon champions twice. But Sania and Martina proved just a tad bit better as they broke the unseeded pair's serve thrice to take home the set and the match. It wasn't the best of service days for the Indo-Swiss combine as they committed as many as five double faults in the match with three coming in the second set. But they knew when to earn the crucial points to enter the final.
“I am from north-east but still I am an Indian,” heartbroken Mary Kom alleges regional bias in selection
Mumbai: Olympic bronze medallist MC Mary Kom on Friday broke down and accused the Indian selectors of regional bias during boxing selection and trails. "Sometimes I feel very upset. Some of the referees and judges do not favour me but I don't mind. Okay I am from north-east, no problem, but I am still an Indian," Mary Kom told reporters in Mumbai. The 32-year-old boxer alleged that Haryana's Pinky Jangra, who competes in the same weight category as her, is being repeatedly favoured by the selectors despite being beaten by the five-time world champion from Manipur. "There are so many controversies. Pinky Jangra, I always defeat her and prove it to get a gold medal in every competition but they (boxing selectors) continue to support her," she said. Mary Kom, however, insisted she had taken it in her stride. "It is still okay. I will prove myself in the ring," she said. The London Olympics medalist was dropped from the Indian contingent at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and Jangra was chosen in her place. Pinky had beaten Mary in the trail of 51kg category before the Commonwealth Games but the Manipuri boxer claimed it was poorly judged.
Glasgow: Andy Murray may skip this year's World Tour Finals in order to prepare for Great Britain's Davis Cup final against Belgium in November. Murray inspired Britain to victory over Australia in the Davis Cup semi-finals, securing their first appearance in a final since 1978 with a straight-sets win over Bernard Tomic in Glasgow on Sunday. Belgium are expected to stage the final on clay and with the hard-court World Tour Finals not due to finish until the week before, Murray is thinking about sitting out the prestigious event at London's O2 Arena. "The O2 would obviously be a question mark for me if we were playing on the clay," Murray, a two-time World Tour Finals semi-finalist, said. "I would go and train and prepare on the clay to get ready for the (Davis Cup) final. You saw last year with Roger Federer that the matches at the O2 are extremely tough and physically demanding. "If you reach the final and play on the Sunday, you also need to take time off. You can't just play five matches against the best players in the world and then not take any days off." Missing the World Tour Finals would oblige Murray to forego 1,500 ATP ranking points. His 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Tomic gave Britain an unassailable 3-1 lead, with Thanasi Kokkinakis' win against Dan Evans in Sunday's final singles rubber making the final score 3-2. Belgium, who defeated Argentina 3-2 in the other semi-final, will host the final on November 27-29. Murray, 28, won both singles matches as well as the doubles with elder brother Jamie, and revealed afterwards that a back injury sustained in training had dogged him throughout the tie.
London: Great Britain are one win away from the Davis Cup final after Andy and Jamie Murray beat Australia's Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth in the doubles. The dramatic 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 victory gives Britain a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five tie in Glasgow. If Andy Murray wins the opening reverse singles match on Sunday, Britain will be through to a first final since they finished runners-up in 1978. The winners will face either Belgium or Argentina in the final in November. Murray is expected to face Australian number one Bernard Tomic and, if needed, Dan Evans would take on Thanasi Kokkinakis in the final singles match, although the line-ups can be changed up to an hour before play starts at 13:00 ( Local time).
New York: The Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable sports franchise in the world at a worth of $4 billion, according to Forbes magazine. America's Team heads the list of NFL teams for the ninth consecutive year and is first overall among all sports teams for the first time since 2007. The Cowboys made record NFL revenue of $620 million last season. Super Bowl champion New England is second behind Dallas at $3.2 billion and the Washington Redskins are third at $2.85 billion. The New York Giants ($2.8 billion) and San Francisco 49ers ($2.7 billion) round out the top five in the NFL. The Buffalo Bills are last on the list at $1.4 billion.
New York: India’s Sania Mirza and teammate Martina Hingis of Switzerland celebrate their 6-3, 6-3 victory in the US Open women’s doubles final over Australia’s Casey Dellacqua and Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova at Flushing Meadows in New York on Sunday. The pair had won the Wimbledon title in July, defeating Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 5-7, 7-6(7-4), 7-5 in the final. This is Mirza's first US Open women's doubles title and fifth Grand Slam victory overall. She won the mixed doubles title last year with Brazilian Bruno Soares. Sania-Martina started the match as the favourites, and the pair won the title without dropping set in the tournament. For Hingis, it was her 11th doubles' title. She had previously partnered with Anna Kournikova, Mary Pierce, Jana Novotna, Mirjana Lucic, Natasha Zvereva and Helena Sukova in an impressive career. On Friday, the Swiss legend had won the US Open mixed doubles crown partnering with Leander Paes, in route to becoming the first team since 1969 to win three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. The duo had previously won the Australia Open and Wimbledon together. It was her fourth mixed-doubles title, third with Paes. She won the 2006 Australian Open title with another Indian Mahesh Bhupathi. Thus Hingis, in an extraordinary season, has won five Grand Slam titles in 2015, taking her overall number to 20. She was also the US Open doubles runner-up last year alongside Flavia Pennetta, who won her first Grand Slam singles crown yesterday, defeating her Italian compatriot Roberta Vinci in the women`s singles final. Hingis, 34, is the youngest singles Grand Slam champion of the 20th century and also the youngest-ever world No. 1 in both singles and doubles. Before ligament injuries in both ankles spoilt her career in 2002, the Swiss sensation had won five Grand Slam singles titles (Australian Open - 1997, 98, 99), Wimbledon (1997) and US Open (1997). She was also a two-time finalists at the French Open, losing to Iva Majoli in 1997 and Steffi Graf in 1999. Mirza is currently the top-ranked doubles' player, while her partner Hingis is second. In 2009, Mirza had become India's first woman player to win a Grand Slam title when she won the Australian Open with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi. And she was also the first Indian girl to win a Major title, winning the Wimbledon 2003 doubles' event with Alisa Kleybanova of Russia. She was 16 years old then. Last month, she was conferred with the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award last month, becoming the second tennis player to receive the country's highest sporting honour after Paes.