Archive for the ‘Commonwealth Games’ Category

Jeff Horn Faces Stern Test in Viktor Plotnykov

Horn image: boxrec.com

Aussie up-and-comer Jeff Horn will have his hands full on August 1 in Invercargill, New Zealand.

Though he is ranked 10th in the world welterweight rankings he faces a stern test in no. 12 ranked Viktor Plotnykov.

Horn admits the wily Ukranian veteran is a step above anyone he has yet boxed.

Horn has already beaten 3 of the world’s top 15 ranked welterweigts, but none approaching Plotnykov’s caliber.

Plotnykov will also enjoy a 5cm height advantageand and has more than three times Horn’s professional experience with 34 fights.

But horn’s trainer, Glenn Rushton, isn’t letting his fighter be over-awed, “We are going to Invercargill to win the fight emphatically. But we are under no illusions about the opponent. It is going to be a tough, tough night.

“Jeff will need to win the fight with his legs more than his hands because he has to control the gap in distance between them.

“Plotnykov is a master at dominating the distance. He’s able to hit going back, he puts his left jab constantly in the face of his opponent and has a very dangerous right hand.

“He’s tough too and knows how to hold in close.”

Image for Plotnykov: boxrec.com

Image for Plotnykov: boxrec.com

Rushton has his charge working on explosive leg strength ahead of the match. While in sparring Horn is working on techniques to shut down Plotnykov’s damaging straight right.

Most recently, Plotnykov, 37, dominated and defeated former British commonwealth welterweight champion Denton Vassell over 12 rounds in Belfast.

Horn’s promoter, Dean Lonergan, believes his fighter is ‘four or five’ fights away from a world title. But Horn believes he is ready now.

He just has to get past Plotnykov first.

Anthony Joshua KOs Previously Unstopped Johnson

Anthony Joshua image: en.wikipedia.org

British giant Anthony Joshua has emerged as the future of heavyweight boxing.

He towers over most opponents at 1.98m and combines precision with power.

On the weekend he faced the previously unbeaten Kevin Johnson.

Johnson had never been stopped in 35 fights – including a world title fight against Russian juggernaut Vitali Klitschko.

At 35 Johnson was something of a veteran, but all the more dangerous for that.. Boxing experts considered him likely to be the first man able to take Joshua beyond three rounds.

But Joshua had other ideas.

The 25 year-old giant slammed a right into Johnson in the first that sent the American to one knee. Johnson needed to hold onto the ring rope to steady himself. Those in attendance described the punch as impacting with Johnson like a meteor.

The bell saved Johnson, but the end was nigh.

It didn’t take Joshua long in the second to find a home for his fists. Johnson was clearly rattled and unable to protect himself from the barrage of Joshua’s punches.

The barrage, though, were only there to open his opponent up for the killer blow.

Knocking out Kevin Johnson is something that has never been done before; many thought it impossible to do. The world heavyweight rankings are now paying attention.

One Sport Review Slams Athletics Australia

Image of David Grace: http://athletics.com.au/About-Us/About-Athletics-Australia/Board-of-Directors

Chair of the ‘One Sport’ review (former Australian cricket coach) John Buchanan has slammed Athletics Australia for its lack of accountability, transparency, and woeful organisational culture.

The admonition comes in the wake of a scathing report. It urges the Australian Sports Commission to reduce funding to AA by a whopping 40 per cent, unless far-reaching and immediate changes are made.

The failures and embarrassments of last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow prompted the investigation.

Among these were: The very pubic slanging match between head coach Eric Hollingsworth and hurdler Sally Pearson, the underachievement of all athletes, and the very ill-kept secret of poor team morale.

Buchanan’s investigative panel included former sprint champion Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, Lynne Williams, Mark Bartels, and Matt Favier. Together they submitted a 60-page document outlining 16 key recommendations.

Among the recommendations are the removal of at least two of the current board members and the very close scrutiny of current president David Grace.

Stakeholders like little Athletics needed to be given more inclusion and a greater say in nationwide athletic activities.

The report calls for an oversight committee constituted by representatives of the ASC, AA, and Australian Institute of Sport. This committee would be expected to meet monthly and monitor the pace of the other reforms.

The Athletics Australia board has been given six months in which to get its affairs in order.

An 18 month timeframe has been given in which to make the proposed changes.

Exceeding this timeframe will result in crucial funding being withheld. Athletics Australia is currently without a major sponsor and so relies wholly on the Sport Commission’s $7.8 million (2013/14) to survive.

John Buchanan pulled no punches: “All we can say is if they continue to do what they are doing, they’re going to continue to get what they get.

“If they continue to do that, we have made it pretty clear, and the Sports Commission support this, that their funding is going to be reduced.

“I think that is reasonable to expect of any business. If you continue what you’re doing and having a culture that has been quite fragmented for a period of time then why should people invest in you? It’s as simple as that.”

Big Challenge for Anthony ‘Bull’ McCraken Against Vaitele Soi.

Vaitele Soi Image: pacific.scoop.co.nz

Australian boxing legend Danny Green has said Aussie Anthony ‘Bull’ McCracken will need all his strength, wits, and skill if he is to emerge victorious against Samoan juggernaut Vaitele Soi.

The two step on to the canvas together on Saturday night in Christchurch in what is expected to be one of the world cruiser-weight fights of the year.

Green has sparred in excess of 40 rounds with McCracken in camps preparing him for fights against Manny Siaca and B. J. Flores.

“Bull McCracken is one of the toughest blokes I’ve been in the ring with and it was a real thrill to see him climb the world ratings, because I know how hard he works,’ said Green to the Courier-Mail.

“He’s a very powerful fighter, but he will have to be at his best against Soi, who can box and punch.”

31 year-old McCracken has a 17-7-1 record. His most recent upset-victory in Auckland, in November, against highly rated David Aloua, catapulted him into the world rankings.

But McCraken has his work cut out against Soi.

Four years younger than his opponent, Soi boasts an enviable 25-1-0 record. His one loss, against Commonwealth Games gold medallist Brad ‘Hollywood’ Pitt, is still hotly disputed.

Also on the Saturday night fight card, at the Horncastle Arena, Christchurch, are former Australian cruiserweight champion Daniel Ammann against American wrecking-machine Brian Minto. These two and six other classy cruiserweights from around the South Pacific will be fighting out a Super 8 cruiser-weight elimination event.

Warriors rugby league captain Monty Betham will fight former one-day English cricket captain Adam Hollioake.

And hammer-fisted New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder squares-off against ‘The Mouth from the South’ outspoken blogger Cameron Slater.

Visa Problems for Mayweather’s Australian Tour

Image: en.wikipedia.org

Australian organisers for boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather have announced their client’s scheduled visit will be postponed by a week – or perhaps indefinitely.

The multiple world champion was due to kick off a series of promotional appearances on Thursday in Melbourne. However, the February 5 show has been rescheduled because of logistic and legal issues.

First, the American has announced he will now bring an entourage of 31, including 5 other boxers. This has created a visa, accommodation, and transportation dilemma for organisers of the tour.

Next, no decision has yet been made about Mayweather’s application for a visa to Australia.

Mayweather has been imprisoned for assaulting a former girlfriend. His having a criminal record for a violent offence complicates the matter of granting him entry to Australia.

Fiona McCormack, CEO of Domestic Violence Victoria, has been a strident opponent of granting Mayweather a visa. She has found a useful ally in Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Together they are putting pressure on authorities to uphold the exclusion on Mayweather.

Mayweather is coming to Australia to announce whether or not he will accept the challenge of Manny Pacquiao. Should he accept, and fight the Filipino megastar, it is likely to be the biggest box-office event in boxing history.

Armstrong Says He Would Do It Again

Lance Armstrong. Image: en.wikipedia.org

In an open and frank interview with the BBC, the first since his TV confession to Oprah Winfrey two years ago, Lance Armstrong has said he would dope again.

The 43 year-old Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tours de France victories in 2012 when the United States Anti-Doping Agency judged him guilty of using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). The judgement came after years of strenuous denials. Armstrong had even taken some accusers to court alleging they had besmirched his reputation.

But Armstrong is prosaic about the circumstances leading to his downfall.

“If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn’t do it (dope) again; because I don’t think you have to,” he told the BBC.

“If ou take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive, I would probably do it again.”

Armstrong justified his comments by alleging such drug-fueled super-human performances are good for the sport.

“When I made the decision, when my team made that decision, when the whole peloton made that decision, it was a bad decision and an imperfect time.

“But it happened. And I know what happened because of that. I know what happened to the sport – I saw its growth.”

And who can doubt him?

The Tour de France attracted more interest, more viewers, and more sponsorship with each of Armstrong’s victories. During the all-important mountain stages the TDF website was hosting a million hits a second. When racing was close there were never less than five helicopters above the lead pack beaming live images all around the world.

And the monetary spin-off, to sponsors, the Tour de France organisation, and cycling in general was astronomical.

Armstrong cites the astounding growth in bike sales, especially those of his supplier Trek Bicycles, as proof of how the sport and sponsors benefited.

He also, somewhat modestly, adds charity research foundations with whom he was in contact raised over half a billion dollars.

And while he has been fined millions for ‘’misleading’ the public, those who benefited from his performances have been allowed to keep every cent.

Armstrong took aim at being stripped of his titles, “I think there has to be a winner, I’m just saying that as a fan,” he continued.

“There’s a huge block in World War One with no winners. And there’s another block in World War Two. And then (referring to the seven vacant years where he won) it seems like there’s another world war.

“I don’t think history is stupid, history rectifies a lot of things. I f you ask me what happens in 50 years, I don’t think it sits empty … I feel like I won those Tours.”

And again, who can argue? It’s not like Armstrong sat on the couch eleven months of the year taking drugs and then rode his bike around France to win. His training was brutal and continual.

The Tour de France has a long and well documented history of athletes taking prohibited substances to improve their performances. Lance Armstrong was a drug cheat, but he won his seven tours against other drug cheats.

Table Tennis World Champ Loses Entire Prize Purse for Outrageous Celebration.

Zhang Jike. Image: www.tabletennisdaily.co.uk

Zhang Jike. Image: www.tabletennisdaily.co.uk

ln a bizarre post match celebration World Tale Tennis Champion Zhang Jike destroyed two advertising boards. After hitting the final winner Zhang leapt into the air with joy. He turned from the table and ran over to the nearest sponsor’s board and put his foot through it.

This is not what the sponsors are paying for.

Zhang, the Olympic champion, had just regained the World Cup title from top seed Ma Long. The match in Dusseldorf had been close and tense and hard-fought.

Zhang relinquished his hold on the World Cup three years ago in Paris. Since that time he has been amongst the world’s best, but the prize has always just eluded him.

Zhang told the International Table Tennis Federation’s website, “I am very sorry for what I did. It was not acceptable behaviour and I am sorry. This was a perfect victory. I have been under a great deal of pressure, with people questioning my form.”

Germany’s Timo Boll won the bronze medal, while Ma Long takes home the silver.

For his outburst Zhang was fined $50,000 – his entire winner’s purse.

I Support Women in Sports Awards Upstaged by Topless Models.

Photo: www.heraldsun.com.au

Photo: www.heraldsun.com.au

The fall-out from the Women’s Health magazine’s I Support women in Sport awards hasn’t been confined to social media. The outrage came when the magazine hired three topless models covered in body paint resembling the uniforms of a gymnast, swimmer and netballer.

Lisa Wilkinson, from the Today breakfast show, posted on Twitter, “What was @WomenHealthMag thinking when it dressed topless models in body paint at their Women In Sport awards?”

While former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally, once chief executive of Basketball Australia, declared it “one of the daftest moves ever to promote women in Australian sports.”

Both women seem to feel they have the right to tell Australians how they should enjoy women’s sports – as if there is a right and a wrong way.

Studies have shown that both women and men look at each gender the same way. Men are viewed as a while, women as the sum of their parts. Evolutionary psychologists have said humans have evolved to do this. In evolutionary terms those, for instance, who quickly determined a guy was too big to fight against, and ran away would get to pass on their genes. While those who spent time registering the bits that made up the guy wouldn’t. The reverse is true of women. Identifying the bits that made up a woman would lead both women and men to make an educated guess about the state of her health and her chances of successfully producing children.

So when men and women go to sporting events they are looking at male and female athletes in different ways. Therefore how they look does matter and does contribute to the reasons why men and women watch sport.

Genevieve LaCaze Grinds it at Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony

Attractive Australian steeplechaser Genevieve LaCaze was a little more subdued this morning after crashing Kylie Minogue’s performance at last night’s Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.

LaCaze was dared to run onto the stage by Games volunteers and she took the once in a lifetime opportunity. The head-turning runner was celebrating her 25th birthday and a 5th place in her event. Kylie had left the stage for a brief costume change when the volunteers made their suggestion. Their suggestion came as Ms LaCaze is from the Gold Coast, the site of the next Commonwealth Games and the idea of a Gold Coaster welcoming the Commonwealth to our next games seemed a great idea.

Plus, was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Ms LaCaze rushed onto the stage and started grinding to the music. This morning Ms LaCaze described herself as ‘shy’ and ‘usually a rule-follower’ Her only regret, she said, was not also grabbing the microphone and belting out a few tunes.

“I’m the one who worries about the consequences before taking the chance of doing something a little bit rebellious, but I thought, ‘It’s my 25h birthday.”

“I don’t know,” she told new.com reporters, “I find 25 a number where you’re becoming an adult really, and I thought maybe one more childish act was in me.”

Genevieve LaCaze bumps and grinds on stage at Comm Games. Photo www.dailymail.co.uk

Genevieve LaCaze bumps and grinds on stage at Comm Games. Photo www.dailymail.co.uk

was born at Mount Tamborine in the Gold Coast hinterlands. She spent her schooling years in Logan, Queensland. However, whe won a scholarship to attend University of Florida in the U.S. and has lived there since.

Genevieve studied applied physiology and kinesiology. She completed her bachelor’s degree in 2012, the same year she competed in the Olympics for Australia. It was a race she very nearly missed as she posted her qualifying time after the closing date. However, a last minute reprieve allowed her to don the green and gold.

In fact, Genevieve stumbled into the sport of steeplechase quite by accident. He college team lost their number one pick for the steeplechase at a university games event. Genevieve was asked to step in. And she fell in love with the event.

Genevieve has learned a lot from these games: She has been approached by FHM for modelling. She learned a lot about tactics – having had her race dictated to her by the seemingly unbeatable Kenyans. And she has found out that when she dances the world stops to watch.

South Africa End New Zealand 16 Year Run at Games Sevens.

Captain of the New Zealand Sevens side, D.J. Forbes grumbled, “I guess we are beatable,” after South Africa caused the upset of 16 years to claim the gold medal over their highly fancied rivals.

The 16 year unbeaten run is rivalled only by the America’s Cup victories; with New Zealand entering the competition ranked as the side to beat. Commentators even suggested the team comprised the fittest rugby players in New Zealand – in itself is very high praise.

The Australians only incurred the ire of the Kiwis by suggesting, prior to the games, that this New Zealand team wasn’t up to the same standard of previous sides.

But it wouldn’t be the Australians who beat them.

The game itself was incredibly hard fought with crushing tackles, slick passing moves, and blistering fast runs from the flankers.

Photo: kerikerirugby.com

Photo: kerikerirugby.com

The referee was very involved and needed to intercede several times as tension between the two sides threatened to boil over.

But while the aggression was barely kept in check the football was a delight to watch. Both teams put on a magnificent display of strategy, teamwork and skill. The football was fierce, fluid, flowing – never giving spectators a chance to look away.

Unfortunately for New Zealand the most consistent sides don’t always win. “Sevens is a pretty fickle game, it can go either way,” said Forbes after the match. “But I guess if we are putting things in perspective moving forward, it is all about the Olympics nw. I guess maybe the monkey is off the back.”

The New Zealand side still has a silver medal – not anything to be scoffed at. Even though they did not win the game they did not lose anyone’s respect.