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BOXING: NEW YORK: Tommy Brooks, Mike Tyson's former trainer, believes his ex-pupil has the tools to dispose of Britain's WBC and IBF heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis when both fighters clash on June 8 in Memphis, Tennessee. ``It's going to be a matter of who hits first,'' Brooks said. ``Mike will come out on top. He is a slugger and has the firepower to beat Lennox. Lennox has been knocked out in the past. I think he will fight from long range like he did against David Tua.'' Brooks was let go by Tyson in November. He claims Tyson has made him a millionaire and bears no grudge. ``Why should I? I've made four million Dollars from Mike and I put my kids to college. Why should I be mad at him.'' Brooks said he might resume a working relationship with Tyson one day but only under certain conditions. ``It will only be if I could directly work with him and not have to deal with the people surrounding him.'' Asked if Tyson's new trainer Ronnie Shields, a former super lightweight contender, will be able to control Tyson, Brooks responded, ``Ronnie is a great guy. I've known him for years. As long as Mike listens, he will be fine. But you need to understand that Mike is an individual who has to earn your respect. And Ronnie has earned it.''
ATLANTIC CITY (NEW JERSEY): Former heavyweight champions Evander Holyfield and Hasim Rahman will meet in a June 1 bout that marks Don King's return to New Jersey as a promoter for the first time in four years. The boxers were scheduled to announce the fight Wednesday in New York City. The bout at Boardwalk Hall may be as significant as a comeback milestone for boxing in Atlantic City as it is for the fighters. Holyfield is 37-2-5 with 25 knockouts. Rahman is 35-3 with 29 knockouts. Both are ranked among the top-10 heavyweights by both the WBC and WBA. Both have been in the news sometimes for other reasons too and are known for their notoriety. Holyfield was the victim of Mike Tyson's ear-biting attack during a 1997 bout. Rahman and Lennox Lewis wrestled to the floor during a TV interview last August to announce their rematch. Lewis knocked out Rahman in the bout and regained the WBC title Rahman had taken from him with an April 2001 knockout. King, who is promoting the fight along with Park Place Entertainment, has not staged a bout in Atlantic City since 1998. He was in the process of obtaining a new casino service industry license last year when he suddenly withdrew the application, saying he didn't need one because there were no fights coming up in the city. That changed with the reopening of Boardwalk Hall in last October. King reapplied, and the State Casino Control Commission cleared him for a new license on March 28. ``This is the most major event we've had in some years,'' State Boxing Commissioner Larry Hazzard said.
CRICKET: LONDON: Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar and spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka have topped the latest Pricewater-houseCoopers (PWC) batting and bowling Test ratings respectively. Sachin, with 888 points and an average of 58.72, leads Australian Adam Gilchrist (881 points, 60.00 average) and West Indian Brian Lara, who has 875 points and an average of 50.14. Muralitharan leads the pack of bowlers with 918 points and an average of 23.38. Australian spearhead Glenn McGrath takes the second spot with 908 points. However, McGrath, known for his precise line and length, enjoys a better average with one scalp for every 21.91 runs. South African skipper Shaun Pollock is placed third in the ratings, which were released on Monday. India's Harbhajan Singh and `All-ten' Anil Kumble are placed sixth and ninth respectively in the bowlers ratings. Harbhajan, with an average of 27.98, has 699 points to his credit. He is closely followed by Kumble with 693 points and an average of 27.83. Guyana Test centurion Rahul Dravid, who helped India avoid the follow-on in the crucial opener in the five Test series with a determined knock of 144, is placed 13th with 736 points and an average of 52.61. India's paceman Javagal Srinath, with 652 points, takes the 14th position and has an average of 29.74. West Indies captain Carl Hooper, with the help of his double century against India has moved up the ranking ladder to No. 23. He enjoys an average of 36.48 and has 670 points in his bag. Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly's dismal run with the bat is evident from his position at No. 43 with 554 points. However, the `Prince of Kolkata' still enjoys a healthy average of 40.90. The other Indian batsmen who figure in the PWC top-100 rankings are, V.V.S. Laxman (28), S.S. Das (45), Sadagoppan Ramesh (49), Virender Sehwag (58) and Deep Dasgupta (95). Other Indian bowlers who have found a place in the top 100 rankings include Venkatesh Prasad (40), Venkatapathy Raju (43), Sunil Joshi (50), Ajit Agarkar (66), Ashish Nehra (76), Sarandeep Singh (78) and Sachin Tendulkar (96).
SHARJAH: Javed Miandad, mainstay of Pakistan's batting in the eighties and a key member of the team that won the 1992 World Cup, said that nationalism was essential to achieve success. ``When I went in the middle, I thought of our soldiers on the border and readied myself to make any sacrifice for my country,'' he told Dubai-based Gulf News. He said that talent alone was not enough to excel. Mental toughness was necessary. Talent combined with ability to adapt to a situation was the only way for players to become great performers, he noted. He said that fast bowlers like Mohammed Sami are the future of Pakistan cricket. ``If you make them sit out even after performing what kind of motivation would they have,'' he wondered. If the Australians can take a bold step by dropping seniors like Waugh brothers, Pakistan should follow the example to include youngsters at the expense of the so-called experienced players, he said taking a swipe at Pakistan Cricket Board. Miandad said there was a lack of professionalism because of easy availability of money. Financial gains were proving counter-productive for them, he observed.
FOOTBALL: TOKYO: Virtual hooliganism will hit Japan just before the World Cup finals next month as a Japanese firm plans to launch a computer game which puts players in charge of hooligan gangs, an official said on Wednesday. MicroMouse Co. Ltd., a Tokyo-based game software sales firm, will launch the Japanese-language version of `Hooligans Storm over Europe' made by DarXabre of the Netherlands in late May, the official said. The game, already released in Europe earlier this year, will be titled just `Hooligan' in Japanese, he said, adding the price would be 8,800 Yen ($67) each. ``Hooligans are generally fighting against other (groups of) hooligans, and the final objective of the game is to destroy enemy groups,'' he said. "It is not a simple fighting game but a simulation game in which you have to come up with strategies to win,'' he argued, while admitting the player might ply group members with beer, beat security guards or throw stones. The game was released in most of Europe in January. It only made its British debut in March after sales were restricted to adults in fear of a negative influence on soccer fans. MicroMouse dismissed fears the game would fuel violence in and around stadiums. ``We believe it is wrong to believe the game would trigger crime as it is for use in computers and players will be adults who know it is only in a virtual world,'' the official said. ``Things would be different if it was for Nintendo's Game Boy consoles, which many children play on,'' he added. The National Police Agency declined to comment on the game.
JOHANNESBURG: The African love affair with flair continued here when Senegal striker El-Hadji Diouf was voted `African Footballer of the Year.' Diouf, the most recognisable peroxide blond on the continent, collected 93 votes in a poll among African Football Confederation (CAF) media and technical committee members. Ghana defender and favourite Samuel Kuffour finished runner-up with 66 votes and Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o received 34 to come third for the second consecutive year on Tuesday. Kuffour from German champion Bayern Munich was disappointed after pre-ceremony comments that he would be a worthy recipient of the ultimate individual accolade for African footballers. No defender has topped the poll since its introduction 32 years ago, although goalkeepers Thomas `Black Spider' N'Kono of Cameroon (twice) and Badou Zaki of Morocco were previous winners. It was a memorable night for Senegal, which shredded the formbook by qualifying for the World Cup finals from a group including more fancied Morocco and Egypt. France-born Bruno Metsu was voted `Coach of the Year' and his Senegalese `Lions' took the `National team of the Year' award. Host South Africa had cause for celebration with Kaizer Chiefs judged the `Club of the Year' and Southern Africa also hit the jackpot in the `Champions League Player of the Year' category through Angolan striker Flavio Amado.
GOLF: FARMINGDALE (NEW YORK): Less than 24 hours after finishing second to Tiger Woods at the U.S. Masters, South African Retief Goosen was at least able to reminisce the nostalgic events. Joint leader overnight with Woods, Goosen fired a disappointing two-over-par 74 on the final day to finish three behind the champion on nine-under-par 279. ``I asked one of the officials, saying: Okay, I finished second in the tournament, but do I get the green pants?'' Goosen said. ``But unfortunately they don't.'' What Goosen currently owns that Woods does not is the U.S. Open title and he was at Bethpage State Park in Long Island on Monday for the defending champion's annual visit to the next U.S. Open venue. Nearly 10 months ago, in the sweltering heat of Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Goosen emerged as the improbable winner after five days of drama. Goosen three-putted the 72nd green to go into an 18-hole play-off with Mark Brooks on the Monday, which he won with a score of 70 to Brooks' 72. The victory served as the catalyst for the South African's meteoric rise up the world rankings. A win at the Bell South Classic two weeks ago, his fifth win worldwide since last June, raised Goosen to number four in the world rankings. ``The last year's been excellent is great fun,'' Goosen said. ``It's great when you stand on the first tee and are introduced as the U.S. Open champion. But it hasn't changed my life.'' Maybe not, but winning the U.S. Open, and five victories since, and then playing in the final group at Augusta National certainly does a lot to a player's image and bank account. What has come to the forefront about Goosen is not his game, which is accurate from tee to green and complemented by a nice putting touch, but his confidence.
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