World Series Of Boxing Week 10, Group B La Cruz returns

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In the last week of the Regular Season Group B promises more outstanding bouts and intriguing matches. None more so the announced return to the ring of World Champion Julio La Cruz from Cuba. La Cruz was the victim of an armed robbery exactly eight weeks ago this Saturday, which saw him shot in the hip and undergoing surgery to remove the bullet.

Whist La Cruz’ return is the story on everyone’s lips; it is not the only exciting piece of news the “Group of Death” has to offer this week.

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Cuba Domadores vs. Azerbaijan Baku Fires

01/02/2014, 01:30 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com

Although there will be ten world class athletes competing in Havana this weekend, this match is all about just one man: Julio Cesar La Cruz. The Light Heavyweight (81kg) double World Champion and London 2012 Olympian makes his return after recovering from an armed robbery and having a bullet removed from his hip. He won’t have the easiest of returns against Teymur Mammadov, a very capable boxer who took silver in the 2011 World Championships and bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The new leaner incarnation of this boxing machine won his WSB debut at Light Heavyweight in Week eight this season. If ever La Cruz was at danger of losing a WSB bout, this could be the moment. Regardless of the outcome of this bout however, the sporting world should be stunned by his recovery. Both physically and psychologically, for an athlete to return to the ring against such high quality opposition just two months after being shot is an amazing story and is testimony to his incredible levels of fitness. These of course will be called into question by the Azeri. The WSB “Bad Boys”, the Azerbaijan Baku Fires are not known for their kindness in the ring; rather they are relentless, aggressive and highly physical fighters. Will the master tactician La Cruz have enough in the bag to see off such a high calibre and physical fighter as Mammadov? With that in the mind of every boxing fan, the rest of the match is almost a side show…
…But what an amazing side show! Former World Champion, and London 2012 Olympic Champion Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo makes his long awaited second appearance in the WSB Welterweight (69kg) category against the very tricky young Azeri Yauheni Ramashkevich, while at Lightweight (60kg) Hurshid Tojibaev, a Beijing Olympian and former Continental Silver Medallist who holds a WSB record of 3-3 will be taking on an unknown quantity in Pablo Vicente who makes his debut this weekend. Elsewhere, at Super Heavyweight (91+kg), the Azeri’s are fielding Arslanbek Makhmudov who has four wins on his card, three by way of KO or TKO. He will be taking on 30 year old Cuban veteran Yoandris Maceo who is making his WSB debut.

Mexico Guerreros vs. Russian Boxing Team

01/02/2014, 02:50 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com

The Guerreros may be out of the running this year, but that does not mean that they are going down without a fight. A world-class line up of boxers lies in wait for the visiting Russian team this week. 2013 WSB Boxer of the Year Elias Emigdio will be leading the charge for the Guerreros at Flyweight (52kg). Emigdio has a stunning 16-3 record and has won both his matches this year by TKO he will be a tough nut for Russian debutant Ovik Ogannisian to crack. At Welterweight Marvin Cabrera, who enters the fray with a 7-2 record, will also represent a difficult introduction to the WSB for 21 year old Alim Gadzhiev. The Russians will however benefit from a Walkover at Super Heavyweight and the presence of Eduard Yakushev at Light Heavyweight. Yakushev is 5-2 and has taken the scalps of some very serious boxers such as Germany’s Serge Michel. The Guerreros Moldovan boxer Petru Ciobanu (0-2) is likely to find him a troublesome opponent. Are the Guerreros packing enough heat to out-gun the Russian visitors? Find out on AIBAboxingTV.com.

Astana Arlans Kazakhstan vs. Hussars Poland

01/02/2014, 13:50 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com

Last weekend, the Hussars won their first (but long-deserved) match of the season against the Mexico Guerreros. Buoyed by the experience and facing a team of Kazakh debutants, Hussars fans should be hopeful for this weekend right? Well not exactly. One of those boxers happens to be Daniyar Yeleussinov, the current AIBA World Champion at Welterweight who was also voted the best AIBA Boxer of the Year for 2013. With a history of success in AOB, the Kazakh’s first appearance would almost certainly have grabbed the headlines today were it not for the sensational return of his fellow World Champion La Cruz. His 19 year old Armenian opponent Zhora Simonyan, no matter how game, will need nothing short of a miracle to win this bout.

The Poles meanwhile will be looking to Dawid Michelus, who is 3-3 in the WSB and won his last outing at Lightweight to turn the heat on 28 year old Kazakh debutant Gani Zhaliauov. But as those of us who were at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013 can attest, the Sports Palace can be quite a noisy and intimidating place for visiting boxers.
Can the Poles make it two in a row, or will the deep reserves of Kazakh talent and vocal home support be enough to secure the hosts another victory?

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World Series of Boxing – Week 10, Group A The revenge of Russo

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Photos courtesy WSB Team

In yet another exciting week of action in the World Series of Boxing (WSB), Group A is set to feature some incredible bouts between some of the world’s top fighters.

With things remaining close at the top of the group, the Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder will hope to extend their lead over the Ukraine Otamans. World Champion Clemente Russo is also looking for a return to form after losing his last two WSB matches.

Their opponents have other ideas however. With third place in sight for the USA Knockouts, they are hoping to cause an upset in Italy, whilst Team Germany is set for a tough away match in Buenos Aires with the Argentina Condors.

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Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder vs. USA Knockouts
01/02/2014, 20:00 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com

The Season II winners will be hosting the USA in another important match this week. Having won their 100th home victory last weekend against the Ukraine Otamans, the Italians remain the only team in the WSB to retain an unbeaten home record across all four WSB seasons.

This week however, they will find themselves faced with an extremely focused Knockouts team, who know that a victory would all but guarantee their passage into the Playoffs. But the Italians have enough motivation of their own: with the Ukraine’s match with Algeria cancelled this week, a win would put them four points clear at the top of the table.

One of the most interesting bouts of the evening will probably be between Philippine boxer Mark Barriga of the Italia Thunder and Chinese athlete Lu Bin for the Knockouts. Both Light Flyweights (46-49kg) have impressed so far in their debut season, and this will be something of a battle royal between two of the biggest up-and-coming stars of the weight category.

The Italians will also be offering Branimir Stankovic one last chance at redemption for this Regular Season. The Light Welterweight (64kg) was the number two ranked Lightweight last year in the old WSB weight categories (57-61kg), and won five of his six bouts including a tough semi-final contest against the Ukraine Otamans.

This season however has not gone at all well for the Serbian star and he has lost both his matches so far. In Carlos Adames (1-1) of the Dominican Republic and USA Knockouts, he will have a tough opponent who is on the up. It should be an interesting bout. Heavyweight (91kg) World Champion Clemente Russo is also expected to grace the canvas for the Thunder. He will also be looking to atone for his sole fight and loss this season.

When added to the fact that his only other previous loss in the WSB occurred in his last appearance last season, he has now not won a WSB match in almost year, this looks like a nasty smirch in his 17-2 record book as it stands. Will he be able to respond?

Argentina Condors vs. Team Germany
02/02/2014, 02:00 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com

With Argentina effectively out of the running this year, you might be inclined to think they would be taking their foot off the gas in what will be their last match of the campaign. Not a bit of it. They have announced a line-up that will cause a considerable amount of distress to any Team Germany fans who were hoping for easy points away to Group A’s bottom placed Franchise. Last season’s number one ranked Light Heavyweight Yamil Peralta will be leading the Condors out at Heavyweight.

The current World bronze medallist with his unbeaten WSB record of 7-0 represents a real mountain to climb for Germany’s Johann Witt who has gone 0-2 in his opening season after being drawn against some of the toughest Heavyweights in the WSB, including Chouaib Bouloudinats of the Algeria Desert Hawks (12-5) and Imre Szello (12-3) of the Italia Thunder.

This looks like it will be another tough day in the office for him. At Bantamweight (56kg), Condors boxer Alberto Melian has the chance to become one of the top rated WSB athletes going into next season if he can extend his 7-1 record against Germany’s Omar El Hag (1-1).

T03 BAHRAIN – DAY TWO Marcus Ericsson completes 55 laps

T03 BAHRAIN – DAY TWO Bahrain – 28th February 2014

Driver: Marcus Ericsson, car #9

Chassis: CT05-#02

Total laps: 55

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Photos courtey Caterham F1 team

Marcus Ericsson: “My first day of the final test in the car and it obviously didn’t end as we wanted it to but we did achieve quite a lot of the plan we’d set for the day. We’d had a stop/start morning but the afternoon session was going well until a technical problem just after I exited the pits after the first stint of a race simulation started a fire which forced me to stop the car on track. We’d started after lunch with a few runs evaluating setup options and then went onto the full race simulation which was going to plan until just after the first pitstop when the problem started and I had to pull over. However, we had been able to run through a lot of the procedures we’d planned for today, including race starts and launches so I’m pleased we’ve ticked them off.

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Photos courtesy Caterham F1 Team

“The fire itself was out pretty quickly and the boys now have a lot of work ahead of them to find out what happened and get it all fixed for tomorrow. I’d like to have had some more laps today, but we still have another day left and with every lap I’m learning, so I’m still as positive as I was when we arrived here and just want to get back in the car and back to work.”

Cedrik Staudohar, Track Support Leader, Renault Sport F1: “We made some more progress today but the day obviously did not end as anyone in the team would have wanted. From our side, we continue to understand more about the issues we have to deal with to unlock the full performance of the Power Unit, but reliability is also key and we will continue to focus on that for the last two days of the final test, and back at Viry where everybody is focused on finding solutions to give the team the best chance of success when the season starts in Australia.”

2014 World University Championship (WUC) Season starts Next Month!

On 22 March, the first World University Championship of 2014 will kick-off in Entebbe, Uganda. The 19th World University Cross-Country Championship will launch the 2014 WUC season featuring no less than 29 (!) FISU events on 4 continents from March to December.

With 22 host countries, including five that will host a FISU event for the first time, the best student-athletes will be offered a global stage to showcase their excellence.

Indeed, Belarus (canoe sprint), India (squash), Malaysia (woodball), Singapore (floorball) and the UAE (equestrian and shooting sports will host their first international university sport competitions, further developing the universality of FISU.

Beyond these new host countries, many regular host countries such as Brazil, France, China, Portugal, Poland and Uganda will provide top level competitions for the best student-athletes in the world.

Besides new hosts of FISU Family events in 2014, new sports will also appear in the FISU sports programme, like American Football, following the agreement between FISU and the IFAF developed in 2013. However, it will be the last edition of the World University Taekwondo Championships, since from 2017 onwards this sport will be included in the compulsory sports programme of the Summer Universiade.

This WUC season promises many sporting emotions and we hope to see many of you to participate in these events and come support these student-athletes. You can follow all the results and news on the website and social networks of the FISU.

One week to go before the gun goes for Sopot

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There is just one week to go before the starting gun is fired on the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships, which will be held in the Polish city of Sopot between 7-9 March.

With no global outdoor championship this year, this is the most important event on the 2014 athletics calendar.

Already this winter there have been some spectacular indoor performances to get the appetite whetted for the three days of action that are on the menu.

Ethiopian middle distance runner Genzebe Dibaba and French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie have set world indoor records*.

Earlier this week, Russia’s London 2012 Olympic Games high jump champion Ivan Ukhov continued his 2014 unbeaten winning streak and leapt 2.42m to equal the second best indoor mark ever.

Dibaba and Ukhov will both be in action in Sopot’s ERGO Arena and only an ill-timed heel injury has prevented Lavillenie from defending the global title he won two years ago in Istanbul.

Cameroon upset hosts Algeria to lead Volleyball World Championship qualifier as Nigeria secures first victory

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2014 Women’s World championship- Day 5 Pool T

Cameroon Women’s volleyball team achieved a ground breaking victory over hosts Algeria in day 5 of the 2014 Women’s World championship qualifier African Pool T held at Harcha Hacène Hall in Alger, Algeria on Thursday,

Cameroon led the 6 nation round robin tournament with a win- loss ratio of 3-1 (10 points), while Algeria suffered the first defeat to drop to 2-1.

Nigeria obtained their first victory after three defeats after they overcame DR Congo 3-1 (25-21, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20) in 100 minutes. Nigeria’s record improved to 1-3, while Congo became the only winless team with 0-3

The 6 nation round robin tournament will feature 3 important matches on Today as Algeria face Congo, while Nigeria meet Egypt and Botswana play Cameroon.

The winner of the six nation tournament will earn a ticket to the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014, which will take place from September 23 to October 12.

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Day 5 Results Feb 27
DR Congo – Nigeria 1-3 (21-25, 21-25, 25-23, 20-25)
Cameroon – Algeria 3-1 (25-23, 25-22,21-25, 25-21)

Day 6 programme Feb 28
13:45: Botswana – Cameroon
16:00: Nigeria – Egypt
18:15: Algeria – Congo

LMC APPROVES UMUAHIA TOWNSHIP STADIUM FOR PREMIER LEAGUE GAMES.

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The League Management Company (LMC), organizers of the Glo Premier League has granted its approval for the renovated Umuahia Township Stadium to host Premier League games this season.

A letter signed by the Chief Operating Officer of the LMC, Salihu Abubakar, dated 25th February, 2014 and addressed to the Chairman of Abia Warriors, Chief Emeka Inyama, said the “Umuahia Township Stadium met the required standard to host Premier League Matches” following a recent inspection by the LMC carried out on the stadium.

In expressing its pleasure over the development, LMC reminded the club that it will conduct routine sports checks during the season to ensure that minimum criteria for facilities, security and crowd control were sustained and congratulated Abia Warriors for passing the test as it debuts in the Premier League.

Abia Warriors Football Club gained promotion to compete in the Glo Premier league last season and will be hosting Kaduna United at the stadium on the 9th of March 2014 in its first match at the elite league.

LMC APPROVES UMUAHIA TOWNSHIP STADIUM FOR PREMIER LEAGUE GAMES.

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The League Management Company (LMC), organizers of the Glo Premier League has granted its approval for the renovated Umuahia Township Stadium to host Premier League games this season.

A letter signed by the Chief Operating Officer of the LMC, Salihu Abubakar, dated 25th February, 2014 and addressed to the Chairman of Abia Warriors, Chief Emeka Inyama, said the “Umuahia Township Stadium met the required standard to host Premier League Matches” following a recent inspection by the LMC carried out on the stadium.

In expressing its pleasure over the development, LMC reminded the club that it will conduct routine sports checks during the season to ensure that minimum criteria for facilities, security and crowd control were sustained and congratulated Abia Warriors for passing the test as it debuts in the Premier League.

Abia Warriors Football Club gained promotion to compete in the Glo Premier league last season and will be hosting Kaduna United at the stadium on the 9th of March 2014 in its first match at the elite league.

Kenny MacLeod joins ITF as Executive Director, Commercial

The ITF announced today that Kenny MacLeod will join the ITF as Executive Director, Commercial. He will head-up the ITF’s Commercial Department of seven that concentrates on the ITF’s sponsorship and television portfolio.

MacLeod comes to the ITF from the Scottish Football Association where he was Commercial and Marketing Director from 2009 as well as Global Performance Consultant for FIFA from 2012. Prior to working for the Scottish FA, he was Commercial Manager for Celtic Football Club from 2006-2009, and has also worked in the travel and airline industry and as a Sports Editor for publications in both Australia and Russia.

“We are very happy to welcome Kenny to the ITF as Commercial Director,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “His experience in football will bring some fresh ideas to the ITF and offers us some new perspectives on implementing our commercial strategies.”

“I am looking forward to my new position at the ITF,” said MacLeod. “I am a big fan of tennis and think my past experience has prepared me well for new challenges at the ITF. Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas are well known, successful competitions and form just a part, albeit a large one, of the ITF’s overall commercial properties. Junior tennis, seniors tennis, wheelchair tennis, beach tennis and the ITF Pro Circuit span the game in all age groups; and the ITF’s highly regarded Development, Coaching and Technical departments offer sponsorship opportunities that we will explore over the next period.”

MacLeod will take up his new position effective 2 June 2014 and will be based in the ITF’s Roehampton offices.

As the ITF announced previously, Steve Ayles continues to serve as Executive Commercial Consultant for Asia-Pacific

Flamingoes conquer Sporting Huelva via Chinwe’s Hat-trick…We’re prepared for World Cup, says Nkiyu

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Striker Chinwe Ihezuo scored a hat-trick for the Nigeria U17 Women team to edge past tough Spanish Sporting Huelva for a 3-2 victory in an international friendly in Portugal on Wednesday.

The Coach Bala Nkiyu-tutored girls stated their resilience as they pull through for another victory despite their Spanish opponent’s coming back twice at the Browns Hotel Football arena in Faro, Portugal.

The Nigeria contingents continued their impressive run in a 19-day training tour in Portugal ahead of the FIFA U17 women World Cup in Costa Rica from March 15th to April 5th.

Pelican Stars forward Chinwe Ihezuo who was a standout in the encounter put the Nigeria U17 women in front with her breakthrough in the 13th minute and doubled the lead at five minutes from the break.

The Flamingoes’ lead was reduced in the 43rd minute when the Spanish side pulled one back to keep the score line 2-1 at half time in favour of Nigeria.

However, the Spanish visitors powered home the second five minute into the second half through forward Martin Prieto as they held out to deny the Nigerian side any victory.

Disappointingly, Sporting Huelva met their awful moment when the unstoppable Azerbaijan 2012 silver boot winner breezed past the Spanish club side’s defense to secure the much-expected winner and her hat trick of the day.
Speaking after the game, hat–trick scoring hero, Chinwe Ihezuo has reaffirmed her resolve to help the Flamingoes to reach the finals of the Costa Rica U17 FIFA World Cup.

On meeting expectations of Nigerians, the Pelican stars attacker promised that she and her teammates are fully prepared and battle ready to take on any side in the world Championship as a unit.

In his post match reaction, head coach of the Nigeria U17 women; Bala Nkiyu commended the Nigeria women for their resilience, while admitting a tough encounter, however he stated that they are prepared for the World Cup.

“I’m happy with the performance of the ladies. We had a good test against the Spanish club and good account of ourselves – there are many positives although we have some areas we will continue to improve on and get stronger.

“The sixteen teams in the competition won’t field angels or prophets as we are preparing like this. So for the World Cup, I think we are prepared,” Nkiyu said.

Manu Garba Invites 35 players to U20 camp

Newly-appointed Head Coach of U-20 National Team, Manu Garba has invited 35 players for screening as he launches the race to get the Flying Eagles to the 2015 African Youth Championship, and subsequently, the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015.

Nigeria will clash with the winner of the preliminary fixture between Kenya and Tanzania, in the second round of the qualifying series for the African Youth Championship in May, with the first leg away. Triumph will take the team into the final round of the qualifiers, and
the continental championship is slated for Senegal in March 2015.

The FIFA U-17 World Cup – winning Coach will start the screening programme at the FIFA Technical Centre, National Stadium Complex, Abuja on Monday, and has also encouraged players who fall within the age grade and are cocksure of their ability, but are not on the list of 35, to turn up at the screening venue.

Leading the pack is youthful Super Eagles B striker Etebo Oghnekaro, but there are also Premier League boys Yakubu Mohammed (Gombe United), Suleiman Abdullahi and Auwal Umar (El-Kanemi Warriors), Abdulhafeez Olawale (Crown FC) and FC Taraba’s Timothy Danladi.

All the invitees are expected to arrive in Abuja on Sunday, 2nd March, 2014.

LIST OF 35 INVITED PLAYERS

Victor Chukwuemeka Mbaoma (Remo Stars)

Iluebbey Austin Osho, Ifeanyi Abara, Bashiru Mansur, Adekunle Adegboyega Joseph, Momodu Mohammed, Alashe Sheriff Ajibola, Joshua Enahoro, Julius Emiloju, Emmanuel Damian, Chukwuma Opara (MFM FC)

Yakubu Mohammed (Gombe United)

Suleiman Abdullahi, Auwal Umar (El-Kanemi Warriors)

Udeh Maduka Christopher (Abia Comet)

Aliyu Sani Jandi (Niger Tornadoes)

Mazadu Suraju Abdullahi, Shehu Magaji (Standard FC)

Abdulhafeez Olawale (Crown FC)

Anthony Chukwudi Omaka, Aremu Hafeez (COD FC)

Abubakar Lawal (Sokoto United

Lawal Abdullahi (Dabo Babes)

Okere Jerry Osondu, Chinonso Nwosu David, Orisakwe Chibueze, Alakwem Mishack, Oscar Onyeka (Taye Football Academy)

Jonathan Yakussak (Boro United)

Timothy Danladi (FC Taraba)

Etebo Oghenekaro (Warri Wolves)

Adamu Abubakar (Flash FC)

Bilyaminu Yusuf, Mubarak Umar, Mudashir Garba (Everton FC)

NEW JERSEYS OF NIGERIA NATIONAL TEAMS OFFICIALLY UNVEILED

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The Nigerian Super Eagles world cup jersey was yesterday unveiled by the NFF in Abuja, with Super Eagles’ players, goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim, midfielder Abdullahi Shehu and striker Ejike Uzoenyi showcasing the new jerseys to be worn by the Eagles. A long list of sport administrators and enthusiast were on hand to witness the “unveiling” of the Mew jersey that will be first used when the Eagles play Mexico in a friendly game in America next week.

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