Former heavyweight world champion Evander Holyfield looked all of his 58 years in a first-round technical knockout loss to mixed martial arts star Vitor Belfort on Saturday.
With former US President Donald Trump providing ringside commentary for the spectacle at Seminole Hard Rock casino in Hollywood, Florida, Brazil’s Belfort unleashed an early flurry that ended with Holyfield slipping through the ropes.
The American ring great regained his feet only to be sent to the canvas by a combination from Belfort. He beat the count, but after he absorbed another flurry of blows without throwing any the referee stopped the fight despite Holyfield’s objections.
“I wasn’t hurt,” insisted Holyfield, who called the decision to stop the fight “kind of sad.”
“It is what it is,” he said. “I think it’s a bad call.”
Holyfield was fighting for the first time since he defeated Brian Nielsen in 2011 to cap a glorious ring career.
Holyfield won 1984 Olympic gold as a light heavyweight and went on to dominate the professional cruiserweight division before entering prize fighting lore as a heavyweight.
He’s best known for a championship heavyweight run that included two wins over Mike Tyson, one of them the infamous “Bite Fight,” a win over George Foreman, and one win over Riddick Bowe in their punishing trilogy.
Holyfield (44-10 with two drawn and 29 knockouts, accepted the Belfort fight on eight days’ notice after Oscar De La Hoya tested positive for Covid-19.
Holyfield said he was ready, having been preparing for a proposed comeback bout against Kevin McBride that didn’t come off.
Asked after the fight if he was still interested in making a rematch with his old nemesis Tyson, Holyfield said, “Of course.”
– ‘Not the same’ -But even Trump, who tirelessly boosted Holyfield throughout his undercard commentary, seemed taken aback by the ex-champ’s performance.
“No, he’s not the same,” Trump said. “Right from the beginning he was not the same fighter. He lost a lot. It was not Evander Holyfield.”
Trump received a rapturous welcome from fans at the Florida venue, where he arrived after visiting New York on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Reps summon Sunday Dare over athletes’ disqualification at Tokyo Olympics
The house of representatives has summoned Sunday Dare, minister of youth and sports development, over the disqualification of 10 athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The lower chamber passed the resolution during plenary session on Wednesday following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Lawrence Ayeni, lawmaker from Osun state.
The minister is to brief the lawmakers on the level of Nigeria’s compliance with extant regulations set by the International Association of
Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).
It was reported how the AIU disqualified 10 Nigerian track and field athletes for failing to comply with the out-of-competition testing (OCT) requirement.
AIU said Nigeria is among countries deemed to have the highest doping risk, and the athletes were expected to undergo “at least three no-notice out-of-competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than 3 weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event”.
Leading the debate on the motion on Wednesday, Ayeni said Nigeria was disqualified despite the “huge funds” available to the sports ministry and preparation made by the athletes.
“Nigeria delegation to the Olympic Games fared well in terms of performance, thereby raising the country’s rating the comity of nations,” he said.
“Concerned that despite the huge funds being made available yearly for the regulatory agencies in the sports sector, adequate efforts have not been made to get Nigeria into the category where they would be deemed to have made significant improvements in anti-doping tests.”
The motion was unanimously adopted after it was put to a voice vote by Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house.
While mandating its committee on sports to investigate the cause of the “failed doping test to forestall future occurrence,” the green chamber asked the ministry of sports to put measures in place to “ensure compliance with extant regulations at both local and international competitions”.
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D’Tigress beat Angola to make Afrobasket quarter-finals
D’Tigress, Nigeria’s senior women basketball team, on Monday in Yaoundé beat their Angolan counterparts 85-65 to advance to the quarter-finals of the 2021 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket Championship.
In their final Group B game, the Nigerian side dislodged the Angolans who were leading the group to make it two wins from two matches and emerge as group leaders.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a loss would have seen the Nigerian side finishing second and going to play in the qualifier to quarter-finals match against Cape Verde on Wednesday.
It was a similar route their male counterparts, D’Tigers, carved for themselves at the Men’s AfroBasket a few weeks ago in Rwanda, and it did them no good.
On Monday, D’Tigress ensured none of that by leading from the first quarter, which they won 31-18.
They extended their lead with a 21-10 win in the second quarter, heading for the game’s long break period comfortable leaders with a whooping 24 points.
They however stepped off the throttle in the third and fourth quarters, losing 15-19 and then drawing 18-18 respectively,
Adaora Elonu was a top performer for them, with 10 points, three rebounds and four assists, while Ezinne Kalu grabbed 12 points, just as Ify Ibekwe also had eight rebounds.
With the 67-50 win over Mozambique in their opening group phase game on Saturday, D’Tigress won the group and will now face either one of Cote d’Ivoire or Guinea in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
The two west African sides will meet on Wednesday in the qualifier to quarter-finals to decide which of them would advance to meet Nigeria.
Nigeria have thus avoided the qualifier to quarter-finals stage, where D’Tigers lost to Uganda at the Men’s AfroBasket in Rwanda.
Angola, Group B runners-up after the loss to Nigeria, now have to overcome the hurdle of facing Cape Verde before they can play in the quarter-finals.(
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