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Manoj Kumar
Monday, February 27, 2012

BOXING (WBO crown)

CARDIFF - Nathan Cleverly outclassed American challenger Tommy Karpency to easily retain his WBO light-heavyweight crown at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena.

The talented Welshman dominated his opponent from start to finish in a one-sided contest to extend his record to 24-0, including 11 knockouts, with a unanimous 120-108, 120-108, 120-108 victory.

Karpency, ranked No.11 by the WBO, was never in the contest as Cleverly pummeled him with shots to the head and the body, seemingly connecting at will through the Pennsylvania southpaw's feeble defence.

Fighting before a Welsh crowd for the first time in four years, Cleverly was always in control against Karpency, who spent much of the bout trapped on the ropes without showing any willingness to trade blows.

The only blight on an otherwise polished display for Cleverly was his failure to force a stoppage against an opponent who was on the back foot from the outset.

The defeat lifted Karpency's record to 21-3-1 with 14 knockouts.

WBA crown

STUTTGART, Germany - Russia's Alexander Povetkin defended his WBA heavyweight world title with a majority decision win over Germany's Marco Huck, who was making his debut in the division from cruiserweight.

The fight was scored 114-114, 116-113 and 116-112 to the Russian, but Huck produced a brave performance over the 12 rounds in Stuttgart.

Having defended his WBO cruiserweight title eight times, this was Huck's first fight at heavyweight and the 27-year-old give away 9kg.

The win leaves the 32-year-old Povetkin with a record of 24 victories, including 16 knock-outs and no defeats.

The decision was greeted by a chorus of boos, with Huck claiming victory.

"He couldn't stand anymore and he's been judged champion," Huck said.

Povetkin said he underestimated Huck.

"Perhaps I didn't take this fight seriously enough," he said.

CRICKET (England-Pakistan)

DUBAI - Jonny Bairstow hit a maiden half-century and paceman Steven Finn took three wickets to guide England to a comfortable 38-run win in the second Twenty20 international against Pakistan.

Bairstow's 60 off 46 balls, studded with two sixes and five boundaries, helped England recover from a precarious 4-79 to post a challenging 7-150 before Finn claimed 3-30 to bowl Pakistan out for 112 in 18.2 overs at Dubai Stadium.

England's victory levelled the Twenty20 series and set up an intriguing third and final match in Abu Dhabi tomorrow (Fiji time).

Pakistan were off to a disastrous start as Finn had Mohammad Hafeez (nought) caught off the second ball of the innings and then removed a threatening Umar Akmal (19 off 12).

Pakistan were dealt further crucial blows when Awais Zia (six), Asad Shafiq (one) and Shoaib Malik (12) were out, leaving half the side back in the pavilion for just 50.

Shahid Afridi (25) lifted the tempo with two boundaries and a six off Samit Patel, but England hit back by dismissing Misbah-ul Haq (13).

Hammad Azam (21 off 15 balls) hit two boundaries off skipper Stuart Broad in the 15th over to reduce the target to 54 off the last five.

But Ravi Bopara dismissed Azam to once more peg Pakistan back at 7-98 and the task of getting 39 in the last two overs proved too much.

India-Australia (one dayer)

Indian bowlers stifled Australia's batsmen in the death overs to restrict the hosts to 252 for nine in a critical league match of the ongoing ODI cricket tri-series last evening.

The hosts, struggling at 57 for 3 in the 14th over, hoisted themselves to 252/9 thanks to half centuries by David Warner (68), David Hussey (54) and Matthew Wade (56).

Praveen Kumar provided two early wickets; Umesh Yadav chipped in with a couple of scalps in the final two overs but Virender Sehwag was the surprise package with 3 for 43 from his nine overs.

In the final 10 overs, India conceded only 47 runs. In reply though, India was struggling at 136 for 7 (35.1 overs) when this edition went to press at 10.15 last night.

FOOTBALL (Spanish La Liga)

MADRID - Marco Ruben grabbed a last-minute winner to earn Levante a 2-1 win at Espanyol to boost their hopes of a place in the Champions League.

The win puts the team from Valencia back into fourth position on 35 points.

It was the first win in nine league games for a Levante side who started the campaign brightly and briefly challenged Real Madrid and Barcelona at the top of the table.

Real Madrid go into this morning's (Fiji time) important local derby at Rayo Vallecano with a number of injury problems that will test the depth of their squad in the important weeks that follow.

With a 10-point lead to defend over nearest rivals Barcelona at the top of La Liga, Madrid must sense the objective of a Spanish title is close.

Malaga came from behind to beat bottom club Real Zaragoza 5-1, for whom Carlos Aranda grabbed an early lead, to move into fifth place, one point behind Levante.

English Premier League

Results: Chelsea 3 - 0 Bolton; Newcastle 2 - 2 Wolves; QPR 0 - 1 Fulham; West Brom 4 - 0 Sunderland; Wigan 0 - 0 Aston Villa; Man City 3 - 0 Blackburn.

Points table

Team P W D L GD Pts

Man City 26 20 3 3 48 63

Man Utd 25 18 4 3 36 58

Spurs 25 16 5 4 24 53

Chelsea 26 13 7 6 16 46

Arsenal 25 13 4 8 13 43

N'castle 26 12 7 7 0 43

Liverpool 25 10 9 6 6 39

Norwich 25 9 8 8 -4 35

S'derland 26 9 6 11 4 33

Everton 25 9 6 10 -1 33

Fulham 26 8 9 9 -4 33

W Brom 26 9 5 12 -2 32

Swansea 25 7 9 9 -4 30

Stoke 25 8 6 11 -14 30

A Villa 26 6 11 9 -5 29

Wolves 26 5 7 14 -21 22

QPR 26 5 6 15 -18 21

B'burn 26 5 6 15 -22 21

Bolton 26 6 2 18 -25 20

Wigan 26 4 8 14 -27 20

France (Ligue 1)

PARIS - A 94th-minute equaliser by Guillaume Hoarau gave Paris Saint-Germain a stunning 4-4 draw against Lyon in an incredible soccer match at Stade Gerland.

After falling behind in the first half, Lyon rallied to lead 3-1 and then 4-2, only for Carlo Ancelotti's side to roar back and prevent themselves sliding to a fourth defeat of the season.

PSG nonetheless slipped to second place, after Montpellier went top with victory over Bordeaux earlier in the day.

Saint-Etienne remained in fourth place after spurni

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