AUCKLAND - The New Zealand Professional Boxing Association wants Sonny Bill Williams to confirm his plans for its heavyweight title, which he holds. Williams has mapped out his football plans to the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics sevens tournament among his targets, he told journalists at the weekend that he won't have time to box in the next three years. Meanwhile, Joseph Parker won the rival New Zealand NZNBF belt defeating Afa Tatupu and he becomes NZPBA's No.1 contender. Parker's issued a challenge to Williams camp.
LONDON - Socceroos captain Lucas Neill has dismissed suggestions he should retire, insisting he plans to lead the national team to the 2014 World Cup. Following the Socceroos 6-0 thrashing by France, former goalkeeper Mark Bosnich said Neill was a big part of the problem and should quit. "I am committed to being captain of this country for as long as the people in charge give me that status," he told reporters.
ROME - The Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping prosecutor has requested a life ban for former Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca following the cyclist's third career offence. Prosecutor Tammaro Maiello issued the request and the case will now be decided by CONI's anti-doping court. The 37-year-old Di Luca tested positive for the blood booster EPO in a surprise test in April, five days before this year's Giro.
SYDNEY - NRL chief executive Dave Smith has announced clubs will receive an extra $450,000 next season, taking their annual grants from the code's governing body to $7.55million. The additional cash is available as an advance from future club funding and Smith said it's a key step in a strategic overhaul of the game's financial structures.
SYDNEY - Australia's hopes of breaking a 12-year winless drought in New Zealand have been dealt another major blow, with wingers Joe Tomane and Chris Feauai-Sautia ruled out of Saturday night's Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks. The Wallabies have already lost centre and goalkicker Christian Lealiifano and in-form flanker Scott Fardy for the dead rubber clash in Dunedin and the latest injury setbacks on the wing add to an already extensive unavailable list out wide.
ABU DHABI - South Africa's Hashim Amla has scored a fighting century but Pakistan still restricted the No.1-ranked Test team to 8-245 on the opening day of the first cricket Test. Amla hit 13 fours in his unbeaten 118 off 250 balls as South Africa's top order collapsed around him against pace and the lower middle-order fell to spinners. Left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar (3-89), making his debut at the age of 34, bowled 17 wicketless overs on Monday before claiming three wickets in the last sessions.
LONDON - Wales manager Chris Coleman has told Real Madrid it may take until 2014 for Gareth Bale to start producing his best form for the Spanish club. The 24-year-old forward has made just three appearances so far. Bale is currently sidelined with a back injury. "Anyone who plays top level professional football and you don't have a pre-season, if you expect to start any game, you are bonkers, crackers. It doesn't happen," he said.