Tag Archives: bernard

Image article-0-188B6909000005DC-14_634x464.jpg

Bernard Hopkins wins the IBF light-heavyweight title against Tavoris Cloud

Record-breaking Hopkins defies odds to win world title at age of 48

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

10:19 GMT, 10 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:53 GMT, 10 March 2013

Bernard Hopkins broke his own record again by becoming the oldest man to win a world title after beating Tavoris Cloud on points to claim the IBF light-heavyweight crown.

Hopkins (53-6-2, 32KO wins) benefited when Cloud was cut over his left eye in the sixth round, which the referee ruled an accidental clash of heads but replays showed the gnarled veteran opening up the wound with a left hook.

Record: Bernard Hopkins (left) connects with a punch on Tavoris Cloud during their IBF light heavyweight fight

Record: Bernard Hopkins (left) connects with a punch on Tavoris Cloud during their IBF light heavyweight fight

Fighting spirit: Bernard Hopkins poses for a photo after claiming the title at the grand old age of 48

Fighting spirit: Bernard Hopkins poses for a photo after claiming the title at the grand old age of 48

The 48-year-old, who has been linked
with a bout against Wales' Nathan Cleverly, took control against his
fellow American thereafter and was victorious by scores of 117-111,
116-112, 116-112 to the delight of fans in the Barclays Center, New
York.

The former undisputed middleweight champion first became the oldest boxer to hold a portion of the world title when he defeated Canada's Jean Pascal for the WBC light-heavyweight championship in May 2011.

Back-foot: Hopkins (left) tries to fend off a punch from Tavoris Cloud during the first round with the

Back-foot: Hopkins (left) tries to fend off a punch from Tavoris Cloud during the first round with the

Endurance: An exchange of blows between Cloud (left) and an upright Hopkins

Endurance: An exchange of blows between Cloud (left) and an upright Hopkins

He was comfortably beaten by Chad Dawson
in April last year – leading many to speculate his retirement – but his
latest victory has once more galvanised his career.

Bobbing and weaving: Cloud (right) tries to avoid another big swing from Hopkins

Bobbing and weaving: Cloud (right) tries to avoid another big swing from Hopkins

Conversing: Hopkins (right) and Cloud give each other their opinions just after the enthralling fight

Conversing: Hopkins (right) and Cloud give each other their opinions just after the enthralling fight

Loving life: The legendary boxing promoter Don King watching on with glee at the result

Loving life: The legendary boxing promoter Don King watching on with glee at the result

Image article-2276284-17764A3B000005DC-602_632x416.jpg

Carl Frampton stops Kiko Martinez to claim European title

Frampton wins European title and becomes first man to stop Martinez with dominant win

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

23:44 GMT, 9 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:13 GMT, 10 February 2013

Carl Frampton sent out a chilling message to the super bantamweight division by becoming the first man to stop Kiko Martinez and rip the European title from the stunned Spaniard in Belfast.

Frampton, 25, had twice seen a meeting with the champion postponed when Martinez pulled out and had promised to make his adversary pay the ultimate price.

And he did just that, knocking the 26-year-old out with a bludgeoning right hand in the ninth round.
Martinez is no stranger to Ireland having stunned Bernard Dunne inside one round in Dublin six years ago and he had promised to silence the fervent home crowd once again.

Champion: Carl Frampton stopped Kiko Martinez in the ninth round to claim the European title

Champion: Carl Frampton stopped Kiko Martinez in the ninth round to claim the European title

Frampton meanwhile delivered a
career-best performance in September when disposing of two-time world
champion Steve Molitor in six rounds.

But the Canadian was clearly past his
best on that occasion and Martinez, who shares a trainer with world
middleweight champion and namesake Sergio, was expected to pose an
altogether tougher test.

And so it proved as he went in search
of his younger opponent in a cagey first round. Frampton, content to
box on the back foot, landed the first meaningful punch with a solid
left hook to the body.

Martinez was quick out of the blocks
in the second stanza, forcing the home favourite back on to the ropes.
While Frampton stuck to the game plan for the most part, boxing at range
and picking his punches; when he did engage at close quarters, he was
given a sharp reminder of the visitor's knockout power.

Team: Frampton celebrates with his manager Barry McGuigan and trainer Shane McGuigan

Team: Frampton celebrates with his manager Barry McGuigan and trainer Shane McGuigan

Frampton picked up the pace in the
subsequent round, delivering impressive combinations before withdrawing
to the outskirts of the ring.

By the middle of the fourth session, a
bad cut had opened up under Martinez's left eye and Frampton
immediately set to work with his right hand. But the Spaniard remained
dangerous, landing a solid left jab, perhaps sensing that his days were
numbered, only to be pinned against the ropes as Frampton sensed the
finish.

Although Martinez continued to stalk
his prey in the fifth, Frampton was proving more and more elusive,
slipping and sliding out of range as he moved further ahead on the
scorecards. A quieter sixth round followed but Frampton upped the pace
again as the fight entered its second half.

Martinez, whose cut opened again, was more reluctant to come forward and the Belfast favourite landed several plum shots.

Finally: Frampton had twice seen his meeting with the Spaniard postponed

Finally: Frampton had twice seen his meeting with the Spaniard postponed

Frampton was drawn into a toe-to-toe
brawl at the start of the eighth round but slipped on to the back foot
as the session progressed, allowing him to pick his shots with unerring
accuracy.

Martinez had shown exactly why he had
always heard the final bell when he shipped several huge shots at the
start of the ninth but his resistance proved futile when a huge straight
right left him floundering on the canvas.

The Spaniard rose unsteadily but
after staggering back towards his corner, the referee waved the fight
off. Frampton, who was ahead on all three scorecards by four rounds
(twice) and two rounds on the third, extends his unbeaten record to 16
professional contests.

Frampton, who will likely return to
Belfast on May 11, potentially in a final eliminator for the IBF world
title, said: 'I can't remember much about the [knockout] punch. It was a
decent shot.

'I proved I've got a good chin. I
could feel his power but he didn't hurt me. He didn't make my legs
wobble but you can see from face that he hits hard.

'He's not been wobbled before but I
took him out. The plan was to box from the outside but when we traded, I
felt I got the better of him.

'I want to be a world champion. I
feel the buzz and its getting better. The best man won on the night but
he's a tough man. I was hitting him and he was coming back.'

Image article-0-14589D11000005DC-532_468x350.jpg

London 2012 Olympic medallist Anthony Ogogo signs with Golden Boy Promotions

Team GB ace Ogogo takes first step towards the big time by signing for Golden Boy Promotions

|

UPDATED:

18:55 GMT, 27 December 2012

Olympic bronze medallist Anthony Ogogo has become the first of Team GB's London 2012 fighters to switch to the professional ranks after signing a contract with Golden Boy Promotions.

In joining a stable headed by the retired Oscar De La Hoya, Ogogo, 24, could feature on bills in which Amir Khan, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Bernard Hopkins, Adrien Broner or Saul Alvarez are the main attraction and consequently enjoy a level of exposure many young professionals are unlikely to ever experience.

'I can't wait to get started,' said middleweight Ogogo of his decision to join Golden Boy, who recently revealed plans to enter the British boxing market. '2012 has been without doubt one of the greatest years of my life.

Turning pro: Anthony Ogogo is set to make his professional boxing debut in 2013

Turning pro: Anthony Ogogo is set to make his professional boxing debut in 2013

'To represent my country at a home Games was an incredible experience and the bronze medal I won will always be close to my heart.

'Following the Olympics I've been looking to the future and considering a number of options, and feel that the time is now right to turn professional with Golden Boy.'

Regardless of the difficulty many Olympic medallists have experienced in the professional ranks, Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer is adamant Ogogo possesses the ability to be a significant success.

Battling for bronze: Ogogo was one of several Britons to impress at London 2012

Battling for bronze: Ogogo was one of several Britons to impress at London 2012

'Anthony Ogogo has everything you look for in a boxer,' Schaefer said.

'He can fight, he has style and charisma and he has amazing crossover potential. I have no doubt that Anthony has the skills in the ring and the personality outside of it to make him a global boxing star.'

Been there, done that: De La Hoya's Olympics success was followed by an illustrious pro career

Been there, done that: De La Hoya's Olympics success was followed by an illustrious pro career

Image article-2251941-169DFB14000005DC-550_634x286.jpg

Watch Zlatan Ibrahimovic outrageous backheel against Brest

Zlatan's up to his old tricks again! Watch Ibrahimovic's latest magical effort

|

UPDATED:

00:18 GMT, 22 December 2012

First there was the bicycle kick. Then there was the propeller kick. And on Friday night Zlatan Ibrahimovic showed off his scorpion kick.

The Swedish striker conjured up his latest piece of showboating during Paris St Germain's 3-0 victory over Brest.

Outrageous: Zlatan Ibrahimovic's backheel against Brest

Outrageous: Zlatan Ibrahimovic's backheel against Brest

Ibrahimovic went aerial again to shake off a defender and produce an outrageous backheel.

It was an effort to rival his sensational strike against England and would have been one of the best goals ever… if it had not gone the wrong side of the post.

Ibrahimovic did get on the scoresheet when he converted Christophe Jallet's cross in the 55th minute for his 18th league goal of the season.

Watch the video

Substitute Kevin Gameiro made it 2-0 on 73 minutes and left back Bernard Mendy's stoppage-time own goal sealed the comfortable win.

Brest had Abdoulwhaid Sissoko sent off for a two-footed tackle on Ezequiel Lavezzi.

'We're going to have a good holiday because we're at the top of the league after another good performance,' PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti said. 'It wasn't an easy match because of the pitch and our opponent.

'It's the confirmation that we're in form. It was important to win, with the right attitude, by being solid and without conceding a goal. Everything's going well. I want to thank the players, because this last month has been really, really good.'

PSG moved three points ahead of Lyon, who host fifth-placed Nice on Saturday, and Olympique Marseille, who take on St Etienne on Sunday.

Image article-2250614-06E8C1D8000005DC-742_235x297.jpg

Nathan Cleverly to get home advantage in world title defence against Robin Krasniqi

Cleverly to get home advantage in world title defence against Krasniqi

|

UPDATED:

16:38 GMT, 19 December 2012

Coming home: Cleverly will not have to travel to Germany to defend his title

Coming home: Cleverly will not have to travel to Germany to defend his title

Nathan Cleverly has avoided a daunting trip to Germany to defend his WBO world light-heavyweight title against Robin Krasniqi.

Cleverly, 25, missed out on a mouthwatering clash with American legend Bernard Hopkins after being ordered to face his mandatory challenger.

The Welshman will face Krasniqi on home soil on March 16 at a venue yet to be confirmed.

‘This fight is very motivating for me because it’s been hanging over me for a while so I really want to get this guy out of the way,’ Cleverly said.

‘I’ve got to make sure I’m on my game and put him to the sword.
‘I know that after this, the big fights are out there for me.

'I am pleased with the final decision. Now I have a schedule and can concentrate fully on the preparation.'

Cleverly was originally scheduled to face Serbian-born German last February at the Royal Albert Hall but had to pull out through illness.

Krasniqi, 25, has not been defeated since losing two of his first three fights over six years ago. Since then he has won 36 consecutive bouts, stopping 14 of his opponents.

Megafight: The Welshman still hopes to face American legend Bernard Hopkins

Megafight: The Welshman still hopes to face American legend Bernard Hopkins

Image article-2248286-16848438000005DC-411_468x286.jpg

George Groves confident of stopping Glencoffe Johnson

I'm going to knock him out! Groves confident of stopping Johnson for only second time in his career

|

UPDATED:

18:22 GMT, 14 December 2012

George Groves hopes to sound a warning to the super-middleweight division by becoming only the second fighter to stop Glencoffe Johnson at London’s ExCel Arena tomorrow night.

Groves headlines the bill after Ricky Burns’ WBO world lightweight title defence against Jose Ocampo was abandoned for contractual reasons.

It will be the unbeaten 24-year-old’s second outing of a year interrupted by back and nose injuries and the significant cut sustained during his six-round stoppage of Francisco Sierra in July.

Tough: Johnson pushed Froch all the way when they met in 2011, losing by majority decision

Tough: Johnson pushed Froch all the way when they met in 2011, losing by majority decision

Johnson is a 43-year-old veteran of 70 fights and while he has lost 17 times, he only failed to last the distance against Bernard Hopkins in 1997, providing Groves with a target for the fourth defence of his Commonwealth belt.

'I’m ranked highly with all the four major sanctioning bodies so now I’ve arrived in world class I want to build on those rankings,' he said.

'I want to keep my options open with all the organisations so that if any door opens, against any of the champions, I can jump straight in. We’re already knocking loudly.

'Clearly Glencoffe knows how to survive and stopping him would make a huge statement. I do expect to stop him but don’t expect him to just fall over.'

Groves will defend his Commonwealth title against the veteran Jamaican on Saturday

Groves will defend his Commonwealth title against the veteran Jamaican on Saturday

Groves has victories over James DeGale and Paul Smith on his 15-fight record, but Johnson is indifferent in his assessment of his opponent.

'From what I’ve seen I’m not impressed as such, but I respect George as an unbeaten prospect with a lot of potential,' the Jamaican said.

'The way I look at it, the fight isn’t about George Groves. Right now, I feel good about what I can still do. If I fight smart I’m the better fighter. It’ll be up to the judges to do their jobs correctly.'

Groves's biggest win came against rival James DeGale at The O2 Arena in May 2011

Groves's biggest win came against rival James DeGale at The O2 Arena in May 2011

Prospect: Beijing 2008 Olympian Billy Joe Saunders is also on the bill

Prospect: Beijing 2008 Olympian Billy Joe Saunders is also on the bill

Billy Joe Saunders defends his Commonwealth middleweight title and fights for the vacant British belt when he meets former unlicensed boxer Nick Blackwell.

The 23-year-old 2008 Olympian turned professional at the same time as DeGale and Frankie Gavin, but is viewed by many as the most promising of the trio.

'I didn’t really get pro boxing at first. I thought that as long as I stayed hydrated and ate fresh food, I’d be okay. But now I really live the life, take all the right vitamins and supplements,' he said.

He added: 'I’ve not really shown what I’m about in the ring but people at our gym have seen a big improvement.

'Hopefully Blackwell will hang around long enough for me to really show my classy boxing.'

Image article-2247512-168046DC000005DC-353_634x464.jpg

Tom Watson named United States Ryder Cup captain

Watson named Ryder Cup captain as United States ask legend to lead them into battle at Gleneagles

|

UPDATED:

17:45 GMT, 13 December 2012

Tom Watson has been named United States Ryder Cup captain for the battle with the Europeans at Gleneagles in 2014.

The greatest Open champion of the past 100 years, the man of principle who rigidly refused to use the crutch of the belly putter even while crippled with a form of the yips, picks up the captaincy in at an age when most people are content to pick up their bus pass.

Three weeks after his 65th birthday, Watson won’t be a father figure to most of the team he will lead at Gleneagles but a grandfatherly one. Not only is he the oldest American captain of all time, he is a good decade older than any captain of either side for more than 40 years.

Leader: Tom Watson will captain the United States Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles in 2014

Leader: Tom Watson will captain the United States Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles in 2014

Leader: Tom Watson (right) will captain the United States Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles in 2014
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

DARREN CLARKE (Europe’s likely captain in 2014): ‘Obviously if Tom does get it, he is one of the legends of the game. I am sure he would be a fantastic captain, not just to the team but for the whole aspect of the Ryder Cup. The man is a huge name in the world of golf and rightly so.’

BERNARD GALLACHER (European captain opposite Watson in 1993): 'It is a surprise. The USPGA obviously decided they needed a bit of experience in Scotland and Tom is probably the most respected figure in the game today.

'He's done the job before, he's been there as a player, he knows how to win in Europe and in Scotland as well.'

WEBB SIMPSON (2012 US Ryder Cup player): ‘I think he would be amazing. Such a remarkable player and person and he demands respect just by the kind of player he has been. He’s like a quiet lion. It would be an honour to play for him.’

BRANDT SNEDEKER (2012 US Ryder Cup player): ‘I am surprised but excited. Tom is a good friend of mine, one of the best players to ever play the game who is instantly going to gain a lot of respect and sway the homefield advantage for us in Scotland because of his success over there.’

PAUL AZINGER (2008 US Ryder Cup captain): ‘Truthfully, I am really surprised but I think it’s OK. There’s a philosophy of picking contemporary players under the age of 50 that hasn’t really worked. That would have been a great philosophy had we been winning, but we haven’t, which makes Watson a good choice at this time.’

LANNY WADKINS (played under Watson in 1993): ‘Tom is just one of those guys who always believes. He doesn’t go out there to have fun. He goes out there to kick butt and get the job done. That’s really what the PGA of America, in my opinion, are thinking what needs to happen.’

On Thursday Watson appeared on NBC television before a teleconference at the Empire State Building in New York.

He said: 'I was waiting 20 years to get the call again,' he said. 'It's a great honour to do it again and this time it is going to be 14 and a half points.

'I loved it the first time. I've been a great fan of the Ryder Cup – I get the same gut feeling just watching it at home on TV.'

Inevitably, there will be eyebrows
raised as to how a man who will not be rubbing shoulders with his
players week-in, week-out can somehow mould them into a team.

It is a
reasonable question, one that Sir Nick Faldo failed to answer in 2008,
and he had been only a few years removed from the scene, not 13 long
seasons like Watson.

But there are other more persuasive
reasons that suggest this could turn out to be an inspired move by the
PGA of America rather than an illogical one.

Firstly, in four Ryder Cups as a
player and one as a captain, Watson has never been on a losing side.
Given that losing has become a habit for the US, with seven defeats in
the past nine matches, that winning mentality he has always possessed
can only be for the good.

But here’s the main reason I think
he has been selected. Since Watson captained America to victory at The
Belfry in 1993 — their last triumph on foreign soil — we have seen four
American skippers in Tom Kite, Curtis Strange, Tom Lehman and Corey
Pavin dwarfed by the personalities of their European counterparts — Seve
Ballesteros, Sam Torrance, Ian Woosnam and Colin Montgomerie.

Think back to the last match at
Celtic Manor, where Montgomerie was lording it gloriously and his
opposite number appeared even smaller than his diminutive self after
being labelled ‘Crazy Pavin’.

Momentum is everything in a Ryder Cup and Europe began each of those
matches with it all in their favour because four larger-than-life
captains had set the tone against four US skippers with no profile
outside their own country.

Now look at the two men put forward
to lead in 2014: the immensely popular Darren Clarke and the relatively
unknown David Toms. Is it any wonder the PGA of America looked at that
prospective scenario and wearily thought to themselves: ‘We’ve seen this
movie before’.

Tartan Army: Scottish golf fans love Watson - he won four Opens north of the border

Tartan Army: Scottish golf fans love Watson – he won four Opens north of the border

Now, in going for a true legend who could not be held in higher esteem in Europe, they have changed the dynamic completely.

Watson, lest we forget, won four of
his five Open titles in Scotland, where he might even be more popular
than Andy Murray. In the press room, Clarke’s blarney would have been
infinitely more quotable than the genuine but quiet Toms, while among
the paying spectators filling the grandstands there would have been no
contest.

But Watson, with all his wit,
charisma and integrity, is a different matter. For the first time in 19
years at an away match, America will not mentally feel a couple of
points down at the start.

Squaring up: Darren Clarke (right) is set to captain Europe - following on from Jose Maria Olazabal (centre)

Squaring up: Darren Clarke (right) is set to captain Europe – following on from Jose Maria Olazabal (centre)

As for the team room, Watson might
not know much about the music tastes and personalities of his players
but it is hard to imagine there will be a member of the US side who will
not look up to him and respect his decisions. Well, maybe there is one.
In 2010, at the height of the Tiger Woods scandal, Watson was scathing
in his criticism.

‘I feel Tiger has not carried the
same stature as the other great players that have come along like Jack
(Nicklaus), /12/12/article-2246805-05C54D86000005DC-660_634x408.jpg” width=”634″ height=”408″ alt=”Fairytale: Watson was so close to winning The Open at Turnberry in 2009 before Stewart Cink pipped him” class=”blkBorder” />

Fairytale: Watson was so close to winning The Open at Turnberry in 2009 before Stewart Cink pipped him

Watson’s four Open wins in Scotland
came at Carnoustie in 1975, Turnberry in 1977, Muirfield in 1980 and
Royal Troon in 1982. He came close to winning again and writing one of
the great sports stories of all time at the age of 59 at Turnberry in
2009, but he missed a short putt at the 72nd hole then lost out in a
play-off to Stewart Cink.

The man who will feel most
disappointed is the personable Toms but expect him to be chosen for
Hazeltine in 2016. Unless America win, of course. Then it will probably
be Arnold Palmer.

It's elementary: Why Watson's a real Ryder Cup hero

He has appeared in four Ryder Cups as a player (1977, ’81, ’83, ’89) and one as captain (1993) and never been on a losing side.

In 15 matches he won 10 and lost just four. He teamed up with Jack Nicklaus on four occasions and won every time.

Only one American who has played two Ryder Cups or more has a better winning percentage against Europe — Larry Nelson.

At 65 he will be the oldest American Ryder Cup captain. The previous oldest was Sam Snead, who was 57 when captain in 1969.

Watson’s message before sending his team out in the singles in 1993: ‘Remember, everything they invented, we perfected.’

He is the seventh US captain to be granted a second term of office but the first since Jack Nicklaus at Muirfield Village in 1987.

Ryder Cup pedigree: Watson and the USA's triumphant team of 1993 celebrate victory at The Belfry

Image article-2229810-15BF33CE000005DC-402_468x326.jpg

Nathan Cleverly could fight Bernard Hopkins next year

De La Hoya reveals legend Hopkins could fight Cleverly in Britain next year

|

UPDATED:

12:18 GMT, 8 November 2012

Oscar De La Hoya has indicated that plans are underway to make a fight between Nathan Cleverly and ring legend Bernard Hopkins in Britain in 2013.

Hopkins laughed off claims earlier this year that negotiations were held to stage a bout against the WBO light-heavyweight champion, but De La Hoya, who founded the Golden Boy Promotions organisation in which Hopkins is a partner, insisted the fight could yet happen.

De La Hoya said: ‘What is very possible is Bernard Hopkins going to Britain to box Nathan.

Man on a mission: Nathan Cleverly hopes 2013 will be a big year

Man on a mission: Nathan Cleverly hopes 2013 will be a big year

‘We feel that the UK fans are some of the most passionate and knowledgeable in the world when it comes to boxing.

‘A lot of fighters in the United States are now realising they should go overseas and challenge the best.’

Six-weight world champion De La Hoya met Cleverly for the first time on Wednesday ahead of his fight with Shawn Hawk in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Cleverly has struggled to land the big-name opponents in a competitive light-heavyweight division, but De La Hoya believes the Welshman has the ability to match Chad Dawson (WBC), Beibut Shumenov (WBA) or Tavoris Cloud (IBF) in a unification fight.

He said: ‘Nathan can go far. He is a fan-friendly fighter

‘He has a great promoter in Frank Warren. Along with Frank we can come up with the big American fights and bring in the people.

Legend: Bernard Hopkins (left) was last in action against Chad Dawson

Legend: Bernard Hopkins (left) was last in action against Chad Dawson

‘But, ultimately it is up to what Nathan does in the ring. It is in his hands whether he wants to make a big splash or not. As long as you can match him up with the right fighters there is no limit to how far he can go

‘Nathan is that he a strong puncher, but he has good speed. That makes for a dangerous boxer-puncher – that is what I was.

‘He looks motivated, ready to go but he has very tough fight against Hawk. It will be compelling viewing.’

Meanwhile, legendary trainer Freddie Roach has admitted he would love to work with Cleverly.

Praise: Freddie Roach

Praise: Freddie Roach

The unbeaten Welshman has been sparring at Roach's Wild Card Gym and has vowed to return for future camps.

'You want guys like that at your gym,' he said. 'I wouldn't hesitate to take him on,” said Roach. 'He's definitely talented, I'd love to have him.

'We haven't discussed him coming here yet but he's here and maybe there's a reason why he is here.

'I think he is at the right stage where a unification fight would be good for him and he has the potential to beat any of the world champions.

'It is a very competitive division right now – there are some good fights out there for him.

'He's a great boxer but his punching power is not the best in the world.

'He still has a little bit of an immature style of scoring points and getting out of the way, but sometimes you have to take more chances.

'The passive defence gives you a good defence but you can't slip in a counter punch and that is the best way to knock out guys as you can take advantage of your opponent's mistakes.'

Image article-2217047-157ABCC2000005DC-609_634x405.jpg

Heineken Cup 2012: Ulster 41 Castres 17

Ulster 41 Castres 17: Last season's losing finalists bag maximum points after Pienaar's bonus try

|

UPDATED:

21:51 GMT, 12 October 2012

Last season's beaten finalists Ulster opened their Heineken Cup campaign with maximum points thanks to Ruan Pienaar's dramatic bonus try.

The newly-returned Pienaar got down under the posts after Ulster had broken out of their 22 in injury time with the last move of the game.

Ulster's other tries came from Paul Marshall (2) and Andrew Trimble, with Paddy Jackson making a vital contribution of 21 points from the boot on a pulsating night for new Ulster coach Mark Anscombe's side.

Gotcha: Chris Henry (centre) is tackled by two Castres players

Gotcha: Chris Henry (centre) is tackled by two Castres players

It was not all plain sailing for Ulster, though, who lost Stephen Ferris prior to the game with a back injury.

Castres made a brighter start and Romain Teulet slotted a fourth-minute penalty after Ulster were penalised for dragging down a maul.

But Ulster responded three minutes later as Paddy Jackson slotted a straightforward penalty after Castres had strayed offside.

Ulster carved out a try in the left corner from Trimble one minute later.

A Castres high kick went loose and Jared Payne made ground rather easily to set Trimble up for the try.

Jackson then landed a superb conversion from the touchline and Ulster were in front, soon opening up a 10-point lead when Jackson added a second penalty.

Paul Marshall's chip and chase then led to Ulster's second try in the 21st minute, the scrum-half dotting down near the posts to give Jackson an easy conversion.

Castres needed to hit back and Pierre Bernard finally launched a cross-kick left for Marc Andreu to score.

Revenge: Henry (right) nails one of his opponents later int he game

Revenge: Henry (right) nails one of his opponents later int he game

Too much Seremaia Bai (right) admits defeat in the final moments of the game

Too much Seremaia Bai (right) admits defeat in the final moments of the game

Teulet added the extras but Ulster immediately hit back with Jackson's third penalty after Castres were pinged for not releasing.

Jackson's fifth kick from five attempts was the final score of the half and Ulster led 23-10 at the break.
It was not long before they had their third try, Iain Henderson's surge allowing Paul Marshall to dart over with a blindside break close to the line.

The decision went upstairs to the TMO before Jackson missed his first kick of the night when trying to convert.

He atoned for his miss three minutes later with a long-range penalty that took Ulster to 31-10.

The visitors hit back once more and, after pummelling the Ulster line, winger Marcel Garvey slid over.

Referee Andrew Small went to the TMO before the try was given and Teulet added the conversion.

Ulster's cause was hindered, however, when Tom Court was shown a yellow card for hauling down the Castres maul three minutes before the hour mark.

But Ulster still increased their lead through another Jackson penalty before Pienaar made his first appearance since the Four Nations Championship when he came on for Paul Marshall.

The home side survived Tom Court's binning but struggled to put any more points on the board, even with Castres prop Yannick Forestier being sent to the bin in the 75th minute.

But in the game's final play, Ulster broke out of their 22 when Johann Muller won a ball at the breakdown.

Luke Marshall's break set up Pienaar who showed a lovely swerve and pace to get through the last line of Castres' defence for the bonus try, which Jackson converted.

Image article-2215555-156B8F50000005DC-219_468x368.jpg

Shanghai Masters 2012: Andy Murray given bye into third round after Florian Mayer pulls out

Murray handed bye into third round as injury rules Mayer out of Shanghai Masters

|

UPDATED:

10:25 GMT, 10 October 2012

Andy Murray enjoyed a free pass into the third round of the Shanghai Masters as scheduled opponent Florian Mayer withdrew through injury prior to their match.

Murray, the two-time defending champion and number three seed in Shanghai, was awarded the walkover victory after Germany's Meyer, who enjoyed a straightforward 6-4 6-0 win over Bernard Tomic in the first round, succumbed to a rib injury.

Take it easy: Murray has been handed a pass through to the third round

Take it easy: Murray has been handed a pass through to the third round

Having also been handed a first-round bye, US Open champion Murray finds himself in the last 16 of the hardcourt tournament without having struck a ball in anger.

The Scot will meet either Gilles Simon or Alexandr Dolgopolov in the next round.

Crocked: Mayer has pulled out due to injury

Crocked: Mayer has pulled out due to injury