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Boxing returns to Vietnam

Hanoi: Vietnamese boxers returned to the ring for the country’s first boxing tournament on Monday since it banned the sport seven years ago for being too violent.

The four-day tournament in southern Ho Chi Minh City has attracted 36 boxers in seven weight categories who hope to represent the city at a national amateur championship in Hanoi in December, said Vuong Tan Phong of the city’s sports and physical culture department.

The government banned boxing in 1995 because it was considered too violent and because of brawls among boxers, fans and referees. There is no professional boxing in Vietnam.

In March, the Communist government decided to allow a resumption of amateur boxing, an Olympic sport.

Mats for dropping tennis

Stockholm: Swedish Davis Cup captain Mats Wilander thinks tennis should be dropped as an Olympic event as players’ level of interest is too low.

“It’s a disgrace to the Olympics that tennis doesn’t take it more seriously,” Wilander told the Aftonbladet on Monday. “I don’t know if I like tennis at the Olympics personally, I have to admit. I think it’s wrong to the other sports and I can’t say it’s wrong that players don’t participate.”

In Sydney 2000, Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov won in the absence of players such as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Gustavo Kuerten. “We already have four Olympics a year,” Wilander added, referring to the four Grand Slam tournaments.

Hargreaves looks homeward

Berlin: England midfielder Owen Hargreaves might consider moving to an English club rather than extending his contract with Bayern Munich. “It would be interesting for me to play in England,” the 21-year-old Hargreaves told Monday’s issue of German soccer magazine Kicker.

“I would feel more at home there,” he added. “I have a lot of fans (in England) and it’s a bit peculiar when you’re an English international and you don’t play in England.” Hargreaves, who was born in Canada and joined Bayern in 1997 from Canadian club Calgary Foothills, said several leading Premier League clubs had contacted him.

“When you play for Bayern, you obviously want to move to a big club,” he said. “There's no rush,” said Hargreaves.

Basler faces sanctions

Berlin: Kaiserslautern midfielder Mario Basler could be sanctioned for saying the referee in charge of their first division game against Bayer Leverkusen deserved “a punch in the face”, the German football association (DFB) said on Monday. The DFB said it had launched a disciplinaryinvestigation after the former Bayern Munich and Germany player blasted referee Uwe Kemmling’s performance in Kaiserslautern’s 0-1 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen.

“When we lose we get a bashing and Kemmling really deserves a punch in the face today,” Basler said. The 33-year-old Basler was fined for insulting a referee last February.

Stange awaits Iraq signal

Baghdad: Former East Germany coach Bernd Stange said on Monday he was still waiting for the green light from the Iraqi Football Association before taking up the job of national coach. Stange said he had submitted his plans but would not take up his four-year contract if they were rejected. ”I will sign the contract if my plans are approved by the federation but Iwill not accept the job if I am asked to submit new plans.”

The decision was expected in the “next few days”.

n Football, Premier League: Aston Villa vs Southampton from 5pm on ESPN n Cricket: Pakistan vs Australia, 3rd Test, Day IV, from 11.25 am on Star Sports n General: Gillette World Sports Special from 1.30 on Star Sports

n WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and Muhammad Ali at a Parkinson’s Disease fundraiser in Toronto on Sunday. The boxing legend anointed Lewis as “the greatest”, telling the crowd at a Canadian Football League game: “I’m here because I was the greatest. I’m now no longer the greatest. He’s the greatest, he’s the champ.” (AP/PTI)


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