Lewis has doubts
LENNOX Lewis says he may not fight Vitali Klitschko after all. It was announced at the end of last month that Lewis would be fighting the giant Ukrainian in March or April of next year. But Lewis has denied that he has signed for any fight and may wait until the spring before deciding who he wants to face.
"Vitali Klitschko at this time doesn't deserve a chance to fight me," said Lewis. "Who has he fought? He's another Michael Grant."
Lewis, the 37-year-old WBC champion, confirmed his comeback when he knocked out Grant in two rounds in April 2000.
Surgery for Woods
BOTHERED by a sore left knee throughout the year, Tiger Woods had arthroscopic surgery this week to remove fluid inside and outside the anterior cruciate ligament and probably will miss the season-opening Mercedes Championships next month in Hawaii. Benign cysts also were removed. Woods had surgery on the same knee in 1994 to remove a benign tumor.
Mark Steinberg, his agent at IMG, did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Gary Planos, the tournament director for the Mercedes Championships, said Steinberg called him to say Woods would not be playing at Kapalua. "There's no question we'll miss him, but I hope he gets well," Planos said. Woods has won the Mercedes twice.
It will be the first time an injury has caused Woods to skip a tournament.
He first complained of soreness at the season-ending Tour Championship in early November, although Woods said it has bothered him all year. It didn't affect his performance.
Woods became the first player in 30 years to win the Masters and US Open in the same season. He won four other tournaments worldwide, three of them on the PGA Tour.
"I had been playing in pain most of the year and felt it was time to take care of it," Woods said. He will be off his feet for the next week-to-10 days, then begin light rehabilitation. Woods had planned to spend part of the holidays in Sweden with his girlfriend.
Woods might not play again until 13 February in the Buick Invitational.
Woods has been relatively injury-free since turning professional in 1996. He had a stinger in his left wrist when he tried to hit through a softball-sized rock at the 1999 Tour Championship in Houston. He also sprained ligaments in his left knee at the 2001 Pebble Beach National Pro-Am when a fan accidentally tripped him up while trying to get an autograph. Woods had a sore Achilles' tendon during the US Open that year at Southern Hills.
PRECISION, ridden by Michael Kinane, was a surprise 40-1 winner of the Hong Kong Cup, the last leg of the 2002 World Series.
The four-year-old, trained locally by Englishman David Oughton, just pipped German horse Paolini by a short head in the 10-furlong race at Sha Tin. Danish challenger Dano-Mast was half-a-length further back in third.
A slow early pace meant that the race turned into a sprint in the final straight but hot favourite Grandera was unable to get a run and finished down the field, thus denying the perfect 32nd birthday present for jockey Frankie Dettori. But Dettori had the consolation of knowing that he had already wrapped up the World Series jockeys' title.
Even before the Hong Kong finale, Grandera had already secured the 2002 World Series, having won two of the 14 legs in the global competition. His success continues Godolphin's 100 per cent record in the World Series, one of their horses having been crowned every year since the event began in 1999.
Kinane was delighted at capturing the race, the richest 10-furlong contest in the world. He also clinched his 12th Irish jockeys' title last month.
Title hopes dashed
THE WORLD Cup race has been thrown wide open again after runaway leader Stephan Eberharter injured his knee in a bad fall at Val d'Isere on Sunday.
The Austrian has suspected ligament damage and could be sidelined for the rest of the season after crashing out on the first run of the men's giant slalom race.
The 33-year-old Olympic giant slalom champion had to be stretchered off the slope on a sleigh.
Eberharter's conditioning coach Toni Beretzki said that tests would be carried out to find out "if the ligament is ruptured or not and then we can say if he will come again this season or if the season is finished now. It could be."
"It seems that it could be a serious ligament injury," said another of Eberharter's coaches, Walter Hubmann.
The Austrian team complained to organisers about the length of time Eberharter had to wait on the piste before being taken off and race director Guenther Hujara later apologised for the delay. On Saturday, Eberharter had won his fifth race of the season in Saturday's downhill to move further clear in the overall standings.
Matt plans comeback
WORLD slalom champion Mario Matt is planning a comeback next month after being out for nearly a year with a shoulder injury, he told Austrian television Saturday.
The Austrian said he planned to resume racing on 5 January at the men's World Cup slalom event in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. "Last week I started with free training, next week I will start slalom training," Matt told ORF.
Matt missed the first half of the Alpine skiing season and last February's Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City after injuring his right shoulder in January during a race in Kitzbuehl and then falling on the same shoulder while jogging in September, requiring an operation.
Lajunen grabs first win
THREE-time Olympic champion Samppa Lajunen led Finland to a 1-2 finish in a World Cup Nordic combined event on Saturday. Lajunen, who was fourth in the opening ski jumping portion, edged his fellow countryman Hannu Manninen by 15.3 seconds in the 15-kilometre freestyle race for his first victory of the season.
"I've managed to improve the technique of jumping, that's why the result was so good," said Lajunen.
World Cup leader Bjorn Kircheisen of Germany finished third overall, 46.1 seconds behind Lajunen. It was the fifth straight podium finish for Kircheisen, last year's world junior champion.
Kircheisen leads the standings with 420 points after five events. Manninen is second with 296 points, one point ahead of reigning World Cup champion Rony Ackermann of Germany.
Johnny Spillane of the United States finished fourth, 52.9 seconds back, and is also fourth in the overall World Cup standings with 276 points.
Real injury list
REAL Madrid was without Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos for Sunday's Spanish league match at home to Recreativo Huelva after the Brazilian pair were added to the club's injury list on the eve of the game.
Ronaldo was suffering from a muscle strain in his right leg and was unable to train Saturday. Roberto Carlos was forced to full out midway through the session because of his thigh muscle problem.
They joined captain and centre back Fernando Hierro (ankle) and French midfielder Claude Makelele (groin) on the sidelines for the game against the first division's basement side.
Roberto Carlos was replaced by Raul Bravo, a Spanish international regular despite the fact that he rarely plays at club level. Ronaldo's place went to Guti.