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Sports briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2000

PR event turns into early fight

It's usually not considered good etiquette to punch the promoter. Unless it helps sell boxing tickets, of course.

Ross Thompson left both promoter Gary Shaw and Fernando Vargas bleeding from the mouth Thursday in Las Vegas after a wild melee in which both he and Vargas threw punches during a news conference to promote their Saturday fight.

Now, Thompson can only hope ticket sales improve to offset the fine he probably will get from Nevada boxing officials for apparently starting the confrontation.

SOCCER: Diego Maradona is having his No. 10 jersey retired by the Italian club Napoli. ... British fans could spend weeks or even months in a German jail after being arrested this week in Munich for giving Nazi salutes and chanting, "Sieg Heil."

TENNIS: Richard Krajicek advanced to the quarterfinals of the Hamlet Cup with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Juan Carlos Ferrero in Commack, N.Y. Top-seeded Magnus Norman, the defending champion, advanced with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Eric Taino. ... Reigning Wimbledon champion Venus Williams won her 17th straight match, beating Patty Schnyder 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the semifinals of the Pilot Pen in New Haven, Conn. Martina Navratilova, playing doubles, won her first match in a U.S. tournament since coming out of retirement this spring. ... U.S. Davis Cup captain John McEnroe indicated he is leaning toward returning to that job in 2001.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Josh Carrier, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Bowling Green, Ky., who was cleared by the NCAA, gave his verbal commitment to play for Kentucky before coach Tubby Smith left for Australia. ... Southern Idaho men's coach Derek Zeck said he was offered money to help Southern California recruit one of his players. Zeck said the offer came from USC assistant coach David Miller. Such a payment would violate NCAA rules. Paul Goldberg, USC's assistant sports information director, said it was the first time he had heard the allegation. ... Lane Odom, the son of Wake Forest coach Dave Odom, is joining the Missouri men's program as an assistant coach. ... Alabama women's player Kaunda Williams is transferring to Troy State.

SAILING: America's Cup winner Russell Coutts and Cup veteran Dennis Conner head a list of world-class skippers contending for the Colorcraft Gold Cup to be raced in Bermuda in October.

CYCLING: Germany's Jan Ullrich is set to defend his Tour of Spain title when the revamped race begins Saturday.

PREP FOOTBALL: Officials canceled next week's season-opening game between rival North Florida high schools after a 19-year-old man died from injuries sustained in a fight between the schools' supporters. Nassau County School Superintendent John Ruis canceled the Sept. 1 game between West Nassau and Hilliard high schools. Wednesday, Hilliard fan Matthew Robert Pritchard was struck in the head with a baseball bat during a fight with West Nassau fans.

OBITUARY: World kickboxing champion Andy Hug, who was inspired by the Rocky movies, died in Tokyo from an acute form of leukemia. He was 35.

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