26 Jul 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

6:24 pm on 26 July 2020

Latest - Australia's former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has scored a five-round unanimous points win over England's Darren Till in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Abu Dhabi.

New Zealand born Australian UFC fighter Robert Whittaker.


New Zealand-born Whittaker was floored with an elbow in the first round but the former champion rallied in the second.

Whiitaker landed more strikes in all rounds and in the end all three judges scored the fight 48-47 in his favour.

"My brain is on overload," Whittaker said in his post-fight interview. "That fight was so stressful. Honestly, I hope the fans and everybody can appreciate it. For me, it was one of the most technical fights I ever had to fight."

Whittaker lost to current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya of New Zealand in October.

Today's win could get him another crack at the New Zealander before the end of the year.


Tactix beat Stars

The Tactix have cemented their place in the top three of the ANZ Netball Premiership with a 47-40 win over the Northern Stars in Auckland.

The mainlanders were up by two at half time, but extended that in the second half with Ellie Bird shooting 100 percent for the Tactix with 37 from 37.

The Northern Mystics play the Southern Steel later on Sunday night.

Fans probably enjoyed Crusaders losing

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson was not overly pleased with their first loss at home in four years but felt the New Zealand public would be happy it had opened up the chase for the Super Rugby Aotearoa title.

Scott Robertson Coach of the Crusaders.


The Crusaders were beaten 34-32 by the Wellington Hurricanes in a pulsating clash on Saturday, ending their four-year unbeaten streak in Christchurch and tightening the points table.

Robertson's team still lead the domestic competition on 19 points, despite their first loss in their five games, three ahead of the Hurricanes who have played an additional match.

"If you look at the table, it would have been nice to get that result," Robertson said. "But it makes it interesting, it makes it interesting for everyone.

"I think the whole of New Zealand would have been yelling for that result, weren't they? And fair play, here we go."

The Blues (13) could tighten the gap even further if they beat the Chiefs on Sunday.


Westwood won't travel to US

Former world golf number one Lee Westwood says concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States will prevent him from flying over and participating in tournaments, including the PGA Championship next month.

English golfer Lee Westwood.


The World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational begins on Thursday in Memphis while the PGA Championship, the first major of the year, will be held in San Francisco from Aug. 6-9.

Westwood, who has 25 European Tour wins and two PGA Tour victories, said he was not "comfortable" with the idea of travelling to the U.S. as he is slightly asthmatic.

"I don't feel like it's right to jump on a plane for 12 hours," the Englishman said.

"I've felt like out of my comfort zone this week, so if I got to Memphis, I would feel uncomfortable playing golf tournaments."

Westwood raised questions about how serious the U.S. was in curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus which has infected more than 4.1 million people in the country and killed over 145,000 people.

The 47-year-old was also concerned about how insurance policies would work should he contract the virus during his stay.


WNBA players hold protest

Members of the WNBA's New York Liberty and Seattle Storm teams, in protest of racial inequality, walked to their respective locker rooms during the playing of the U.S. national anthem prior to their season opener.

Players from the Women's National Basketball Association and other athletes from around the world are joining in anti-racism protests sparked by the high-profile deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police officers.

"We are dedicating this season to Breonna Taylor, an outstanding EMT who was murdered over 130 days ago in her home," said Liberty guard Layshia Clarendon prior to the tip-off at the at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician, was killed on March 13 after police officers entered her apartment, executing a "no-knock" search warrant.

The Storm defeated the Liberty 87-71 behind 18 points, eight rebounds and four steals by 2018 league MVP Breanna Stewart.

The game was played without fans in attendance to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, which halted U.S. sports in mid-March.


Top 10 finish for Fox

Ryan Fox has finished in the top 10 in his first European Tour tournament in five months.

24/07/2020 European Tour 2020, Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood (UK Swing), Close House GC, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, UK. 22-25 July. Ryan  Fox of New Zealand  looks on during the third round

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2020

The New Zealand number two has closed with a three-under 68 at the British Masters in Newcastle to climb to a share of eighth place at 11-under par.

Fox has finished seven shots behind the winner, Italy's Renato Paratore.

He will now head to Birmingham for next week's European Tour tournament, starting on Thursday night (NZT).

Broad to the fore for England

Stuart Broad smashed a swashbuckling half century off just 33 balls before grabbing two wickets to put England in control of the third and deciding test against the West Indies in Manchester.

Broad helped the hosts to score 369 in their first innings at Old Trafford and then tormented the West Indies batsmen with the ball as the visitors ended day two on 137-6 when bad light stopped play.

West Indies will resume on Sunday with skipper Jason Holder (24) and Shane Dowrich (10) at the crease, still trailing by 232 runs.

Broad took only 33 balls to get to his 50 and eventually scored 62 off 45 balls as he put the brakes on the early breakthrough made by the West Indians.

They had taken four wickets quickly at the start of the day, including Ollie Pope who failed to add to his overnight 91. Jos Buttler was dismissed for 67.

The test series is level at 1-1.

- Reuters

NBL playoff positions set

The Auckland Huskies have beaten the Manawatu Jets 93-82 in the final game of the NBL regular season in Auckland to clinch third place on the ladder.

They've finished just behind the Jets on points differential.

The bottom two sides have finished round-robin with wins.

The second to bottom Nelson Giants have beaten the table-topping Otago Nuggets 97-74, while the last placed Canterbury Rams have snapped a 10-game losing streak with an 85-64 win over the Franklin Bulls.

All seven teams will enter the playoffs, starting on Tuesday.

Enable and Dettori make history

Enable has made history at Ascot by becoming the first horse to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes for a record third time.

Trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori, Enable was in second place at the bell for the final turn before the Italian coaxed her into the lead on the home straight as she comfortably beat Sovereign and Japan by 5-1/2 lengths.

The win also made Dettori the joint most successful jockey in the event -- alongside Lester Piggott -- with seven wins.

"She's unbelievable. She's six, but John has done a great job," Dettori, 49, told ITV.

"Three King Georges has never been done before and now we're going to try the impossible and win three Arcs. I love her so much."

The event was held without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

- Reuters

Quartararo on pole in Andalusia

Fabio Quartararo has clinched a second consecutive pole position for Petronas Yamaha at the Andalusian Grand Prix in Jerez while Repsol Honda confirmed defending champion Marc Marquez would not be risked as he recovers from a broken arm.

Frenchman Quartararo, who won the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix last weekend, finished with a time of one minute 37.007 seconds and will start at the front of the grid.

Yamaha's Spaniard Maverick Vinales set a faster time but saw it scrapped because he exceeded the track limits by inches at turn seven.

Francesco Bagnaia of the Pramac Ducati team completed the front row, while his Italian compatriot and former champion Valentino Rossi made it a good day for Yamaha by clinching fourth on the grid.

- Reuters