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Sports news briefs — Sept. 18

Compiled from wire reports

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boxing

Ex-heavyweight champ Norton dies

• Former heavyweight champion Ken Norton, who beat Muhammad Ali and then lost a controversial decision to him in Yankee Stadium, died Wednesday at a local care facility in Las Vegas, his son said. He was 70.

Norton had been in poor health for the last several years after suffering a series of strokes, a friend of the fighter said.

“He’s been fighting the battle for two years,” said Gene Kilroy, Ali’s former business manager. “I’m sure he’s in heaven now with all the great fighters. I’d like to hear that conversation.”

Norton broke Ali’s jaw in their first bout, beating him by split decision in 1973 in a non-title fight in San Diego. They fought six months later, and Ali narrowly won a split decision.

They met for a third time on Sept. 28, 1976, at Yankee Stadium and Ali narrowly won to keep his heavyweight title.

Norton would come back the next year to win a heavyweight title eliminator and was declared champion by the World Boxing Council. But on June 9, 1978, he lost a bruising 15-round fight to Larry Holmes in what many regard as one of boxing’s epic heavyweight bouts and would never be world champion again.

Norton finished with a record of 42-7-1 and 33 knockouts. He would later embark on an acting career, appearing in several movies, and was a commentator at fights.

college football

Former KSU coach James fights cancer

• Former Kent State and Washington coach Don James will begin chemotherapy next week for a malignant tumor on his pancreas. James’ family released a statement through the school on Wednesday morning. James had two surgical procedures earlier this month at Virginia Mason Medical Center for what was called a gastro-intestinal issue. In the statement, the family says that James is at home and resting comfortably following the surgeries. James, 80, got his first job as a head coach in 1971 at Kent State. James compiled a 25-19-1 record in his four-year tenure including a 21-18 loss to Tampa in the 1972 Tangerine Bowl. The 1972 KSU team was 9-2, but did not play in a bowl game as it finished second in the Mid-American Conference. James then guided Washington from 1975-1992 and led the Huskies to a share of the 1991 national championship. James went 153-57-2 with the Huskies.

• BYU linebacker Spencer Hadley was suspended indefinitely from the football team following a violation of team rules.

Basketball

Wizards’ Singleton, Okafor are injured

• Washington Wizards center Emeka Okafor is out indefinitely with a herniated disc, and Washington forward Chris Singleton will be sidelined approximately six to eight weeks with a broken bone in his left foot. The Wizards said Wednesday that Okafor’s injury was diagnosed by an MRI after he experienced discomfort in his neck. Singleton was hurt during a voluntary workout at Verizon Center on Tuesday. He was scheduled for outpatient surgery to repair a fracture in the fifth metatarsal.

Deron Williams has a sprained right ankle and a bone bruise, but the Brooklyn Nets say their point guard will be ready for the start of training camp.

• Two-time defending champion Spain routed Serbia 90-60 to reach the semifinals of the European basketball championship in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Point guard Sergio Rodriguez scored 22 points for Spain.

other sports

Team New Zealand one win from Cup

• The America’s Cup is staying in America for at least one more day, thanks to the wind and tide on San Francisco Bay. Not long after Emirates Team New Zealand reached match point against powerhouse Oracle Team USA, Race 12 was postponed because the wind blowing in through the Golden Gate Bridge exceeded the limit. Organizers will try again today to get in two races, if necessary. The wind limit of 23 knots was reduced to 19.9 knots for Race 12 because of an ebb tide of 3.1 knots flowing out of San Francisco Bay. The wind peaked at 21.5 knots just before the start. Dean Barker and the rest of the Kiwi crew won Race 11 by 15 seconds earlier Wednesday to move to the brink of taking the oldest trophy in international sports. Team New Zealand leads the series 8-1.

Lionel Messi scored a hat trick as host Barcelona opened Champions League play with a 4-0 win over Ajax.

— From wire reports


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