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In brief: McCloskey set for Khan showdown

IRELAND'S Paul McCloskey looks set to challenge Amir Khan for his WBA world light-welterweight title as both camps yesterday edged closer to an agreement after weeks of wrangling about purses.

It is expected that an announcement on the fight will be made in the next 24 hours, with the MEN Arena in Manchester the likely venue on April 16.


Leona Maguire set the pace to be the first-round leader of the Portuguese Ladies Amateur Open Championship in Aroeira yesterday.

The Cavan teenager, who started on the back nine, was four-under par at the turn and finished on a six-under 66 to lead by two shots from Karlijn Zaanen of the Netherlands. Her sister Lisa shot 71, while Gillian O'Leary, Emma O'Driscoll and Charlene Reid all returned 75s.


The International Cycling Union has moved to clarify that the one-year suspension for Alberto Contador, which was announced by his spokesperson on Wednesday, is only a proposed ban by the Spanish Cycling Federation.

Contador tested positive for the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol on the second rest day of last year's Tour de France, but has maintained his innocence, claiming the substance was in some contaminated meat.

Meanwhile, Sean Kelly team members Ronan McLoughlin and Philip Lavery will get their season under way in Marseille on Sunday in the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise -- an event that the late Shay Elliott won back in the 1950s.


The decision to drop Eden Gardens as host of a high-profile World Cup match has been greeted with dismay in India. The Kolkata stadium failed to meet deadlines for renovations to the stadium, causing the ICC to change the venue for the February 27 match between India and England.

"We all were dying to see a renovated Eden Gardens which was already looking so beautiful," said former India batsman Arun Lal, now a commentator. "Every cricket fan will be devastated by this."


Ronnie O'Sullivan believes snooker chiefs are safeguarding the sport's future by embracing the quickfire results culture -- and now he heads to Blackpool Tower looking to win £32,000 for an hour's work.

Three-time world champion O'Sullivan won the Power Snooker event at the Indigo2 in London in October, a tournament for which a host of new rules were introduced -- but the priority was speed.

"Young kids in the 1960s were different to the young kids in 2011," he said. "People are more into quickfire action, music, a bit of atmosphere, and I think snooker has embraced that. The purists don't want that but sometimes you have to go with the times."

The Blackpool event begins tomorrow and finished on Sunday.

Irish Independent