Friday 15 December 2017

In Brief: Pacquiao inspired by typhoon victims

BOXING: Manny Pacquiao might be fighting to save his future but his thoughts are with typhoon victims in his native Philippines as he prepares to face Brandon Rios in Macau tonight.

Pacquiao has dedicated the 62nd fight of his career to those affected by the tragedy and has ensured three giant screens will be set up in the devastated city of Tacloban so his fans can watch the fight for free.

A congressman and hero back in his homeland, Pacquiao said: "I'm doing my best to win this fight because I lost twice last year, but also with what happened to my countrymen."

Victory over Rios would reopen suggestions of a bout with Floyd Mayweather but such talk seems premature in light of Pacquiao's sixth-round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last time out.

Rios may be the underdog but much will depend on Pacquiao's ability to shrug off what was his first knockout loss in 13 years against an established top-level performer. Rios is a former world lightweight champion but he lost to light-welterweight Mike Alvarado last time out – his first defeat in 33 professional bouts.

A row between Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach and Rios camp member Alex Ariza betrayed the frayed nerves on both sides – no surprise given the lucrative future options for the winner.

JOYCE KEEPS IRISH FLAG FLYING HIGH IN FINLAND

IRELAND'S six-strong team remain unbeaten after six fights at the Tammer Elite Multi-Nations after recording three wins from three in Tampere, Finland.

Beijing Olympian John Joe Joyce, George Bates and Conrad Cummings secured victories over Hungary's Mike Khatchatryan and the Chinese Taipei pair of Yu-Ting Yang and Chin-Cheng Su on unanimous decisions.

IRELAND CLOSE IN ON WORLD CUP SPOT

IRELAND are one win away from a place in the World T20 finals after cruising to a 48-run victory over Uganda in Abu Dhabi.

Gary Wilson again proved the Mr Dependable of the middle order, striking 40 from 27 balls in a total of 147-4 which was always going to be beyond the minnows of Group A.

Skipper William Porterfield continued his blazing form with 33 from 17 balls, and with spinners George Dockrell and Paul Stirling stifling the reply, Uganda were restricted to 99-7.

Despite five wins and a rained-off match under their belts from six games, Ireland still need to beat second-placed Hong Kong tomorrow to qualify automatically for the finals in Bangladesh.

The way the qualifiers are structured, the unbeaten tournament favourites would have to lose their next three games to miss out on yet another appearance on the big stage.

Afghanistan are favourites to top Group B after a nine-wicket win against Nepal, while Scotland squeezed past the Netherlands by 15 runs to keep their tournament alive.

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