On this day in sport: Tyson floors Biggs as Lakers retire Abdul-Jabbar jersey

By Sports Desk March 20, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, chances are you need to look back over the archives if you want to get your daily sporting fix.

Well, we've got you covered for Friday.

March 20 boasts a few notable events throughout sporting history, including a number of Grand Nationals, a heavyweight title fight and the retiring of one of basketball's most famous jerseys.

Here are five of the biggest things to happen in sport on this day...

 

1948 - 50/1 shot mare wins Grand National to end 

The 102nd edition of one of the world's most famous horse races saw Sheila's Cottage, ridden by Arthur Thompson, defy odds of 50/1 to win. She was also the first mare to triumph at Aintree in 46 years and only the 12th in the long and storied history of the steeplechase. Thompson and trainer Neville Trump would record a second win together four years later.

1988 - Mike Tyson knocks out Tyrell Biggs

In Atlantic City, Tyson took on 1984 Olympic gold medallist Tyrell Biggs, who was 15-0 since turning professional and was literally head and shoulders above his opponent, standing at 6 foot 5 compared to Tyson at 5 foot 10.

Still, he was no match for the defending WBA, WBC and IBF champion, who left Biggs bloodied and bruised before sending him crashing to the canvas in round seven. The fight continued but Biggs was knocked down again, leading the referee to halt proceedings and ensure Tyson stretched his record to 32 wins from 32.

1990 - Lakers retire Abdul-Jabbar's jersey

Thirty years ago, the LA Lakers retired the number 33 jersey of Karim Abdul-Jabbar, the man still considered by some to be basketball's greatest.

A six-time NBA champion with the Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks, a winner of six MVP and two Finals MVP awards and 19 times on the All-Star roster, nobody has worn his number 33 for the Lakers since 1990.

2010 - France clinch grand slam

France won their 17th Five/Six Nations title and completed a ninth grand slam after battling to victory over England in Paris.

Les Bleus had powered through the earlier rounds but were made to work hard by England, who dominated the second half after ending the first 12-7 down but could only earn three more points via the boot of Jonny Wilkinson.

They have not won the championship since.

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  • Oleksandr Usyk v Dereck Chisora: Contrasting styles should provide Halloween fireworks Oleksandr Usyk v Dereck Chisora: Contrasting styles should provide Halloween fireworks

    Dereck Chisora has made clear his intentions ahead of the heavyweight clash with Oleksandr Usyk, who will be aiming to make a statement to the rest of the division on Saturday. 

    An intriguing clash between contrasting styles was set to take place earlier in the year, only for the coronavirus pandemic to force a delay. Now, however, the stage is set, Wembley Arena the venue for a fight that should prove to be worth the wait.  

    Usyk - already sitting as the mandatory challenger to WBO champion Anthony Joshua - built his reputation in the pro game at cruiserweight, becoming the undisputed champion in the division. He has fought just once since opting to step up in weight, recording a seventh-round stoppage against Chazz Witherspoon over a year ago. 

    Chisora – set for a 42nd fight in a career that has seen him share a ring with Tyson Fury (twice), David Haye and Vitali Klitschko, among many others - will pose a different challenge.

    The 36-year-old has acknowledged he cannot possibly hope to out-box an opponent who, during his amateur career, won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games. Instead, his plan is to try and drag Usyk into deep waters, with the aim of finding out if can swim against the tide.

    If that was not already made clear enough in a build-up that has seen the pair hilariously jabbing at each other on social media, Chisora made it absolutely obvious by painting 'WAR' on his chest for the weigh-in, all part of a Halloween makeover for a bout that will take place on October 31. 

    "I would rather him knock me out than me do nothing," Chisora told Sky Sports on Friday after the final head-to-head media opportunity before the main event. "Either I will knock him out or he will quit on his stool. That's what we're going for.

    "I'm fit and you are going to be very surprised at what happens in the ring."

    Usyk also caught the eye at the weigh-in, coming in at a career-heaviest 15 stone and seven pounds. It is over two stone under what Chisora hit on the scales, but that was to be expected. 

    So, too, is the script for main event. Chisora's plan is obvious – Usyk must find a way to not just cope with the continued pressure, but also effectively counter it. In terms of their methods, these two are at the opposite ends of the boxing spectrum, yet mixing them together should make for quite the spectacle, even without fans present. 

    The pair have already provided entertainment with their online interactions and pre-fight meetings - now expect fireworks when it gets down to the serious business.

    RECENT HISTORY

    Usyk has an unblemished 17-fight record in the pros following a distinguished amateur career.

    Tony Bellew promised to "get the monster" when he fought Usyk at cruiserweight in November 2018. Instead, he was stopped in the eighth, joining a notable list of names in the division to lose to the 33-year-old that also Murat Gassiev, Mairis Briedis and Marco Huck. 

    His pedigree should not be doubted, but Usyk does still need to prove he can cope following the shift to the heavyweight ranks.

    Chisora is on a three-fight winning streak, his most recent success seeing him stop fellow Brit David Price inside four rounds. There was a spectacular knockout of Artur Szpilka prior to that, while he also found a way to defeat the durable Carlos Takam inside the distance.

    Both clashes with Dillian Whyte were outstanding to watch but saw him come out on the wrong side of the result, while he also lost via points to Kubrat Pulev in 2016. Will Chisora continue to be the gallant loser, or could this be a statement win that lands him a title chance?

    TALE OF THE TAPE

    OLEKSANDR USYK

    Age: 33
    Height: 6ft 3ins (187cm)
    Weight: 15st 7lbs (220 pounds)
    Reach: 78ins 
    Professional record: 17-0 (13 KOs)
    Major career titles: IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO cruiserweight

    DERECK CHISORA

    Age: 36
    Height: 6ft 1½ins (187cm)
    Weight: 18st 3lbs (256 pounds)
    Reach: 74ins 
    Professional record: 32-9 (23 KOs)
    Major career titles: British, Commonwealth heavyweight

    THE UNDERCARD

    Lee Selby and George Kambosos Jr are the chief support, the lightweight duo meeting in an eliminator for the IBF title held by Teofimo Lopez. 

    Australian Kambosos has an 18-0 record heading into the contest, while Selby is a former world champion at featherweight hoping to make waves now he has moved up. 

    Also in action, Savannah Marshall and Hannah Rankin meet with the vacant WBO middleweight belt up for grabs.  

    The pair were due to face each other on October 17, only to be called off when Peter Fury – Marshall's trainer – tested positive for coronavirus. Thankfully, there has not been a long delay in finding a new date. 

    Popular heavyweight David Allen was due to be in action on the bill, only for a fight with Christopher Lovejoy to be called off at the last minute. Originally, Christian Hammer had been due to be Allen's opponent, but he was forced to withdraw due to COVID-19.

    WHAT THE FIGHTERS HAVE TO SAY...

    Usyk on moving to the heavyweight division: "If the king of animals would be considered according to the size, then it would be elephant, not the lion. An elephant is a friend of the mouse!"

    Chisora on the task he faces: "I need a fair referee. I want this fight to be fair. I don't want to be dancing or wrestling. I want both of us to work fairly. I have to keep marching forwards. He will try to wrong-foot me but I'm ready."

    David Haye, Chisora's promoter: "It will get very rough, very fast. Will Usyk drown in the Heavyweight waters? Chisora can absorb a disgusting amount of punishment. How deep can Usyk soul-search? How much does he want it? Things come easier to Usyk. I see Chisora causing one of the biggest upsets on British soil ever."

    Anthony Joshua to Sky Sports on Usyk: "Sometimes I know to sit down on my feet and hurt someone. You've got to let them know that you're there because all that pitty-patty stuff after 12 rounds? Sometimes people don't respect that type of power."

  • Six Nations 2020: Warrior, winner and leader – record-breaking Alun Wyn Jones has stood the test of time Six Nations 2020: Warrior, winner and leader – record-breaking Alun Wyn Jones has stood the test of time

    Alun Wyn Jones will become the most capped player in Test history on Saturday and the legendary Wales captain's record against Scotland suggests he will be celebrating with a win.

    Jones will break new ground at Parc y Scarlets when he wins a 149th international cap, surpassing New Zealand great Richie McCaw's tally.

    The talismanic lock's appearance on the final day of the Six Nations will be his 140th for Wales and he has played nine times for the British and Irish Lions in a stellar career.

    A fierce competitor and inspirational leader, the 35-year-old made his Wales debut against Argentina in June and has gone on to become one of the all-time greats.

    With the use of Opta data, we reflect on Jones' Test career so far as he prepares to break the world record on home soil.

     

    TAKING ON ALL COMERS

    The towering back-row has faced 18 different countries over the years and beaten them all at least once.

    He has more Test wins over Scotland than any other country, which bodes well for this weekend, with 10 triumphs in 12 contests.

    England are the opponents Jones has faced the most, starting all 21 times against the Red Rose – losing 12 and winning nine.

    He does not have fond memories of New Zealand, beating the All Blacks just once in 15 Tests.

     

    LIONS LINCHPIN 

    His Lions selections over the last 11 years are all the evidence you need of Jones' incredible durability and consistency.

    He has played all nine Lions Tests since 2009, starting seven and coming off the bench twice. No other player has featured in more than six in that time.

    Jones stepped in to captain the side in the series-clinching victory over Australia in 2013 and started all three Tests in the drawn series with New Zealand three years ago.

    He will be hoping to get the nod for a fourth tour under Warren Gatland next year, when the Lions are due to face South Africa 12 years after Jones was selected for the representational side to travel to the same country.

     

    CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

    Sam Warburton is the only player to have captained Wales more often than Jones.

    Ospreys great Jones has been skipper on 37 occasions, with Warburton leading his country 49 times before retiring two years ago.

    Ryan Jones (33) is third on the list, with Ieuan Evans (28) and Colin Charvis (22) making up the top five.

     

    A KEY TO GATLAND'S SUCCESS

    Gatland was a great success in his 12-year reign as Wales head coach and Jones played a big hand in that.

    He made 116 appearances during the New Zealander's long tenure, winning 62 of those matches.

    Wales won four Six Nations titles and three Grand Slams with Gatland at the helm and Jones was the only player to make 100 or more appearances during his time in charge.

  • Six Nations 2020: The Breakdown - a statistical look at the final round of matches Six Nations 2020: The Breakdown - a statistical look at the final round of matches

    The battle for the Six Nations title is finally set to come to a thrilling climax on Saturday.

    Ireland have their fate in their own hands after they hammered Italy last weekend in the only round four match that could not take place before the tournament was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

    If Andy Farrell's side secure a bonus-point win over France in the final match of the competition in Paris they will get their hands on the trophy, but Les Bleus are also in contention.

    England are the favourites to be crowned champions, as they trail leaders Ireland by only a point and will be expected to seal a bonus-point victory over Italy in Rome.

    Scotland and Wales, who sit fourth and fifth respectively, end their campaigns with a clash at Parc y Scarlets.

    Ahead of what promises to be a tense finale to the tournament, we use Opta data to preview the three matches.

     

    Wales v Scotland

    - Wales have won 14 of their last 16 Six Nations games against Scotland (L2), including their last eight in a row on home soil, with Scotland's only victory in Wales in the championship coming in 2002.

    - Scotland come into the match having won back-to-back games in the Six Nations. They have not won three in a row in the Five/Six Nations since 1996 - when they beat Ireland, France and Wales in succession.

    - Wales have lost their last three Six Nations games, their worst run in the championship since a five-game losing streak spanning the 2006 and 2007 editions.

    - Scotland's Stuart Hogg has carried the ball for 377 metres in this Six Nations, more than any other player. No player has made more metres over the gain line than Hogg - with Jacob Stockdale also making 305m.

    Italy v England

    - England have won all of their 26 matches against Italy, 20 of those coming in the Six Nations. The Red Rose are the only side the Italians have failed to beat since joining the championship in 2000.

    - Italy have lost 26 consecutive games in the Six Nations since beating Scotland in 2015, the longest losing run by any side in history of the tournament. Only twice during that run have they been beaten by a single-figure margin (v France 2016, v Scotland 2018).

    - England have scored four or more tries in each of their last six Six Nations matches against Italy, with an average winning margin of 33 points across those six victories.

    - After defeat to Ireland last weekend, Italy are assured of a 15th wooden spoon and a fifth in a row.

    France v Ireland

    - France have won just one of their last eight games against Ireland in the Six Nations (D2, L5). They had won seven of their previous eight clashes in the championship before that run (L1).

    - The last four Six Nations meetings between France and Ireland in Paris have seen the sides separated by fewer than three points (France W1, Ireland W2, D1).

    - France have won their last three home games in the Six Nations, their best run since 2013-14 (W3). The last time they enjoyed a longer winning streak on home soil in the competition was a nine-game run stretching from 2008 to 2012.

    - Les Bleus are yet to lose a scrum in the 2020 Six Nations, winning all 14 on their own feed, the only side with a 100 per cent success rate at that set-piece.

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