Wladimir Klitschko will defend title vs. Rahman

Hasim Rahman has stepped in to challenge Wladimir Klitschko for his IBF heavyweight title.

Promoters said Tuesday that Rahman was selected as the replacement for Russia’s Alexander Povetkin, who pulled out of the Dec. 13 fight in Mannheim, Germany, because of an ankle injury.

Rahman, a 35-year-old American, previously held the title in 2001 after knocking out Lennox Lewis. He has a 45-6 record (36 knockouts), with two draws.

Klitschko (51-3, 45 KOs), generally considered the world’s top heavyweight, stopped Tony Thompson in the 11th round of his last bout, on July 12.

Also: WBC light heavyweight champ Adrian Diaconu indefinitely postponed his first title defense because of a hand injury.

Diaconu (25-0), who injured his right hand while sparring Monday, was scheduled to faced 42-year-old Italian Silvio Branco (57-9-3) on Nov. 15 in Bucharest, Hungary.


Knee could keep Nadal out of Davis Cup final

Rafael Nadal has tendinitis in his right knee and could be in doubt for Spain’s Davis Cup final against Argentina.

Medical tests confirmed the tendinitis, and Spain team doctor Angel Ruiz-Cotorro said the top-ranked player would undergo treatment through Saturday.

Nadal will have more tests Monday to assess the injury. Spain plays host to Argentina in the final on an indoor hardcourt at Mar del Plata from Nov. 21 to 23.

Spanish Davis Cup captain Emilio Sanchez Vicario will not pick Nadal if he is unfit, said Nadal’s uncle and coach, Toni Nadal.

Also: Top-ranked Jelena Jankovic defeated Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-4 in round-robin play at the WTA’s season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Venus Williams defeated No. 2 Dinara Safina 7-5, 6-3, and No. 9 Vera Zvonareva defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-2, 6-3.

Lennart Bergelin, who coached Bjorn Borg for 12 years and captained Sweden to its first Davis Cup title, died at age 83.

Peter Bengtsson, a spokesman for the Swedish Tennis Association, said Bergelin died from heart failure at a Stockholm hospital.


Maradona will coach Argentina soccer team

Diego Maradona became Argentina’s soccer coach, taking over the team he led to the World Cup championship in 1986.

The 48-year-old Maradona’s first game in charge will be a friendly against Scotland on Nov. 19 at Glasgow.

While Maradona remains a national hero, his appointment has been questioned by local media and fans since it was first rumored last week. Many are doubtful he can translate his playing skills into coaching expertise and are wary of the star’s past troubles with drugs and obesity.

Also: The UNLV women’s soccer team had three players on the All-Mountain West Conference team.

Ashleigh Shoughro, who had a program-record 28 points this season, was a first-team selection.

Defender Brie Kuhne and goalkeeper Alicia Lugo claimed second-team honors. Kuhne and Lugo anchored a defense that allowed just 1.03 goals per game and posted six shutouts.

UNLV’s Therese Koelbaek was named Mountain West Conference Women’s Golfer of the Month for October.

Koelbaek shot 16-under-par 200 in the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown last week, setting several team records in that tournament. Earlier October, she took 14th in the Stanford Intercollegiate.

Two-time world champion cyclist Paolo Bettini, who crashed and hit his head during the Six Days of Milan indoor cycling event, was released from a hospital in Milan, Italy.

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