Alex Gordon hits MLB’s record-setting 5,694th HR of season

first_imgSteam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Morgan scores twice, US women beat New Zealand 5-0 OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson In ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ Comedy and Drama Collide FILE – In this Tuesday, April 18, 2017 file photo, Kansas City Royals’ Alex Gordon advances to third base on a fly out by Lorenzo Cain during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants in Kansas City, Mo. Kansas City’s Alex Gordon hit Major League Baseball’s record 5,694th home run of 2017 on Tuesday night, Sept. 19, 2017 breaking a season record set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)TORONTO — Kansas City’s Alex Gordon broke Major League Baseball’s season home run record with 12 days to spare, hitting the 5,694th long ball of 2017 on Tuesday night.Gordon’s home run off Toronto’s Ryan Tepera broke a mark set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era. The drive, which drove in the last run in the Royals’ 5-2 loss, was his eighth this season and the 159th of his 11-year big league career.ADVERTISEMENT Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Mos Burger to open in Manila; teases with a pop-up DAY6 is for everybody Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson MOST READ “A pretty cool thing to be a part of,” Gordon said. “I didn’t hit many this year, but I guess I made one count.”It was the 17th home run of the night in the major leagues and came just after Detroit’s Alex Presley tied the record when he connected at home against Oakland’s Daniel Gossett.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smogGordon said he heard talk of the record on a clubhouse television after Toronto’s Darwin Barney homered in the sixth.“I was kind of aware that we were getting close to it,” he said. “After I walked back to the dugout. I kind of forgot about it.” Holding the ball he hit over the right-field wall, Gordon said he didn’t plan to keep the historic memento or anything else from the game.“I’m going to give it to Cooperstown,” Gordon said. “I figured they’d probably have much more reason to have it than I do. I don’t really want to remember too much about this season, so I’ll probably just give it away and let them take care of it.”There were 5,610 homers last year, an average of 2.31 per game, and this year’s average of 2.53 entering Tuesday’s action projects to 6,139. That would be up 47 percent from 4,186 in 2014.“I don’t know what to make of it,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Guys are bigger and guys are stronger. but so are the pitchers. There sure are a lot of home runs being hit.”Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has noticed the surge in homers but doesn’t have an explanation.ADVERTISEMENT “It really looks like the ball is flying,” he said.Power subsided after the start of drug testing with penalties in 2004. The home run average dropped in 2014 to its lowest level since 1992, then started rising during the second half of the 2015 season.“My biggest take on it is that players are trying to hit more home runs,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “Their philosophy overall, a lot of these position players, is to get the ball in the air and also pull the ball and get the ball in the air and hit it as far as you can. So you’re increasing the launch angle, whatever you want to call this, stay away from the groundballs. And so they’re sacrificing a little bit more contact to do a little bit more damage.”When the previous record of 5,693 was set in 2000, Sammy Sosa led the major leagues with 50 home runs and Barry Bonds hit 49.Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton leads the major leagues with 55 home runs this year, followed by New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge with 44.Yost said he doesn’t believe more players are swinging for the fences than in years past.“You’re always looking to elevate,” Yost said. “You’re not going to make a whole lot of money hitting the ball on the ground in this league because the defenders are so quick and athletic. You’ve got to get the ball in the air, I think, if you’re going to be successful.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments How to help the Taal evacueeslast_img read more

What Africa Do We Want?

first_imgH. E. Amb. Harrison Olwatonyin Solaja,Head of the African Union Liaison Office in Liberia;H.E. Amb. Babatunde Olanrenwaju Adjisomo,Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission;The Doyen & Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps;Hon. Commany B. Wesseh, Senator of Rivergee County;Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia and other officials of Government present;Members of the Fourth Estate;Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:Today as we celebrate yet another Africa Day, we have a new opportunity to reflect on the context of the protracted African Liberation struggle and the men and women who shared sweat, blood and tears in laying the foundations and conceiving the strategies that made decolonization and the unification of Africa possible. We also have a new opportunity to pay homage to the memories of our forebears the likes of Osagefo Kwame Nkrumah, Emperor Haile Salassie, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Sekou Toure, William V.S. Tubman, among others who ignited the engines of Pan-Africanism through their organization of conferences including the Saniquellie Conference of 1959 in Liberia and the Addis Conference of 1963, in Ethiopia where the OAU now the AU was founded. But more importantly, we have a new opportunity to now look at our Continent more than half a century after liberation and ask ourselves what Africa do we want?Do we want an Africa that is more integrated, peaceful and secure; an Africa where development is people driven and the potentials of its women and children can be unleashed? Do we want to see an Africa of capable, inclusive and accountable states and institutions at all levels and in all spheres; an Africa where Regional Economic Communities serve as building blocks for continental unity; an Africa where citizens hold themselves and their governments and institutions accountable for results as is laid out in the Agenda 2063? Or do we want an Africa where war and political violence is the order of the day, where poverty and weak institutions and disunity reign? What Africa do we want!For us in Liberia, this year’s Africa Day has a special significance because the AU, acting through the African Union Support to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA ), successfully helped to liberate us from Ebola. We are victorious today because our continental body in pure African solidarity said that it would not stand and watch us fight alone; and so brothers and sisters with support from across the continent came to help us in our struggle against Ebola. Our ultimate delight and victory over Ebola comes from the comfort we find in knowing that Africa can stand up for Africa.Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,Africa is making some incontrovertible progress, albeit with challenges. I say so because unlike the1970s and 1980s when it was inconceivable for an incumbent African President to lose an election to an opposition contender, today incumbents are not only losing elections to oppositions but they are also humbly and graciously acknowledging their defeat and respectfully congratulating their political competitors. The just ended elections in Nigeria is a milestone case that does not only elevate the extraordinary leadership qualities of H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan but also deepens the democratic credentials of Africa.Africa is also making progress in political and social inclusiveness with respect to women empowerment. Instead of remaining deeply grounded in what many conceived as a male chauvinistic Africa, where for example, only men and boys had the right to speak during family meetings, women are now making progress and are not taking on greater leadership roles on the Continent. And for the first time in the history of our continental body, the African Union now has its first woman President. Liberia became a pace-setter for women empowerment when in 2005 we elected Africa’s first democratically elected female President in the person of the Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. And for the first time in the history of our continental body, the African Union Commission now has its first woman Chairperson in the person of H. E. Dr. Nkozasana Dlamini Zuma. The emphasis on women empowerment is further evidenced by this year’s AU Summit theme:”Year of Women Empowerment and Development toward Africa’s Agenda 2063″. Women are also doing very well in business and contribute very significantly to the growth and development of their countries. Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,I must hasten to add that despite the fact that the continent is making progress in addressing its many challenges, some developments and issues give us cause for concern including the xenophobic or afro-phobic attacks by Africans against fellow Africans in South Africa that occurred a few weeks ago; the disintegration of Libya and newly independent South Sudan, the Boko Haram and the Al Shabab onslaughts in Nigeria and Kenya respectively; the political rumpus in Burundi caused by President Nkurunziza dogged determination to stand for a third term; the troubling trend of African migrants dying by the hundreds in the Mediterranean sea in their quest to reach Europe for a greener pastures. What is even more troubling is that as the death toll increases the attempts to cross the Mediterranean for Europe increase as well. But the migrant situation in the Mediterranean speaks volumes about the state of peace and security, and sustainable employment opportunities in some parts of our continent. That is why the entire Africa must go to work to address the embarrassing migrant situation in the Mediterranean.But to address the migrant situation like many other challenges that bedevil the continent, we must go deep down to the root causes of the actual problems. Apart from poverty and diseases, many people on the continent still live in fear of armed conflict; and because of unemployment, many young people on the continent remain vulnerable to unwholesome and deviant enticements. Many more people on the continent still think that their voices are not considered in the decision making processes in their countries.Therefore, as we aspire to transform the continent through the AU’s Agenda 2063, we must ensure peace and security, provide youth employment, protect and promote the rights of our women. We must also build strong institutions that will not only be respecters of men but respecters of laws; we must ensure development and technological advancement. We must do all of the above and much more if we must protect the legacy of freedom from colonization that our forebears left us.As I recede to my seat, I express my thanks and appreciation to you, Amb. Solaja, for making me your Guest of Honor at this year’s Africa Day celebration in Liberia. On behalf of President Sirleaf and the Government and people of Liberia, I extend warmest felicitations to Chairperson Zuma as well as all Africans from Cape to Cairo and from Dakar to Nairobi. Long live the AU! Long Live the Continent and People of Africa!!!Thank You.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Units follow money more than bombs

first_imgSince joining the department’s Terrorism Interdiction Unit, a team of four officers whose primary job is to educate fellow officers about terrorism trends, Kremling has interviewed several Santa Fe Springs residents suspected of providing money to terrorist groups, he said. On the home-front battle to prevent the next terror attack, local law-enforcement officials have increasingly focused on finding those who would supply terrorists with money and cutting off the supply before it reaches its intended benefactors. But as new funding sources are uncovered and broken up, would-be terror financiers adapt and change their tactics, Terrorism Interdiction Unit officials say. “It’s an evolving movement,” said Lt. Aviv Bar, who supervises the interdiction unit. “They change their tactics – the way they fund themselves, the types of materials they use. We have to adjust, based on the information we get. “None of our officers have found bomb-making materials,” Bar added. Increasingly, that information comes from a network of police, state and federal anti-terrorism units, who continually share information and tap into each others’ resources, Bar said. The local anti-terrorism unit also is in charge of making sure grant money from the Department of Homeland Security is used to purchase needed equipment and for emergency preparations. Unit members are available 24 hours a day. Kremling, who was born in Lebanon and speaks fluent Arabic, said his cultural background has been a boon in his job. When he was a teenager, Kremling’s home was bombed by U.S. forces. His family left Lebanon and moved to Orange County. Later, Kremling opened a camera and copier store. He decided to become an officer because of a desire to help others, he said. For the anti-terror unit, Kremling works with businesses in Santa Fe Springs, many of which manufacture or use toxic chemicals. One of his jobs is to harden these potential “soft targets” against attack, advising businesses about security precautions such as hiring armed guards and installing security fencing and surveillance equipment. “If they see these things, there’s a good chance they’re going to leave and go somewhere else,” he said. Often, regular patrol officers stop someone for a traffic violation, then get a suspicious feeling. When that happens, they call Kremling. “When I interview these people, I tell them my Lebanese name,” he said. “This culture is very tribal. A name tells what city you are from or who your father is.” Once he develops a trust, Kremling tries to get suspects to open up about their personal beliefs. If he is fortunate, he can often uncover any terrorist ties. When he finds any, Kremling will “feed the information up the chain to the FBI,” he said. Clues that the average person would overlook stick out like a sore thumb to Kremling. Someone who rants aggressively about government conspiracies or steals a truck load of cigarettes is worth interviewing, he said. A few years ago, Kremling interviewed a Palestinian man arrested by a patrol officer for a DUI in Santa Fe Springs. The man ranted anti-American sentiments. He even tried to recruit Kremling. The investigator contacted the FBI. Later, authorities discovered that the man and his family had wired about $130 million to a Palestinian terrorist group, he said. Since 9/11, when Whittier’s Terrorism Interdiction Unit was formed, the unit and the department in general has become much more knowledgeable about how to spot terrorist activity, Bar said. For example, before 9/11, if an officer stopped someone with two or three passports, they would not have paid much attention, he said. “Now, we know that passports are more dangerous than a bomb,” said Bar. “We’ve educated our officers to think like terrorism officers.” sandy.mazza@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA FE SPRINGS – Whittier police Officer Ralph Kremling knows for certain that terrorists are working on the home front. In January, Kremling received a call from an investigator at another police agency who was suspicious of two Egyptian men in his custody. Kremling, the Whittier Police Department’s terrorism liaison, was brought in to interview the two. Both men had been arrested for stealing cigarettes – a common way terrorists raise money in the United States, he said. “We found out they were sending money” to a fundamentalist group in Egypt, said Kremling. last_img read more

Orange County to audit sheriff’s department

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA ANA – Orange County officials have begun an audit of the Sheriff’s Department after Sheriff Michael Carona was indicted last week on corruption charges. The county’s audit oversight committee met Wednesday and decided to look at 21 department accounts, Supervisor John Moorlach said. Auditors also will examine Carona’s travel expenses. Carona said earlier this week he will take a two-month leave of absence to fight federal charges that he and others took nearly $700,000 in bribes and kickbacks. “There is no indication by reading the indictment or through other sources that there’s any nefarious activity in the Sheriff’s Department,” said county Auditor-Controller David Sundstrom, who added the probe was precautionary. Carona, 52, has pleaded not guilty to a count of conspiracy, four counts of mail fraud and two counts of witness tampering after a federal indictment was unsealed last week. His wife, Deborah Carona, pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy and Debra Hoffman, a woman identified in court papers as his mistress, pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy, four counts of mail fraud and three counts of bankruptcy fraud. Moorlach also suggested that Carona should be prohibited from using a county credit card while he’s on leave. Carona’s spokesman, Michael Schroeder, said the sheriff did not have a card in his possession. Carona will be paid $33,166 during his leave. For the latest news and observations on crime in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, check out the Daily News’ crime blog by clicking here.last_img read more

Woman finds Donegal ties to late husband just in time for Christmas

first_imgMagdelene Gallagher launched an appeal with Donegal Daily and Donegal Woman three weeks ago in which she asked for any information on family connections to her late husband Charles Keith Gallagher (pictured above), whose mother, Hannah Gallagher, was from Kincasslagh.Luckily, one of our readers picked up on our story and one of Charles’ relatives reached out to Magdelene.Magdelene had known that Hannah had spent time in Auchterarder in Scotland in 1944, and that Charlie is the named given to him by Hannah. Fife Council records show that Charlie had been with his mother for seven months living in Saint Andrews in Scotland. Charlie was then put into care at seven months, and was fostered by a loving family at two and a half. Just in time for Christmas, Magdelene found her late husband’s Donegal connections, and may plan a trip to Donegal to soak up the atmosphere of my Charles’ roots.“The council places I approached in Scotland bent over backwards to help me, but although there was information on Charlie, there was very little on Hannah.“Then your article produced a response from this lovely lady from Kincasslagh who has lived in Scotland since 1948.“Hannah was born on Owey, her father was Charles, the same name as my husband, and her mother was Bridget. Not only was this lady and her friend helpful in finding the information I needed, but the insight they had on the potato pickers helped me build up a picture of Hannah’s early years and how the lifestyle would have made it impossible for her to look after her baby. “I doubt her family would have known she was pregnant. Hannah stayed on in Scotland and later married and had children.“Hannah’s birthday was actually in 1918, not 1920 as I had worked out and not 1919 as was on the social services record. This could have been an error on the social services part, or as my lovely ladies pointed out, sometimes in those days they didn’t actually know their birthdays, and so would give Christmas day or St Patrick’s day when asked their date of birth. I would never have thought of that.“At last I have a birth certificate for Hannah, born in Owey. The article you did was certainly a success. The lady who contacted me has been wonderful and has provided me with the most amazing insight into the Irish life around that time.“I would love to visit Kinncasslagh just to soak up the atmosphere of my husband’s roots, maybe one day I will.Thank you to all of our readers who shared our article and got these two families in touch. Woman finds Donegal ties to late husband just in time for Christmas was last modified: December 25th, 2016 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:charles gallagherfamilyKINCASSLAGHReunitedScotlandlast_img read more

Bure plagued by back injury

first_img Herniated discs often require surgery to repair, but Bure’s supposed diagnosis was news to the Kings. After Sunday’s game, coach Andy Murray emphatically said Bure did not have a herniated disc and that team doctors have confirmed the injury is not that serious. “I think there might have been a misinterpretation on (Bure’s) part,” Murray said. “They wondered if it was a protruding disc but … you don’t treat a herniated disc with what he’s getting.” Bure is being treated with medication and physical therapy and said he will be evaluated by doctors again today. “I’ve never had a back problem before,” said Bure, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract in August. “It’s a new experience. Not a good experience, but just something I have to deal with.” Bure, who had career highs of 35 goals and 40 assists with Calgary in 1999-2000, has the speed the Kings believe will play well within the league’s new rules, when he finally gets on the ice. “I feel a little different. I can bend down a little better,” Bure said. “I wish it would go away (instantly) but it’s not. An injury at any time of the year is not a good thing, but I’m learning to deal with it.” Hello, goodbye: Defenseman and team captain Mattias Norstrom, who missed the Kings’ first two games with strong flu-like symptoms, returned to the lineup Sunday. Kings forward Valeri Bure is injured. Exactly how bad, well, that’s a matter of debate. Bure said Sunday morning that a recent MRI revealed a herniated disc in his back, which is considerably more serious than a simple “back strain,” which is how the Kings have been describing Bure’s injury. center_img To make room for Norstrom, the Kings assigned defenseman Denis Grebeshkov to their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H. Grebeshkov, 21, was a healthy scratch in the first two games. The Kings hoped Grebeshkov would stick with the team, but he didn’t show the consistency in training camp needed to be a regular contributor. “We need him playing. We can’t just have him watching,” Murray said. “It was a combination of him not being quite as good as we wanted, but also other guys playing well.” Murray previously said he wouldn’t keep Grebeshkov around unless he could guarantee the defenseman at least 16 minutes per game, and Grebeshkov’s play didn’t justify it. “Denis is still a young guy and his future is with this organization,” Norstrom said. “I was in that situation early in my career. If you’re not out there playing every night, you’re not learning much.” Injury report: Murray said forward Jeff Cowan, who aggravated a groin injury in Thursday’s game, likely will be out at least another week. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

SWILLY ROVERS U15 CUP WIN AGAINST ALL THE ODDS

first_imgUNDER 15 SFAI NATIONAL CUP QUARTER FINALSwilly Rovers 2 – 1 Kingdom BoysSwilly Rovers held on narrowly after first half goals by Conor Gormley and Ronan Docherty got them through to a semi-final spot with top schoolboy club St Kevin Boys from Dublin after Midfielder Diarmuid O’Connor halved the deficit for the Kerry side down in Listowel. The Ramelton side started slowly and on 6mins, Swilly net minder Dane Dunworth pulled off a super save from midfielder Kennedy. On 18mins from a Shane McNamee corner a goalmouth scramble occurred and Conor Gormley slotted to the net for the lead. It was all Swilly now and Ronan Docherty scored from 3yds after a free kick by McNamee was hit into the area. McNamee himself could have made it three only for the Kingdom keeper McKivergan to save well. Swilly were keeping their shape well with outstanding displays all around the field. The 2nd half started with the Kerry team pushing more forward and great defending from the back four and another amazing display by Dunworth in goals kept the two goal margin. Midfielder O’Connor scored with 17mins left to set up a very nervous ending for McNamee’s team. With the Kingdom Boys pushing high up the pitch, they started to leave gaps in their defence and from a sweeping move involving Toye, Hanlon & McNamee who sent Cameron Gormley through on goal but the diminutive winger shot narrowly wide. With 8mins remaining McNamee went through on goal and was taken down by the Kerry side’s keeper for a penalty. With the striker injured, up stepped Conor Gormley who sent the keeper the wrong way but just wide. The Kingdom Boys threw the kitchen sink at Swilly and McKelvey cleared off the line with Dunworth beaten. With seconds remaining, the team from Tralee won a free kick on the edge of the area and Irish International Rian O’Sullivan sent the ball high into the top corner only for Dunworth to make a magnificent save to push it out for a corner. With the Referee indicating that this was the last play, the resulting corner was cleared and Swilly got through to the Semi-Finals. Every player give 100% and were amazing Swilly Rovers – D Dunworth, C Doherty, B Patterson, J McKelvey, R Docherty, C Gormley, R Toye, B Diver, L Hanlon, S McNamee, C Gormley. (Subs) J L Blaney, D Morrison, Ray Boyce, Ronan Boyce, C Brogan, D Greene. Manager’s ReactionAfter everything that went on this last month with this match being a home match, then being told, we can’t play in Swilly Pk. Then being told it was to be played in Lucan, South Dublin as a neutral venue. Again being changed to Listowel by the SFAI. We decided as a club to travel and thankfully it worked out for us. The team were outstanding in every area of the pitch. One thing that needs to be said is a big fantastic thank you to Kingdom Boys who made a gesture of paying for all officials for the game. And to Listowel Celtic and their officials for the great hospitality they showed Swilly Rovers Schoolboys. Now a semi-final against one of the top schoolboy clubs in Europe. Home advantage but hopefully not Dublin. SWILLY ROVERS U15 CUP WIN AGAINST ALL THE ODDS was last modified: April 27th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CUPSFAIswilly roversU15slast_img read more

Troy Tulowitzki to the A’s? It makes a lot of sense

first_imgLAS VEGAS — The A’s aren’t necessarily in the market for a shortstop, but an opportunity may have just presented itself.Hampered by injuries over the past few years, Troy Tulowitzki was released by the Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday afternoon, presenting the possibility of a homecoming with the A’s. Tulowitzki, 34, grew up in the South Bay a diehard A’s fan. After a standout career at Fremont High in Sunnyvale and Long Beach State, he quickly established himself as one of the premier shortstops …last_img read more

Piscotty’s heroics, A’s winning streak put on hold

first_imgDETROIT — Bob Melvin will be the first to admit that he’s no meteorologist.Still, the Oakland Athletics manager thought his team could have gotten three final outs required to make 5-3 the final score of Sunday’s series finale with the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park final before the rain really started coming down.“When they pulled it, it wasn’t raining barely at all,” Melvin said before relaying that the umpires explained to him that they were told “once it started raining that it was going …last_img read more

‘Baby Jake’: small boxer, big heart

first_img“Baby Jake” Matlala, watched by former President Nelson Mandela and top Hollywood actor Will Smith, brought the curtain down on his 22-year professional boxing career on March 3, 2002 with a seventh-round stoppage win over Juan Herrera to retain his WBU junior flyweight title.It was a fitting end to an illustrious career that has earned Matlala legendary status in South African boxing.His record, falling at one stage to 22 wins, one draw and seven losses, finished up at 52 victories, two draws and 12 losses. Along the way he collected the WBO flyweight, WBO junior flyweight, IBA junior flyweight and WBU junior flyweight titles, becoming the only South African boxer to win four world titles.Shortest ever world championThe shortest ever world champion, Matlala began his career on February 2, 1980 with a fourth-round victory over Fraser Plaatjie in Port Elizabeth. A year later, Matlala had his second professional fight, which he lost.However, five fights later – four wins and a draw – Matlala landed the Transvaal junior flyweight title with a fifth-round technical knockout win over Simon Moema. It took him three more contests to become the South African junior flyweight champion.He successfully defended the title twice before suffering a 12th-round loss to Mveleli Luzipho in October 1983, dropping his record to 10 wins, one draw and two losses. The little man with the all-action style then claimed eight wins in succession, including his first victory over an overseas opponent. He then challenged Luzipho in a return match for the South African title, which ended in failure with another 12-round loss in November 1985.Not much taller than a HobbitAt 4ft 10in or 147cm, “Baby Jake” is not much taller than the average Lord of the Rings hobbit. This, he tells Lucille Davie, is part of the reason why he quit boxing. He had run out of small people to fight.Matlala’s record was blotted when he suffered successive defeats to one fighter. In early 1996, he faced Vuyani Nene in Port Elizabeth and lost. After beating Pillay Duiker to retain the Transvaal junior flyweight title, Baby Jake again fought Nene, exactly one year after his loss to the Eastern Cape fighter, but this time for the South African title. Nene once more had the challenger’s number, stopping Matlala in the 11th round.Lost to NeneAfter a points victory over Kirk Morris, the diminutive Matlala took on Nene on November 1, 1987, seven months after his unsuccessful challenge for the national title. He lasted the distance, but for the third time Nene outboxed him.Matlala subsequently racked up another three victories, including one over Daniel Ward, who later became the Commonwealth flyweight champion. These wins raised his record to 22 wins, one draw and six losses. Nene once again proved to be Matlala’s nemesis, defeating him on points for the South African title. At this stage of his career, in 1988, Matlala had lost seven fights, four of those to Nene.If Matlala was discouraged, he did not show it. The following year, in 1999, he again challenged for a South African title, this time as a flyweight. He came up short, however, losing on points to Jaji Sibali. He then registered a run of eight victories, including wins over two Mexican fighters and a successful outing against Wele Maqolo to lift the vacant South African junior flyweight title.World title crackAfter retaining his title against Ndoda Mayende, Matlala had his first crack at a world title in September 1991 when he took on Dave McCauley for the IBF flyweight title in Belfast. He failed in his attempt, suffering a 10th-round knockout at the hands of the Irishman.Three wins later, including a successful defence of his South African crown and a victory over Mexico’s Raul Acosta, Matlala challenged Pat Clinton for the WBO flyweight title in May 1993. In front of Clinton’s home town supporters in Glasgow, the South African boxer overwhelmed his opponent to capture his first world title on an eighth-round technical knockout.He added another four wins to his record, including three in title defences, before suffering his 10th career loss to Alberto Jiminez who stopped him in the eighth round at Hammanskraal in February 1995. His next bout, three months later, ended in a draw against Liberia’s Sam Stewart.Two-time world championTwo fights later, Matlala was a world champion for the second time. In November 1995, he defeated Paul Weir on a technical decision in five rounds to secure the WBO junior flyweight title as Glasgow again proved to be his happy hunting ground.In early 1996, Matlala again took on Weir in Liverpool and retained his WBO crown. After a 12-round victory over Mickey Cantwell, he challenged Michael Carbajal for the IBA junior flyweight title. The experts argued that this would be the toughest fight of Baby Jake’s career, against a fighter regarded by many as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.Fighting in Las Vegas on 18 July 1997, before a large American television audience, Matlala delivered the best performance of his career, battering Carbajal for nine rounds before the referee stopped the fight, with the Mexican clearly a beaten man. That victory raised Matlala’s profile and stock considerably and, of course, earned him another world title.SA vs SAAfter a further four wins, including two title defences, Matlala relinquished the IBA title to face another South African, Hawk Makepula, in February 2000 for the vacant WBO junior flyweight title. It was a bout the South African boxing public had been clamouring for, but it ended in disappointment for Matlala, who lost on a controversial points decision.For the second time in his career he suffered two defeats in succession when his former sparring partner, Peter Culshaw, beat him on points for the WBU flyweight title in May of the same year.In February 2001, Matlala once more tasted world championship success, easily defeating Australia’s Todd Makelin in four rounds to claim the vacant WBU junior flyweight crown. In September, he retained the crown with a win in five rounds over Mickey Cantwell.Last fightFinally, Matlala drew the curtain on his career with the victory over Herrera, 11 years his junior.“Baby Jake” Matlala will be remembered as an all-action fighter who overcame his height and reach disadvantage by crowding his opponents, throwing a relentless barrage of punches. He will also be remembered for the fantastic condition that he kept himself in for his fights, right up to the age of 40.Above all, however, it was the little man’s big heart that captured the imagination of the South African public. Matlala always gave his best, earning the respect of opponents and spectators alike.Unsuccessful in so many attempts at winning South African titles, Baby Jake simply trained even harder, kept coming back – and suddenly started collecting world titles.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more