Ireland's Katie Taylor set for pro debut

LONDON - Irish boxing heroine Katie Taylor will make her eagerly anticipated professional debut against Karina Kopinska at London's Wembley Arena on November 26, promoters Matchroom announced Monday. The 30-year-old Taylor enjoyed a brilliant amateur career that yielded five world titles, six European titles and gold at the 2012 London Olympics. However, she suffered a shock quarter-final loss at this year's Games in Rio. Taylor's bout with Poland's Kopinska, will take place at super-featherweight. Explaining her decision to turn pro last month, Taylor said: I'm excited for the road ahead. When I first dreamt of Olympic gold, female boxing was practically unknown. Now because of my journey and the incredible supporters who came along with me, I want to do the same for the professional sport." AFP



Bumpy plane ride too much for Messi

BUENOS AIRES - Lionel Messi had to reach for the sick bag on Monday as the plane carrying the Argentina team endured a bumpy ride from Buenos Aires to San Juan ahead of World Cup qualifier. The superstar and several of his team-mates took ill due to the turbulence during the journey to the city near the Andes where Argentina will face Colombia on Tuesday. The bout of illness will not stop Messi from playing in what is a crucial game for Argentina's hopes of reaching the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Edgardo Bauza's side are sixth in the South American qualifying group after 11 matches following a 3-0 defeat in Brazil last week. They are a point off fourth-place Ecuador, with the top four qualifying directly and the team in fifth going into a play-off against a team from the Oceania zone. –AFP




Bosses urge Brazil to send Hickey home

DOHA - Olympic bosses made an impassioned plea to Brazilian authorities on Tuesday to allow Irish Olympic Committee President Patrick Hickey to return home while awaiting trial over an alleged ticketing scam. Hickey, who is also the head of the European Olympic Committee, was arrested during the Rio Olympics in August as part of a raid into an illegal ticket sales scheme. He denies any wrongdoing but has been formally charged, along with nine others, with ticket-touting, ambush marketing, theft, tax evasion, money-laundering and criminal association. He has stepped down from both posts while the investigation continues. The trial date has still not been set but could take up to two years to be heard. The 71-year-old Hickey remains under house arrest in Brazil. –AFP




Lippi's China dealt blow with Qatar draw

KUNMING - Marcello Lippi's hopes of leading China to the next World Cup received a serious blow when they were held 0-0 by Qatar in Kunming on Tuesday. Lippi is tasked with setting China on the road to football greatness but there was no dream start for the Italian in his first game in charge. Instead China remain rooted to the foot of Group A with two points from five games and scant hopes of reaching Russia 2018 even with Lippi, who coached Italy to the 2006 World Cup title. A packed Kunming crowd came with high expectations but Qatar's Andres Quintana caused early panic before his attempt from a corner went wide. Jiang Zhipeng's long-range free kick nearly caught Qatari goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb napping before Wu Lei also drove a fierce shot narrowly off-target.–AFP



Trump win won't harm LA Olympics bid

DOHA - Donald Trump's election as US president will not harm Los Angeles' chances of winning the right to host the 2024 Olympics, the city's mayor insisted Tuesday. Eric Garcetti was speaking to AFP ahead of the Association of National Olympic Committees' General Assembly, which begins in Doha on Tuesday. "Our bid transcends politics," said Garcetti, when asked about the impact of Trump. "Everyone knows the LA bid is quintessentially American." He added the bid had received the backing of Trump and Hillary Clinton during the recent election. There has been speculation that Trump's victory could harm the chances of Los Angeles. During the two-day meeting, the three candidate cities for the 2024 games – Budapest, Paris as well as Los Angeles – will give a 30-minute presentation on their bids.–AFP