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Hard-Hitting Federal Judge Strips Lewis of WBA Title

From Staff and Wire Reports

A U.S. federal judge stripped heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis of his World Boxing Assn. title Wednesday for agreeing to fight Michael Grant instead of the higher-ranked John Ruiz.

Judge Lewis Kaplan’s ruling in New York probably won’t affect the April 29 Lewis-Grant fight at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Lewis, who won the undisputed heavyweight titles from Evander Holyfield last November, still holds the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation titles.

The court ruling means the June 10 fight between Holyfield and Ruiz will be for the vacant WBA title.

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Tennis

Pete Sampras, who won the fifth and deciding match against the Czech Republic on Sunday in the Davis Cup quarterfinals at the Great Western Forum, will be sidelined for at least two weeks because of a strained left quadriceps, his management agency said.

Sampras suffered the injury early in the decisive match against Slava Dosedel and played through it, limping and grimacing. He had an MRI exam Monday, which revealed a strain. Sampras was not scheduled to play this week in Atlanta or next week in Barcelona.

Top-seeded Mary Pierce of France had no problems in her first match on clay this year, overpowering Tracy Singian, 6-1, 6-3, in the Bausch & Lomb Championships at Amelia Island, Fla. Monica Seles began her title defense with a 7-6 (0), 6-0 victory over Anna Smashnova of Israel. . . . Defending champion Stefan Koubek of Austria defeated Paul Goldstein, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, to advance to the quarterfinals of the Galleryfurniture.com Tennis Challenge at Duluth, Ga. . . . Top-seeded Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco defeated Laurence Tieleman of Italy, 7-6 (4), 6-4, to advance to the quarterfinals of the Grand Prix Hassan II tournament at Casablanca, Morocco. . . . Andrei Medvedev of Ukraine defeated defending champion Albert Costa of Spain, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, in the opening round of the Estoril Open at Oeiras, Portugal.

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Miscellany

Forward Josiah Johnson of Van Nuys Montclair Prep High, son of former UCLA All-American Marques Johnson and brother of former Bruin Kris Johnson, signed a letter of intent to play basketball at UCLA. . . . Former Indiana and Arizona guard Luke Recker, injured in a car accident last July, can officially start his Iowa career in October instead of waiting until the second semester of the 2000-01 season. Iowa officials said they received verbal confirmation from the NCAA that Recker’s request to play for the Hawkeyes at the beginning of the season has been approved. . . . Temple forward Mark Karcher will forgo his senior season to make himself available for the NBA draft. . . . Jimmie Hunter, a sophomore guard who led Life University of Marietta, Ga., to its second consecutive NAIA championship, is leaving school early to make himself available for the NBA draft. . . . Indiana University officials say they don’t doubt the authenticity of the videotape showing Coach Bob Knight grabbing a player by the throat, although they have questions about it. The tape, aired for the first time Tuesday night, appears to support former player Neil Reed’s accusation that Knight grabbed him by the neck during a practice.

As expected, the Sparks named former USC and California coach Marianne Stanley their second assistant coach, completing their coaching staff. . . . Dawn Staley, who will play in the WNBA and on the U.S. Olympic team this summer, was introduced as the Temple women’s basketball coach.

Police investigating the double murder in which Baltimore Raven linebacker Ray Lewis has been charged have been unable to lift fingerprints from a knife found at the scene, the Baltimore Sun reported. Lewis and two associates, Reginald Oakley of Baltimore and Joseph Sweeting of Miami, have been charged with murder in the Jan. 31 stabbing deaths of Richard Lollar, 24, and Jacinth Baker, 21. . . . Rodney Potter, the chief steward of an Australian Greyhound racing association, admitted he had taken bribes and tampered with drug tests.

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Dion Rayford, the former Kansas football player accused of damaging the drive-through window at a Taco Bell in Lawrence, Kan., pleaded guilty to criminal property damage. The 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive end was sentenced to one year of probation. . . . Lehigh kicker Jaron Taaffe was suspended for one year by the NCAA for taking the dietary supplement androstenedione, which is most widely known as the supplement once used by Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo, making his return after being sidelined for five months because of an injury, suffered a knee injury and was carried off the field during Inter Milan’s game at Lazio. . . . Calais, a tiny amateur team that fields office workers, shop owners and teachers, pulled off one of the biggest upsets in French soccer history when it beat Bordeaux, 3-1, in overtime at Lens to advance to the French Cup final. . . . Goalkeeper Oliver Kahn of Bayern Munich was hit above an eye by a golf ball thrown from the stands as his team beat SC Freiburg, 2-1, at Freiburg, Germany, in the German Bundesliga. . . . Steve Claridge of the first-division English team Portsmouth was fined $1,440 for betting on his team.

Casey Mears, 22-year-old nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears, passed the mandatory rookie driving test, bringing to eight the number of rookies eligible to qualify for the May 28 race. . . . Avenger lineman Kevin Johnson is scheduled to undergo surgery on his left knee today and could be sidelined for the Arena League season.

Bertrand Pace, trying to become the first Frenchman to win sailing’s Congressional Cup, won four of five races on Long Beach Harbor to seize a two-win lead at 10-3 after 13 of 18 races and all but lock up a slot in Friday’s semifinals. New Zealand’s Dean Barker and Denmark’s Sten Mohr share second at 8-5.

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