Izon Becomes King's Man to Face Rahman in China

From Staff and Wire Reports

If the courts permit it, heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman will fight David Izon this summer in China.

Don King signed Izon to a promotional contract and immediately matched him against the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation champion as part of a heavyweight title doubleheader with Worle Boxing Assn. champion John Ruiz's defense against Evander Holyfield on Aug. 5 at Beijing.

Rahman became champion by knocking out Lennox Lewis in the fifth round April 22 in South Africa. There was a rematch clause in the contract and Lewis contends that Rahman's next fight should be against him.

Izon (27-3, 23 knockouts) is a 33-year-old native of Nigeria.

Pro Football

The Cleveland Browns released linebacker Jeremiah Pharms, saying the former University of Washington player needs to devote his attention to his impending criminal trial.

Pharms, selected by the Browns in the fifth round of April's NFL draft, pleaded not guilty last month to a first-degree robbery charge in the pistol-whipping and shooting of an alleged drug dealer in Seattle. Pharms is accused of stealing $1,500 worth of marijuana during an attack near the Washington campus last year.

If convicted of robbery, the 22-year-old Pharms could get up to 8 1/2 years in prison. He also could face additional charges for shooting the victim.

Jerry Rice, the NFL's leading all-time pass receiver, will officially become a free agent today, the day on which teams can cut players and defer the salary cap hit they would take if they had cut them earlier.

Other than baseball player Deion Sanders, expected to be officially released by the Washington Redskins, Rice is by far the most prominent of the June 1 cap casualties--this year many veterans were released when free agency began. Under the salary-cap rules, teams can defer a huge cap hit if they cut a player after that date.

The 38-year-old Rice, whose $2.5-million salary is far too much for the cap-strapped San Francisco 49ers to carry next season, may not go immediately--his agent, Jim Steiner, has asked the 49ers to keep him while he decides where he will go. The main question is whether he will land with the Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders or Detroit Lions.

Offensive lineman Mike Wahle, the last of the Green Bay Packers' restricted free agents, agreed to a one-year contract. . . . The New England Patriots signed free-agent wide receiver Torrance Small to a one- year, $1.2-million contract. . . . Rod Jones, a bust at left tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals last season, was released. . . . Eddie Forrest, an offensive lineman on the original 49er team in 1946, died Tuesday in Palo Alto. He was 79.

Miscellany

Former Olympic champion Donovan Bailey of Canada won the 100 meters in the Golden Spike meet at Ostrava, Czech Republic, beating American Dennis Mitchell in the showcase event.

Bailey, who has announced his retirement, clocked 10.34 seconds, edging the 35-year-old American by .06.

Meanwhile, Michael Johnson withdrew from the meet and flew back to the United States because of his mother's illness.

Johnson's mother suffered a heart attack, according to organizers of the meet.

Responding to complaints about "undignified" lifts in pair skating and ice dancing, the International Skating Union has decided to penalize certain moves such as upside down splits and backward spread eagles.

The ISU said referees and judges would deduct 0.1 from the second mark for each movement considered to be "undignified." The deductions will apply to all programs next season.

Forty-one people were convicted by a court in Poitiers, France, for roles in an international network that provided performance-enhancing drugs to amateur cyclists.

After a four-day trial, six people were sentenced to prison terms of up to five years and 11 were given suspended sentences.

The remaining 24 defendants were fined $320 to $1,000.

The trial was the first in France involving doping among amateur cyclists. Prosecutors described a drug network stretching through Belgium and Poland.

Supporters of staging the 2012 Olympics in the New York area released a 600-page report detailing the $3.3-billion plan for Games spreading from the Long Island suburbs to the New Jersey swamps.

Liu Ailing and Mandy Clemens each had a goal and an assist as the Philadelphia Charge beat the Washington Freedom, 2-0. Washington's first midweek WUSA match drew a season-low crowd of 6,396 to RFK Stadium.

Brazil, in its first game since losing the No. 1 world ranking, defeated Cameroon, 2-0, and Japan beat Canada, 3-0, in the FIFA Confederations Cup soccer tournament at Ibaraki, Japan.

FIFA, world soccer's governing body, said it has suspended Dutch midfield star Edgar Davids and Portuguese defender Fernando Couto from all international matches for failing doping tests.

Arizona's Ricky Barnes and Augusta State's Jamie Elson matched the course record with seven-under-par 65s in the second round of the NCAA men's golf championships at Durham, N.C. Barnes is five shots ahead of Elson and Arizona maintained the team lead.

Scott Riggs, who hasn't qualified or finished out of the top five this season, outran Rick Crawford with a lap of 150.288 mph to win the pole for NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series MBNA e-commerce 200 at Dover Downs International Speedway in Delaware.

Matteo Tosatto won the 12th stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race and overall leader Dario Frigo saw his advantage trimmed to only one second as the riders pulled into Montebelluna, Italy.

The 38 owners of the Edmonton Oilers are being asked to put up $10 million in cash to keep the club afloat beyond April 2002.

Cal Nichols, the Oilers' governor and chairman of the Edmonton Investors Group Ltd., said he was optimistic he can raise the money, but admitted it will be "a bit of a job."

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