Off the wire
BOXING Klitschko retires
Former heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko has announced his retirement from boxing. Klitschko, 41, dominated the heavyweight scene for a decade but lost to Britain’s Anthony Joshua in April after being knocked out in the 11th round.
In a statement released by his management Thursday, Klitschko said: “As an amateur and a professional boxer, I have achieved everything I dreamed of, and now I want to start my second career after sports.” He said that he had deliberately taken a few weeks to reach a decision “to make sure I had enough distance from the (Joshua) fight at Wembley Stadium.” Klitschko was 64-5 in a career that began in 1996 after he won Olympic gold in Atlanta. Klitschko followed his older brother Vitali Klitschko into boxing. Both found immediate success in the professional ring, and held all of the main heavyweight titles between them when Vitali Klitschko retired in 2013. They never fought each other, saying that would break a promise to their mother.
TENNIS Andreescu advances
Canadian wild card Bianca Andreescu knocked off second-seeded Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets to advance to the quarterfinals of the Citi Open in Washington. Andreescu beat Mladenovic 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday. In other women’s matches, top-seeded Simona Halep came back from losing the first set to beat Mariana Duque-Marino 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, and Andrea Petkovic beat Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 4-6, 6-0. Five of the top seven seeds in the women’s draw reached the quarterfinals. In the men’s draw, third-seeded Milos Raonic won a lengthy first-set tiebreak on the way to beating Marcos Baghdatis 7-6 (7), 6-3, and eighth-seeded Jack Sock beat fellow American Jared Donaldson 7-6 (6), 6-2. Raonic and Sock will face each other in the next round.
Pair moves up in Austria
Fabio Fognini and Philipp Kohlschreiber both reached their second semifinal in as many weeks at the Generali Open on Thursday at Kitzbuehel, Austria. Fognini, who won his fifth career title in Gstaad, Switzerland on Sunday, received medical treatment for a lower back injury early in the opening set but eased past Thomaz Bellucci 6-3, 6-1. The Brazilian won just one of his eight service games. The third-seeded Italian plays former champion Kohlschreiber for a place in Saturday’s final of the last clay court event of the season. The German took the last five points of a third-set tiebreaker to outlast Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5). Last week, Kohlschreiber pulled out of his semifinal in Hamburg with a thigh injury. Also, 157th-ranked Sebastian Ofner of Austria reached his maiden semifinal by defeating Renzo Olivo of Argentina 6-3, 1-6, 6-3. The wild card entrant will next play Joao Sousa of Portugal, who rallied to beat Gerald Melzer of Austria 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 in a match interrupted by rain.
Cilic to miss Rogers Cup
Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic will miss the Rogers Cup next week in Montreal due to an adductor injury. Cilic announced Thursday that “until the very last moment I was hoping that improvement concerning my injury will be good enough, but I am forced to withdraw.” The sixthranked Croat said he suffered the injury at Wimbledon where he lost to Roger Federer in straight sets in the final. Federer is playing in Montreal but his Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka withdrew Wednesday with a knee injury.
SOCCER Replay starts Saturday
Despite purists who believe soccer should never be sullied by video replay, it has arrived and isn’t going anywhere. Major League Soccer will start using it for every match, even the postseason, beginning Saturday. The Video Assistant Referee, VAR for short, was showcased on an international level during this summer’s Confederations Cup in Russia and the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea, with mixed results. But MLS has been preparing for this moment for three years, determined to get it right. “The idea is minimum interference for maximum benefit,” said veteran referee Howard Webb, who is overseeing the league’s implementation of video replay. “We’re not trying to change the way the game is played. We’re trying to enhance it. We’re trying to make it fairer. We’re trying to make sure the outcomes are right.” Australia’s top-flight A-League used a version of video review on trial earlier this year, and the South Korean K-League Classic began working with it in July. At least two other top-tier leagues will add a VAR soon. The German Bundesliga will debut video replay for the season opener between Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen on Aug. 18. The Italian Serie A will also introduce its version after adding goal-line technology last season.
MOTOR SPORTS Harry Scott Jr. dies
Former NASCAR team owner Harry Scott Jr. has died at 51. His family says in statement he died Wednesday but details were not disclosed. The family on Thursday described him as a “loving family man and successful business owner.” Scott owned HScott Motorsports, which ran teams in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup series from 2013 until last season. Clint Bowyer and Michael Annett had full-time rides with HSM in 2016. The team said in December it wouldn’t compete in the Cup series because of a lack of sponsors. Bowyer replaced Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing this season. Funeral arrangements were not announced.
TRACK AND FIELD Pistorius hospitalized
Oscar Pistorius was taken from prison in South Africa to a public hospital on Thursday with chest pains and was scheduled to stay overnight for observation. “He’s fine now,” Pistorius spokesman Johan van Wyk told The Associated Press.
Van Wyk said South African media reports that the former track star and convicted murderer had a suspected heart attack in jail were untrue. Pistorius, the double-amputee Olympic runner who is serving a six-year prison term for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, was taken to the hospital Thursday morning and had been expected to return to the prison later the same day, Department of Corrections spokesman Logan Maistry told the AP. However, it was decided Pistorius would stay overnight in the hospital “for observation,” Maistry said. Maistry declined to give details of Pistorius’ medical complaint, citing department rules preventing the divulging of information about offenders. He said only that Pistorius was having “medical examinations.” But van Wyk confirmed that Pistorius had complained of chest pains and was taken to Kalafong Hospital in the South African capital of Pretoria.