The Washington Post

Ex-heavyweigh­t star Shavers dies at 78

- — From news services

Earnie Shavers, whose thunderous punches stopped 68 fighters and earned him heavyweigh­t title fights with Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes, died. He was 78.

Former British boxer and close friend Kenny Rainford said his friend died Thursday in Virginia at the home of one of his daughters.

Shavers fought from 1969 to 1995, which included two abbreviate­d returns from retirement. He finished 74-14-1 with 68 knockouts.

Shavers lost a unanimous decision to Ali in September 1977 at Madison Square Garden in a fight for the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Associatio­n heavyweigh­t titles. Ali pulled out the victory with a strong rally in the 15th round.

In March 1979, Shavers beat Ken Norton by knockout in the first round, considered one of his finest victories.

Shavers faced Holmes for the WBC heavyweigh­t title in September 1979. Holmes won the bout by TKO when it was stopped in the 11th round. Shavers did knock Holmes to the canvas in the seventh round.

Shavers, whose death came a day after his birthday, grew up in the Youngstown, Ohio, area.

GOLF

Matthew Wolff became a footnote in LIV Golf history with the first hole-in-one, an ace on the 178-yard second hole that carried him to a 7-under-par 63 and a one-shot lead over a pair of newcomers in the LIV Golf Invitation­al-boston in Bolton, Mass.

One of those newcomers was British Open champion Cameron Smith, among six players who recently joined the Saudi-funded organizati­on. Smith broke a wedge with a shot from behind a tree that allowed him to save par, and he finished with a 45-foot eagle putt for a 64.

Joaquin Niemann and Talor Gooch also were at 64. . . .

California­n Lucy Li had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the back nine and kept bogeys off her card the rest of the way for a 7-under 64 that gave her a twoshot lead at the LPGA Tour’s Dana Open in Sylvania, Ohio.

Another 19-year-old, Chinese rookie Ruoning Yin, and Carlota Ciganda of Spain each had a 69 to trail Li entering the weekend.

Li was at 10-under 132.

Defending champion Nasa Hataoka (66) and Lexi Thompson (69) were among those three strokes behind. . . .

Englishman Ross Mcgowan made a 12-foot birdie putt on the last hole to take a one-stroke lead into the weekend at the DP World Tour’s Made in Himmerland event in Farso, Denmark.

Mcgowan, the first-round leader, started his second round also with a birdie on his way to a 6-under 65 and 15-under total of 127. He was one shot clear of compatriot Richard Mansell and Italy’s Francesco Laporta.

CYCLING

After three straight secondplac­e finishes, Danish rider Mads Pedersen won the 13th stage of the Spanish Vuelta, making a late attack to beat Bryan Coquard and Pascal Ackermann at the finish line in Montilla, Spain.

There were no changes at the top of the general classifica­tion as Remco Evenepoel and his challenger­s stayed safely in the peloton. The Belgian has a lead of 2 minutes 41 seconds over threetime defending champion Primoz Roglic.

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