• November 6 down the years

Fan Man strikes at Caesars Palace

Evander Holyfield's fight with Riddick Bowe was interrupted by a falling paraglider © Getty Images

In-fight cabaret at Caesars Palace. Evander Holyfield did really well to win his rematch with Riddick Bowe. But the star of the show was the paraglider who dropped in during the seventh round. James Miller was known as the Fan Man. A couple of months later, he was arrested for flying into an NFL game at the Los Angeles Coliseum, then sky-dived into a football match in Bolton. Tonight his parachute got tangled in the lights above the boxing ring, and Miller landed on the ropes, where he was hauled away and beaten so badly by spectators and security men that he ended up in hospital. When he was released, he was charged with dangerous flying! When the fight resumed, Holyfield boxed clever to win a split decision and regain the WBA and IBF heavyweight titles from Bowe, who'd taken them from him the year before. As for James Miller, he suffered a grim and ironic death, hanging himself in 2003 while he was suffering from heart disease and crippling medical bills.

The rugby union World Cup final was a match too much for France. Again. In the inaugural tournament, they'd won a marvellous semi-final against Australia (June 13, 1987) before being strangled by New Zealand ( June 20). This time they took spectacular revenge on the All Blacks ( October 31) but were paid back by Australia in Cardiff. The problem for France was that the Wallabies didn't concede tries. Against the French, against South Africa in the semi-finals, against anybody except the USA, of all people. Faced with a defence like that, French flair didn't come off on a heavy pitch against a team who'd had an extra day's rest. Their big centres were tackled hard, brilliant little wing Christophe Dominici was heavily policed - and France fell foul of South Africa's André Watson, who nearly refereed England out of the next final. When France's captain Raphaël Ibañez asked for an explanation for all the penalties Watson was awarding against them, he didn't get one. So Matt Burke kicked seven penalty goals to four by Christophe Lamaison. France were still only 18-12 down with 14 minutes to go, but then Australia scored their two tries, and Burke's boot made the final score an emphatic 35-12. His 25 points are a record for any World Cup final, and three of his team-mates added winners' medals to the ones they collected in 1991. player of the tournament Tim Horan, substitute Jason Little, and their captain John Eales.

On the same date ten years later, the South Africans played at Leicester's Welford Road ground for the first time. They picked five uncapped players - but Leicester were even further below full strength. They had seven players injured and another five on England duty, and left out World Cup winner Ben Kay just before the game. Then they conceded an early try to Jongi Nokwe. But when Lucas Amorosino went under the posts, Ben Youngs's conversion put Leicester 10-8 ahead, and they went on to win 22-17 with Youngs kicking five penalty goals.

One of the great distance runners won the New York Marathon for a record ninth time. Norway's Grete Waitz set world records the first three years she ran the race, starting in 1978 ( October 22). Later, she won it five times in a row. Today she ran more than three minutes faster than Laura Fogli of Italy. The 1984 Olympic champion, Joan Benoit Samuelson, came third despite suffering cramps and being knocked over by a volunteer with three miles to go!

The men's race was won by Steve Jones of Wales in 2 hours 8 minutes 20 seconds, close to the former world record he'd set in 1984 ( October 21). Like Waitz, he finished more than three minutes clear of a runner stricken by cramp: Italy's Salvatore Bettiol collapsed and had a little lie-down after 24 miles. Jones had come frustratingly close to another world record in 1985 ( October 20).

Damon Hill won an action-packed Japanese Grand Prix © Getty Images

Damon Hill won an eventful Japanese Grand Prix to close to within a point of Michael Schumacher at the top of the drivers' championship. The race was stopped then restarted in such heavy rain that even a top wet-weather driver like Martin Brundle couldn't avoid hitting a marshal, who was lucky to escape with a broken leg. After the race, Hill complained about wages and Williams' lack of belief in his abilities: the team's technical director Patrick Head said that if he were a betting man 'and I had $100,000 dollars, I would put it on Schumacher. But that is not meant to undermine Damon.' So that was alright, then. Schumacher did more than undermine him at the last race of the season.

Americans were losing interest in the Ryder Cup just as the British and Irish were becoming more systematic. For the first time, their team was picked from the top seven places in the European Order of Merit, with three other wildcard places. As a result, they won more points on American soil than ever before - but still lost comfortably. As usual, GB & I trailed after the first day's foursomes - and although they did better in the singles, at one point the Americans led 5-1 in those and eventually retained the Cup 8-4. They had eight major winners in their team of ten players. Britain & Ireland had none. Not a good sign for the 1957 event ( October 5).

Kevin Finnegan regained the British middleweight title by outpointing Tony Sibson. Both of them had won the title by beating Frankie Lucas when Alan Minter vacated it: Sibson earlier in the year, Finnegan in 1977. Finnegan had also won it in 1974 before losing two title fights to Minter. By the time he faced Sibson at the Albert Hall, he was 31, ten years older than the champion and nothing like as powerful. But Finnegan stuck to his strategy of standing his ground even though 'every time he charged forward, it looked as though I was coming up against the Incredible Hulk.' But if Sibson was strong, he was nowhere near as cute, and this was the first time he'd gone 15 rounds. Finnegan did enough with his right hand to earn a points decision and win a Lonsdale Belt outright. In his next fight, he took the vacant European title from French bully boy Gratien Tonna, who'd taken it from him in 1975. Sibson also won the European belt on his way towards Marvin Hagler's world title ( February 11, 1983).

In rugby union, brilliant centre Philippe Sella won his 94th cap to break the world record he'd shared with fellow French star Serge Blanco. But he couldn't stop Australia avenging their defeat in Bordeaux a week earlier. At the time, today's 24-3 win was France's biggest defeat at the Parc des Princes since it was refurbished in the early 1970s. Full-back Marty Roebuck kicked 14 points as well as scoring one of Australia's two tries. Sella went on to win 100 caps and set a final world record of 111 in 1995.

Over in Leeds, 18-year-old Andy Farrell made his international debut in rugby league. A third easy win gave Great Britain their first whitewash over New Zealand since 1951. The GB back row of Farrell, Chris Joynt, and Phil Clarke had an average age of 20 and a storming game, Farrell and Clarke scoring tries in a 29-10 win. Rugby union star Jonathan Davies scored one too, to go with his four goals and drop goal. Farrell went on to play for England in the 2007 rugby union World Cup.

Playing for the Philadelphia Eagles against the Dallas Cowboys, Timmy Brown became the first player to turn two kick-off returns into touchdowns in the same NFL game.