• November 25 down the years

Hands of Stone meets his match

The sporting events of November 25 down the years
Sugary Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran: Boxing greats © Getty Images

In a famous jaw-dropping finish, Sugar Ray Leonard regained the world title from Roberto Duran. Earlier that year, both all-time greats had gone into their first fight unbeaten. At the end of it, Duran had snaffled Leonard's WBC welterweight belt, using all his streetwise tricks to frustrate a superior boxer. This time Sugar Ray was ready. Keeping the fight at long range, he basically messed Duran around for seven rounds. The macho man wasn't hurt, but his pride couldn't take it any more. In the eighth, he suddenly turned his back on the action and walked to his corner, telling the referee 'no más' (no more). Some called it cowardice, but Duran didn't know the word. This was a champion refusing to take any more humiliation. In its own way, the coolest exit of all. Leonard beat him again, for the super-middleweight title, on December 7, 1989, but this time Duran stayed the course, losing on points.

When Scotsman Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz of Spain crashed out of the Rally of Great Britain, Britain's Richard Burns won the world title. Four years later to the day, he died of a brain tumour, aged 34.

Joe 'Jaws' Chestnut was born. Is competitive eating a sport? Sure it is. You might even say it reflects the world we live in. In 2007, Chestnut (with a name like that...) won the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, beating six-time defending champion Takeru 'Tsunami' Kobayashi by consuming 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes. This, you'll want to know, was a new world record. The following year, Joe Jaws downed 59 hot dogs (with buns) in ten minutes before beating Kobayashi in a five-dog eat-off. In 2009, he forced Kobayashi into second place yet again, shovelling down a record 68 hot dogs. And buns.

Cornish tasty. The great Bob Fitzsimmons, who was born in Helston, outpointed light-heavyweight champion George Gardner to become the first boxer to win world titles at three different weights. Ruby Robert was 40 at the time, the oldest to win a world title before George Foreman on November 5, 1994.

Daisuke Ohata scored three tries in his last match for Japan, against South Korea, the last of his world record 69 in Test rugby. It was the seventh time he scored three or more tries in an international, another record. He'd scored three on his debut against the same country ten years earlier.

On the same day in 2000, England beat Argentina 19-0. Jason Leonard won his 86th cap, breaking Rory Underwood's England record, and 21-year-old Jonny Wilkinson kicked 14 points to become the youngest player to reach 300 in international rugby.

In Streatham, welterweight Jane Couch stopped Simona Lukic, an overmatched 18-year-old German, in the second round to win the first women's boxing match to be officially sanctioned in Britain. It took three years of legal to-and-fro for the fight to be staged. The British Board of Control had refused Couch a licence purely because she was female. PMT, they argued, made women too unstable to punch people for a living.

Australia's rugby league captain Darren Lockyer scored a 'golden point' try in extra time to win the Tri-Nations final 16-12 against New Zealand, who thrashed them in the previous year's decider (November 26). New Zealand captain Darren Wiki won his 55th and last cap, the record for any country.

Dickie Jeeps was born. A scrum-half who was picked by the Lions before he'd played for his country, he was one of the best England ever had, quick with a pass and brave as they come. In 1957 he helped them win their only Grand Slam between 1928 and 1980, and he played in 13 Tests for the Lions, including memorable series in South Africa 1955 and New Zealand 1959.

Kenya's first Commonwealth Games gold medal - not in distance running but the 100 yards, won by Seraphino Antao, who beat joint world record holder Harry Jerome of Canada. Four days later, Antao won the 200 metres.

Former world heavyweight champion Jack Johnson fought twice on the same day. He beat Topeka Jack Johnson on points in four rounds and knocked out Frank Owens in the sixth - in Leavenworth Prison, Kansas. Sent there by an all-white jury for transporting a white woman 'across a state line for immoral purposes', he was released the following year.

Australia retained the rugby league World Cup by beating New Zealand 44-12, setting records for most points and tries (seven) in a final. Wendell Sailor scored two tries and Mat Rogers kicked six goals; both played in the 2003 rugby union World Cup Final on November 22, 2003. One of New Zealand's tries was scored by Lesley Vainikolo, who later played rugby union for England. Rogers's dad Steve scored two tries in the 1975 Final.

Joe DiMaggio was born Giuseppe DiMaggio in California. One of the great baseball icons, he's mentioned in a Simon & Garfunkel song and had the less dubious honour of marrying Marilyn Monroe. They didn't stay together long, but Joe laid red roses on her grave three times a week, refused to make capital out of their relationship, and never remarried. His 56-game hitting streak (see July 16, 1941) is one of those records that does not look like being beaten.

Like father, not like son. Joe Frazier was heavyweight champion of the world, his son Marvis wasn't quite. On this day, Larry Holmes stopped him in the first round of a title defence. The only other fight Frazier junior lost as a pro was also in one round, to Mike Tyson in 1986.

DeHart Hubbard was born. The first black track and field athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event, the 1924 long jump, he set a world record the following year.

Anthony Nesty was born. When he won the 100 metres butterfly in 1988, beating hot favourite Matt Biondi by 0.01 of a second, he became the first Olympic medallist from Surinam. He was world champion in the same event in 1991.

The USA, with a naturalised Monica Seleš on board, won the Fed Cup final 5-0 against a strong Spain team of Conchita Martínez and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario.

The great Joe Gans was born. Still arguably the best lightweight boxer who ever lived, he's famous for one fight in particular, when he met Oscar Battling Nelson in 1906. Long-limbed and supple, Gans did all the boxing and moving, Nelson all the holding and fouling. Eventually the referee did what he should have done sooner, and Nelson was disqualified - in the 42nd round. By the time the old master lost to Nelson twice in 1908, he was probably already suffering from the TB that killed him two years later.

Welcome to Test cricket, Michael Vaughan. On his debut in Johannesburg, he came to the wicket with the score two for two, which soon turned into four wickets for two runs, England's worst ever start to a match, as Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock tore through the top order. Vaughan showed signs of things to come by surviving for two hours and making 33 runs, but South Africa won by an innings. Captaining a team that regained the Ashes seemed a long way off. September 12, 2005, in fact.

When you're a maharajah, you can do things poor people can't. Like make your debut in high-level cricket. At the untouchable, self-indulgent age of 72, Raja Maharaj Singh captained the Bombay Governor's team against a Commonwealth XI. The oldest cricketer to appear in a first-class match, he made four runs before being dismissed by Jim Laker. He didn't bat second time round as the Governor's XI were all out for 108 and lost by an innings.

Andy Flower hit the highest ever Test score by a wicketkeeper: 232 not out to save a match against India in Nagpur after Zimbabwe had been forced to follow on. His brother Grant made 106 in the first innings.

Imran Khan was born. A cricketer born to the purple, it took him a while to realise he was a fast bowler rather than a medium-pacer. Once he had, he became one of the world's great all-rounders, taking 362 wickets and hitting six centuries in a 20-year Test career. His last international match was the 1992 World Cup final, and of course he made it his, top-scoring with 72 and captaining Pakistan to a narrow win over England. He later became a leading politician.

In Lahore, Abdul Qadir took 9-56, the best ever Test figures by a Pakistani bowler. His 4-45 in the second innings bowled England to an innings defeat.