- December 19 down the years
Naz goes to war with KelleyThe sporting events of December 19 down the years
The patrons of Madison Square Garden had their first look at the unbeaten Naseem Hamed and to begin with, must have wondered what the fuss was about. Kevin Kelley took advantage of some typical hands-down defending to flatten him in the first round. Hamed turned the fight round soon enough, knocking Kelley down in the second then twice in the fourth and final round to keep his WBO featherweight title.
Against the All Blacks in Cardiff, Wales took the lead when Sid Judd went over in a scramble, but conceded a try from a cross-kick and found themselves 8-5 down at half-time. The score stayed the same until seven minutes from the end, when new cap Gwyn Rowlands equalised with a penalty from in front of the posts. Then it was Wales's turn to make something out of a long kick, Clem Thomas picking out Ken Jones, who was fast enough to win an Olympic medal in the sprint relay. Wales won 13-8, their third win in four matches against New Zealand (all at home). They haven't won one since. In 2009 they lost to the All Blacks for the 21st time in a row.
Alberto Tomba was born in Italy. It wasn't just the successes. The three Olympic gold medals and two World Championship titles. It was the flair, the dash, the danger when he came down on those skis. Tomba the Bomba. A typical run, perhaps his greatest ever, brought him only a silver medal, but one to remember. After his first run in the Olympic slalom of 1994, Tomba was in 12th place; his second left him only 0.15 seconds behind the winner. His gold in the 1992 giant slalom made him the first skier to win the same Olympic event twice. He won exactly 50 World Cup races and was overall champion in 1994-95.
When Jake Kilrain met Jem Smith in a boxing ring in France, they fought for 106 rounds. Not quite the record for a fight with gloves (see April 7, 1893), but it might well have been if darkness hadn't come down, whereupon it was declared a draw.
Scotland came from 15-12 down at half-time to beat Australia 24-15 at Murrayfield. Australia scored three tries to one but Scotland captain Andy Irvine kicked five penalty goals. Roger Baird, who made his debut on the wing, played 27 times for Scotland without ever scoring a try, but scored one in his four Tests for the Lions.
Larry Mize won the World Championship in Jamaica, shooting under 70 for each of his four rounds and finishing ten shots ahead of Fred Couples.
Britain's Robin Reid tamely lost his WBC super-middleweight title, back-pedalling to a unanimous points defeat by 38-year-old Thulani 'Sugarboy' Malinga of South Africa, who'd twice been paid to step aside while Reid defended against easier opposition.
India reached the Davis Cup final and did it with two of their most skilful players, Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan. But their opponents Sweden were at home, and Mats Wilander was a class apart. He beat Krishnan in straight sets, Anders Järryd did the same to a desperately lightweight Amritraj, and the Amritraj brothers took only one set in the doubles. India have reached three Davis Cup finals without ever winning the trophy. Krishnan's father had played in the Final on December 28, 1966.
In a rugby union international in Dublin, Ireland and South Africa showed the world how not to take a place kick. Ireland were awarded 13 penalties, the Springboks nine. Between them, they kicked a single goal, by which the Irish led 3-0 at half-time. South Africa's main kicker Gerrie Brand missed three from close range. But he played his usual superb game at full-back, and South Africa scored two second-half ties to win the match 8-3.
In the first world heavyweight title fight between two black boxers, Jack Johnson drew with Jim Johnson (no relation) over ten rounds in Paris. It wasn't the most blood-spattered contest of all time, and the crowd wanted their money back - until a post-fight examination revealed that Jack had retained his title despite a broken bone in his arm. He was that good.
In the Asian Games in Bangkok, a goal by Pakistan's Munawar Zaman was enough to decide the hockey Final against India.
Michael Vaughan became only the seventh player to be given out handled the ball in a Test match.