- January 29 down the years
Tyson floors FrancisThe sporting events of January 29 down the years
Nobody expected Julius Francis to last very long against Mike Tyson in Manchester. Even an Iron Mike who was showing distinct signs of rust. In fact, the Daily Mirror paid for an advert on the soles of Francis' boots! People saw enough of them, too. Tyson knocked him down twice in the first round and three times in the second. Britain's latest horizontal heavyweight took comfort in the biggest paycheck of his career, more than £300,000.
On the same day, Joe Calzaghe faced stiff opposition. Sorry, a stiff in opposition. He kept his WBO super-middleweight title with a unanimous decision against part-time British fireman David Starie. He became a full-time fireman later.
A horrible shock as Austria's Ulrike Maier broke her neck and died during a World Cup skiing race. On exactly the same day three years earlier, she'd retained the super giant slalom title at the World Championships when favourite Petra Kronberger fell thirty metres from the finish, damaging a knee ligament.
The only Cypriot to reach a Grand Slam tennis final. At the Australian Open, unseeded Marcos Baghdatis beat Andy Roddick on his way to meeting Roger Federer. It looked like his run was about to continue when he took the first set and led 2-0 in the second. He was still level at 5-5 before Federer won the next 11 games.
We had a dream final. Andre Agassi won the Australian Open for the first time by beating Pete Sampras. At one set all, Sampras had set point on his serve. Agassi gambled on the direction, hit a passing shot off it, and broke serve to force a tie-break, which he won 8-6. He took the title in four sets.
Sean Kerly was born in Kent. Hockey's fox in the box, he scored 57 goals in 74 matches for Great Britain, including eight at the 1988 Olympics, where his hat-trick beat Australia 3-2 in the semi-final and his goal contributed to the 3-1 win over West Germany in the final. He'd scored seven goals in winning bronze four years earlier, and reached the World Cup Final with England in between. He helped Southgate win the Hockey Association Cup twice.
Greg Louganis was born. After a slow start that wasn't his fault, he became the most successful diver in history. When he was 16, he won silver on the highboard at the 1976 Olympics, behind the great Klaus Dibiasi, who won the event for the third time in a row. The US boycott cost Louganis the 1980 Games, but he made up for lost time in the next two, winning both highboard and springboard in 1984 and 1988. He was world champion five times, including three times on the highboard. But despite all the success, he's more famous for a dive he didn't get right - and its aftermath. During the 1988 Olympics, he hit the back of his head on the springboard and fell flat in the water. It's an old favourite on Olympic programmes. What most people didn't know, including the doctor who stitched his wound, was that Louganis was HIV positive. He didn't come out publicly about being gay until 1994.
On January 30, 1993, Steffi Graf had lost to Monica Seleš in the final of the Australian Open. But then came the knife attack on April 30, and Graf was free to reassert her supremacy over the rest of the opposition. She did that in spades today, winning her fourth Aussie Open by thrashing someone as good and determined as Arantxa Sánchez 6-0 6-2. Before this, Seleš had won the event three years in a row. Graf had won it the three years before that, which says it all.
Julio César Chávez's first defeat as a professional. In 90 pro fights, he'd beaten such top-class boxers as Pernell Whitaker, Hector Camacho, Meldrick Taylor, Roger Mayweather, Rafael 'Bazooka' Limon, Rocky Lockridge, and Greg Haugen. Now, in the 91st, Frankie Randall knocked him down for the first time in his career, and Chávez was penalised a point in the seventh round and again in the eleventh for low blows. He still lost only on a split decision. Four months later, Chávez stopped Randall in the eighth to regain the title.
Ken Buchanan had lost his world lightweight title in dodgy circumstances on June 26 - but he was still the best where he came from. Today he outpointed fellow Scot Jim Watt over 15 rounds to take his British title. Watt became world champion himself in 1979, but he wasn't in that league yet, and Buchanan won despite finishing with a cut by his eye, a bloody nose, and a gash on his cheek. He stormed the last three rounds to take the title.
Best story of the day? Alan Pascoe winning the 400 metres hurdles at the Commonwealth Games. Not so much for the time that justified his move up from the 110 (his 48.83 seconds was a Games record until 1994), more for the aftermath. When Pascoe began his lap of honour, he was confronted by one of the obstacles he'd just jumped over. Now a hurdle is a hurdle is a hurdle, and when you're a hurdler you hurdle hurdles. So he did, even though a) he'd just raced the strength out of his legs, and b) it was facing the other way. He hit it, it hit back, and he ended up with his spine bent across it and the crowd in fits. With a champion's determination, he tried again - and collapsed in another heap. Pascoe cleared the hostile object at the third attempt, but it was a bit late by then. The skin scraped off his back (which made his next hot shower interesting), and the British sports photographers presented him with a framed shot of the incident. Pascoe won two more golds at the European Championships in the summer.
In the same event on the same day in 1990, Kriss Akabusi also showed he'd made the right move, from the 400 meters flat in his case, by winning the gold - but not bettering Pascoe's time. Still in the 400 hurdles in 1990, Sally Gunnell won the event for the first time. And perpetual runner-up Myrtle Augee surprised Judy Oakes by winning the shot putt.
Jack Dempsey knocked out Kid Henry in the first round. Nothing unusual in that. Dempsey was one of the most destructive hitters in heavyweight history, and this was Henry's first pro fight (he fought only two more!). It's in here to illustrate what even the top boxers had to go through to earn a crust in those days. This was Dempsey's fourth fight in a fortnight and fifth in a month. But we have to admit it wasn't all that arduous. This was the third in a run of six bouts he won inside the first round.
New Zealand won the World Cup Sevens title in Argentina. Jonah Lomu scored three of their five tries in the 31-12 win over Australia in the final.
Jody Scheckter was born in South Africa. He won the Formula 1 drivers' Championship in 1979, his first year with Ferrari, who didn't win it again until 2000, by which time Michael Schumacher had arrived. The season after winning the title, Scheckter finished only 19th and retired from Formula 1. He was second in 1977 and won a total of ten Grands Prix.
Johnny Tate was born in Arkansas. At the 1976 Olympics, he was stopped in the first round by the invincible Cuban Teófilo Stevenson (born 29 March 1952) but had gone far enough to win a bronze medal. After turning pro, he won the vacant WBA heavyweight title by beating South African Gerrie Coetzee in 1979, then came within 45 seconds of retaining it against Mike Weaver the following year. The knockout defeat was followed by another against Trevor Berbick, and although he won his next 14 fights, the opposition was negligible. He retired after losing a points decision to Britain's Noel Quarless in 1988. Ten years later, he died of a stroke while driving a truck, after years of cocaine use and imprisonment for theft and assault.
Jack Burke was born in Texas. He won two Majors in one season: the Masters and the USPGA in 1956. He played on every US Ryder Cup team that decade and was non-playing captain in 1973.