Boxing Underdog Johnson prevails: Glen Johnson, a virtual unknown until knocking out Roy Jones Jr. in September, won a split decision over favored Antonio Tarver last night in...

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Underdog Johnson prevails: Glen Johnson, a virtual unknown until knocking out Roy Jones Jr. in September, won a split decision over favored Antonio Tarver last night in a light-heavyweight bout at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Judges Melvina Lathan and Chuck Giampa each scored the 12-round bout 115-113 in favor of Johnson. Judge Marty Denkin had it 116-112 for Tarver.

Both fighters gave up championships for the fight. The WBC stripped Tarver (22-3) of his belt for not agreeing to fight mandatory challenger Paul Briggs of Australia. Johnson (42-9-2) decided to relinquish the IBF title rather than fight the organization’s top challenger, Rico Hoye.

Tarver, 36, and Johnson, 35, each received a guaranteed $1.05 million. Promoter Joe DeGuardia said Tarver would earn more than another $1 million, based on profits from the event.

Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward of Oakland, Calif., made a successful pro debut on the undercard, stopping Christopher Molina of Odessa, Texas, at 40 seconds of the second round.

Ward, 20, weighed 165 pounds.

Bustos triumphs:
Challenger Isaac Bustos of Mexico defeated Japan’s Eagle Kyowa to capture the WBC strawweight title in Tokyo.

Bustos won when Kyowa was unable to continue because of an injured right shoulder 39 seconds into the fourth round.


Chelsea routs Norwich: Chelsea beat struggling Norwich 4-0 to extend its lead in the English Premier League to six points over Everton.

Damien Duff, Frank Lampard, Arjen Robben and substitute Didier Drogba scored for Chelsea, which has 43 points. Second-place Everton has 38 after a 0-0 tie against Blackburn and U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

Defending champion Arsenal, which visits Portsmouth today, is two points behind Everton and eight behind Chelsea.

Manchester United remained nine points off the lead after a 5-2 victory over Crystal Palace.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, who has missed the last four matches for what at first appeared to be a calf injury, has an injured Achilles tendon and likely will miss another four to six weeks.

In other matches, Jermain Defoe’s three goals led Tottenham past Southampton 5-1 for its fourth straight victory; Birmingham beat last-place West Bromwich Albion 4-0; and Middlesbrough won its sixth straight at home, 3-0 over seventh-place Aston Villa.

Defender Joey Barton gave Manchester City a 1-0 victory at Bolton.

Showdown in Italy ends in tie: Serie A leader Juventus played to a scoreless tie with second-place AC Milan, leaving a four-point difference between the teams heading into a two-week break for Italy’s top league.

AC Milan, which commanded play throughout the much-anticipated match at Turin’s Stadio Delle Alpi, came close when Andriy Shevchenko hit the post in the first half and created several dangerous chances, but failed to break the league’s best defense.


Henin-Hardenne returns to court: Justine Henin-Hardenne, a former No. 1 player in the world, returned to action for the first time since September, losing an exhibition match to Nathalie Dechy 6-2, 7-5 in Charleroi, Belgium.

Henin-Hardenne’s appearance at the Women’s Tennis Trophy tournament marked the start of her preparations for defending the Australian Open title.

The Belgian, who dropped to eighth in the WTA Tour rankings this year, had not played since losing in the fourth round of the U.S. Open. She was sidelined by an energy-sapping virus that weakened her since April and continued to reduce her strength.

“Believe me, I’ve been down. With doubts — lots of doubts,” Henin-Hardenne said.

Despite her medical problems, she won five of the nine official tournaments she entered in a year that included an Olympic gold medal

“Looking back, it wasn’t all that bad,” she said.

Sharapova, charity are winners: Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova helped raise $218,000 for the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund, beating Angela Haynes in an exhibition match in Tampa, Fla.

Sharapova beat Haynes 6-2, 6-1 in the charity match. “I served quite well and I got an advantage from my serve,” Sharapova said.

Haynes replaced Jennifer Capriati, who has a sore right shoulder, in the showcase match at the WTA Tour’s Hurricane Tennis Slam.

Horse racing

Declan’s Moon stays perfect: Unbeaten Declan’s Moon won his fourth straight start, beating Giacomo by a length in the $449,500 Hollywood Futurity at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Declan’s Moon covered 1-1/16 miles in 1 minute, 41-3/5 seconds. The 2-year-old gelding, who is trained by Ron Ellis, paid $4.40 to win in the Grade I race.

Wilko, who won the $1,375,500 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, finished third in the field of seven.

Declan’s Moon improved his chances of winning an Eclipse Award as the top 2-year-old male in North America.

“I’d be devastated if our horse doesn’t win the Eclipse,” said Samantha Siegel, the co-owner of Declan’s Moon with her father, Mace.

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