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  • January 18 down the years

Golden Boy remains unbeaten

The sporting events of January 18 down the years
Oscar de la Hoya: A star of the boxing scene © Getty Images
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1997
Two unbeaten champions met in Las Vegas, so something had to go. Six months after his summit meeting with Julio César Chávez (born July 12, 1962), Oscar de la Hoya (February 4, 1973) kept his unbeaten pro record and WBC super-lightweight title with a unanimous decision over former world lightweight champion Miguel Ángel González.

1936
Rudyard Kipling died. At Wimbledon, there's a verse above the players' entrance on Centre Court: 'If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same'. It comes from Kipling's poem 'If...'. He died in the same year that a British player last won the men's singles at Wimbledon before Andy Murray's triumph in 2013.

2009
Ronnie O'Sullivan beat defending champion Mark Selby 10-8 to become Masters champion for the fourth time. He won the event for the first time in 1995, then had to wait ten years to regain it. In that time, Paul Hunter won it three times, the last on February 8, 2004.

1975
The first Masters tournament couldn't have had a more scripted ending. John Spencer beat world champion Ray Reardon 9-8 on a re-spotted black in the last frame. In the first frame, Reardon made 92, the highest break in the tournament. He won the title the following year.

1986
At Murrayfield, Gavin Hastings made his debut for Scotland, and kicked six penalties, enough for an 18-17 win over France, who scored two tries.

1896
Paavo Nurmi (born June 13, 1897) was the great distance runner of the 1920s. But his Finland team-mate Ville Ritola, who was born today, kept him company in many of his big races. While Nurmi was winning five golds at the 1924 Olympics, Ritola was winning six medals. Both are records by track and field athletes at a single Games. Ritola was the iron man of the Games. Four of his medals were gold, two in team races with Nurmi, one in the 10,000 metres (setting a world record in Nurmi's absence), the other in the steeplechase. Nurmi was the only athlete to beat him throughout the Games: Ritola finished second to him in the 5000 metres and the cross-country. Four years later, he lost to Nurmi again in the 10,000 - but outsprinted the great man to win the five. Ritola set two world records at 10,000 and various others indoors.

1964
The last scoreless draw in a major international rugby match - and the last time New Zealand failed to score. The nearest they've come is losing 13-3 at home to South Africa in 1998. In 1964, the All Blacks beat the other three British countries, but Scotland were well worth the draw. New Zealand's giant full-back Don Clarke was reduced to taking a penalty kick from nearly 60 yards. His opposite number Stewart Wilson was man of the match.

1962
When Johnny Caldwell beat French Algerian Alphonse Halimi twice in 1961, he was recognised as world bantamweight champion - but only in Europe. Across the Atlantic, they were regarding Éder Jofre as the real No.1. Unfortunately for Caldwell, he was. Caldwell himself was one of the best little fighters to come out of Belfast, fast and skilful. And he was unbeaten as a pro. But so was Jofre, who was one of the all-time greats, a superb mover, destructive puncher, and avid vegetarian. And his unification fight with Caldwell was staged in his home town of Sao Paulo. Both fighters had trouble making the weight, but that was the least of Johnny's problems. His body punches doubled Jofre up in the fourth, but he was down himself in the fifth, and by the tenth he'd taken so much punishment that his manager jumped into the ring to stop it. Jofre kept the title for the next three years. Caldwell lost two of his next three fights but regained the British title in 1964.

1936
American swimmer Adolf Kiefer set his fourth consecutive world record in the 100 metres backstroke. Partly because of the War, it lasted 13 years. He set his last 200 metre world record on March 4, 1944. If he had to endure jokes about his first name during the War, he must have quite enjoyed it in 1936, when he won the Olympic gold medal in Berlin.

1991
The longest match at the Australian Open. Boris Becker took five hours and eleven minutes to get past unsung Italian Omar Camporese in the third round. He won the fifth set 14-12 and went on to reach the final on January 27.

1976
In a classic Super Bowl, Pittsburgh Steelers retained the trophy by beating Dallas Cowboys 21-17. Two great quarterbacks threw two touchdown passes each, but Roger Staubach's second only reduced the final deficit. Meanwhile one of Terry Bradshaw's throws set up Lynn Swann, who was voted MVP for the 161 yards he made as a wide receiver. The rivalry between the two teams came to a tremendous head on January 21, 1979.

1921
Bruce Woodcock was born. Britain's big heavyweight hope just after the Second World War, he wasn't quite up to the task. When Joe Louis retired, the British Board even set him up with a fight for their ersatz version of the world title, but he lost in four rounds to the average Lee Savold. A few months later, in November 1950, Woodcock lost his British and Commonwealth titles to Jack Gardner and retired.

1964
Virgil Hill was born in Missouri. After winning middleweight silver at the 1984 Olympics, he struck professional gold at light-heavy. He made ten successful defences of the WBA title before losing it to Tommy Hearns (born October 18, 1958) in 1991, then regained it by beating Frank Tate the following year and didn't lose it again until 1997. He became WBA cruiserweight champion in 2000 and retired after losing his last world title fight when he was 43.

1989
Gary Mason won the vacant British heavyweight title by knocking out Hughroy Currie in the fourth round. A knockout puncher, Mason stopped Tyrell Biggs later in the year. Lennox Lewis took his British title (and unbeaten record) in 1991.

1963
The bionic Yuri Zakharevich was born and then reborn. In 1983 he dislocated his elbow while attempting a world record lift. Doctors rebuilt the joint using synthetic tendons. With his own, he'd twice finished second at the European Championships. Armed with his new aids, he won the next five Europeans, the next three world titles, and set three world records in lifting Olympic heavyweight gold in 1988.

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