Today in sports history – 25 March

Today in sports history – 25 March

Bongani Mwelase. Photo: Getty Images.

Bongani Mwelase has the local boxing scene in raptures as Pakistan’s current prime minister inspires his national greatest sporting achievement.

As sport grinds to a halt all over the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve decided to have a daily look back at those “simpler” times, when there was triumph, drama and disappointment on various fields and arenas.

This is today in sport history…

1889

Johnny Briggs. (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)

Test cricket is played for the first time ever at iconic Newlands, establishing a rich tradition. But South Africa’s maiden experience is one that they’d rather forget. In mitigation, this was only the second time they’d ever played the game at international level.

After conceding 292 in England’s first innings, with opener Bobby Abel making 120, the home side’s batting failed miserably. They were shot out for 47 in the first innings and fared even worse after following-on, slumping to 43. That handed England a victory by an innings and 202 runs within two days.

Johnny Briggs was South Africa’s tormentor, claiming stupendous match figures of 15/28 – 7/17 and 8/11.

1934

Horton Smith winner of the first US Masters in 1934. (Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

The US’ Horton Smith becomes the first winner of The Masters. Smith was widely known as one of the best professional players of his generation.

It was rather fitting that the 20-foot putt he sunk at the 17th during the final round proved decisive in his victory – Smith is thought to have been the first professional ever to study putting as a means to gain a competitive advantage.

1958

Sugar Ray Robinson (R) throws a right to the head of Carmen Basilio during a late round of their middleweight title fight in the Chicago Stadium. Robinson won on a split decision to become the first man in history to win a championship five times.

Sugar Ray Robinson becomes the first boxer in history to win a world title fives times. It was a pretty satisfying experience for the legendary middleweight.

He had lost to arch-rival Carmen Bosilio the previous year in a gruelling 15-round bout, but was handed a fairly quick rematch. There had been a few nerve-wracking moments before the fight, with Robinson having to fast for about 20 hours in order to make weight by a whisker.

But he was clearly up to the challenge and peppered Bosilio, damaging his eye to such an extent that it was swollen shut by the seventh round. Robinson won on points.

1992

Imran Khan leads Pakistan to an inspirational cricket World Cup victory, beating England by 22 runs in the final at the MCG. The then 39-year-old contributed mightily to the effort, scoring an anchoring 72 and fittingly taking the final wicket.

Pakistan’s transformation had been remarkable. They stared early elimination in the face after they collapsed to 74 all out in the group game against the same opponents, only to be saved by rain. That slice of luck clearly inspired a team always known for being mercurial.

2006

Local amateur boxing celebrates as Bongani Mwelase becomes the first black South African to bag a Commonwealth Games medal. He beats India’s Mahimal Viljender on points in the welterweight category. He looked set to make waves at the Beijing Olympics two years later, but rather decided to go professional.

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