Today in sports history – 26 March

Today in sports history – 26 March

Gold medallist Roland Schoeman of South Africa poses after receiving his medal in the Men's 50m Butterfly final during the XII FINA World Championships at the Rod Laver Arena on March 26, 2007 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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… 1959 Mushtaq Mohammad, the fourth brother of Pakistan’s five-man Mohammad […]

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…

1959

Mushtaq Mohammad, the fourth brother of Pakistan’s five-man Mohammad cricketing dynasty, becomes the youngest cricketer to play Test cricket – at 15 years and 124 days. Not known as the most gifted of the siblings, Mushtaq eventually became the most prolific stats-wise.

He made 72 first-class centuries and ended with a Test average in excess of 40, just below legendary older brother Hanif. Two years after his debut against the Windies, he became the youngest player to score a Test century in the cauldron that is Delhi against an Indian team that dominated the game.

Mushtaq’s record stood till 1996, when fellow countryman Hasan Raza – 14 years 227 days – eclipsed him. As we’ve learned previously though, never quite trust a Pakistan birth certificate…

1974

A rampant George Foreman, who the previous year clinched both the WBA and WBC heavyweight titles, travels to Caracas to defend his belts against Ken Norton. There was quite a buzz in the build-up as Norton had seriously discomforted Muhammad Ali in two bouts, winning one on split decision. He also memorably broke Ali’s jaw.

But the fight in Venezuela’s capital was a non-starter, Foreman landed a third consecutive knockout win in merely two rounds in a relentless display. Norton was knocked down three times before the referee stopped proceedings. Farcically, the aftermath of the bout was dominated by the Venezuelan government reneging on an agreement that the purse would be tax-free.

Both Foreman and Norton were detained at the airport and ordered to post bonds. Norton did so immediately, but Foreman only got out of the country after five days of negotiations.

1992

“Iron” Mike Tyson is sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for the rape of Desiree Washington, an 18-year-old beauty pageant winner. The legendary heavyweight boxer maintained his innocence throughout his trail, but he was eventually found guilty despite the jury deliberating almost ten hours.

An appeal was dismissed, though he only served three years of his sentence. During his time in prison, Tyson converted to Islam.

2006

Retief Goosen steadily emerges from pretty much nowhere to claim second place in the Players Championship. The only problem was that he was still six shots behind eventual winner Stephen Ames, the Canadian claiming the biggest victory of his career.

2007

South Africa had steadily become more used to success in the pool as the initial success of Penny Heyns in the 1996 Olympics was followed by a fine generation of new male swimmers coming to the fore. Roland Schoeman had spearheaded SA’s charge to gold in the 4×100 freestyle relay in a world record time of 3:13.7. He then claimed the world title in the 50m butterfly a year later in Montreal.

Then, during this relevant year, made more history, becoming the first South African to ever retain a world title by edging out Ian Crocker. He entrenched his national hero status by continually turning down lucrative offers from Qatar to represent the Gulf nation.

2011 

Third time’s the charm for Takalani Ndlovu as he finally wins the IBF super bantamweight title against Canadian Steve Molitor in Nasrec. In 2007, his first shot ended in a majority decision against him in Ontario, before befalling the very same fate at the same venue three years later.

But on home soil, the “Panther” was in compelling form, eventually triumphing via an unanimous decision. It proved to be a bit of a false dawn in the end. Despite retaining his new title later that year in Mexico against Giovanni Caro, he relinquished it against fellow countryman Jeffrey Mathebula in 2012 and never scaled great heights again.

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