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Los Angeles Sparks Amanda Zahui B Receives Season Long WNBA Community Assist Award

Los Angeles Sparks center Amanda Zahui B. earned the Season long WNBA Community Assist Award presented by State Farm in recognition of her dedication and commitment to health and wellness, women and girls empowerment and social justice. 

Zahui B. was previously named the May WNBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by State Farm® recipient this season.

Zahui B.’s passion and focus in the community includes the education of young people through reading.  This season, she started a book club with a 14-year-old girls AAU basketball team that focused on reading books written by Black authors and held group meetings on Zoom to read together and discuss the chapters.

Additionally, Zahui B. is passionate about working with the homeless population in Los Angeles, spending time donating and helping in the community, working in soup kitchens, and handing out water and necessities like feminine hygiene products.  Zahui B. is focused on making the LA community a better place by creating a more comfortable environment for the homeless.

“Giving back to the community is a core part of being my authentic self,” said Zahui B.  “I’m passionate about inspiring youth and making the world a better place.  This is just the beginning of the impact I plan to make in Los Angeles, raising awareness about mental health and helping make our community a better place for everyone.”

Highlights of Zahui B.’s efforts in the community are included below:

March 2: As part of her commitment to encouraging reading for youth, Zahui B. read to children at Cortada Elementary School via Zoom.

June 2: Zahui B. joined the Sparks and Anthem Blue Cross for a Healthy Mind and Healthy Body virtual clinic for youth that discussed the importance of mental health. 

June 7: In celebration of WNBA Pride presented by Deloitte, Zahui B. wrote an article for wnba.com on what PRIDE means to her.

June 29: Along with theWNBA, AT&T and Los Angeles Sparks, Zahui B. participated in an interactive Her Time To Play virtual clinic for girls from the Los Angeles Community, which included

a panel discussion exploring challenges that girls and women face in sports and in life.

Aug. 7: As part of WNBA FIT Month presented by Kaiser Permanente, Zahui B. participated in a grocery pop-up in partnership with Goodr at Watts Empowerment Center to help address food insecurity by providing families in need with healthy food options.

Sept. 12: Zahui B. continues to serve as a role model and ally to the LGBTQ+ community and hosted a postgame Q&A with a Queer Field Day group.

The WNBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by State Farm is awarded monthly during the season to the player who best reflects the WNBA’s passion to make a difference in the community.  In recognition of Zahui B.’s commitment to her community, the WNBA and State Farm will donate $25,000 to Brotherhood Crusade.

Please visit wnba.com/statefarmcommunityassist/ for more information on the award and its recipients.

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24-0 Santiago “Somer” Dominguez Returns this Friday to headline RJJ Boxing on UFC FIGHT PASS 52

Undefeated Santiago “Somer” Dominguez (24-0, 18 KOs), arguably Mexico’s No. 1 welterweight fighter, returns to the ring for the first time in 2021 to headline the October 15th  RJJ Boxing on FIGHT PASS® 52, at Auditorio Benito Juarez in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico.

Presented by Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions, in association with De La O Promotions, Kochul Pro and World Cup Boxing Series, streaming live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports, starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. To sign up for UFC FIGHT PASS, please visit www.ufcfightpass.com.

The heavyhanded Santiago, who is a former NABF Welterweight Champion, takes on Jesus “Chino” Antonio Rubio (13-4, 7 KOs) in the 10-round main event.

Santiago hasn’t fought since last December 10th, when he won a 10-round split decision over Ricardo Lara (22-8). “My body just needed a break,” Dominguez explained his 10-month inactive stretch. “I fought five times in 2019, four in 2020, and won the NABF welterweight title in the process. I’m ready physically, mentally, and spiritually.”

Rubio represents the toughest test of Dominguez’ 7-year pro career based on him challenging Alberto Puello (18-0) in his most recent fight, albeit in a loss by 12-round decision, for the vacant WBA Interim World Super Lightweight Championship. An 8-round win by decision against Sonny Fredrickson in his previous fight set-up Rubio’s title shot.

“I know he (Rubio) is a very good boxer,” Dominguez spoke about his opponent. “He defeated an American (Fredrickson) foe who was 21-3 at the time. He just fought for the world title. I expect him to come in shape and with a will to win. This will be a fight! I will make it a fight whether or not my opponent wants one or not.”

“I know that eventually these big names will have to fight me. If all goes well (versus Rubio), I hope to get back into the WBC’s top 15 rankings, and have an opportunity to fight guys like Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia, Amir Khan, and other great former world champions. I want to earn my world title opportunity and a victory over one of these great fighters will do just that for me.”

In the 10-round co-feature, former WBC Youth Silver Featherweight Champion Jose “El Sugar” Eduardo Nunez (21-1, 21 KOs) meets Osvaldo “Catotas” Maldonado (10-1, 5 KOs). One of the best kept secrets in boxing, Nunez has 21 knockouts in 21 victories but, Maldonado has the same style as the only fighter to defeat Nunez, Hiram Gallardo, who won a 6-round decision in 2018.

Lightweights Jose “Cheche Choryboy” Valenzuela (9-3, 3 KOs) and Jose Luis Vazquez (12-2, 5 KOs) are matched in an intra-state battle for Sinaloa bragging rights in an 8-rounder. Valenzuela is from Los Mochis, Vazquez lives in Culiacan.

In the RJJ Boxing on UFC FIGHT PASS opener, Mexican featherweights Nazario Castro (6-2, 3 KOs) squares off with Enrique Mejia Morales (3-1, 0 KOs) in a 6-round fight.

INFORMATION:

Websites:  http://www.RoyJonesJrBoxing.comwww.ufcfightpass.com

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Framingham super middleweight Kevin “Lucky” Lewis making Pro debut & likely boxing history

Hometown favorite Kevin Lewis will make his professional debut in a 4-round bout against fellow Framingham resident, super middleweight Saul “The Spider” Almeida (0-14-4), one of the top MMA fighters in New England, this Saturday night in the first professional boxing show ever held in Framingham, Massachusetts.

“Fight Night in Framingham” card, presented by Shearns Boxing Promotions, will benefit the “Fighting Life” program, at Sheraton Hotel in Framingham, Massachusetts[BT1] . “Fighting Life” is an after-school youth boxing program and academic empowerment program, available 100-percent free of charge to students beginning in elementary school through high school education.

High Octane Classics is the presenting sponsor. Other sponsors include Platts Landscaping and Shamrock Sports.

The 39-year-old Lewis may be making his pro debut, but he’s sparred in what may be a record 299 different gyms from around the world, Massachusetts to California, and including the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Alaska, Nevada, and so many more states.

A reformed drug and alcohol substance abuser, Lewis started his gym journey five years as part of his new lifestyle. A week after his pro debut, Lewis will be traveling to Ireland, where he plans to hit the magical 300-mark gyms where he’s sparred.

“Twenty years ago,” Lewis said, “I started boxing and today I’m certified a personal trainer. I was born in Marshfield, moved to Reno chasing a dream, and to Framingham six years ago. I have the record (299 gyms sparred in), but there’s no record keeper for this. I did it for the love of the sport and this has become a passion for me. I’m happy and clean.”

“I’m taking this one step at a time. I wanted to give it a shot, because I felt that it’s only right that I turn pro, if I’m training fighters to go pro. This may be just one time, or I could have a few more fights. Let’s see how it goes. I’m going through this process and have learned that it’s a business. My goal is to own my own gym.”

Marlboro (MA) super lightweight Nelson “Chino” Perez (3-0, 2 KOs), another past New England Golden Gloves champion and “Fighting Life” program graduate, headlines against Ryan Venable (2-6) in the 6-round main event.

Undefeated Florida-based super welterweight Josniel “TG” Castro (5-0, 3 KOs), a Puerto Rico native who grew up in Massachusetts, faces Las Vegas fighter Rynell Griffin (8-47-2, 2 KOs) In the 6-round co-featured event.

A 3-time New England Golden Gloves champion, as well as a 2015 USA Nationals silver medalist, New Haven super middleweight Elvis Figueroa (7-0, 4 KOs) will fight for the first time in more than two years, against veteran Dallas fighter Larry “Slo Mo” Smith (12-49-2, 8 KOs), in a 6-round bout.

Figueroa’s stablemate, Felix Parrilla, a 4-time New England Golden Gloves champion in addition to being the 2018 National Golden Gloves silver medalist, who will make his pro debut in a 4-round fight versus Sidell Blocker (1-11-1).

Also fighting on the undercard in 4-round bouts is pro-debuting heavyweight Sean Evans, of Shrewsbury, MA, vs. pro-debuting Levi Guimareas, and Philadelphia welterweight Jeffrey Torres (7-1, 3 KOs) vs. Framingham’s Jader Alves de Oliveira (0-12).

Priced at $75.00 ringside and $60.00 general admission, tickets are available to purchase online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fight-night-in-framingham-tickets-171408807357, at UpperKuts gym, or from any of the local fighters on the card.

Doors open at 6 p.m. PT, first bout at 7:00 p.m.

INFORMATION:  

Facebook.com/ShearnsBoxingPromotions

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Champions Repeat at Red Bull 3X Venice Beach Local Qualifier

 Local teams brought highlights on both ends of the court as the Red Bull 3X USA Basketball Venice Beach Local Qualifier at the iconic Venice Beach courts on Saturday, Oct. 9, in California. The mix of talent included local legends, former college players and domestic and international professionals.

The women’s final pitted 2019 Venice winners LA Premieragainst The UnderratedElite. As the game clock expired, it was LA Premierwho came out on top, defending their title with a final score of 8-5. The repeat women’s roster included Southern Californian’s Jordan AdamsRuth Adams, Brianna Barrett and Tear’a Laudermill.

“It feels great getting this back-to-back win,” said team captain Barrett. “It’s just so nice being back out here. The pandemic has been hard on everybody, but I’m glad we get to hoop in Venice. I love this place.”

On the men’s side, it was a battle between the Red Bull Squad and Los Fearless, with the Red Bull Squad prevailing in the title game with a final score of 15-9. The 2021 winners featured local phenom and 2019 champion Chris “EverybodyHateChriss” Staples, along with Ryan “Hezi God” CarterLarry “Buddha” Boyd and six-foot nine-inch Marcus Bell.

“We had a great group of guys who were hungry and wanted to win, and we made sure to get the job done,” said reigning Venice winner Staples. “This is like my home court. There’s been a lot of epic moments on this court, and it feels good to repeat and remind everyone that I’m still the champion.”

The top two men’s and women’s teams at this qualifier advance to the Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Regional in Oakland, California on Oct. 24. The teams also have a chance to play at the 2022 Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals, which will be used to evaluate talent for USA 3×3 Men’s and Women’s National Teams.

RED BULL 3X VENICE LOCAL QUALIFIER
WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET1. LA Premier  – Brianna Barrett, Ruth Adams, Tear’a Laudermill, Jordan Adams
2. Undrafted Elite – Marissa Mandelove, Jasmine Sauser, Drew Edelman, Stella Gutierrez
MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET1. Red Bull Squad – Chris Staples, Ryan Carter, Larry Boyd, Marcus Bell2. Los Fearless – Chris Tojin, Jaushay Rockett, Joel Brokenbrougn, Eric Williams
For more information, please visit www.redbull.com/3X.

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Washington Spirit Shutout Racing Louisville in 3-0 Rout

The Washington Spirit defeated Racing Louisville FC in its twenty-first match of the 2021 NWSL regular season this evening, 3-0. 

After dominating control of the ball for much of the opening action, the Spirit broke the tie in the 8’. Trinity Rodman roped a pass around a Louisville defender onto the foot of Ashley Hatch who placed the ball past Louisville keeper Michelle Betos to score her eighth goal of the season, a mark that ranks second in the NWSL. 

After the initial goal, the first half of play was characterized by the Spirit’s control of possession and inability to capitalize on scoring chances. Hatch found Tara McKeown on a pass similar to Rodman’s but McKeown was unable to finish. Similarly, Andi Sullivan got a foot on the ball inside of the box but was unable to finish. 

Notable play also came from Kelley O’Hara and Emily Sonnett who anchored the Spirit backline. Despite the lack of flash, these two routinely stifled the Louisville attack and made crisp passes that would later turn into scoring chances. They also captained the Spirit defense that did not surrender a Louisville shot until the 28’. 

To conclude the half, the Spirit laid several more shots on Louisville’s Betos. Rodman nearly found the back of the net in the 31’, and in the 38’, McKeown broke away only to skip a ball wide-left of goal. Only a minute later, Louisville’s Savannah McCaskill was issued a yellow card after a physical exchange that stopped a Spirit breakaway.

The Spirit finished the half with a whopping 265 passes — 78 more than Louisville — on nearly 85% passing accuracy. 

There was no slowing down for the Spirit coming out of halftime, getting back on the scoreboard in the 52’ off a penalty kick. 

Andi Sullivan, who converted a penalty kick in the last home game against KC NWSL, executed again today, nestling the ball into the right corner of the net past Betos who guessed incorrectly. 

Following substitutions in the 60’ and 62’, Louisville showed flashes of success. However, Aubrey Bledsoe stuffed the most threatening Louisville attack, their second shot on goal to that point.

Action peaked in the 79’ when Rodman turned on the jets, beating a misplaced Michelle Betos, who left the box, tapping the ball to Hatch who sent it into the back of the empty net. That goal was Hatch’s ninth goal of the season, tying the league high. 

In the end, Louisville failed to score and the Spirit earned a much-need three points which lifts them back into playoff contention. 

For their next league fixture, the Spirit travel south to face the North Carolina Courage on Wednesday, October 13 at 7:30 pm ET which will be broadcast live on Paramount+ (USA) and Twitch (International).

For more information on the Washington Spirit fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

https://washingtonspirit.com/

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Gotham FC Battles to 3-2 Victory Over Orlando in Crucial Playoff Picture Battle

Gotham FC returned to action on Saturday to take on the Orlando Pride in a crucial playoff race battle at Exploria Stadium. The match was presented by Saker Shoprites. The third and final regular season match-up between the two sides provided fireworks, ending in a 3-2 win for NJ/NY side. The victory brings Gotham FC to 29 points, vaulting them up to 5th place in the NWSL standings.

Gotham FC started the match with energetic pace, garnering positive results early. At the three-minute mark, Caprice Dydasco laid the ball towards Gaëtane Thiney who unleashed a strike from outside the box that found the back of the net. Shortly after, players from both sides paused to come together and lock arms at midfield for the second consecutive game at the six-minute mark in a show of solidarity. Following the pause, Gotham FC and its high press controlled most of the half, with multiple chances coming from a potent counterattack led by Carli Lloyd. Kailen Sheridan was called upon to make a couple of saves, but the Gotham FC back line smothered most of Orlando’s offensive attempts in a great all-around half for the away side.

After the half, Gotham FC came out firing. Gaëtane Thiney powered home a beautiful free kick in the forty-sixth minute for her second goal of the match and season to give Gotham FC the 2-0 lead. With Thiney scoring two of Gotham FC’s biggest goals of the season, the team was buzzing around the pitch. The energetic start led to a beautiful team goal in the 50th minute ending with a strike courtesy of Margaret Purce off an Ifeoma Onumonu assist, putting the away side ahead 3-0.

Orlando dialed up the pressure from there, requiring several Sheridan saves. With Gotham FC on their heels, Orlando finally broke through in the 83rd minute, as Erika Tymrak fired a goal off the hands of Sheridan to make it 3-1. The pace of the match then turned frenetic, as a penalty committed by Estelle Johnson led to a penalty kick for Orlando. Marta converted from the spot in the 89th to make it 3-2, but it would prove to not be enough. Gotham FC held onto the lead to secure the three points and leave Exploria Stadium with a well-deserved victory.

Gotham FC will continue its playoff push next week in a critical matchup with the North Carolina Courage on October 17th. From there the road trip moves to Kansas City before returning to Red Bull Arena for a final clash with Racing Louisville FC on October 31st. Tickets to Carli Lloyd’s final regular season match can be purchased here.

For more information on Gotham FC fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

https://gothamfc.sportngin.com/

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Diana Taurasi Voted by Fans as WNBA’s Greatest Player of All Time

Diana Taurasi. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495Sports

 The WNBA announced recently that Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi has been voted by fans as the league’s greatest of all time (GOAT).  The “Vote for the GOAT” platform was part of the WNBA’s celebration of its landmark 25th season.  

Taurasi was announced as the greatest player in WNBA history today prior to Game 1 of the WNBA Finals 2021 presented by YouTube TV at Footprint Center in Phoenix. 

“Congratulations to Diana Taurasi on being voted as the Greatest WNBA player of all time by the fans who have followed her illustrious career and saw her rise above the rest,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.  “This well-deserved recognition reflects her sustained excellence on the court and her leading role in advancing the WNBA and women’s basketball and being a role model for young athletes everywhere.  The opportunity to honor Dee is yet another special moment in celebration of our historic 25th season.”

Taurasi has etched her name across the WNBA’s record books.  She is the league’s career leader in points, field goals made and three-point field goals made in both the regular season and the playoffs.  Her 14 All-WNBA Team selections are the most in league history, and her 10 WNBA All-Star selections are tied for second place.  

Playing her entire 17-year WNBA career with Phoenix, Taurasi has won three WNBA championships and two WNBA Finals Most Valuable Player awards.  She has also earned one regular-season WNBA MVP award. 

Taurasi was selected by the Mercury with the first overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft.  She has career averages of 19.4 points, 4.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 472 games.  Taurasi has led the WNBA in scoring five times and in assists once.

Fan voting to determine the GOAT was conducted on WNBA.com, the WNBA App and Twitter from Sept. 5-19.  Fans were able to vote for any member of “The W25,” the 25 greatest and most influential players in WNBA history, as selected by a panel of media members and women’s basketball pioneers.      

“The W25,” which was unveiled on Sept. 5, includes 10 current players: Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Elena Delle Donne, Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, Angel McCoughtry, Nneka Ogwumike, Candace Parker, Breanna Stewart and Diana Taurasi.  Fifteen retired players are also among the honorees: Seimone Augustus, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Cynthia Cooper, Yolanda Griffith, Becky Hammon, Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie, Maya Moore, Ticha Penicheiro, Cappie Pondexter, Katie Smith, Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson and Lindsay Whalen.  For more information about “The W25,” visit WNBA.com

For being named the GOAT, Taurasi will receive a one-of-a-kind commemorative trophy, a basketball made of resin and marble, detailed with white mamba scales and inscriptions that recognize her accomplishments. 

More on Taurasi

Named “The GOAT” – the Greatest of All Time – during the league’s 25th season in 2021

Named one of “The W25” during the league’s 25th season in 2021

Named one of the WNBA’s “Top 20@20” during the league’s 20th season in 2016

Named one of the WNBA’s “Top 15 Players” during the league’s 15th season in 2011

Named WNBA All-Decade Team Honorable Mention during the league’s 10th season in 2006

14-time All-WNBA selection 

  • First Team – 2018, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2004
  • Second Team – 2020, 2017, 2016 and 2005

10-time WNBA All-Star selection – 2021, 2018, 2017, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2009, 2007, 2006 and 2005

Five-time WNBA scoring leader – 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2006

Three-time WNBA champion – 2014, 2009 and 2007

Two-time WNBA Finals MVP – 2014 and 2009

WNBA Most Valuable Player – 2009 

WNBA Rookie of the Year – 2005

WNBA assists leader – 2014

Most points in the regular season (9,174) and playoffs (1,397)

For more information on the WNBA fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

https://www.wnba.com/