Walker wants to finish career with AtlantaHerschel...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Walker wants to finish career with Atlanta

Herschel Walker finally is ready to go home.

In his first interview since the Minnesota Vikings announced that Walker would not be back with the team this season, the Wrightsville, Ga., native said he wants to strike a deal with the Atlanta Falcons.

"I would love to come home. The people in the South are my people. People from Georgia, no matter what's ever happened, they've held me up," Walker told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "To play in Atlanta, that would be great for me. I'd absolutely love it."

Falcons and Vikings officials began discussing a possible trade involving Walker in January. Talks have continued sporadically since, but the Falcons are unwilling to meet Minnesota's asking price of a high-round draft choice. Falcons officials said last week that Walker's age -- he turned 30 last month -- is also a factor.

Skating

Former world champion and Olympic silver medal winner Midori Ito wants to do something with her life now other than figure skate.

That was her explanation for retiring at age 22.

"She said she has reached her limits physically and wants to do other things beside skating," Kenji Sekiya, a spokesman for Prince Hotels, Ito's employer, said. "It is her choice, and we respect her decision."

Ito highlighted her career by completing a triple Axel jump -- 3 1/2 revolutions in the air -- at the Olympics in February.

The triple Axel was the first in the Olympics and the medal the first for an Asian figure skater. A fall kept Ito from beating American Kristi Yamaguchi for the gold.

Tennis

Top seed Steffi Graf and No. 3 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario were tied at 6 in the opening set when rain forced suspension of their semifinal match at the Bausch & Lomb Championships at Amelia Island, Fla.

Officials said Graf and Sanchez will complete their match this morning. They will be followed by the second semifinal, between second-seeded defending champion Gabriela Sabatini and fourth seed Conchita Martinez in a rematch of last week's final at Hilton Head Island.

The final in the $350,000 clay court tournament will be pushed back to later this afternoon, tournament officials said.

* Unseeded Carlos Costa, one of the more impressive players this spring, moved into the finals of the Conde de Godo tournament in Barcelona by defeating Alberto Mancini, 6-3, 6-3.

Costa's opponent in today's title match will be Mangus Gustafsson, a 6-4, 7-5 winner over Sergi Bruguera.

Golf

Mike Donald played an up-and-down round and held a two-stroke lead after the third round of the Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic.

Donald, who had a course-record 62 in the second round at the par-70, 6,280-yard Hattiesburg (Miss.) Country Club, shot 3-under 67. He's at 13-under after three rounds.

A six-birdie, three-bogey round was good enough to keep Donald two strokes in front of Greg Twiggs and Mike Nicolette.

Donald, whose only PGA Tour victory was at the 1989 Anheuser Busch Golf Classic, plays today for the $54,000 first prize.

College basketball

Mike Jarvis left his interview for the Villanova head basketball coaching job without an offer, but with decisions to make anyway.

"It's a great job, there's no question about that," the George Washington coach said after his interview Friday. "Whether it's the right job for me is something I'm just going to have to go home and weigh. And I'm sure Villanova will want to do that same thing."

Jarvis was the second prospect to interview for the job since Xavier's Pete Gillen withdrew from contention earlier in the week. Penn State coach Bruce Parkhill interviewed Thursday. Villanova athletic director Ted Aceto also met with Fordham coach Nick Macarchuk, and he has interviews planned with Manhattan's Steve Lappas and Vanderbilt's Eddie Fogler.

Soccer

FIFA president Joao Havelange said he believes South Africa will be readmitted to international soccer this summer. FIFA expelled South Africa in 1976 because of of apartheid, barring the country from all international soccer.

"However, after 16 years, things have changed and South Africa can now come back to FIFA on condition that this country respects the FIFA statutes," Havelange said after arriving in Johannesburg to evaluate reforms.

* Republic of Ireland defender David O'Leary was scratched from his English soccer team's lineup after receiving a death threat said to be from an Irish terrorist group.

O'Leary was to play for league champion Arsenal against Crystal Palace, but manager George Graham decided not to take any chances.

Irish and British police were reported to be taking the threat from the Irish Peoples' Liberation Organisation seriously after it was delivered to O'Leary, an Irish newspaper and the Football Association of Ireland.

The IPLO is opposed to British rule of northern Ireland, and is believed responsible for several killings and bombings.

Boxing

Still perfect after his 80th career victory, Julio Cesar Chavez is thinking about No. 81.

Step right up, Hector "Macho" Camacho. It's your turn.

Chavez defended his World Boxing Council junior welterweight title Friday night in Mexico City, knocking out Angel Hernandez of Puerto Rico in the fifth round.

Then he turned his attention to Camacho and his next defense next September.

"I hope Macho stops running away from me now," Chavez said.

The knockout was the 69th of Chavez' career and ended a 36-fight winning streak for the previously-undefeated Hernandez.

In other title fights, Edwin Rosario of Puerto Rico lost his World Boxing Association junior welterweight title. He was knocked out less than two minutes into the first round by Akinobu Hiranaka of Japan, and Julian Jackson of the Virgin Islands retained his WBC middleweight title with a fifth-round knockout of American Ron Collins.

Foreman wins decision, but is bruised, battered

Father Time nearly caught up with George Foreman last night.

Bruised and battered, blood flowing from his nose and mouth, Foreman looked every bit his 43 years as he barely escaped a brutal slugfest to capture a narrow 10-round majority decision over unheralded Alex Stewart in Las Vegas.

Although he knocked Stewart down twice early in the fight, it was Foreman who looked like the loser as the fight ended, with both eyes nearly swollen shut and his face a misshapen mess from taking Stewart's punches.

"I didn't want to hurt the kid and now the kid hurt me," Foreman said. "I could see but it was like watching 'Tales of the Crypt.' "

Foreman, going the distance for only the third time since beginning his comeback five years ago, dominated the first few rounds and seemed on the verge of ending the fight after knocking Stewart down twice in the second round.

But Stewart began using his superior quickness in the middle rounds and soon Foreman found himself taking more punches than he was throwing as first his right eye and then his left began swelling shut.

By the seventh round, the fight had turned, and Stewart was landing almost at will on the advancing Foreman, whose stiff left jab of the early rounds had escaped him and who was tiring badly.

After rallying in the eighth round, Foreman looked like an old fighter in the ninth as his right cheek puffed out at an odd angle as if his jaw was broken and blood began spurting from his nose and flowing into his open mouth.

Foreman came back to win the 10th round on two of the three ringside score cards, but a point deduction for a low blow nearly cost him the fight.

Judges Art Lurie and Dalby Shirley both had Foreman winning 94-93, while Patricia Jarman had it even at 94-94. The Associated Press had Foreman ahead 96-92.

Foreman (71-3) is 26-1 since beginning his comeback. Foreman weighed 259 pounds and showed a big belly. Stewart was 227.

* James Toney successfully defended his International Boxing Federation middleweight title for the fifth time with a lackluster but unanimous 12-round decision over Glenn Wolfe in Las Vegas.

* Former world champion Virgil Hill (32-1), packing more punch in his right hand, knocked out Lottie Mwale at 1:44 of the fourth round in a light heavyweight bout in Bismarck, N.D.

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