Reuters Sports News Summary

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Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.

Wilder, Fury engage in war of words ahead of rematch

Heavyweights Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury jettisoned their previously cordial tone in favor of a heated and personal exchange in the final news conference before their highly-anticipated rematch on Saturday in Las Vegas. WBC champion Wilder 42-0-1 (41 KO) and lineal heavyweight champion Fury 29-0-1 (20 KO) shoved each other when they took the stage at the MGM Grand on Wednesday before both promising knockouts.

McIlroy shuts door on Premier Golf League

World number one Rory McIlroy has distanced himself from the prospect of taking part in the Premier Golf League (PGL) as he prefers to have autonomy over his career choices. The British-based World Golf Group last month unveiled plans for a global tour it hopes to launch in 2022 that would consist of 18 yearly tournaments -- each with prize money of $10 million -- and feature 48 of the game's top players.

Duplantis fails to break own pole vault world record

Armand Duplantis cleared 6.07 meters with jaw-dropping ease to win an international indoor meeting in Lievin but the Swede could not break his own world record on Wednesday. The 20-year-old failed in three attempts at 6.19 meters, four days after beating his own best mark to set the record at 6.18 meters.

MLBPA says it didn't obstruct Astros probe

The Major League Baseball Players Association disputed commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday evening, saying it did not resist the league's efforts during the MLB's investigation of the Houston Astros' 2017 electronic sign-stealing. "Any suggestion that the Association failed to cooperate with the Commissioner's investigation, obstructed the investigation, or otherwise took positions which led to a stalemate in the investigation is completely untrue," the union said in a statement.

Astros cheating scandal may be good news for MLB, experts say

The Houston Astros' cheating scandal may be hanging over Major League Baseball like a dark cloud but the sign-stealing scheme could actually boost interest in the game rather than turn fans away, experts said on Wednesday. With the 2020 regular season just around the corner, the sense of optimism that usually surrounds Spring Training has been missing as disgruntled players add their voices to the daily chorus of Astros condemnation.

Surfs up, Igarashi riding wave of Olympic opportunity

With a back story ripped from a Hollywood script, crossover charisma and surfing skill that would impress Duke Kahanamoku, Kanoa Igarashi is riding a wave of opportunity that could carry him to Olympic gold and the sport to new heights. A year ago, Igarashi was a talented wave rider competing in a niche sport carving out a decent living on the World Surf League (WSL), but a mostly anonymous figure who most people outside the sport would not recognise if he washed up on their front lawn.

NHL roundup: Crosby’s four points lead Pens into first

Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists, and Bryan Rust added a goal and two assists Tuesday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2. Pittsburgh won its NHL-best 22nd home game and moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division, overtaking an idle Washington Capitals team that had led the division since Oct. 19.

Judge dismisses ex-Knicks star Oakley's lawsuit against Dolan, MSG over ejection from game

A federal judge has dismissed former New York Knicks star Charles Oakley's lawsuit against team owner James Dolan and Madison Square Garden Co stemming from his forcible, televised ejection from a 2017 basketball game. Circuit Judge Richard Sullivan said Oakley, 56, failed to show that the defendants defamed him by falsely branding him an alcoholic and accusing him of assaulting Garden workers at the Feb. 8, 2017, game between the Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers.

Top seed Halep survives Jabeur scare to advance in Dubai

Top seed Simona Halep survived an early scare and saved a match point to beat Tunisia's Ons Jabeur 1-6 6-2 7-6(7) in the last 16 of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday. Romanian Halep, playing her first match since a semi-final exit at the Australian Open, was rusty in the opening set as Jabeur got off to a flier and the Romanian was visibly frustrated.

Ocon predicts lap records in F1 this season

Renault's Esteban Ocon expects lap records to be smashed in Formula One this season after impressive times on the first day of testing in Spain on Wednesday. The Frenchman, a former Force India driver returning after a year spent on the sidelines as Mercedes reserve and test driver, said he had never felt so much grip as he did with the new Renault RS20.