Monday, September 29, 2008

Maloney gives Cash Bonus

FRANK MALONEY is set to splash the cash handing a £500 bonus to the 'Boxer of the Night' on each of his shows. The winner will be decided by ringside fans as well as tv fans that will be able to vote by text, logging on to or by posting a coupon from the show's programme. And big-hearted FTM plan a £2000 prize to the victor in their 'Boxer of the Year' competition which will run until the end of the current season in July 2009. Maloney launches his latest brainchild at York Hall, Bethnal Green on October 17 when Ian Napa challenges Carmelo Ballone for the European bantamweight title. Any boxer on the bill can win the money and there of plenty of all action brawlers besides Napa who will fancy topping up their bank balances next month with a knockout performance. Number 3 ranked WBC light-welterweight contender Ajose Olusegun, Graham Earl, Henry Castle and heavyweight rookies Tom Dallas, Larry 'The War Machine' Olubamiwo and David Howe all feature on the star studded night.
Maloney's innovation is another FTM first and he explained: "Boxers always want to earn more money and here is a great chance to top up their purses. "It also involves fans who can help the most impressive boxer get the extra reward he will no doubt richly deserve. "I'm sure it will cause plenty of debate because boxing is such a subjective sport. "York Hall is the spiritual home of British boxing and there couldn't be a better place to launch this new concept." Full rules and conditions for the competition that will become the talk of Brit boxing will be released next month on and the programme at York Hall on October 17. Tickets for the show called 'Dapa Napa' are available from or 0871 226 1508

Munroe is Midlands Star Boxer

RENDALL MUNROE has been voted Midlands Boxer of the Year. The European super-bantamweight champion picked up his gong at a swanky awards ceremony in Birmingham on Saturday night. Munroe (16-1) held off fierce competition beating British middleweight champion Wayne Elcock, Carl Froch and amateur star Frankie Gavin to one of the most prestigious prizes in domestic boxing. Leicester's punching dustman was shocked to receive the award which Froch had won four years running from the Midlands Area Council. He said: "I saw all the boxers at the dinner and the last thing I expected was to win the award. I'm over the moon. "It isn't just for me. My manager Mike Shinfield and trainer Jason Shinfield also deserve recognition for believing in me when others didn't." Area chairman Dave Roden praised Munroe and FTM for bringing boxing back to the region. He said: "It is a credit to our Midlands licence holders that the Area is now well and truly at the forefront of professional boxing in the UK.
"Major promoters are once again showing considerable interest in staging TV events in the area." The working class hero is rapidly becoming one of Britain's most popular fighters and on course to challenge for the world title in 2009. Maloney will also be lobbying for Munroe to be ranked in the WBC top ten when he attends their convention which is being held in China during the first week of November. Munroe added: "People tell me I keep my feet on the floor. Why should I be any different however well my boxing is going? "The turning point was signing with Frank last year. He guaranteed me fights at my natural weight."

Mitchell has the edge over Torrance

England’s Peter Mitchell withstood a strong challenge from Scotland’s Sam Torrance to win his second European Seniors Tour title of the season at the Scottish Seniors Open over the East course at the Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club near Edinburgh. Mitchell, who won his maiden Seniors Tour title at the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open earlier this summer, started the day two shots in front of Torrance but found himself one behind the former Ryder Cup captain at the turn before carding three birdies over the next four holes to open a lead he was never to relinquish. In the end, a three-time European Tour winner from Kent, who carded 12 birdies over his closing 36 holes, posted a nine under par 54-hole aggregate of 207, two shots ahead of Torrance and three in front of first round leader Des Smyth who slipped to a closing 71. The win was Mitchell’s second in his first eight starts as a Senior and the €42,931 (£33,750) first place cheque took his earnings to the season to €185,082 (£145,500). It also moved him up from seventh to fifth on the Order of Merit behind Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer, Gordon J. Brand and Juan Quiros. “It was tough out there today,” said Mitchell. “I started pretty scrappily and then, when Sam got in front, I really had to battle to get back at him. “The last seven holes were pretty hard work,” he added. “But I hung in there and am delighted to win again. “The great thing is that I putted a lot better today and that’s probably the key to the win.” Torrance arrived at Dalmahoy not having won since the Bendinat London Seniors Masters last June but equalled Mitchell’s closing 69 to produce his best performance of the season to date. “I’m disappointed, of course I am,” he said, before departing for St Andrews where he is scheduled to play alongside son, Daniel, in this week’s Dunhill Links Championship. “But the good news is that I played better so I’m looking forward to showing the youngsters on the regular Tour a thing or two.” Earlier in the day, England’s Tommy Horton brought his illustrious European Seniors Tour to an impressive close when he carded a one under par 71 to finish the championship in a share of 19th place on three over par 219. 67 year-old Horton has won a record 23 titles and well over €1.5 million (£1 million) since turning 50 back in 1991 but has decided to call it a day while he remains competitive. “It has been a tough decision but I’m sure it’s the correct one,” said the former Ryder Cup player from Jersey who has claimed 107 top-ten finishes in 240 starts on the Seniors Tour and won the Tour’s Order of Merit title on a record five occasions. “I started to think about it a couple of years ago when I had a bout of ill-health and now it feels as if the time is about right. “I still plan to play my home event in Jersey but for the rest of the time I’ll sit back and watch the younger guys battling it out. “It’s been great fun,” he added. “I’m just grateful to have got a second bite of the cherry.” Carl Mason, the Seniors Tour Order of Merit winner in 2003, ’04 and ’07, led the tributes to Horton. “I think it would be fair to say that we will all miss Tommy,” said the Englishman whose 20 victories put him second behind Horton in the tally of all-time Seniors Tour wins. “He’s been a fantastic player and a great supporter of this Tour. “It’s going to be strange to be out here without him.” Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Tour, also paid tribute to Horton for what he has done for the Tour : “Tommy is our most prolific winner, but on another level, he has also made a huge contribution behind the scenes, both as one of the Tour’s pioneers and as a former Chairman of the Players’ Committee.
“It would be no exaggeration to say that he has played a vital role in our development over the years.”

McIntosh in confident mood for Spartacus

Danny McIntosh is confident he will go on to fight for bigger titles after Saturday’s English Light-Heavyweight Title challenge against Steve Spartacus. The Norwich boxer has won all of his seven fights and will be seeking to keep his home fans happy when he takes on experienced Ipswich warrior Spartacus at the Norfolk Showground in Norwich. McIntosh’s fellow Norwich boxer Jon Thaxton challenges for the European Lightweight Title as top of the bill on ‘Big Fight Live’ on ITV4 promoted by Hennessy Sports. McIntosh believes winning the English Title will launch his career and propel him towards the British and Commonwealth Titles. "It’s excellent news that it’s for the English title because you just look at what has happened to Rendall Munroe recently," he said. "He only became English super-bantamweight champion a year ago and now he is European champion talking about world titles. It can happen that quickly and this can be the start for me. "I’ve got the potential to do that and win titles beyond the English title – this is just the start for me. "I’ve always had the potential but now I just have to let people see what I can do in a title fight. "I took the fight against Joey Vegas at just a week’s notice and I boxed his head off in his own back yard, so that shows I’ve got the potential to do more." McIntosh says there is an extra edge to this English Title showdown with being it an East Anglia derby: Norwich v Ipswich. The 28-year-old, who trains at Brendan Ingle’s gym in Sheffield, has told Ipswich hero Spartacus to expect a hostile reception for their local spat. "Me and Steve have sparred together and he’s a good lad, but he’s my foe at the moment and I’m thinking about doing a number on him," he said. "When the Norwich fans here he is from Ipswich when he is announced to come to the ring, he will get a very hostile reception. "There’s a lot of rivalry between Norwich and Ipswich and football, and boxing is no different. "Norwich and Ipswich don’t get on and he’s going to be getting it on the night. He will have all the Norwich fans giving him grief as well as me in the ring."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ajose Olusegun aims for Boxing Glory

The Kentish Town based Nigerian will box a non-title eight rounder at York Hall, Bethnal Green on Friday October 17. If southpaw Olusegun (24-0) comes through with his record intact he will be on course to meet Thailand's Sirimongkol Singwancha in a world championship eliminator early next year. Ajose, 28 , is currently ranked three in the WBC rankings and Singwancha at number 11. Promoter Frank Maloney said: "We nearly got Singwancha over in the summer, but now the fight can be made. "I will be going to the WBC convention in China in November and I'm confident they will sanction the fight as an eliminator."Ajose will be kept busy and he could even appear on the Ricky Hatton bill in November." Also on the talent stacked York Hall card is lightweight hopeful Liam Shinkwin who showed he was a cut above the rest earlier this month winning his pro debut against Robin Deakin. Shinkwin, 22, sold 400 tickets to customers and friends on his professional debut and hopes to send them home happy once more. Ian Napa tops the bill dubbed 'Dapa Napa' challenging defending champion Carmelo Ballone for the European bantamweight title. Former British and Commonwealth lightweight champion Graham Earl also returns when he faces Henry Castle. Tickets are available from or 0871 226 1508

Spartacus looks to silence McIntosh

Steve Spartacus is looking forward to silencing 'big mouth' Danny McIntosh when the two East Anglia light-heavyweights collide for the English Title at the Norfolk Showground in Norwich on Saturday, 4th October. The Ipswich v Norwich clash is chief support on the 'Let's Be Having You' Hennessy Sports promotion that sees Norwich lightweight Jon Thaxton box Spain's Juan Carlos Diaz Melero for the European Title as top of the bill. ITV4 will screen the action LIVE from 8.45pm. Spartacus is delighted to get the chance to win back the English Title he won five years ago and sees this boxing derby as the perfect way to kick start his career again. Spartacus, who was beaten in a exciting encounter with Tony Oakey for the British Title last year, is also glad to be taking on local rival McIntosh. "I know McIntosh because we sparred with each other a few times a few years ago," said Spartacus. "I do rate him and he's got a lot of talent. He has also got a big head and a big mouth, but I'll be sorting that out on the night. "There's a bit of needle and rivalry between us, but more on his part than mine. I’ve always been ahead of him and never really thought about him as competition until now. "But he has had a couple of good wins recently and he has gone to the top of the pile after Joey Vegas knocked out the Southern Area champion JJ Ojuederie, because McIntosh beat Vegas on points. "It's blinding news the fight will be for the English title and this could get my career right back up there again. There's going to be a lot of interest in the fight on the East Anglia boxing scene."

Oakey in Cleverly's Line of Fire

Boxing-scholar Nathan Cleverly is preparing for his hardest exam yet - a Commonwealth light-heavyweight challenge against former champion Tony Oakey. Cleverly will face Oakey at the Everton Park Sports Centre, Liverpool, on October 10 as he steps up to title level for the first time. Sky Sports will televise the fight live. And after the fight, it will be straight back to the lecture theatre for Cleverly, who is in the third year of a Maths degree at Cardiff University."This is a massive fight for me, but I can't wait to make the step up to title level," said Cleverly, who has only had 12 professional outings and is just 21. "I know Oakey is going to be in my face right from the start, he's that kind of fighter. "People think he is going to be tougher, stronger and better prepared mentally than me, but they are in for a surprise. "I'll match whatever he throws at me, and come back with more - that's a promise. I know this a great stage for me and a chance to prove that I belong at British level." Cleverly was initially due to face British and Commonwealth champion Dean Francis on the card, but Francis pulled out, vacating his Commonwealth belt in the process. And former British, Commonwealth and WBU champion Oakey was quick to step up to the plate as a replacement. "Francis beat Oakey in his last fight, but it was 50-50 and up until it was stopped you could make a case for Oakey winning, so opponent wise, it's just as tough," said Cleverly. "It's a question of youth against experience, and I believe youth will prevail. "Francis is still very much on my agenda as well, and when I've beaten Oakey I'll be going after him." Cleverly made his American debut in Las Vegas earlier this year, and the rangy stylist has been ear-marked for big things ever since he turned professional. And he insists that boxing is his number one choice - despite his academic ability."It's great to have a degree to fall back on, but I've not given much thought to a career outside of boxing," he said. "I want to win this British title, make a few defences and see where I go from there. I know I can be the best light-heavyweight in Britain, now I just have to prove it." The undercard features Liverpool stars Tony Bellew, Joe Selkirk, Steven Smith, Craig Lyon and the pro debut of Liam Smith. Manchester prospects Matthew Hall, Denton Vassell and Anthony Crolla complete the card. Tickets, priced £40 and £60, are available from the Sports Network Box Office on 01992 550 888.

Europe's Famous Five prepare for Portugal

Five of Europe’s Ryder Cup Team will headline the Portugal Masters at the Oceânico Victoria Golf Club on the country’s Algarve coast, from October 16-19. Miguel Angel Jiménez, Robert Karlsson, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood and Oliver Wilson will all tee up in the €3,000,000 event, which will see The European Tour visit Portugal for the third time in 2008. Swede Karlsson and Northern Ireland’s McDowell were two of Europe’s top performers at Valhalla, picking up 2 and 2½ points respectively. Both have won on The European Tour this season, Karlsson lifting the title at the last event prior to The Ryder Cup – the Mercedes-Benz Championship - and McDowell claiming two victories, at the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea and The Barclays Scottish Open. Rising star Wilson showed that he can compete at the very highest level when he and Henrik Stenson defeated Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson in Kentucky, before he valiantly lost to the on-fire Boo Weekley in the singles, and the Portugal Masters offers another opportunity for him to make his winning breakthrough. For Ryder Cup veterans Jiménez and Westwood, the Portugal Masters represents another chance to close the gap on top two Padraig Harrington and Karlsson on The European Tour Order of Merit. Spaniard Jiménez is chasing his third win of the season following his victory at the UBS Hong Kong Open last November and the BMW PGA Championship in May, while Westwood has enjoyed another strong season, highlighted by his third place at the US Open Championship in July. Englishman Westwood will be particularly keen to land victory on the Algarve as he is sponsored by Oceânico, the owners of Victoria Clube de Golfe. He will be joined by fellow Oceânico players Paul Broadhurst, Darren Clarke, David Howell and Paul McGinley in the impressive line-up. England’s Broadhurst has enjoyed plenty of success in Portugal, having won the Estoril Open de Portugal Caixa Geral de Depositos in 2005 and the Algarve Open de Portugal Caixa Geral de Depositos in 2006. Compatriot Howell lost in a three-man play-off to Grégory Bourdy the last time The European Tour visited Portugal for the Estoril Open de Portugal, a tournament where Ireland’s McGinley finished tied seventh, and both will be looking to repeat that sort of form at the Oceânico Victoria Golf Club. So too will Bradley Dredge and Stephen Dodd, who won the WGC – World Cup for Wales at the Arnold Palmer designed Victoria course in 2005. Europe’s Ryder Cup quintet will also be joined in the field by Germany’s Martin Kaymer, who travelled with Nick Faldo’s Team to acquire some vital experience having just missed out on qualifying himself. Kaymer, a two time winner on The European Tour this season, will be bidding for hat-trick of titles following his victories at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in January and the BMW International Open in his homeland in June. Argentine Angel Cabrera, the 2007 US Open Champion, has already confirmed he will tee up at the Oceânico Victoria Clube de Golfe, along with defending champion Steve Webster. The Portugal Masters The Portugal Masters is part of ALLGARVE 2008, a summer programme of world class art, music and sporting events being hosted on Portugal’s south coast and follows two previous European Tour events held in the country this season - the Madeira Islands Open BPI and the Estoril Open de Portugal. Portugal will also host the European Seniors Tour Qualifying School at three separate venues in November

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Battle in East Anglia

Steve Spartacus and Danny McIntosh will dispute the vacant English Light-Heavyweight Title in what promises to be a classic East Anglia derby at the Norfolk Showground in Norwich on Saturday, 4th October. Ipswich warrior Spartacus will be trying to regain the English Title he won five years ago, while Norwich hero McIntosh has built up a seven-fight unbeaten record. The pair will be chief support on the 'Let's Be Having You' Hennessy Sports promotion which will be shown live on ITV4 at 8.45pm with top of the bill being Norwich's Jon Thaxton against Spain's Juan Carlos Diaz Melero for the vacant European Lightweight Title. Promoter Mick Hennessy is expecting McIntosh and Spartacus to produce a thriller with local pride and the national title at stake. "After losing an epic battle for the British Title last year, this is a great chance for Spartacus to get his career back on top," said Hennessy. "Steve is usually in great fights and this is a great one for boxing in East Anglia. It's going to be experience against youth and most people are split as to who they think will win. "Danny has compiled an impressive record and he looked good when he stepped up to beat Joey Vegas and then stopped Nick Okoth earlier this year. "This is Danny's chance to prove he can do things in the sport, but he's up against an absolute warrior in Steve."

Heavyweights collide at the York Hall

HEAVYWEIGHT hitters Tom Dallas and Larry 'The War Machine' Olubamiwo are on a collision course. FTM'S man mountains face selected opposition when they box four-rounders against selected opponents at York Hall, Bethnal Green on Friday October 17. Clapton's Olubamiwo will be making his professional debut after a successful career at the world famous Repton ABC.James Cook MBE will train the prospect who reached the final of the ABA novice senior championship last season. Dallas, a former ABA super-heavyweight champion got his professional career off to a winning start earlier this month outpointing Slovakian Vlado Szabo.Maloney was delighted with the Chatham man's performance and believes there could be a battle against 'The War Machine' in about two years time. "Dallas showed a lot of promise in his first fight and could be the surprise package to emerge in the heavyweight division. "Larry looks just as exciting. He wants to fight and isn't afraid who he is thrown in against." "Someone asked me if I would match them now, which is crazy. Down the line an explosive battle between them is on the cards," warned Frank. Ian Napa tops the bill dubbed 'Dapa Napa' challenging defending champion Carmelo Ballone for the European bantamweight title. Former British and Commonwealth lightweight champion Graham Earl also returns. Tickets are available from or 0871 226 1508

Earl makes ring return against Castle

GRAHAM EARL enters the last chance saloon when he makes his ring return against in-form Henry Castle at York Hall, Bethnal Green on Friday October 17. Although no title is at stake the winner is certain to be in the British lightweight title picture, while the loser may find it tough picking up the pieces. Earl (25-3) had a terrible 2007, losing to Aussie Michael Katsidis in a interim WBO title fight and nine months ago was blown away in 72 seconds by Amir Khan.Luton's ex-British and Commonwealth champion, 30, who has started training boxers insists he was never contemplating retirement despite those setbacks and is feeling fresh for the lay-off. Promoter Frank Maloney who managed Earl until they split in 2006 said: "Earl has asked me to give him an opportunity and I have done that. "I've told him that at this stage of his career he must fight live men. I cannot build him back up with soft touches." Salisbury's Castle (18-4) has won four consecutive fights since losing to Ian Wilson in March 2007 and the 29-year-old showed he will be a lightweight force halting previously unbeaten Lee Cook in his last fight. Maloney added: "Castle will see Graham's recent form and really fancy his chances. He knows impress here and he becomes a live challenger for British champion John Murray." Ian Napa tops the bill dubbed 'Dapa Napa' and challenges defending champion Carmelo Ballone for the European bantamweight title. Tickets are available from or 0871 226 1508

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

World Cup qualification reaches Europe

The quest to qualify for the Omega Mission Hills World Cup moves to Europe this week as the Omega Mission Hills World Cup Qualifier is staged at the Sierra Golf Club, Wejherowo, Poland.
A total of 13 nations, including hosts Poland, will vie for three tickets to the Omega Mission Hills World Cup which will be played from November 27-30 at Mission Hills Golf Club, China. Like the Omega Mission Hills World Cup itself, the first and third rounds of the qualifier will use the fourball better ball format while the second and final rounds will use the more difficult foursomes (alternate shot) format. Canadian Wes Heffernan is hoping to secure his return to Mission Hills this year having partnered Mike Weir in the 2007 edition of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup. Heffernan recalled his first World Cup experience as he prepared to play in the Pro-Am in Poland. “Last year was a new experience for me,” he said. “It was the first time I had played with Mike and I really enjoyed it. The alternate shot format was definitely different. It certainly adds to the pressure as you don’t want to let your partner down, particularly when you have played your way into contention as we did going into the final day.” Heffernan, a regular on the Canadian Tour, will partner Graham DeLaet in the Qualifier. Both players come to the World Cup Qualifier following wins on the Canadian Tour this season and are currently lying in second and fourth place respectively on their home Tour’s Order of Merit. The World Cup Qualifier is Delaet’s first taste of the traditional foursomes and fourball format and he is relishing the challenge. “I’m very excited about being in Poland. This is my first experience of team competition with Wes and the alternate shot format is also new to me. I’m confident that we can do well this week.” When asked about their tactics for the foursomes DaLaet commented: “We haven’t decided our strategy for the foursomes yet but we will look at this in the Pro-Am round today now we have recovered from our jet lag. “ Like Canada, Switzerland are also eager to play their way back into the World Cup. Their last appearance was in Barbados in 2006 when Martin Rominger and Nicolas Sulzer came through qualifying and finished tied 12th. This year Rominger, who plays most of his golf on the Asian Tour, has teamed up with André Bossert. A former European Tour champion now playing on the Challenge Tour and winner of the 2008 MAN NÖ Open, Bossert is a seasoned World Cup campaigner having represented his country seven times. This is the first time that Bossert and Rominger have played together and Rominger is looking forward to a return to team competition. “I love the World Cup format. I played a lot of team competitions as an amateur such as the European and World Championships and I really enjoy team events. It is a great honour to be able to represent your country and I am looking forward to this week.” Rominger had a mixed start to the 2008 season on the Asian Tour but feels confident in his game ahead of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup Qualifier. “I had a so-so start to the season but I have had good results in my last four events in Asia and I have just passed the First Stage of the European Tour Q-School so my game is in pretty good shape at the moment.” Poland’s hopes of qualifying for their first World Cup rest on their leading professionals Jakub Ossowski and Marcin Stelmasiak. Marek Podstolski, President of the Polish PGA, felt optimistic about their chances. “Our players have a good chance this week,” he said. “They know the course, they are used to the climate and they are familiar with the conditions. They are also very good friends which is important in a team format such as the World Cup Qualifier. Marcin has played in the World Cup Qualifier before so his experience should be an advantage.” When asked about how important it is for the development of golf Poland to have the home nation competing in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup Qualifier Mr Podstolski said “this is a great experience both for the players and for all of Polish golf. It is vital that we take advantage of opportunities like this to showcase golf in Poland.” “We have great golf courses in Poland and there are a lot of good golfing destinations that are waiting to be discovered. Sierra Golf Club, our venue this week, is a good example.” “We are thrilled to have three events with The PGA European Tour this year. It is through these Challenge Tour, Seniors Tour and World Cup Qualifier events that we are able to raise the profile of the game in Poland which is important for the long term growth of the professional game”. THE TEAMS: Belgium (G Gresse, L Richard), Canada (W Heffernan and G Delaet), Croatia (D Ljubanovic, M Raic), Czech Republic (J Kucera, O Lebl), Finland (R Kakko, M Korhonen), Greece (G Diakou, T Ginis), Iceland (H Bragson, B Sigurbergsson), Israel (I Cohen, O Geri), Norway (P Nilbrink, K Ree), Poland (J Ossowski, M Stelmasiak), Portugal (R Santos, T Cruz), Slovenia (J Grilc, D Murgelj), (A Bossert, M Rominger).

Mitchell sets sights on Burns

Kevin Mitchell has promised Ricky Burns he will be ringside on Friday night - and says he is more than happy to face the Scotsman if he wins the Commonwealth super-featherweight title. Burns blasted British champ Mitchell and said he would be too scared to watch him challenge for the Commonwealth belt against Osumana Akaba at Bethnal Green's York Hall.Burns also accused Mitchell of running from him instead of accepting a real challenge from the Coatbridge slickster. But today a fired up Mitchell hit back. "Ricky's a funny kid, I'll give him that," said the Dagenham Destroyer. "But he can't crack an egg and if he steps in the ring with me then I'll beat him up good and proper. I'm more than happy to knock him out next up. "Carl Johanneson played with him, and I stopped Johanneson, so what does he think is going to happen when he fights me? It will be like man against boy. "He's a good fighter but he's not in my league, and I'll tell him on Friday because I'll definitely be there." Burns also called out new WBO super-featherweight champion Nicky Cook, and he too will be at historic York Hall to watch the 25-year-old take on Ghanaian toughman Akaba. Meanwhile Mitchell is targetting a return by the end of the year after spending time out of the ring following surgery on his knuckle. "I can't wait to get back into action," said Mitchell, who made a successful American debut in Atlantic City earlier this year. "I've been back in the gym doing shadow boxing and running for a few weeks now, and it's not long before I'm allowed to go full contact. "All this nonsense that Burns has been coming out with has put me in the mood for a proper tear up."

Thaxton's title shot in Norwich

Jon Thaxton is promising to show why he can still become a genuine world title contender when he boxes Juan Carlos Diaz Melero for the vacant European Lightweight Title at Norfolk Showground in Norwich on Saturday, 4th October 2008. The former British champion last fought in a European Title fight and after a courageous effort the Norwich boxer was stopped by a nasty cut over his right eye that needed 12 stitches against world top ten ranked Yuri Romanov (Russia) at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, London. Six months on from his last European challenge, promoter Mick Hennessy has presented Thaxton with another chance to win the coveted crown, this time in his home city and live on ITV4. Melero (36-1, Spain) gave Romanov a scare when he floored the Russian before being stopped himself in the third round two years ago. Jono is aware of Melero's danger but is confident he will have an answer to anything his co-challenger brings and get the win to gatecrash the world title scene next year. "Damn right, I have got a point to prove against Melero," said Thaxton (33-8), who made two defences of his British Title before relinquishing it earlier this year. "I hate getting beaten and am determined to put it right this time in front of my home fans in Norwich and in front of a big TV audience on ITV4. "I got off to a pretty bad start, but by the fourth or fifth rounds I felt like I was coming into my own against Romanov. The corner stopped the fight because of the cut and at the time I was upset about it, but of course it was the right thing to do. "Now I've got a second chance I intend to take it because you don't get many second chances in life. I've left no stone unturned for this fight and that's why I've got the likes of Junior Witter in for sparring. "I've got a point to prove and I will prove it. Forget about last time – I was slow and I had a bad night. But this one will be different. "Melero had Romanov down before Romanov came back to stop him, but Romanov never put me down. Melero is a very capable boxer and he's adaptable, but we've prepared for every situation. The 'Let's Be Having You' show is the first promotion of the new season from Hennessy Sports, whose shows will now be screened by ITV Sport.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Napa aims for a World Title

IAN NAPA has been challenged to prove he is good enough to fight for a version of the world bantamweight championship. Hackney's pocket dynamo and trainer Brian Lawrence have been running up their phone bills begging promoter Frank Maloney to get the 5ft 1in slugger a world title shot. And Maloney has promised to try and answer their pleas if Napa (17-6) can defeat European champion Carmelo Ballone (21-2-1) at York Hall, Bethnal Green on Friday October 17. Provided the British champion beats the Belgian, Maloney will press for Napa to be rated in the WBC top ten at the organisation's convention which will be held in Chengdu, China from November 2-8. Maloney said: "Ian and Brian are badgering me for a world title fight, and this is the chance for him to show his worth. "Right now, he is just outside the top 15 of the WBC rankings. If he defeats Ballone I will push for him at the convention to be put into the top ten and in an elimination series for a crack at champion, Hozumi Hasagawa." Napa, 30, failed in a previous European title tilt against Simone Maludrottu, but has since won a Lonsdale belt and made three successful defences. He said: "This is my second chance of home advantage for the Euro crown and I'll get it right. I've seen a couple tapes of the Ballone and I think I'm too slick.
"Losing is something I cannot think about. There are some good British fighters, but I now believe I am above domestic level. "Time is not on my side and I want to fight at world title level. I know I am good enough. Tickets for 'Dapa Napa' can be obtained from or by calling 0871 226 1508.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Great Britain relegated to Europe/Africa Zone Group I

Great Britain lost its Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Play-off tie, 2-3 against Austria on Sunday, and has been relegated to Europe/Africa Zone Group I for 2009. Sunday’s deciding rubbers saw British No.1 Andy Murray defeat Austrian No.1 Jurgen Melzer 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-1, levelling the tie at 2-2. But, despite making a strong start, British No.2 Alex Bogdanovic was unable to overhaul Austrian No.2 Alexander Peya, falling 6-2 4-6 4-6 2-6. British Davis Cup captain, John Lloyd was understandably disappointed with the loss. “We worked hard to get into the World Group and now we’re out of it,” he said. “Going into this tie I thought we were the marginal favourites but they played a great tie and deserved to win. It is very disappointing. “Getting into the World Group is tough enough, staying there is no easier. I believe Andy can win two singles any time, any place, anywhere, but we need one more rubber to win a tie and we didn’t do that this weekend.” The result sees Austria advance to the elite 16-team World Group in 2009. Meanwhile, the GB Highland Spring Davis Cup team will have to wait until Tuesday, September 23, when the draw for the 2009 competition is made in Madrid, to discover their fate. Teams with them in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I are Belgium, Slovak Rep, Italy, Belarus, Macedonia, Poland, South Africa and the Ukraine. If Britain is seeded, which will be decided according to the ITF’s Davis Cup rankings released on Monday, they will receive a bye into the second round of Europe/Africa Zone Group I and will play from May 8-10, 2009. If the team is unseeded, their first round tie will take place from March 6-8 with the opponent and location being decided at Tuesday’s draw.

Lockerbie takes top spot on the Challenge Tour

England’s Gary Lockerbie secured an immediate return to The European Tour with his first victory as a professional at the Kazakhstan Open, the most lucrative regular event on the Challenge Tour Schedule. After a closing round of 70 at Nurtau Golf Club in Almaty, Kazakhstan, for a 15 under par aggregate total, Lockerbie collected a €68,800 winner’s cheque which propelled him to the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings. The 25 year old is thus assured a place on The 2009 European Tour Schedule, having only lost his playing privileges last year. With the luxury of a three shot cushion coming down the last, Lockerbie could even afford a final hole bogey which did little to dampen his delight. He said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. It was a bit greedy of me to win the biggest cheque of the year, but I’m certainly not complaining! I played well in China last week and finished second, so I’ve really peaked at the right time. Obviously I was desperate to win here this week, but I tried not to think about it too much today. I was pretty nervous on the first tee this morning, but playing with my mate Steven O’Hara helped me to relax. “It was a great feeling to come down the last knowing even a double bogey would be enough to take the title. The goal was always to get my card back for The European Tour, and now I’ve achieved that I’d love to go there as the Number One graduate. It would be some achievement, because two or three weeks ago I was worrying about whether I would make it into the top 20. Now I’ve gone to first in the Rankings, I’d love to stay there. That’s the next target – but first I’m going to enjoy the moment.” Lockerbie’s compatriot Stuart Davis finished two shots back in second after compiling a stunning round of 67 which featured six birdies on the back nine. Italian Alessandro Tadini matched Davis’ round of 67 to finish third on 12 under par alongside O’Hara, who shot a 72. In a share of fifth on ten under par were the English duo of Chris Gane and David Horsey, and Brazil’s Alexandre Rocha.

Froch and Pascal to fight in Nottingham

Two of the world’s hardest hitting super middleweights are set to put their respective unbeaten records on the line in a battle for the division’s most prestigious championship belt as Carl “The Cobra” Froch (23-0, 19 KO’s) squares off against Montreal, Quebec’s Jean Pascal (21-0, 14 KO’s), on December 6th, at the Trent FM Arena, in Froch’s hometown of Nottingham, England, to fill the vacant WBC title The fight is presented by Hennessy Sports, in association with Groupe Yvon Michel, and will be shown live in England on ITV1. “I’m very excited at the prospect of facing a top fighter like Pascal for the WBC belt. It’s something I’ve waited my entire career for,” said Froch, who endured a year of disappointment after potential big-name opponents decided to avoid the Cobra’s bite. “Big credit for Pascal for taking the fight. I’ve had two so-called superstars flat out run from me this year in Joe Calzaghe, and Jermain Taylor. But Jean Pascal stepped up, and on December 6th, you’re going to have two undefeated fighters in their primes fighting for a world title.” “It doesn’t get any better than that.” But despite the frustration of having big fights disappear in front of his eyes, Froch is ready to turn the page on an aggravating chapter in his career, and begin writing a new one inspired by his own triumphs instead of others’ cowardice. “It’s been very frustrating this past year having Inkin pull out twice, Calzaghe continue ducking me, and Taylor opting to fight Jeff Lacy in a potential eliminator rather than fighting me for the full WBC title.” Froch said “There were times when it was really tough getting motivated to get in the gym. Really, what was I training for? But I kept faith in myself, and faith in my promoter, and things eventually worked out in a big way.”
For Pascal, the bout against Froch is not only his first crack at a world title, but also a chance to be the third Quebec fighter in eight years to hold the WBC title at 168 lbs., following in the footsteps of Dave Hilton Jr., and Eric Lucas. “I’m very happy for the chance to fight for a world title, and to bring the WBC title back to its rightful home in Quebec.” “It’s been a while since I last fought, so I’m very excited to be back in action. I’m more motivated than ever, and I’ll do whatever it takes to bring that title back from England.” With two high-octane contenders vying for the WBC crown, Froch’s promoter Mick Hennessy knows his charge will have his hands full against the dangerous and determined Pascal, a gold medallist at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. “I’m so delighted that this fight has being made, and thankful that somebody had the cojones to step up and face Carl Froch,” Hennessy said. “All of the top 168lbs fighters seem to be blatantly avoiding Carl Froch. So fair play to Jean Pascal and Yvon Michel for stepping up to take this fight.” “I saw firsthand in Manchester just how good Jean Pascal is. He’s a very athletic, flashy, fast, powerful, and somewhat awkward fighter. And, you know against Carl he’s going to be more motivated than ever.” Yvon Michel, Pascal’s promoter, believes that Pascal-Froch will mark a focal point in a historic revival of Quebec boxing. This is such a great time for boxing in Quebec. We have fighters defending their world titles, and legitimate contenders like Jean and Hermann Ngoudjo, on the verge of claiming world titles of their own,” Michel said. “By the time this year is done, we’ll be looking at boxing history in the province of Quebec that will be the envy of the rest of the world.” “I also want to thank Mick Hennessy for getting this fight made with us. We had very cordial, fruitful negotiations, and we at GYM are looking forward to a tremendous event on December 6, in Nottingham”. According to Froch’s trainer Robert McCracken, his charge is more than ready to claim a spot on the world boxing stage as a legitimate world champion. “Carl’s been put back a bit a couple of times this year with fights falling through, but he’s always ready for anybody, and any challenge.” Froch’s trainer Robert McCracken said. “I think Carl Froch is the best 12 stone fighter on the planet, and he’ll prove that against Jean Pascal on December 6th."

Burns Calls Out Cook and Mitchell

Scotsman Ricky Burns says he wants East End rivals Nicky Cook and Kevin Mitchell ringside on Friday night at York Hall- if they are brave enough to turn up. Burns, 25, challenges tough Ghanaian Osumana Akaba for the vacant Commonwealth title at the home of boxing in front of the Sky television cameras. And he has his sights firmly set on newly crowned WBO World Super-Featherweight king Cook and British champion Mitchell. "I want Cook to be there so I can call him out after I've beaten Akaba," said Burns. "He said he wants a mandatory defence of his belt, and I'm more than happy to fight any time, anywhere, and I'll tell him that in front of his own fans ringside on Friday night. "Cook might have beaten one Scottish fighter in Alex Arthur to win the world title, but he won't be so lucky second time around." Burns, who lost on points to Arthur in a European, Commonwealth and British title challenge when he was an inexperienced youngster, also wants Mitchell to make the journey to York Hall. "I want to be made mandatory challenger to Mitchell's British title, but I'm not sure he fancies fighting me," said Burns. "I've been waiting for that fight for ages, but I think Mitchell's looking for a couple of soft touches before facing a real threat to his title like me. "I want him ringside on Saturday, but I'm also worried that I might scare him off because I've improved so much in the last 12 months. "If he was worried about fighting me before Friday, he'll be even more concerned after he sees my performance against Akaba." Unbeaten in his last eight fights, Burns has a 23-2 record, and says that he is a far more aggressive fighter under new trainer Billy Nelson. "People are going to see me coming forward a lot more and boxing off the front foot," said Burns. "My power has improved dramatically since I started working with Billy and I'll be aiming for a knockout on Friday night. "I've fought at York Hall twice before and won by knockout both times, so I'll be looking to make it a hat-trick on Friday."

Burns Night at the York Hall

Scottish slickster Ricky Burns will aim to land the Commonwealth super-featherweight title next Friday when he tackles Ghana's Osumana Akaba at the York Hall. Burns, 25, will look to win a title previously held by fellow countryman Alex Arthur - and has promised an explosive display in front of the Sky television cameras. Beaten just twice in 25 fights, the Coatbridge star knows that he will have to be at his best against a man who comes from the boxing hot-bed of Accra."I've been waiting for a championship fight for the last year, and I'm raring to go," said Burns. "I've had a look at Akaba's record and he looks like a really tough opponent, so I know I might have to go into the trenches. "It's every fighter's dream to get a title chance at the home of boxing, and I don't think anyone will go home disappointed with my display. " Only Alex Arthur and Carl Johanneson have got the better of Burns, and he says he has improved dramatically since those two losses, with new trainer Billy Nelson increasing his punching power. "The Arthur and Johanneson fights were great ones to learn from," said Burns. "I'm twice as good as when I lost to Arthur, and I pushed him all the way. "But the man I want is British champion Kevin Mitchell. Once I've got rid of Akaba I'll turn my attention to Mitchell. He's a great fighter but I'll be too quick and skilful for him." Akaba, a 28-year-old southpaw, has stopped eight of his 11 victims, and recently decisioned Brit-slayer Tshifhiwa Munyai in Dagenham, winning over eight.Chief support sees Derek Chisora take on Lee Swaby at heavyweight, while Eddie Corcoran, Grant Skehill, Vinnie Mitchell and Ryan Walsh also feature.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Harrington gets Top Marks

Padraig Harrington’s fantastic 2008 season has continued with news he has been awarded The European Tour Shot of the Month for August. The Irishman, who also won the July award following his victory in The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, took the honours in August too for his superb tee shot at the penultimate hole in the final round of the US PGA Championship at Oakland Hills. Having started the final round three shots off the lead, the superb strike to within eight feet of the pin set up a birdie two which gave Harrington the lead over Sergio Garcia and the impetus to go on, a hole later, to claim his second Major Championship of the season and his third in total. Second place went to Sweden’s Peter Hanson for his precise tee shot on the final hole at Arlandastad Golf which secured victory in the SAS Masters, his second European Tour victory, and one which thrilled the watching Stockholm public. Third place went to Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke for his tee shot on the short 11th hole in the final round of The KLM Open at Kennemer Golf and Country Club. The accurate strike, which very nearly found the bottom of the cup for a hole in one, set up a tap-in birdie two and gave Clarke a four shot lead from where he went on to claim the title. Previous European Tour Shot of the Month winners from 2008 are: South Africa’s Richard Sterne (January), New Zealand’s Mark Brown (February), the Northern Irish duo of Graeme McDowell (March) and Darren Clarke (April), England’s Richard Finch (May), Martin Kaymer of Germany (June) and Harrington (July). The European Tour Shot of the Month Award is presented to the Tour Member for the shot judged to be the most outstanding played during each calendar month on The European Tour International Schedule. The winning shots from each month are entered into The European Tour Shot of the Year Award.

Pairings Decided for Great Britain vs Austria

The order of play for this weekend’s Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie between Great Britain and Austria has been decided with British No.2 Alex Bogdanovic opening proceedings at 11am on Friday against Austrian No.1 Jurgen Melzer in the first singles rubber. Their match will be followed by British No.1 Andy Murray taking on Austrian No.2 Alex Peya. Ross Hutchins and US Open mixed doubles runner-up Jamie Murray will contest Saturday’s doubles rubber, which begins at 1pm, against Melzer and Julian Knowle, ranked No.15 in the world in doubles. Sunday’s action starts at 11am and sees world No.4 Andy Murray take on world No.41 Melzer, the man he defeated in five epic sets in the third round of the US Open, followed by world No.162 Bogdanovic against world No.164 Peya in what could be the tie-decider. Andy Murray, runner-up at the US Open last week, said that he was ready to deal with whatever the Austrian team threw at him in this must-win tie. “I’m confident I’ll be able to handle the pressure,” he said “I don’t think there will be a lot of pressure on me, I treat Davis Cup matches like all my matches.”Jurgen Melzer said that he was looking forward to playing at the All England Club. “If you have to play an away tie, where is better than at Wimbledon,” he said. “This is an unbelievable venue.” British Davis Cup Captain, David Lloyd, said that his team was in good spirits in the lead-up to the tie. “They’ve practiced hard since we arrived and they are all in great form,” he said. “The boys are looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd and everyone is confident that we can win our way back into the World Group for 2009.” The victors in this weekend’s tie will secure promotion to the elite 16-team Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group while the vanquished will be relegated to Euro/Africa Zone Group One.

Froch to appear on ITV1

BRITAIN’S new boxing star CARL FROCH will fight for a world title on prime time ITV1, as part of a new deal announced on 18.09.08 with Hennessy Sports. Froch will meet Canadian star Jean Pascal for the WBC Super middleweight world title in his home city of Nottingham at the Trent FM Arena on December 6, with both men going into the fight unbeaten. The rest of the deal will see Hennessy Sports stage a minimum of 26 promotions for ITV4 over the next two years, featuring European, Commonwealth and British title fights. Mick Hennessy is one of Britain’s top promoters, whose stable includes a host of quality fighters such as Junior Witter, Darren Barker, Jon Thaxton, Wayne Elcock, John Murray, and John O’Donnell. The new boxing deal adds to a growing portfolio of sports on ITV4. The channel is becoming a key destination for sports viewers, with UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, Guinness Premiership Rugby, cycling, top level darts and motor racing. It is available to over 90 percent of the UK population and is the tenth most popular multichannel in the country. Mark Sharman, ITV Director of News and Sport said: “ITV has a great heritage in boxing and we’re delighted to have signed this new deal which secures free-to-air coverage of the sport. Hennessy Sports have a stable of boxers with great prospects and we look forward to watching them develop on ITV4.” Mick Hennessy said: “This deal is great news for British boxing. ITV4 has a fantastic line up of sport and it’ll be a terrific stage for our fighters to showcase their skills. I’ve always enjoyed working with the ITV team and I expect this partnership to deliver some very special events.” Coverage will be simulcast on and video clips of fights will also be available on the site.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wilkins is Chelsea's Assistant First Team Coach

Chelsea FC is delighted to announce the appointment of Ray Wilkins as Assistant First Team Coach. Ray brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise from his time in British and European football and resumes a career with Chelsea that began 35 years ago when he signed as an apprentice. His first team debut came in the same month and Ray went on to become Chelsea’s youngest ever captain at age 18, leading the side back to the First Division at the end of the 1976/77 campaign. Voted Chelsea player of the Year in both 1976 and 1977, Ray amassed 198 appearances and 34 goals in his six years as a player with Chelsea. He returned to us in 1999 in a coaching capacity under Gianluca Vialli helping the club win the FA Cup and Charity Shield in 2000. Ray has remained an important part of Chelsea FC over the years and has undertaken a lot of work in conjunction with the Chelsea Academy. He frequently skippers the Chelsea Old Boys team in their charity matches and is also trustee of the Chelsea Past Players’ Trust which raises funds to support our former players and staff. Ray’s appointment is effective immediately.
Ray Wilkins MBE Qualifications:
UEFA A-Licence
UEFA B-Licence
Management Roles:
Queens Park Rangers FC 1994-1996
Fulham FC 1996-1997
Coaching Roles:
Chelsea FC 1998-2000
Watford FC 2001-2002
Millwall FC 2003-2005
Playing Career:
Chelsea FC 1973-1979
England 1976-1986
Manchester United FC 1979-1984
AC Milan 1984-1987
PSG 1987
Glasgow Rangers 1987-1989
Queens Park Rangers 1989-1994
Crystal Palace

Chisora sharpens tools for Heavyweight Division

Hard-hitting heavyweight hope Derek Chisora has promised to breath new life into the "boring" domestic heavyweight division. 'Del Boy' is out in action again next Friday night at Bethnal Green's York Hall in a 10 round International contest, and his immediate aim is to climb to the top of the British rankings. His big date in front of the Sky television cameras follows an explosive KO win over American Sean McLean in London less than a week ago on Frank Warren's big DebRA charity show. And he reckons that he is the man to inject some interest into a domestic scene that has been dominated by Danny Williams, Matt Skelton, Michael Sprott and Audley Harrison for years. "I watched Audley Harrison's fight against George Arias the other week and it was dire," said 24-year-old Chisora, who lives in Finchley, North London. "The public paid good money to watch him fight and all he did was send them to sleep. "I even dropped off watching the fight at home on television. "In fact, the whole domestic scene has got boring, and I'm the man to turn things around. "People want excitement when they watch boxing, and when they watch heavyweight boxing they want excitement and knock outs, and that is what you are going to get with me. "I can punch, I can fight and I like to entertain, and I'm just what the heavyweights need right now. I promise that I'll make things interesting again." Despite having had just six fights, Chisora is already in the British top 10, mainly thanks to an outstanding win over Sam Sexton earlier this year. That win looks even better following Sexton's victory in last weekend's Prizefighter tournament. "Sexton is a good fighter, but he's not great against someone who can move, and that's why I beat him," said Chisora, who marched to the ABA title in 2005. "I can brawl but I can box as well, and that's why the public will want to watch me." Chisora is already catching the eye of respected boxing writers. The Observer's Kevin Mitchell, who attended the DebRA show and watched Chisora in action, said in his column last Sunday: "If you want to keep an eye out for an exciting prospect in the heavyweight division, you could do worse than follow the fortunes of Derek 'Del Boy' Chisora, of Finchley, the former ABA Champion who took his pro career record to six straight wins by accounting for a tall American called Sean McLean." "It's great that the media are starting to recognise me, " He added. "It gives me a big boost when I read something like that but I know it only takes one punch to wreck my dreams so I just try to keep focused, train hard and keep my feet on the ground."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

World Cup Pairings for Mission Hills

The 18 exempt nations that will contest the 2008 Omega Mission Hills World Cup have been revealed with Scotland, represented by Alastair Forysth and Colin Montgomerie, set to defend the title. Scotland will seek to win back-to-back titles at Mission Hills Golf Club, China, from November 27-30 with Montgomerie looking to retain the trophy he and Marc Warren claimed in 2007 after defeating the USA in a play-off. Scotland have a strong record in the World Cup, having narrowly missed out on the title in 2006 when they lost to Germany in a play-off but they will face some stiff competition this year on their return to the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China. Montgomerie said: “I am really looking forward to being part of the team to defend Scotland’s World Cup title. Alastair will be a great partner and I really hope we can enjoy the success that Marc Warren and I enjoyed last year. I thoroughly enjoy matchplay so will be looking forward to the week very much.” Sweden is the highest ranked nation in the field, represented by World Number Seven Henrik Stenson, who will be partnered by World Number 17 Robert Karlsson, winner of last week’s Mercedes-Benz Championship. England, with Ian Poulter the seeded player partnering Ross Fisher, will also be among the favourites. Spain will look to claim a first victory since 1984, led by Miguel Angel Jiménez alongside Pablo Larrazabal, while five times winners South Africa will look to seal a third victory since the turn of the millennium, represented by Rory Sabbatini and Richard Sterne. Ireland, who first won the World Cup 50 years ago, will bid for a first win since 1997, with Graeme McDowell and Paul McGinley forming their team. Germany, twice winners of the tournament, will attempt to win a third World Cup with Martin Kaymer teaming up with Alex Cejka , while 2005 winners Wales will also try to seal a third win, represented by Bradley Dredge and Richard Johnson. Four times winner s Australia, represented by Richard Green and Brendan Jones, will also head to China, as will Taiwan, winners in 1972, and Japan, the 2002 champions, while the USA will be attempting to win for the 24th time. The nations looking for their first World Cup win are Chile, Denmark, for whom Ryder Cup player Søren Hansen will lead the challenge with Anders Hansen, France, represented by European Tour Champions Grégory Bourdy and Grégory Havret, India, New Zealand and Thailand. China has also qualified automatically as host nation and will join the 18 exempt nations which are: Australia (Richard Green, Brendan Jones) Chile (Felipe Aquilar, Mark Tullo) Denmark (Søren Hansen, Anders Hansen) England (Ian Poulter, Ross Fisher)France (Gregory Havret, Gregory Bourdy) Germany (Martin Kaymer, Alex Cejka) India
(Jeev M Singh, Jyoti Randhawa) Ireland (Graeme McDowell, Paul McGinley) Japan (Ryuji Imada, Toru Taniguchi) New Zealand (Mark Brown, David Smail) Scotland (Alastair Forysth, Colin Montgomerie) South Africa (Rory Sabbatini, Richard Sterne) Spain (Miguel Angel Jiménez, Pablo Larrazabal) Sweden (Henrik Stenson, Robert Karlsson) Taiwan (Wen-Tang Lin, Wen-Teh Lu) Thailand (Prayad Marksaeng, Thongchai Jaidee) USA (TBC) Wales (Bradley Dredge, Richard Johnson) The remaining nine nations will be determined at qualifiers in Europe, Asia and South America. The Fortis International Challenge takes place this week at the Kota Permai Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from September 18-21; and then in Europe – at the Sierra Golf Club in Pętkowice, Poland, from September 25-28. The South American qualifier then takes place at the Caracas Country Club in Venezuela when the Marriott Venezuela Playa Grande Nations Cup which will take place from October 7-10. The 2007 Omega Mission Hills World Cup launched a new and exciting era in the history of the championship first played in 1953 as the Canada Cup. The championship is set to continue through 2018, and most probably beyond, at Mission Hills following the signing of an agreement in January 2007 which brought the prestige watch manufacturer Omega together with the Club which introduced the game of golf to China by first hosting the World Cup in 1995. John Jay Hopkins, the noted Canadian industrialist, brought to reality a dream that golf could promote goodwill between nations with the inaugural World Cup played in Montreal in 1953 then called the Canada Cup and re-titled The World Cup in 1967. The International Federation of PGA Tours will, as custodians, oversee the 54th edition of the event.

Robinson joins Help for Heroes Rugby Match

Jason ‘Billy Whizz’ Robinson OBE is the latest legend to confirm his place in the Help for Heroes XV. The England, Sale Sharks and British & Irish Lions speedster has announced today that he is temporarily coming out of retirement to play in the Help for Heroes Challenge match on Saturday, September 20 at Twickenham Stadium. Kick off 2.30pm. Robinson who played 51 times for England and was part of the RWC 2003 winning squad said today “I got a call from the Help for Heroes XV manager, Phil de Glanville on Saturday and really how could I say no? “On the same day I heard the sad news about a soldier losing his life who lived near to me and it has made me even more determined to do all I can to help. “A lot of people talk about international and club players putting their bodies on the line but you can’t compare that with our soldiers and what they do on behalf of their country. “I’m really looking forward to Saturday and I would encourage as many people as possible to buy tickets and support a superb cause.” The Help for Heroes XV will feature Captain Lawrence Dallaglio, Martin Johnson, Dan Luger, Richard Hill, Mark Regan and Will Greenwood with an International XV led by Scott Gibbs including Jeremy Paul, Kenny Logan, Colin Charvis, Dave Hilton, Zak Feaunati and Jonah Lomu. All the money raised from the game will go directly to the Help for Heroes fund to support the rehabilitation of wounded service personnel who have served their country in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tickets for the Help for Heroes Challenge match are available from Ticketmaster by calling 0844 847 2492 or and are priced from £20 for adults and £10 for juniors. A family ticket for two adults and two juniors costs £50.00. Help for Heroes is supported by Investec, Lord Ashcroft and Nintendo.

Maybin's magical moment in China

A wire-to-wire victory at the inaugural Qingdao Golf Open – the first of his European Challenge Tour career – provided Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin with the perfect present on his 28th birthday. Maybin never looked back after compiling a stunning round of 62 on the opening day in Qingdao, China, and closed with a round of 68 to finish on 19 under par, six shots clear of his nearest rivals. The Ulsterman’s mastery of the course at Qingdao Huashan Golf & Resort was such that he only dropped two shots over the four rounds, and birdied every hole except the part three second and 17th. More importantly, the €56,049 Maybin collected moved him to the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings, and guaranteed him full playing privileges on The 2009 European Tour International Schedule. He said: “What a birthday – I’ll remember this one for a while. From tee to green, I played as well as I’ve ever played this week. My concentration and mental strength were also spot on. I was so focused on what I was doing, I didn’t really allow myself to think about winning until the 18th tee. I’m so delighted to have shot 19 under par, and ecstatic to have this trophy on my lap. The winner’s cheque will also come in handy, because I recently bought my first house in Belfast. “But the most important thing is that I’ve guaranteed my European Tour card for next season, and I’m just itching to get out there now. You want to test yourself against the best in whatever sport you play. Damien McGrane and Darren Clarke have also won in China this year, so it’s obviously a happy hunting ground for the Irish. I’m sure I’ll have a few beers later, but the real celebrations will have to wait until after Kazakhstan next week.” Having held a four shot overnight lead, Maybin extended his advantage with three birdies on the front nine and, though he dropped a shot on the 14th, he immediately recovered with a birdie on the next hole to effectively seal victory. Six shots back in a tie for second on 13 under par were Sweden’s Klas Eriksson, the English duo of David Horsey and Gary Lockerbie, Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and Austria’s Roland Steiner.

Cabrera adds weight to Portugal Masters

Angel Cabrera will bring his formidable powers to the 2008 Portugal Masters at the Oceânico Victoria Clube de Golfe on Portugal’s Algarve coast, from October 16-19. Cabrera, the 2007 US Open Champion, has confirmed his participation in the €3,000,000 event, where England’s Steve Webster will defend the title. He may not have played in last year’s inaugural Portugal Masters, but Cabrera does boast an intimate knowledge of the Oceânico Victoria Clube de Golfe, having helped Argentina to a sixth place finish over the stunning championship lay-out at the 2005 World Cup. Cabrera and his partner Ricardo Gonzalez combined to produce a quite brilliant foursomes score of 11 under par 61 in the second round, and the big-hitting Argentine will aim to repeat that kind of performance in front of the Portuguese public in October. Cabrera became the first Argentine winner of the US Open when he lifted the trophy at Oakmont Country Club last year after holding off the challenges of World Number One Tiger Woods and the 2003 US Open Champion Jim Furyk. The Portugal Masters is part of ALLGARVE 2008, a summer programme of world class art, music and sporting events being hosted on Portugal’s south coast. The tournament will bring down the curtain on another hugely successful year of partnership between Portugal and The European Tour that will have seen three full European Tour events staged at the Madeira Islands Open BPI, the Estoril Open de Portugal and the Portugal Masters. With Portugal also staging the European Seniors Tour Qualifying School at three separate venues in November, The Tour’s partnership with Portugal continues to grow.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Cook backs Khan to Bounce Back

Newly crowned WBO World Super-Featherweight champion Nicky Cook has backed Amir Khan to return even stronger from defeat at the hands of Breidis Prescott. Khan was beaten in the first round by the heavy-handed Colombian at the M.E.N Arena in Manchester last Saturday night. But Cook insists that Khan's career is just beginning - and says the 21-year-old can take heart from his own experiences. Floored five times during a WBO World Featherweight title challenge in July last year against Steven Luevano, Cook regrouped and then returned in spectacular style to dethrone Alex Arthur at the weekend. Cook, 28, boxed superbly to capture the world title with a unanimous points decision. "I know the mental pain that Amir is going through because I experienced it after my loss to Luevano," said Cook. "But I said at the time that it's not what you do when you are winning that makes you a champion, but how you react when you have lost. I was soon back in the gym and determined to get a world title around my waist and it happened on Saturday night," "It's great to be winning and to have a perfect undefeated record but I believe a real champion shows his class when he has lost and then comes back even stronger to prove everyone wrong and become a champion again," "We are involved in the cruelest, toughest and hardest sport out there and there are no hiding places in the ring."
"I know as soon as Amir gets back in the gym, he will be ever more hungrier and determined to get back to the top and show everyone what he can really do," "One things for sure, Amir has the fight in him as he kept getting up from the knockdowns and wanted to carry on but the referee wisely stopped it," "He's a very talented lad and I've no doubts that he will come back from this," "All the great champions experience defeat in their careers, including some of the greatest ever British champions like Nigel Benn, Barry McGuigan, and Lennox Lewis were all defeated, and Amir can draw heart from what they went through."

Joseph King Kong Agbeko Cancels Fight

One of the three world championship matches set for Saturday’s Don King Productions fight card in Biloxi, Miss., has been scratched after one of the boxers became ill. International Boxing Federation bantamweight champion Joseph King Kong Agbeko (25-1, 22 KOs), from Accra, Ghana, was to have made his first title defense against his mandatory challenger, IBF No. 1-ranked William “Chirizo” Gonzalez (21-2, 19 KOs), from Managua, Nicaragua, in a domestically non-televised title bout, but Agbeko contracted Malaria in August while training in Africa. He arrived at Holy Trinity Hospital in Accra with symptoms including fever on Aug. 14, was treated and was released. Although he contracted a mild form of the disease, responded well to medication and was later deemed to be non-contagious, Agbeko admitted he’s not fit to box on Saturday. “I wanted to fight but I’m just not strong enough to enter a world championship boxing match,” an obviously disappointed Agbeko said. “I tried my best to recover in time to fight my mandatory challenger William Gonzalez in Biloxi, but I now agree with the doctors that I can’t be ready by then.” Agbeko saw Florida Boxing Commission Chief Physician and Vice President of the American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians Dr. Allan Fields in South Florida on Friday (Sept. 5). “He appears to be regaining his strength,” Fields said of Agbeko. “He should complete his treatment and be able to resume training in two to three weeks. If all goes well, he could be able to participate in a match by October.” Agbeko added, “I look forward to being back in the ring defending my title. I want my fans to know I’m doing fine and will have a beautiful performance for them to see very soon. Saturday’s event will go on as scheduled in the Beau Rivage Theatre with Nate “The Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell making the first defense of his IBF, World Boxing Organization and World Boxing Association lightweight titles against undefeated two-division world champion Joan “Sycuan Warrior” Guzman. In a world championship co-feature, undefeated World Boxing Council super lightweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (22-0, 11 KOs), from Palm Springs, Calif., will defend his title for the first time against Edner “Cherry Bomb” Cherry (24-5-2, 12 KOs), a native of the Bahamas now residing in Wauchula, Fla. A domestically non-televised WBC featherweight championship elimination bout will also be showcased with No. 1-ranked Hector Velasquez (50-11-2, 35 KOs), from Tijuana, Mexico, against No. 2-ranked Elio “The Kid” Rojas (19-1, 13 KOs), from the Dominican Republic, now fighting out of Brooklyn, N.Y. The winner becomes the WBC featherweight mandatory challenger, guaranteeing a title shot. The event is being promoted by Don King Productions in association with Beau Rivage. The Campbell vs. Guzman main event will be presented in association with One Punch Productions and Sycuan Ringside Promotions. Both the Campbell-Guzman main event and Bradley vs. Cherry co-feature will be televised live on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT/8 p.m. CT (delayed on the West Coast). Ticket prices are $39.95, $69.95, $89.95 and $299.95 plus tax and service charge and can be purchased at the Beau Rivage Box Office or by calling 888.566.7469 (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily).. Beau Rivage room reservations can be made by calling 888.567.6667 or visiting ABOUT BEAU RIVAGE: Casual elegance is redefined at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, MGM MIRAGE’s destination resort on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Named one of the top 100 hotels in the continental United States and Canada by Travel + Leisure, Beau Rivage blends world-class amenities with world-famous Southern hospitality. Featuring 1,740 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites; 11 restaurants; four nightclubs and bars; a 1,550-seat theatre; an upscale shopping promenade; a world-class spa & salon; and Fallen Oak, a new Tom Fazio designed championship golf course; Beau Rivage offers the finest destination resort experience in the Southeast. For more information or to make reservations, call (888) 567-6667 or visit

Monday, September 08, 2008

Haastrup wins maiden title in Sweden

Denmark’s Mark Haastrup claimed his maiden title with victory in the Dubliner Challenge in Sweden and has reset his sights on a place on The European Tour. Haastrup, who shared the lead going into the third and final round after Saturday’s play was washed out due to a flooded course at the Hills Golf Club in Gothenburg, got off to a great start with four birdies in his first nine holes and while Germany’s Benjamin Miarka fought back on the home stretch, Haastrup held on for his first title. A final round of three under par 68 gave the Dane a seven under par total of 206, one clear of Miarka, who closed with a 67, and four ahead of Gustac Andersson, the Swede shooting a 68. England’s Rob Harris, who set out in a share of the lead, shot a three over par 74 to finish joint fourth with Swede Fredrik Ohlsson (70) and Belgian Nicolas Vanhootegem (68) on one under par 212. The €22,400 first prize lifted Haastrup into the all important top 20 on the Challenge Tour Rankings, as he climbed from 39th to 17th and, with the top 20 assured of a European Tour card, Haastrup has a new goal for the season. “I started out targeting a place in the top 80 and then that changed to the top 45,” he said. “Now the top 20 is the goal.” While his playing partners struggled, Haastrup pulled clear of the field to give himself a comfortable cushion. “I started really well and got under par early as I had done the first two rounds,” he said. “That gave me a little advantage and I knew I was leading going into the back nine. But Miarka was very close and the 14th ended up as a big turning point when I birdied and he three putted.” Miarka hit back with birdies at the 17th and 18th to close the gap to one but Haastrup was not to be denied. “I don’t want to think too far ahead as I want to enjoy this victory,” he commented. “The money and climb up the Rankings means I can play next year and this victory gives me a lot of confidence. I have a lot to play for now.”

Langer lands maiden Seniors Tour title

Bernhard Langer clinched his maiden European Seniors Tour title at the inaugural Casa Serena Open to close the gap on Ian Woosnam at the top of the Order of Merit after winning the battle of the former Masters Champions. Langer carded a third consecutive four under par 67 to finish on 12 under par 201, three strokes clear of the Welshman who birdied the last for a one under par 70 to finish runner up on nine under par 204. Germany’s Langer, one of Europe’s most decorated golfers, posted birdies on the first , 12th, 14th and 18th holes, while Woosnam dropped shots on the third and 11th holes after also opening with a birdie before picking up shots on the 14th and 18th. It was another flawless round of golf from Langer, who only dropped one shot during his 54 holes at Casa Serena Golf, near Prague, to complete a double in the Czech Republic following his win at the Czech Open in 1997. The 51 year old’s victory at the tournament staged by Langer Sport Marketing, the company run by his brother Erwin, means only €12,787 now separates the two Ryder Cup winning Captains at the top of the Order of Merit. Langer said: “It’s pretty special winning here in the Czech Republic where my dad was born and my brother is running the tournament. It’s pretty cool. “Playing alongside Ian and Peter (Mitchell) was also special. Both guys played very well but just didn’t make any putts. I played with Ian at The Senior Open Championship in July and he is very competitive. I played well in that tournament too so it has been a great year for me over here this year. “Prague is a very good place for me after also winning on The European Tour so hopefully we can continue to come here for a number of years to come.” Langer said his consistency over the three rounds had landed him the title, although he said the course at Casa Serena Golf had proved a tough challenge. “I only had one bogey in the tournament but I got away with a few shots but overall I was very pleased,” he said. “I had one little hiccup on the seventh today but I played really well on the back nine. The three 67s look very consistent but there was a lot of ups and downs in those numbers.” Englishman Gordon J Brand’s pursuit of three consecutive victories faltered when he opened with back-to-back bogeys but he recovered to sign for a one under par 70 and keep up the pressure on the top two in the Order of Merit. Brand finished tied third with American Bob Boyd, who also shot a 70 to record his best finish of 2008 so far.

Friday, September 05, 2008

European Tour and Asian Tour in joint Venture

The Omega European Masters will be co-sanctioned for the first time in 2009 following an historic agreement between The European Tour and the Asian Tour. The prestigious event, hosted by the spectacular Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland since 1939, will be the first tournament on European soil to be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour. Omega, a global supporter of sports where it was the Official Timekeeper at the Beijing Olympics, has title sponsored the tournament since 2001 and is also the title sponsor of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China. Stephen Urquhart, president of OMEGA, is particularly looking forward to next year’s tournament, saying: “At OMEGA, we are excited about the emergence of golf as a truly global sport. We commend both the Asian and European Tours for following up on our initiative and implementing our proposal that the two tours join forces.” OMEGA, as title sponsor of the China Tour and the Mission Hills World Cup of Golf, has long been a major presence in Asian golf . Urquhart knows that the participation by some of Asia’s leading players in the European Masters will add a special element to the competition. “While this co-sanctioned tournament is important to OMEGA,” he added, “it has even greater significance for the world of golf. As the sport becomes increasingly popular in Asia, it’s the perfect time to be introducing the golfers playing there to the international stage.” Among the field of 156 players will be 30 players from the Asian Tour. A further ten places in the field will be through Sponsor / Promoter invites with the balance of the field completed in accordance with The 2009 European Tour Exemption Category List. Keith Waters, The European Tour’s Director of International Policy, said: “The Asian Tour and its Members have made a significant contribution to the development of the European Tour International Schedule over the last decade. The leading Asian Tour players have added to the quality, style and diversity of The European Tour. “It is timely and appropriate for The European Tour to support Omega’s request to co-sanction this historic event. This arrangement extends Omega’s support of golf and The European Tour both in Europe and Asia. This event will create more opportunity for Asian Tour Members to develop their careers on the international stage and play the picturesque venue of Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.” Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han hailed the groundbreaking announcement, saying it was a wonderful reflection of the growth of the Asian Tour which will stage a record 30 tournaments with nearly US$39 million in prize money this season. Han expressed his appreciation to Omega and The European Tour for extending the invitation to the Asian Tour to be a part of the event. “It is a terrific milestone for the Asian Tour,” said Han, who is attending this week’s Omega European Masters, which started on Thursday. “Since 1999, the Asian Tour has worked closely with The European Tour through a successful co-sanction programme in Asia and our talented players have taken the opportunity to broaden their playing careers. “With the Asian Tour scheduled to visit Europe for the first time in 2009, I believe it will pave the way for our Tour and playing members to enjoy greater achievements. “Omega helped shape the growth of professional golf in Asia during the 1990s when it title sponsored the Asian Tour and is currently involved with great events including the Omega Mission Hills World Cup. We truly value Omega’s support.” As a prelude to next year’s event, Omega invited several Asian Tour Members to compete in this week’s Omega European Masters, which is offering a €2 million prize fund. India’s Gaurav Ghei and Digvijay Singh, Chinese duo Zhang Lian-wei and Li Chao, England’s Simon Griffiths and Australian Kane Webber have joined the likes of Singaporean Mardan Mamat and Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat and Thongchai Jaidee, who are in this week’s field through their playing rights in Europe.

Tournament Field

The field for the tournament will be 156 players.

Eligibility Criteria

a) The leading 30 players from the Asian Tour will be taken as follows:-

· Asian Tour Order of Merit winners in the past five years
· Multiple tournament winners of official Asian Tour events in the past three years
· The most recent 20 winners available of official Asian Tour events preceding the tournament to be played
· Players finishing within the Top 65 of the previous year's official Asian Tour Order Of Merit

b) 10 Sponsor/Promoter invites

c) The balance of the field will be completed in accordance with The 2009 European Tour Exemption Category List (excluding Category 5)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Singh joins Asia's Tournament of Champions

World Number Three, Vijay Singh, the runaway leader of the US PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup play-offs, has confirmed he will take his place in the field for the 2008 HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai, from November 6-9, 2008. The 45-year-old, who has won both of the FedEx Cup events – the Deutsche Bank Championship and The Barclays - and also triumphed in the final WGC event of the year – the Bridgestone Invitational – has added his name to the ever growing list of stars challenging for the 2008 HSBC Champions. The field now includes all of the world’s top five active players, having been strengthened even further by the entries of World Number Six Henrik Stenson together with World Number Ten, Geoff Ogilvy. The Fijian star joins two other three-time Major winners in the form of defending Champion and World Number Two, Phil Mickelson, and World Number Four Padraig Harrington. Sergio Garcia, the World Number Five, has also booked his flight to Shanghai along with 2008 Masters Champion, Trevor Immelman, and World Number 11, Adam Scott. Vijay Singh, a popular winner of over 59 titles around the world, explained, “The strength and depth of this field certainly makes the HSBC Champions one of the strongest tournaments outside the Majors. It would be a great title to win, especially as many of the players now view it as ‘Asia’s Major.’ In 2007, Vijay described the greens at Sheshan as the best he had putted on all year, and the 45-year-old is eagerly anticipating his return. “Shanghai is a very exciting city to visit so I am looking forward to returning and I think the course at Sheshan is a fantastic setting for an event of this calibre,” he said. The HSBC Champions’ unique qualifying format brings tournament winners from around the world together to compete alongside the World’s Top 50 leading players. The HSBC Champions is the first tournament on the European Tour Schedule and is the first counting event for the Race to Dubai, the re-named European Tour Order of Merit. Henrik Stenson, who holed the winning putt in The 2006 Ryder Cup and will again represent Europe at Valhalla, Kentucky later this month added, “This is a really significant event for all The European Tour players as it is the very first event for the Race to Dubai and has one of the largest prize funds on offer. A win at the HSBC Champions would certainly give me a great start in the race, as well as some pretty significant World Ranking points with so many top ranked players in the field.” Geoff Ogilvy, Winner of the 2006 US Open and Australia’s highest ranked player added, “I am delighted to be playing in the HSBC Champions for the first time this year and am looking forward to catching up with a few familiar faces who will qualify as winners from the Australasian Tour.” Giles Morgan, HSBC’s Head of Sponsorship, commented, “With his recent wins, Vijay is one of the hottest players in the world at the moment and, as he is the leading golfer in the Asia-Pacific region, it’s great that he’s once again committed to compete in the region’s leading tournament.” “The build-up to this year’s HSBC Champions is so exciting; Vijay’s in top form. Sergio has once again proved he is just one shot away from another big win. Padraig, with two Majors this year, has become a truly ‘prime-time’ golfer and they’re all coming to China to try and dethrone Phil, who is defending a significant overseas title for the first time,” Morgan added. Robbie Henchman, Director of Golf, IMG Asia added, “The entry list reads like a Who’s Who of world golf. This is a significant step forward for golf in Asia. It is cementing its place in the global golf landscape and China, Shanghai and the HSBC Champions are leading the way.” Since it’s inception in 2005 the HSBC Champions prize fund of US$5 million has consistently been the largest on offer in Asia and will be so again in 2008. The event is co-sanctioned by The European Tour, Asian Tour, and the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Sunshine (Southern Africa) Tour, and the China Golf Association. A new qualifying criteria now allows the inclusion of past Champions from the previous three years ensuring the inaugural winner, England’s David Howell, and the popular Korean winner in 2006, Yong-eun Yang, will be assured of a place in the line-up this year. Other Player Quotes: World Number Two, Phil Mickelson: “I had a great time at the HSBC Champions last year. Winning such a prestigious international title was really important to me as I didn’t enjoy reading that I hadn’t won outside of the US since 1993 every time I teed it up at the British Open! It was also fantastic to have my family there to enjoy the experience of visiting China and we certainly saw some amazing sights. The “Champions of Champions” title is a great one to have and I will be doing all I can to defend my title in November.” World number Four, Padraig Harrington: “You’ve got four of the World’s best golfers in a very high-class field. Throw in the fact that Phil is defending his first big title outside the States and Trevor is going to be there as the reigning Masters champion and you can see that it will be a tough tournament to win. I’ve had a sixth and a fifth in the last two years, so I’m getting closer!” World Number Five, Sergio Garcia: “Last year I really thought it was a great tournament and I really enjoyed visiting Shanghai. I love to play around the world and I am really looking forward to returning to China to play in this world-class event.” World No.11, Adam Scott: “I am very excited to be playing the HSBC Champions for the first time this year. I made sure I could fit it in my schedule as it is one of the most talked about tournaments amongst the players on Tour. It already has a fantastic mix of players and for sure, the ‘Champion of Champions’ title is one I’d love to win.” 2008 Masters Champion, Trevor Immelman: “I am delighted to be able to include the HSBC Champions in my schedule this year. Since the inaugural event in 2005, all the World’s best players have competed there and it is a title everyone is keen to win. Obviously winning the Masters, my first Major title, was the most important moment of my career so far but I aim to build on that success by winning many more titles.” Tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the ticket hotline: (+86 21) 962 388 and online at

Warrens gets libel damages over Hatton book

Frank Warren, the internationally respected boxing promoter has accepted substantial libel damages from the publisher Random House over allegations published in the book “Ricky Hatton: The Hitman, My Story”. The book is the autobiography of Ricky Hatton, the well-known professional boxer and former IBF World Light-Welterweight world champion, who was promoted by Frank Warren between 1997 and 2004. The book was written in association with the Daily Express boxing journalist, Niall Hickman. Random House has agreed to pay Frank Warren £115,000 in damages together with his legal costs over three wholly false, poorly researched and highly defamatory allegations that were made about him. Firstly, it alleged that he conned the boxer Vince Phillips into accepting a pitiful fee to fight Ricky Hatton by lying about the sale of the US television rights. In fact, Random House discovered from Vince Phillips himself, as long ago as November 2006, that this allegation was false and that Frank Warren had not lied to him. The publisher apologised to Mr Warren in open court in October last year for making this allegation. Secondly, the book claimed that Mr Warren had pressurised Ricky Hatton into competing in a fight against the boxer Carlos Vilches despite the fact that he knew that Ricky Hatton was allegedly not fit to fight. In fact, this is completely false. Frank Warren finds this allegation all the more hurtful given the lengths to which he goes to safeguard the health and welfare of the boxers he promotes. Thirdly, the book falsely alleged that Frank Warren lied to the readers of the News of the World by telling them that Ricky Hatton made £6 million whilst being managed by him. Ricky Hatton states in the book that he earned “nowhere near £6 million”. In fact, Frank Warren paid Ricky Hatton in excess of £6million. The figures and schedules of payment proving this were sent to Random House as long ago as October 2006. Random House had every opportunity to investigate the truth of the allegations. Over a period of two years since Mr Warren’s initial complaint over the claims in October 2006, the publisher left no stone unturned in trying to prove these allegations. However, with a trial date looming for 1 December 2008, it finally made an offer to settle of £115,000 plus the payment of Mr Warren’s legal costs. Frank Warren said today: “I am pleased that Random House has finally acknowledged by their offer of substantial damages that these serious and highly damaging allegations are wholly indefensible. It has taken me two years to get justice and an acknowledgment that these baseless allegations were completely false. However, even though the book was pulped in 2007, it has aggressively sought to defend these hurtful and distressing allegations about me and dragged me through many weeks of Court hearings, all to no avail, before backing down in advance of the trial that was due to commence on 1 December of this year. This legal fight has cost Random House millions in legal fees and damages. I am completely mystified by their behaviour and why they did not accept my offer, before the book was published, to check the accuracy of their allegations.”

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Arias and Robinho arrive in Manchester

Record Manchester City signing Robinho won't be the only Brazilian hitman in Manchester.
Audley Harrison's opponent George Arias from Sao Paulo has warned the 2000 Olympic Champion that he will end his comeback trail. Brazilian heavyeight champion Arias will follow his fellow countryman to the north west this weekend when he fights Harrison at the M.E.N Arena, Manchester. It comes in the wake of Robinho's suprise £32.5m signing for Manchester City.
And Arias has vowed to provide another shock by knocking out Harrison -and ending his world title ambitions. "Brazilians are the best at football - and I'm going to show we are good at boxing as well," said 34-year-old Arias. "Harrison knows that if he loses this fight then he has nowhere left to go, and that makes him a very dangerous opponent. "I've prepared for a war but to be honest I expect to win the fight easily inside the distance."Harrison likes to talk a good fight, but he's all hot air. "It will be carnival time in Manchester on Saturday when I knock him out and shut him up once and for all." Harrison-Arias meet in a 10-rounder on the M.E.N show, which will be screened live on on Sky Box Office and will also feature Alex Arthur's WBO World Super-Featherweight world title defence against Nicky Cook, as well as Amir Khan against undefeated Breidis Prescott.

English Open Flying High

Exeter International Airport will become the airport business partner for The English Open at St Mellion International Resort when it returns to The European Tour from August 13-16, 2009, Crown Golf and Exeter International Airport announced today.Crown Golf and The European Tour, the hosts and promoters of The English Open, will work in partnership with Exeter International Airport to coordinate flights into the region and ensure a trouble-free transfer from the airport to St Mellion International Resort for all visitors and many of the world’s top golfers. Exeter International Airport’s Corporate Aviation Department, which was set up 12 months ago, has experience in dealing with a variety of aircraft used for corporate and private aviation. Many players and golf fans will also be arriving on scheduled flights and the airport’s team will provide a seamless transfer through the arrival procedures and on to transport links for the final leg of the journey into Cornwall. Jamie Christon, Exeter International Airport’s Deputy Managing Director said: “We are very pleased to be working with Crown Golf and The European Tour. “Exeter International Airport has built an excellent reputation for handling a variety of important clients and we were very pleased to have been asked to play a part in providing services for a tournament steeped in rich history and tradition. “We welcome the opportunity to get involved in such a major sporting and tourism initiative and will be pleased to promote St Mellion International Resort to other corporate clients in the future.” Stephen Lewis, Crown Golf’s Chief Executive Officer said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Exeter International Airport, which will play a pivotal role in providing a seamless transport link for golfers, sponsors and tourists visiting The English Open.”Crown Golf, the UK’s largest golf course owner/operator, counts the St Mellion International Resort as the most prestigious venue among its 33-strong group of golf clubs. A £100 million redevelopment plan at St Mellion is underway, which includes a new 80-bedroom, four star-standard hotel, 265 golf homes, refurbished resort facilities and remodelling work on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course.

Glenmuir's clothing contract for Ryder Cup

Glenmuir's proud association with The European Ryder Cup Team will extend beyond this year’s forthcoming matches to an impressive 23 years at The 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales.With preparations for this year’s Ryder Cup European Team wardrobe now complete, Marketing Director, Andy Bough, and European Ryder Cup Director, Richard Hills, confirmed Glenmuir as Preferred Supplier of On-Course Polo Shirts and Knitwear to The 2010 European Ryder Cup Team - a position it has enjoyed since 1987. The prestigious partnership is one of the longest-running in the world of high-profile professional sport and reflects that the Glenmuir brand and its products perform at the highest levels of the game.Andy Bough said: "Obviously this is a very prestigious partnership for Glenmuir. We are excited that The European Team will be wearing Glenmuir again at this year’s Ryder Cup and are delighted that our association with The European Team will continue to The Ryder Cup in Wales in 2010."We are immensely proud that the Glenmuir brand has been a part of some of The European Team's greatest moments in The Ryder Cup - including a record-equalling points haul in Ireland 2006, which proved to be a third successive win. "Glenmuir was also the Preferred Supplier of On-Course Polo Shirts and Knitwear for The European Ryder Cup Team’s last visit to America, in 2004, for their record-breaking winning score of 18½- 9½ at Oakland Hills Country Club and we hope Nick Faldo's Team can repeat that success at Valhalla, Kentucky, later this month." In its role, Glenmuir works closely with every European Ryder Cup Team Captain to design matching outfits for each day of the competition, including practice days. Because of its position as one of Europe's leading golf apparel brands, Glenmuir is able to offer a complete service to The Ryder Cup committee - from working on initial designs for The European Team and seeing them through to delivery to each player, in the required sizes - to manufacturing and distributing Official Ryder Cup logo merchandise.Andy Bough added: "To be the Preferred Supplier of On-Course Polo Shirts and Knitwear to The Team, we have to demonstrate considerable expertise through design, quality control and sizing - and throughout, our communication has to be excellent."We leave no stone unturned in making sure that when every player steps out to the first tee they look good, feel good and are able to perform. “The conditions at Valhalla are going to be a challenge for the players and we have responded by working with Nick Faldo on a very sport-technical, high-performance wardrobe for the Team."Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Director, said: “We are delighted that one of Europe's biggest golf apparel brands will once again be part of one of the world’s biggest sporting occasions."The Team all benefit from Glenmuir's excellent products, reputation and service and as our preferred shirts and knitwear supplier they will play an active part in making The 2008 Ryder Cup another huge success for The European Team.”Glenmuir has an outstanding pedigree in logo merchandising and is associated with some of the biggest competitions in golf - including The Open Championship, The Ryder Cup, Walker Cup and Seve Trophy. The company also has an unrivalled retail distribution network across Europe and beyond, while its Scottish headquarters provides a comprehensive stock and embroidery service and has supplied clothing for the PGA, The European Tour, PGAs of Europe, EGU and the Golf Foundation.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Prescott packs a Punch

Breidis Prescott jetted into the UK last night after breaking the finger of one of his coaches during his final training sessions. The Colombian hot shot has knocked out 17 of his 19 victims - and his reign of terror now extends to his own gym. "I was throwing my punches with lots of speed and power and it was all coming together nicely when I let go a big right hand to finish and the next thing I know is my trainer is on the floor in agony," said Prescott who takes on Khan this Saturday at the M.E.N Arena. "We took him straight to hospital and the doctor said he has a fracture in his middle finger bone. It's not good because he was due to fly with me to England but will now come in later this week. I have my other trainer with me working on the pads until the fight with Khan. This just shows the power I have and what I will do to Khan." The Colombian performed a media work out for the press today in Manchester, and vowed to KO unbeaten Khan in just four rounds. "That's all it will take," boasted Prescott. "It's going to be another win for me and a very painful night for Khan. "This is my chance to secure my legacy, and the future of my family back home. "Khan is a very good fighter but he won't know how to handle my power."