Friday, October 31, 2008

Bhatia tipped to be top Asian Boxer

AKAASH BHATIA is being tipped to become Britain's best known Asian boxer. The Sikh warrior faces his toughest test to date when he meets former British title challenger Marc Callaghan at Wigan's Robin Park Arena on November 7. Provided he comes through the toughest test of his short professional career, the Harrow hard man will target British featherweight champion Paul Appleby. Bhatia's, promoter Frank Maloney declared: "The time has come to take the reins off."I believe Akaash could become the best known British Asian sportsman now that we all know Amir Khan is no longer invincible." In 2007, Bhatia was named the 'Most Up and Coming SportsPersonality of the Year' at the prestigious Sony Entertainment Television Asia Sports Personality of the Year Awards. And his stock continued to rise recently when he became the only boxer to be appointed as an ambassador to the Prince's Youth Trust. 'Kash the Bash', 25, is unbeaten in 12 fights and his showdown against Barking's Callaghan is his fourth contest of 2008. Callaghan (19-14-1) has mixed at the highest level.. In his last four fights the former English champ has given problems to Esham Pickering, Rendall Munroe, Martin Lindsay and Paul Hyland. Maloney added: "This is a big step up in class for Akaash, but I believe this is the right fight at the right time." Top of the bill on the Sky Sports televised show is Andy Bell's British super-flyweight title defence against Bristol southpaw Lee Haskins in a real battle between a pair of little big men. Tickets can be purchased by calling 0871 226 1508 or by logging on to

Montgomerie teams up with Forsyth

Scotland, having waited 54 years to savour World Cup success, will return to the scene of the country’s moment of triumph 12 months ago when Colin Montgomerie and his new partner, Alastair Forsyth, attempt to defend the Omega Mission Hills World Cup from November 27-30.For Montgomerie, victory arrived at his ninth attempt, just a year after he and Marc Warren had lost in an agonising play-off with Sweden and eventual champions Germany in Barbados. He and Warren then turned up at Mission Hills Golf Club in China last November aiming to go one better - and did precisely that by edging out the United States in a dramatic play-off over the José Maria Olazábal course at the stunning Mission Hills Golf Club. Now, Montgomerie joins forces with 32 year old Forsyth, who played in the World Cup between 2002 and 2004 but partners the eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner for the first time in the second edition of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup. Forsyth is hoping that the partnership with his Ryder Cup compatriot can bring a change in fortune. He represented Scotland three times between 2002 and 2004, finishing respectively 12th and ninth with former Open Champion Paul Lawrie then 18th with Scott Drummond. “I am really looking forward to partnering Monty for the first time” said Forsyth. “He and Marc were unlucky in 2006 but they put up a fantastic effort against Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum in the play-off to win the title last year. “I love the sense of pride and honour which you can only get from representing your country and I know that Colin and myself will be putting all our energy into trying to retain that magnificent trophy at Mission Hills. The pressure is on us as defending champions but I am confident we will give a good account of ourselves.” Montgomerie, who was filling a gap on his illustrious CV, reflected on that victory in China by saying: “It was fantastic. It took a long time for Scotland to win the World Cup - since 1953 in fact - so winning in the play-off at Mission Hills was a wonderful feeling. “Marc and I felt very proud to get our hands on the trophy at long last. Scotland was the only one of the four British nations never to have won the World Cup so winning last year was very, very special. I am looking forward immensely to defending the title with Alastair this time around.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fantasy Race to Dubai

The Race to Dubai becomes a reality on The European Tour International Schedule from next week and now you can be a part of this thrilling innovation in world golf too thanks to The Fantasy Race to Dubai game on game mirrors The European Tour International Schedule as it undertakes its odyssey of travel around the world, and you can register to play from today. Simply select 15 players from the Fantasy Race to Dubai player list to represent your team. There are no ranking or nationality restrictions - you can select the 15 players that you want! The competition commences with the HSBC Champions tournament, so select your team of 15 golfers before 23:30 GMT on Wednesday November 5 to ensure that your team starts accumulating money from the very first tournament. If you register after the start of an event, your team will only begin to secure prize money from the tournament following your registration. Don't worry if you are short of time - our Lucky Dip facility can select a team for you in an instant. With unlimited changes available, you can register your team today and then delay your final selections right up until the start of the HSBC Champions if you wish. Your golfers accumulate money based on their actual winnings (in euros) in 2009 European Tour events (but not including the $10m Race To Dubai bonus pool). However, there are two fundamental rules which you must bear in mind when playing the game: 1) Only the top 15 ranked players in the final Race to Dubai standings will ultimately contribute money to your team's bank balance at the end of the competition. All other players will contribute nothing. This reflects the distribution of the $10m bonus pool which is to be shared only among the top 15 players in the Race To Dubai following The Dubai World Championship. 2) Team changes are unlimited throughout the competition. However, by changing a player, you also forfeit any of the dropped player's winnings earned whilst a member of your team and only accumulate earnings for the incoming player from that point onwards. Prizes for the competition are certainly worth playing for; leading the way is the first prize of a fabulous holiday in Dubai! The trip includes return business class flights from any Emirates destination, five nights accommodation at one of the city's top hotels, and a chance to play golf at Jumeirah Golf Estates! That's not all – there will also be a fantastic set of Titleist irons and a bag to carry them around in! Second, third, fourth and fifth placed finishers will all get a set of irons and a bag, again courtesy of Titleist, while entrants finishing in sixth to tenth place on the overall leaderboard will each receive a superb Titleist driver. All entrants finishing in 11th to 20th place on the overall leaderboard will receive six dozen Titleist golf balls.

Quaye's deadly curse on Broadhurst

Commonwealth Super-Flyweight title challenger Isaac "The Black Mamba" Quaye has drafted in some extra help ahead of his fight with Don Broadhurst. And it's not top sparring partners or a new trainer - but his local witchdoctor in Accra, Ghana. The jujuman has put a curse on Broadhurst in an eloborate ceremony prior to his departure to England which includes the venom of a Black Mamba, Africa's most deadly snake. "My witchdoctor has put a curse on my opponent Don Broadhurst to shrink him smaller than he already is for Friday night," said Quaye, who tackles "The Don" at the Aston Events Centre, Birmingham, on October 31. "He may notice it on Friday morning when he wakes up or he may not notice it until we are in the ring but he will definitely be shorter," "As well as cursing Broadhurst, I also had to drink a potion which includes the venom of a Black Mamba amongst other magical ingredients," "It was important to use the poison from that particular snake because it is the deadliest snake in Africa," "I will be as strong as an ox on the night and will feel no pain," "Like the Black Mamba, I will be deadly once I get near him," But Broadhurst hit back, citing more conventional scientific methods."Quaye's got an ideal first name for the fight on Friday," said Broadhurst. "He's called Isaac, and like Isaac Newton he is going to discover gravity when I get to him. "He will be hitting the canvas like the famous apple!"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Purchase Details for Boxing at the ExCel

Tickets are now on sale for Frank Warren's blockbuster show on Saturday 6 December at the ExCeL London. Britain's only World boxing champion, Nicky Cook, headlines the show with the first defence of his WBO World Super-Featherweight title against a challenger to be announced.Amir Khan features as chief support and makes his big ring return after his first professional loss last month. A potential heavyweight thriller sees Audley Harrison take on Prizefighter 1 winner Martin Rogan over ten rounds in a make-or-break fight. Hot talent Anthony Small defends his WBA Intercontinental Light-Middleweight title and show that he is a future world champion in the making. The undercard features the best young prospects in Britain including hammer-fisted heavyweight Derek Chisora, unbeaten hot-shot Jamie Cox, and undefeated brothers Liam, Michael and Ryan Walsh. Tickets for We Will Rock You are priced at £30, £50, £100 and £150 and are available from: Ticketmaster: 0844 847 2500 See Tickets: 0871 220 0260 Sports Network: 01992 550 888 For further information event information please log on to and

Brook in a muddle with the Model

British welterweight champion Kell Brook is just one letter away from being one of the UK's sexiest women - and is becoming an on-line sensation because of it. Brook, who fights Kevin McIntyre at Glasgow's Kelvin Hall on November 14, has had millions of web hits after fans typed in his name instead of that of model and actress Kelly Brook. Surfers are finding a boxer rather than the brunette bombshell - now dating rugby ace Danny Cipriani - but don't seem to be disappointed. Sheffield star Brook has seen his personal profile page on website take a massive jump in hits after Kelly Brook started dating Cipriani, and at one point the server went into meltdown as a result. "Not only am I knocking them out in the ring, but I'm doing it on line as well!" said Brook. "Kelly's a stunner, but I'm a good looking guy and I can punch as well."Anyway, I'm going to be world champion one day and more famous than Kelly Brook!"Brook, undefeated in 17 fights, captured the British title against Barrie Jones at York Hall in June, winning via an impressive seventh-round TKO. And now he travels to McIntyre's home city of Glasgow for what is turning into one of the domestic scene's biggest grudge matches.McIntyre believes he should still be champion after being stripped by the BBBofC before Brook fought Jones in the summer. "Both me and Kevin have had our say in the press, and it's got a bit heated," said Brook. "But the best place to settle our differences is in the ring." "There's going to be needle up in Glasgow, but once I knock out McIntyre in style then there will be no question mark over who should be British champion."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Buckley set for 300th Fight

History-maker Peter Buckley is aiming to bow out of professional boxing with a win on Friday night in what will be his 300th - and last - fight. And for one of the few times in his career, the Birmingham man will be in the home corner at the Aston Events Centre on a Frank Warren promoted show headlined by Don Broadhurst. Buckley, 39, turned professional in 1989 with a six-round draw in Stafford, and has gone on to have 299 fights, spanning 1,734 rounds and racking up 31 wins, 12 draws...and 256 losses. But that final figure doesn't look too bad once Buckley's opponents have been factored in. Dozens of unbeaten prospects litter his record, and in all, he's fought 42 future British, Commonwealth, European or World champions, including the likes of Duke McKenzie, Scott Harrison, Naseem Hamed, Michael Brodie, Gavin Rees and Colin McMillian. Things will be a little easier on Friday when "The Professor" tackles Matin Mohammed - a man he drew with in Nottingham earlier this month - and becomes one of just a handful of fighters who have racked up 300 fights. "It's great to get my final fight in my home city, but I'm not sure about being in the home corner," said Buckley. "When the bell goes between rounds I'm not sure if I'll know where to go! "Win lose or draw, this is definitely my last fight. "I've had my eye on the 300 mark for a while, and it's a little milestone I want to acheive, but I don't want to fight on. "People keep saying to me that I'll get a call in a few weeks time offering me a fight and I'll say yes, but I mean it when I say this it. "It will be fantastic to bow out in a city where I've not fought for years. Plenty of my mates are coming along to the show to cheer me on. "Boxing has been good to me over the years. When I was a youngster I was in trouble with the police, a really wild kid. "But the sport has given me a focus in life and kept me on the straight and narrow. "I don't know what I'll do when it's all over on Friday, but I'd love to stay in boxing in one capacity or another. "I've had a few high points in the sport, but my proudest was when I went to Austria and took on Harald Geler for an intercontinental WBA title. "He'd been knocking a few people out but he was nothing special and I had him over in the ninth round, but ended up losing on points over 12. "There's been some lows as well, and I definitely won't miss getting punched in the face for a living!" Buckley, who twice won Midlands Area super-featherweight title fights, says the best man he ever fought was McKenzie, one of only 10 fights in which he has been stopped. He's probably most famous for accepting fights on as little as one hour's notice - but says he is not bothered by the short-notice demands of promoters. "I'm always in the gym, so if I get a call a couple of hours before a fight, I usually say yes," said Buckley."If you phone up a bricklayer and ask him to build you a wall, he doesn't ask for three weeks to prepare. He comes round and does it straight away. Why should a boxer be any different?"

Khan back to fight in London

Promoter Frank Warren has confirmed that Amir Khan will feature as chief support to Nicky Cook's WBO World Super-Featherweight title defence at the ExCeL London on Saturday 6 December. There was a possibility that Khan would make his comeback on the Oscar De La Hoya-Manny Pacquiao undercard in Las Vegas on the same night, but Khan's return will now be in Britain. The 21-year-old from Bolton is working with new trainer Freddie Roach at his Wild Cards Gym in Los Angeles, and will remain in the US until a couple of weeks before the fight when he returns to Britain to finish off his training. However, Roach will not be in Khan's corner on the night due to his commitment to work with Pacquiao, instead Dean Powell - who trained Khan for his win over Michael Gomez in June - will be in his place. Warren said, "I'm delighted to confirm that Amir will make his long-awaited return at the ExCeL on December 6. It's all set to be a fantastic show for the fans in the capital featuring Britain's only world champion Nicky Cook who makes the first defence of his title on his home patch, a make or break fight for Audley Harrison against Martin Rogan, all-action Anthony Small defends his title, plus an action packed undercard featuring out best talented prospects." Warren also added that there will be one more big title fight to be added to the card and further details will be announced at a press conference in London on Thursday (30 October) at a venue to be confirmed.

Goya seals victory with late Charge

Four birdies in his final five holes allowed Estanislao Goya to steal the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final by a single stroke as England’s David Horsey was crowned the 2008 European Challenge Tour’s Number One player. The Apulia San Domenico Grand Final, by its very nature, guarantees drama and excitement as well as tears and joy with the top 45 players battling for the 20 available European Tour cards on offer through the final Rankings. The 2009 edition was another wonderful example of sport at its most dramatic as Goya, who won the very first event on the 2008 Schedule, made a sensational birdie on the final hole to secure the €48,000 first prize from the English duo of Richard Bland and John E Morgan. With the three main protagonists of the final round playing together in the last match of the day, the Challenge Tour’s annual climax simmered deliciously before exploding on the back nine of the beautiful San Domenico Golf. Bland and Morgan had been jostling for the lead with Goya and Spain’s Rafael Cabrera Bello throughout the final round. When Goya bogeyed the 12th to fall two strokes behind the English duo it looked like a three-way fight for the title but the Argentine had other ideas. Birdies on the 14th and 15th ensured Goya got himself back into contention but he knew he had to pick up at least one more shot to force a play-off. His birdie on the 17th put him level with Bland but, by this point, Goya – fuelled by adrenaline and self belief – was sensing victory.He secured the win with a touch of short-iron genius, planting his pitching wedge approach to the 18th green to within inches of the hope to set up the tap-in birdie that would see him take the title. “My approach shot on the last was so important,” beamed Goya after picking up the €48,000 winner’s cheque. “I didn’t want to leave myself a long putt, because my heart was beating so fast even though it was from less than a metre! “I was 18th in the Rankings coming into the week, so I knew I needed a big week and I got it. I would’ve been happy to finish in the top 20, so to finish in the top 10 is fantastic, because it means I get a really good card for next year. Now I’ve got my European Tour card, I’m going to start preparing for next year – after the celebrations!” While Bland was understandably disappointed to finish second, Morgan was celebrating the fact that, by winning €24,950, he had barged his way back onto The European Tour by leaping ten places on the Rankings, from 27th to 17th. While Goya, Morgan – and of course Number One Horsey – struggled to contain their joy, a thought must be spared for Switzerland’s Raphaël De Sousa, the man who Morgan knocked out of the top 20. There are always losers at the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final, and De Sousa, along with Marco Ruiz of Paraguay who finished in the horrible position of 21st in the Rankings, will be hurting most of all.These things are, however, decided over the course of the season and no-one can deny Horsey the deserved acclaim he will receive in setting a new total prize money record with his season’s haul of €144,118. Horsey’s excellent performance was a fitting end to a sensational season for the young Englishman, who will lead the Challenge Tour’s 20 graduates onto The European Tour and The Race to Dubai. In finishing seventh at San Domenico, Horsey eliminated the threat of a late Rankings charge from his closest challengers Taco Remkes and Gary Lockerbie in a performance that encapsulated his outstanding year in its controlled and assured nature. The 23 year old’s immediate reward for winning the Rankings is a place alongside the likes of Mickelson, Harrington and Garcia at the forthcoming HSBC Champions in China, the first event on the inaugural Race to Dubai. “I can pack my bags for China now…can’t wait!” smiled Horsey. “It was a great end to a fantastic season. I didn’t really know what I had to do today, because I wasn’t sure what the other guys near me in the Rankings were doing. “I was obviously trying to chase the leaders, but in the back of my mind I was just trying to make sure I got the Number One spot, because that was my aim when I came here. So I’m very, very pleased with the day.”

Villegas to figure in China

Charismatic Colombian Camilo Villegas, one of the most exciting young talents in the game, will bring his own brand of swashbuckling golf to the fairways of the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai from November 6 -9 when he lines up in the field for the HSBC Champions. The 26 year old with the movie star looks will supplement the galaxy of stars already confirmed for the fourth staging of the US$5 million tournament which is co-sanctioned by The European Tour, the Asian Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Sunshine Tour and the China Golf Association.
It will not be Villegas’ first taste of the special HSBC Champions atmosphere, however, having made his debut in the tournament which heralded the start of the 2007 European Tour International Schedule, and where he finished in a tie for 23rd place in the event won by Korea’s Y E Yang. “I know what to expect because I played in Shanghai two years ago,” he said. “But I am so glad that I didn’t miss out on it this year.” The inclusion of Villegas in the field further strengthens what is already a superb line up; headed by defending champion and World Number Two Phil Mickelson of the United States and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, a winner of two Major Championships in 2008. In addition, reigning Masters Tournament Champion Trevor Immelman will tee up alongside players of the calibre of Sergio Garcia, Anthony Kim, Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson. Villegas has, of course, already illustrated he is more than capable of winning in the most exalted of company having done just that on no less than two occasions in the United States last month. There, he won the BMW Championship at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri before, three weeks later, he captured The Tour Championship presented by Coca Cola at East Lake Golf Club in Georgia. Those two events were, of course, the final two counting events in the US PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Series, victories which saw Villegas take second place in the Series behind Fiji’s Vijay Singh. “I’m in the form of my life and I can’t wait to take on all the other top players in Shanghai, he said. “Obviously Phil Mickelson is there to defend his title but I’m definitely going there to win.” Of course, the HSBC Champions also heralds the start of the inaugural Race to Dubai on The 38th European Tour International Schedule, a global journey which will comprise some 53 tournaments in 26 destinations before reaching a thrilling crescendo with The Dubai World Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai in November 2009. Playing on The European Tour International Schedule and, hence, vying for The Race to Dubai has captured the imagination of all the top players across the world and Villegas is no exception. “The Race to Dubai is going to catch a lot of players’ attention and it will be nice to see some of the US guys come across the Pond,” he said.“I am joining The European Tour for the 2009 season because I’ve always wanted to play around the world but if you’re not in the top 50 (on the Official World Golf Ranking) then that is almost impossible. “But I’ve had a great finish to the year and managed to crack the top ten and once you do that and are guaranteed a place in the Major Championships and the World Golf Championships, then the maths becomes a little easier. I haven’t mapped out my full schedule for the year just yet, I’m still working on that, but I’m looking forward very much to getting under way in China next week.”

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mitchell achieves success in Rookie Year

Peter Mitchell’s hat-trick of victories on the European Seniors Tour this season has proved a timely reminder of just what can be achieved by a rookie ahead of a new batch of recruits trying to win their playing privileges for 2009 at Seniors Tour Qualifying School. The Englishman’s third win of the season at the Lake Garda Italian Seniors Open meant that he has claimed the most titles of any Seniors player in 2008, following his earlier victories at the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open and the Scottish Seniors Open. It also made him the most prolific rookie since Carl Mason, who also won three times in 2003 in his maiden Seniors Tour season. Mason, of course, has gone on the become the all time leading career money winner on the Seniors Tour, clinching his 20th title at the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open this year. That is now the benchmark for Mitchell following a fine debut year in which he equalled the number of victories he achieved in more than a quarter of a century on The European Tour. The 50 year old’s victory in Wales was also the biggest pay cheque of his career, en route to amassing season earnings of €215,082 so far with just one event, next month’s OKI Castellón Open España – Senior Tour Championship, left to play. Despite these feats, Mitchell is likely to miss out on the Rookie of the Year award to Ian Woosnam, whom he also trails in the Order of Merit, as well as Bernhard Langer and Gordon J Brand. Mitchell’s exploits during his distinguished career on The European Tour meant he bypassed Qualifying School as an exempt graduate but for those aspiring Senior players without such history, next month offers the chance to compete against him and the other leading Senior professionals such as Langer, Sandy Lyle, Sam Torrance and Woosnam. Portugal hosts the two stages of Qualifying School for those hopefuls looking to play on the European Seniors Tour in 2009, with the top 14 gaining playing privileges. The Qualifying campaign kicks off with Stage One held over two courses on Portugal’s Algarve - Pinheiros Altos Golf Club and Quinta de Cima Golf – from November 13 to 14. The Qualifying School Final will then be held at the Pinta Course, Pestana Golf Resort, from November 17 to 20, where the top six players will get a ranking in Category 6 for 2009. They will be guaranteed a start in all 72-player events for the season. Those finishing seventh through to 14th will get a ranking in Category 9, giving them a limited number of starts. This year is the 16th time Seniors Tour Qualifying School has taken place and the latest batch of hopefuls teeing up next month will also look to the success of Angel Franco for inspiration. The 50 year old from Paraguay was one of 17 players to emerge from Qualifying School last year and is currently enjoying a fine rookie season of his own, lying 11th in the Order of Merit with earnings of €113,305 after finishing tied runner up behind Mitchell in Jersey and Woosnam in the Russian Seniors Open. Franco said: "It is hard to believe it is almost a year since the Qualifying School. A lot has happened since then. It was a tough week but a good week for me because I got my card despite a bad last round. "There’s a lot of pressure at the School. There’s more than any other tournament because it means so much."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Woodhall backs Birmingham's Prize Fighters

Former WBC World Super-Middleweight Champion Richie Woodhall has backed Birmingham's current crop of boxing stars to put the city on the fistic map. The Midlands boxing legend now trains a host of talented youngsters including outstanding duo Matt Macklin and Don Broadhurst, while he highly rates Thomas Costello. All three appear at the Aston Events Centre on a Frank Warren promoted card on October 31 live and exclusive on Sky Sports. Broadhurst fights for the Commonwealth super-flyweight title, Macklin is involved in a 10 rounder against dangerous Geard Ajetovic, while Costello continues his ring education in a six rounder. And Woodhall is backing the trio to come through with flying colours. "From what I've seen in the gym, Broadhurst and Macklin have got the potential to go all the way and fight for world titles," said Woodhall. "They are really talented lads and we've so far only seen a fraction of what they can do. Thomas Costello is another one to get excited about. "Cities like Manchester, Cardiff, London and Sheffield have been regarded as strong bases for boxing over the last few years."But Birmingham has always been a fight city as well. "It's always had good fighters but they've gone off and had their big fights somewhere else - until now. "It's great that big cards are coming back to Birmingham. Once the ball starts rolling then we'll get more and more youngsters coming through, and it will be like the Manchester scene of the 1990s. "This a really exciting time for boxing in Birmingham." Promoter Warren added: "I brought Amir Khan to Birmingham in June, and the response from the paying public was absolutely fantastic. "I can't wait to stage the October 31 card, and I'm planning on bringing more big fights to the Midlands over the next 12 months. "The likes of Broadhurst and Macklin - as well as Costello - will be fighting for a lot of titles in the future, and the people of Birmingham are going to play a big part in helping them get there." Tickets for the Aston Events Show are available from the Ticket Factory 0871 945 6000 or Aston Events Box Office 0121 327 1649.

Don King to speak in Israel

Legendary boxing promoter Don King will be speaking at an international peace conference organized by Peres Center for Peace, an international non-profit organization that promotes peace and reconciliation in the Middle East, on October 27th at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel.Mr. King will participate as a panelist and share his thoughts on the unique ability of sports to transcend barriers in language, politics, religion, and gender and how sports have been used as a powerful peacemaking tool. Joining Mr. King in the discussion will be Joseph Blatter, President of FIFA; Ramon Calderon, President, Real Madrid Football Club; Alex Gilady, Founder and President of Keshet and Senior Vice President, NBC Sports and Olympics; Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Vice-Chair, Laureus World Sport Academy and Paralympic Gold Medalist; Edwin Moses, Chair, Laureus World Sport Academy and Olympic Gold Medalist; and Jibril Rajoub, President of the Palestinian Football Federation. “Since the Rumble in the Jungle in 1974 featuring Muhammad Ali and George Foreman and the following year with the Thrilla in Manila where Ali faced Joe Frazier for the third and final time, I have experienced first hand how sports can make a difference in bringing people from different countries, races and religions together to achieve things many once felt were unachieveable,” King said. “Sports speak a universal language that offers powerful tools to promote peace, tolerance, and understanding between people. Sports have the unique ability to bring people who would not normally join together to cross the lines of religion, gender, race, and geography. I am convinced the value of sports, if better recognized and utilized, could contribute to a more equal, just, fair, and peaceful world.” The panel discussion will take place on Monday, October 27th and is part of a three-day seminar beginning on Sunday, October 26th. The annual seminar commemorates the formation of the Peres Center for Peace in Israel. The Peres Center for Peace is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization founded in 1996 by Mr. Shimon Peres, President of Israel and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, with the aim of furthering his vision in which people of the Middle East region can work together to build peace through socio-economic cooperation and development, and people-to-people interaction. The first Director General of the Peres Center was Ambassador Uri Savir who, together with Mr. Peres, established the organization and currently serves as President. For more information please visit Few personalities have transformed an entire industry the way Don King has affected boxing and event promotions. He has promoted over 500 world-championship matches to date, and holds the distinction of having promoted or co-promoted seven of the 10 largest pay-per-view events in history—the biggest of which featured the legendary heavyweight Mike Tyson. He has promoted or co-promoted 12 of the top 20 highest-grossing live gates in the history of the state of Nevada including four of the top five. Mr. King is a six-time World Boxing Association (WBA) “Promoter of the Year” and also was named “Promoter of the Century” and “Promoter of the Millennium” by the WBA. The International Boxing Federation (IBF) named him “Promoter of the Decade” in 1996 and the World Boxing Council (WBC) deemed him the “Greatest Promoter of All Time” in 1994. He was the only promoter named to Sports Illustrated’s “40 Most Influential Sports Figures of the Last 40 Years” in 1994; was the first boxing promoter to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997; and was inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame in Las Vegas on Sept. 16.

Remkes wins award from Thomas Bjorn

Red hot Dutchman Taco Remkes has capped a magnificent month by winning the ECCO Performance Award by Thomas Björn, and with it a cheque for €10,000. Remkes – who is bidding to finish the season as the Challenge Tour Number One at this week’s Apulia San Domenico Grand Final – sealed his third title at last week’s Margara Diehl-Ako Platinum Open, just three weeks after triumphing on home soil at The Dutch Futures Presented by The Royal Bank of Scotland. The man from Amsterdam was thus the unanimous choice of the four man judging panel, which was made up of European Tour Members Thomas Björn and Colin Montgomerie, Challenge Tour Managing Director Alain de Soultrait, and ECCO Chief Executive Dieter Kasprzak. Current Number Two Remkes, whose maiden victory came at the Scottish Challenge in June, said: “It’s been a great month for me, and winning the award is another confirmation that I’m doing a good job. To be recognised by such a prominent player as Thomas Björn is very special, because I’ve looked up to him since I started playing golf. “I know like me Thomas also won three times on the Challenge Tour, and is I can go on to achieve even half of what he’s done in his career, I’ll be a very happy man. If I could do for golf in Holland what he did for the game in Denmark, that would be massive. I’d love to become the first Dutchman to play in The Ryder Cup. But that’s a long way off yet – for now, I’m just concentrating on this week, and trying to win the Challenge Tour. That would also be very special.” Björn, who won the Challenge Tour in 1995, said: “It is a great pleasure to be involved in an award which recognises outstanding achievement on the Challenge Tour – a Tour which played a big part in my golfing education when I competed on it for three years in the early 1990s. Taco Remkes has been rightly rewarded for an outstanding debut season on the Challenge Tour, and I look forward to competing against him and his fellow graduates on The European Tour next season.”Alain de Soultrait said: “It is staggering to think this was Taco’s first season on the Challenge Tour. His improvement has been fantastic, and he is a fine example of the seriously talented young players who make the Challenge Tour such an exciting Tour. We will be sorry to lose him to The European Tour next season, but I have no doubts whatsoever that he will thrive there and continue to go from strength to strength.” Dieter Kasprzak said: “Taco Remkes was the obvious choice for the panel after becoming the first player to win three times in this, his debut season. He has been consistency personified, and is a very worthy winner of this award.” All players competing at this week’s Apulia San Domenico Grand Final will receive a pair of golf shoes courtesy of ECCO, who have supported seven events on this season’s Schedule.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño Chips In

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño’s sublime chip-in on his way to winning The Quinn Insurance British Masters has earned the Spaniard The European Tour Shot of the Month Award for September. Fernandez-Castaño had started the final day at The Belfry three shots behind overnight leader Lee Westwood, but a wayward tee shot at the par three 12th threatened his prospects of capturing his fourth European Tour title. Unfazed by going into the water hazard, Fernandez-Castaño calmly ignored the difficulty of his third shot across water and managed to save par with a deft chip which proved the catalyst for a superb play-off victory over defending champion Westwood. In second and third places were shots played by Sweden’s Robert Karlsson and Ian Poulter of England in The Ryder Cup. Karlsson took the runner-up position with his second shot to the par four fourth hole at Valhalla Golf Club, his tap-in birdie setting up a convincing 5 and 3 singles win over Justin Leonard. Poulter took third spot for his eight iron approach from 130 yards to the par four ninth on the opening day of The Ryder Cup, securing a 4 and 2 win with partner Justin Rose over Steve Stricker and Ben Curtis. 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 Padraig Harrington of Ireland (July and August). 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.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cook and Khan Back in Action

Britain's only world boxing champion Nicky Cook and comeback kid Amir Khan are both in action on Saturday 6th December. Cook headlines a blockbuster show at the London ExCeL when he makes the first defence of his WBO World Super-Featherweight title against a challenger to be confirmed, while Amir Khan makes his big ring return at a venue to be confirmed.The 29-year-old from Dagenham put on a career best performance to outbox Alex Arthur and win a world title on his second attempt after he lost to Stephen Luevano in a WBO World Featherweight title fight last year. As Britain's sole world champion, Cook feels the pressure is on to successfully retain his title. "It means so much to me to defend my title for the first time in London in my backyard and as I'm the only British boxer to hold a world title the heat is on for me to deliver," "This time last year there were seven British boxers who held world titles and now I'm the only one out there so whoever the challenger is I'm telling them now - there is now way that belt is leaving me," He added that Khan should take stock from his experience. "Losing to Stephen Luevano in my first world title fight was an absolute gutter but I dusted myself off, went back to the gym, and was even hungrier to win the title the second time round," "Amir should look at me and see that a loss is not the end of the world and you can still come back and become world champion," "I'm looking forward to the big night, it's a great card with Britain's best talent in action and it will be a great night for the fans," Bolton star Khan has gone back to the drawing board and has linked up with top trainer Freddie Roach at his Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles as he prepares for his comeback. The 21-year-old said, "It's been great out here, I'm not distracted with anything outside of boxing and all I do is train and learn,""I'm working on so much stuff with Freddie that I'm going home more mentally tired than physically tired!" "Although the loss to Prescott was a big blow, it was perhaps the best thing that could have happened to me because it made me realise I had to change things and I've made the right move to Freddie," "I'm really looking forward to my comeback fight on December 6 and showing everyone that I am back and have even more determination to reach the top." Promoter Frank Warren said, "The pressure is on both these lads. Nicky has got a lot of responsibility as Britain's only World Champion to defend it successfully on his home patch. He's a top quality fighter and the move up to super-featherweight has made him stronger. All eyes will be on Amir in his first fight back and he needs to prove that he is better fighter which I'm sure he will do. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster 0844 847 2500, See Tickets 0871 220 0260 and Frank Warren Box Office 01992 550 888.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chelsea's talent search in Malaysia

Chelsea Football Club has agreed to be the exclusive football club partner of a grass roots talent search in Malaysia. The Super Soccer Star television show will be broadcast by RTM, the country’s leading free-to-air broadcaster, in December. The news follows Chelsea’s highly successful pre-season friendly in Kuala Lumpur that attracted a 60,000 plus crowd. It is the second time Chelsea has been involved in the Super Soccer Star format. The first show was broadcast in Guangdong, the southern province of China, where Chelsea also played a pre-season friendly this summer. Chelsea Chief Executive Peter Kenyon said: "We are delighted to be involved again in this innovative project that helps us deliver on our continuing commitment to promote grass roots football among youngsters in Asia. "The show complements our involvement in Vision Asia with the AFC as well as showcasing Chelsea to a large audience and we look forward to hosting the finalists of Super Soccer Star in England once again." Super Soccer Star is co-produced by British company Galleon plc and provides a mix of football and entertainment as well as interactive content for viewers. The show aims to promote football skills and fitness across the 14-16 age group and will appeal to family peak-time viewing. The tests by which participants are judged are based on those used at the Chelsea Academy. The club’s name and brand will be promoted on air and in conjunction with the naming of the show. The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) are also a partner. The four finalists are destined to visit Chelsea’s world renowned Academy and Stamford Bridge later this year. The show extends Chelsea’s relationship with Malaysia. As well as the friendly in July against a Malaysian Select XI, the FAM’s President His Royal Highness Sultan Ahmad Shah visited Cobham earlier this year where two young Malaysian players had been invited to train at the Academy. Chelsea is already the official football development partner of the Asian Football Confederation's Vision China project that aims to set up 15 city leagues in China.

Burns Night at the Kelvin Hall

Commonwealth Super-Featherweight Champion Ricky Burns is already having nightmares about facing Ghanaian hardman Yakubu Amidu on Friday 14 November at Glasgow's Kelvin Hall. Burns was involved in a tough scrap against another Ghanaian Osumanu Akaba to win the title last month in London, and now faces another hard night against power-punching Amidu who has knocked-out all but one of his 17 opponents. He said, "These Ghanaian's are hard, hard, fighters, so when I saw that this guy Amidu was from Ghana I groaned! Then when I looked at his record and saw that he has belted out 16 of his 17 opponents I had nightmares later that night! "It's good that he has instilled this fear in me already because it's given me the buzz I need to win and to train harder than ever to beat this guy and keep hold of my Commonwealth crown, "He might have an awesome record littered with knockouts but he going to come unstuck against a good boxer like me, "The fight against Akaba was a great learning fight and to come through a tough twelve-rounder has done me the world of good. I've watched the fight again and there's plenty to learn from it and to practice in the gym, "I'm just looking forward to returning to Scotland a champion and defending my title in front of my home fans and it's going to be a great night." Burns features as chief support to Kell Brook's British Welterweight title defence against Kevin McIntyre that also features a top quality undercard. Tickets are available from Morrison Boxing 0141 554 7777, Ticket Scotland 0141 204 5151 and Frank Warren 01992 550 888.

Taco takes the Prize

Taco Remkes of The Netherlands became the first Challenge Tour player on this season’s Schedule to claim three titles when he secured a dramatic play-off victory over Finland’s Roope Kakko at the inaugural Margara Diehl-Ako Platinum Open. Having reached the turn in one under par after a birdie at the seventh hole, and with most of his nearest rivals struggling to acclimatise to the cool conditions at Margara Golf Club in Italy, Remkes seemed to be cruising to victory. But the Dutchman’s lead soon disappeared after three successive bogeys from the 15th hole coincided with a resurgence from Kakko, meaning the Finn held a one shot advantage coming down the last. Both men found the fairway off the tee and hit their approach shots to around 12 feet, but when Remkes holed his putt and Kakko’s slid by, the duo return to the 18th tee for a sudden death play-off having finished level on 18 under par. When at the first extra hole Remkes again made a birdie from around eight feet after his playing partner had found a greenside bunker, the title belonged to the Dutchman. Following earlier victories in Scotland and his native Holland, it was a third title of the season for the Challenge Tour rookie. Perhaps more importantly his winner’s cheque for €25,600 moved Remkes to second in the Rankings behind England’s David Horsey, who finished in a tie for fourth with Wales’ Liam Bond on 16 under par, with Christian Nilsson one shot ahead in third. The Dutchman now goes into next week’s final event, the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final, knowing a fourth victory of the season would guarantee him the Number One spot. Remkes said: “To win the Challenge Tour would be a great finish to what has been a pretty special season. My first victory was great because it confirmed I was a winner, and obviously my win in Holland was special, but this was probably the most dramatic of the three. I’m just so pleased it’s over, because I didn’t play very well. “Even though I wasn’t striking the ball very well I was still fine on the front nine, but then it all started going wrong on the back nine. Luckily something clicked into place again on the 18th – in a funny way knowing I had to make birdie probably helped, because it sharpened my mind. Then when the putt dropped I thought I would win the play-off, because it gave me such confidence.” Bond’s round of 71 ensured the Welshman grabbed the last remaining place at next week’s Apulia San Domenico Grand Final, whilst Nilsson moved into the top 15 in the Rankings after his round of 70.

Gacia tees up for HSBC Champions in China

Sergio Garcia, one of The European Tour’s truly global ambassadors, will aim to add another title in Asia to his already impressive golfing CV when he takes his place amongst the galaxy of stars confirmed for next month’s HSBC Champions in Shanghai. The 28 year old Spaniard has recorded professional victories in Europe, the United States and in Africa but would dearly love to succeed once again in Asia – to follow his victory in the 2002 Kolon Cup Korean Open – when he tees up at the Sheshan International Golf Club from November 6-9. The six time winner on The European Tour International Schedule has had a hugely consistent 2008 season, the highlight of which being when he came through a play-off with Paul Goydos to win The Players Championship on the US PGA Tour. With a bit of good fortune, Garcia could have enjoyed even further success this year but had to settle for a share of second place in the US PGA Championship behind Padraig Harrington as well as the runners-up spot in both The Barclays tournament and The Tour Championship in the FedEx Cup series in the United States. However, having made his debut in the HSBC Champions last November where he finished just outside the top 40, the Spaniard is eager to return to Shanghai, the vibrant city on China’s eastern coast at the mouth of the Yangtze River. “Shanghai is a truly great city and it is always fun to come back to,” he said. “Last year I thought it was a great tournament and I really enjoyed the visit. I love to play around the world and I am really looking forward to returning to China to play in this world-class event and keeping my good play of the 2008 season going.” The inclusion of Garcia in the field further strengthens what is already a superb line up; headed by World Number Two Phil Mickelson of the United States and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, a winner of two Major Championships in 2008. In addition, reigning Masters Tournament Champion Trevor Immelman will tee up alongside players of the calibre of Robert Karlsson, Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson. Of course, the HSBC Champions also heralds the start of the inaugural Race to Dubai on The 38th European Tour International Schedule, a global journey which will comprise at least 53 tournaments in 26 destinations before reaching a thrilling crescendo with The Dubai World Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai in November 2009. “Everybody I have talked to on both sides of the Atlantic is very positive about this development,” said Garcia. “The Race to Dubai is great and will take The European Tour and European golf to a new level and where it is supposed to be. We are all very excited and looking forward to seeing how it goes.” In the history of The European Tour there has only been one Spaniard, Seve Ballesteros, who has claimed the Order of Merit title, the five time Major Champion doing so on six occasions; 1976, 1977, 1978, 1986, 1988 and 1991, Naturally, Garcia admitted he would love to follow in his legendary compatriot’s footsteps. “It is something that all European players aspire to and it is incredible to think that of all the great players who have come out of Spain over the past 30 to 40 years that only Seve has done it,” he said. “It is something that I would love to do before my career is over – indeed I would love to win both The Race to Dubai and the FedEx Cup in the USA. It would be exciting to achieve that and I am looking forward to trying to achieve that. However, to win the first Race to Dubai would really be something.” Before he focuses on the HSBC Champions, there is the small matter of this week’s European Tour event – the CASTELLÓ MASTERS Costa Azahar at Garcia’s home club, the Club de Campo del Mediterráneo in Castellón – to consider. “I am so thrilled about my tournament; it is one of the highlights of my year,” he said. “To be able to play a European Tour event at my home course and to have some good players coming there too, I think it is going to be awesome. It is going to be a new experience for me and I am really thrilled and looking forward to it. “Of course looking ahead, my tournament in 2009 is going to be right in there towards the end of The Race to Dubai and doing well there might give a lot of guys the possibility of making it into The Dubai World Championship at the end of the year. It should be very exciting.”

Grand Finale for Challenge Tour

After 32 tournaments played across four Continents, the 2008 European Challenge Tour season reaches a thrilling climax with this week’s Apulia San Domenico Grand Final. At San Domenico Golf in Puglia, Italy, the leading 45 players in the Challenge Tour Rankings will compete for the €280,000 prize fund on offer, with the top 20 earning their cards for The 2009 European Tour International Schedule. With The Race to Dubai starting in earnest with the lucrative HSBC Champions tournament next month, when the winner of the Challenge Tour will tee up with some of the greatest names in world golf, the incentives to join the elite on The European Tour have never been greater. But whilst the rewards are huge, the margins between success and failure can be miniscule. Just ask Belgium’s Nicolas Vanhootegem, who finished 22nd in the Rankings in 2006 and 21st last year, when Norway’s Jan-Are Larsen pipped him to 20th place by just €1,377. Nobody said life, and indeed golf, was fair. Scotland’s Andrew McArthur can also claim to have been an unlucky loser, having finished 22nd in last year’s Rankings and 27th the year before. The Scot will have the chance to make it third time lucky when he tees up with his 44 fellow hopefuls at the testing 7,031 yards, par 71 course in southern Italy. At the other end of the spectrum, Taco Remkes of the Netherlands and current Number One David Horsey of England – who finished first and tied fourth respectively at last week’s Margara Diehl-Ako Platinum Open – have no such worries, having long since secured their European Tour cards for next season. Instead, the duo will bid to follow in the footsteps of France’s Michael Lorenzo-Vera, who claimed last year’s Apulia San Domenico Grand Final title and with it the honour of finishing the season as the Challenge Tour Number One. Horsey and Remkes are currently separated by one place and just €840 in the Rankings, with former Number one Gary Lockerbie of England a further €990 behind Remkes in third. Thus, should any of the trio lay claim to the €48,000 first prize, the title of 2008 Challenge Tour winner and a place at the forthcoming HSBC Champions would be theirs to cherish. Other players with aspirations of joining them on the top tier include Wales’ Liam Bond, Finland’s Roope Kakko and Sweden’s Christian Nilsson, all of whom performed creditably at Margara Golf Club last week. Bond and Kakko ensured their participation at San Domenico Golf with their respective tied fourth and second place finishes, with Bond grabbing the 45th and last available place by just €11, whilst Nilsson jumped into the top 15 in the Rankings after finishing third. When Saturday comes, all three will be hoping to lift the trophy and so join the likes of double Major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland in The Race to Dubai. It’s what dreams are made of.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Broadhurst to fight in Birmingham

Don Broadhurst is relishing the chance to fight for his first title in his home city after his opponent was named today. Broadhurst will tackle tough Ghanaian Isaac Quaye when he challenges for the Commonwealth super-flyweight title on October 31 at the Aston Events Centre in Birmingham. "I've had a look at his record and he is very experienced so I'm expecting a tough fight," said Broadhurst. "He's already been 12 rounds a couple of times, so I know I might have to go into the trenches at some point if I'm going to take the Commonwealth belt home with me. "But that should give the fans plenty to get excited about. I've already sold hundreds of tickets and there is a real buzz in Birmingham at the moment. "Hopefully this is just the start for me. I want to win the British and European titles in Birmingham as well - and fight here for a world title. "I had a non-title fight at the N.I.A when Amir Khan was up here in the summer, and the atmosphere then was amazing. Imagine what it's going to be like when I win the Commonwealth title." The Don, 24, is unbeaten in eight fights and ready to step up in class - and will need to be at his very best to defeat Quaye. Broadhurst will be joined on the card by fellow Brummies Matt Macklin and Thomas Costello, as well as a host of talented prospects.

Teams confirmed for Golf's World Cup

The 28 teams who will have the honour of representing their countries in next month’s Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China have now been confirmed, with the host nation represented by Liang Wen-chong and Zhang Lian-wei. The 28 nations, comprising 18 exempt countries, the host nation and nine qualifiers, will line up on the Olazábal Course at Mission Hills in China from November 27-30, all hoping to win the lions’ share of the $5.5 million prize fund. Liang, the reigning Asian Tour Number One, is again challenging for the Asian Tour Order of Merit title following his impressive victory in the Hero Honda Indian Open last weekend, and in partnership with Zhang will be hoping to improve on their joint 11th place finish last year and break in to the top ten for the first time in the World Cup. Liang and Zhang will be looking to follow China’s record-breaking feat at the recent summer Olympic Games. China topped the medal standings with its greatest haul of gold medals ever and expectations of their sporting heroes are now at an all-time high. "As Chinese, we are all very proud of our country’s glorious achievements at the recent Olympic Games. It’ll be fantastic if we can raise the standards and profile of golf on the global stage, very much like what our other fellow country sportsmen have done," said Liang. Zhang is also relishing the opportunity to raise the stature of golf in the country. "The Olympics games have shown to the world how high the level of our sporting excellence is today. Together with all our Chinese players, we hope to do the same for golf." The United States Team has also been confirmed with US Ryder Cup player and the 2003 Open Champion Ben Curtis joining forces with Brandt Snedeker. Both players will be making their debuts in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China looking to go one better than the US Team of 12 months ago, when Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum finished runners-up after a play-off with Scotland. Snedeker said: "I am very excited to be playing with Ben and representing our country in this event. In our sport you do not get the opportunity too many times to compete for your country and this is going to be a thrill for me. I look forward to it and hope we can represent the United States well. I was disappointed I did not make this year's Ryder Cup team and this opportunity will provide a good alternative this year. I think it will also be a good experience as I work hard to reach my goal of making the next Ryder Cup team and perhaps The Presidents Cup team next year." Scotland, of course, will be defending champions following their victory over the Olazábal Course when Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren made amends for their play-off defeat a year earlier to take the title. Montgomerie is back on the Scottish team and will have a new partner in Alastair Forsyth this year. The Swedish Team are the top seeds with a formidable partnership of Henrik Stenson and the in-form Robert Karlsson, the current European Tour Number One and winner of his last two events. Karlsson said: "I am really looking forward to playing with Henrik and representing Sweden. We have only had one chance to play together before, in The Ryder Cup, and that worked well. I think it will be a good pairing and hopefully it will work out well. It is always important to play for your country and with the new format of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup it is good fun and I am definitely looking forward to it." The 28 nations were finalised following last week’s Marriott Venezuela Playa Grande Nations Cup where Guatemala’s Alejandro Villavicencio and Pablo Acuña secured victory over Mexico and Venezuela with all three teams securing a ticket for China. The 28 nations and teams who will compete in the 2008 Omega Mission Hills World Cup are:-
Australia (Richard Green, Brendan Jones) Canada (Wes Heffernan and Graham DeLaet) Chile (Felipe Aquilar, Mark Tullo) China (Liang Wen-chong, Zhang Lian-wei) Chinese Taipei (Lin Wen-Tang , Lu Wen-Teh) Denmark (Søren Hansen, Anders Hansen) England (Ian Poulter, Ross Fisher) Finland (Roope Kakko and Mikko Korhonen) France (Gregory Havret, Gregory Bourdy) Germany (Martin Kaymer, Alex Cejka) Guatemala (Pablo Acuña, Alejandro Villavicencio) India (Jeev M Singh, Jyoti Randhawa) Ireland (Graeme McDowell, Paul McGinley) Italy (Francesco and Edoardo Molinari) Japan (Ryuji Imada, Toru Taniguchi) Korea (Bae Sang-moon and Kim Hyung-tae) Mexico (Oscar Serna, Daniel De León) New Zealand (Mark Brown, David Smail) Philippines (Angelo Que and Mars Pucay) Portugal (Tiago Cruz and Ricardo Santos) Scotland (Alastair Forysth, Colin Montgomerie) South Africa (Rory Sabbatini, Richard Sterne) Spain (Miguel Angel Jiménez, Pablo Larrazabal) Sweden (Henrik Stenson, Robert Karlsson) Thailand (Prayad Marksaeng, Thongchai Jaidee) USA (Ben Curtis, Brandt Snedeker) Wales (Bradley Dredge, Richard Johnson)

King brings boxing to China

CHENGDU, China—Fresh from the great success of the recent Olympic Games in Beijing, boxing promoter Don King has announced two heavyweight fights, a WBC Strawweight world championship and two additional matches featuring a former five-time world champion and a top-ranked undefeated challenger will all be part of his international fight card that he is presenting with Chengdu Sports Industry at Sichuan Gymnasium in Chengdu, China, on Friday, Nov. 7. The greatest Polish heavyweight in history, Andrew Golota (41-6-1, 33 KOs), from Warsaw, Poland, will meet former No. 1 heavyweight contender Ray "The Rainman" Austin (24-4-4, 16 KOs), from Cleveland, Ohio, for the World Boxing Council USNBC International heavyweight championship. A WBC heavyweight elimination bout will also be showcased, pitting established contender Jameel "Big Time" McCline (38-9-1, 23 KOs), from New York, against one of Chicago’s best young punchers, "Merciless" Mike Mollo (19-2, 12 KOs). The interim WBC strawweight championship will be up for grabs when Juan "El Exterminador" Palacios (24-2, 19 KOs), from Managua, Nicaragua, squares off against Japanese champion Teruo Misawa (18-4-4, 7 KOs), who hails from Tokyo. The Chinese crowd will also be treated to two of the best professional prizefighters in the sport appearing in separate bouts against opponents to be named. Former five-time world champion "The Baby Faced Assassin" Marco Antonio Barrera (63-6, 42 KOs), from Mexico City, will appear at lightweight and undefeated WBC No. 1-ranked super lightweight Devon Alexander "The Great" (15-0, 8 KOs), from St. Louis, Mo., will compete at the 140-pound limit. A WBC female middleweight championship will be contested when champion Wang "China Doll" Ya Nan (7-0, 3 KOs), from Shanghai, China, defends her crown against Akondaye Fountain (7-1, 4 KOs), from Houston, Texas. King has themed the event as "We Are Together," which is the English translation of Wo Men Zai Yi Qi—the rallying cry used by the Chinese people to lift the spirits of those who were struck by May’s devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province near Chengdu that registered 8.0 on the Richter scale. Thousands perished in the temblor and that also left 1.5 million people homeless. "We are all truly together in bringing this international event to China," King said. "We are an American company coming together with our friends at Chinese Sports Industry to present this history-making fight card in Chengdu. The World Boxing Council will host its annual convention in Chengdu at the same time. And all of us support the ongoing recovery in Sichuan Province after the earthquake. "The Chinese people proved their resilience by presenting China’s first Olympic Games in tremendous fashion and we will present a professional prizefighting success in Chengdu on Nov. 7. Working together we can achieve great things." This historic boxing event coincides with and will conclude the WBC’s 46th world convention, which begins in Chengdu on Sunday, Nov. 2. The 40-year-old Andrew Golota, who has lived in Chicago since emigrating from Warsaw in 1991, is one of the best heavyweights to have never won a world title. He has been in four heavyweight world-championship matches, including three in a row during 2005 and 2006.
He fought then International Boxing Federation heavyweight champion Chris Byrd to a draw at Madison Square Garden in 2004, and later that year—after knocking down then World Boxing Association heavyweight champion John "The Quietman" Ruiz twice in the second round at the Garden (and Ruiz had a point deducted for hitting on the break in round four)—he still suffered a decision loss. Many ringside observers felt Golota had won both contests. Golota was defeated in the first round while attempting to dethrone knockout artist and then World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion "Relentless" Lamon Brewster in 2005. His first world title appearance in 1997 ended the same way against Lennox Lewis. Golota recently rebounded with three wins. Most notably, he defeated Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin "The Clones Colossus" McBride with a technical knockout in round six when they met in 2007, and in his most recent appearance on Jan. 19, he won a unanimous decision over "Merciless" Mike Mollo. Standing in the way of Golota’s quest for a fifth chance at a world championship is durable Ray "The Rainman" Austin, a competitor who has risen from the tough streets of Cleveland to become a world-championship-level contender. Austin is a mammoth 6-foot-6-inch puncher who normally weighs just below 250 pounds. His size and strength alone present challenges for anyone stepping into the ring with him. When he is in peak physical condition, he can contend with anyone as evidenced by the fact that he fought all of the following notable fighters to a draw:Lance "Mount" Whitaker, Larry Donald and future heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov. Austin earned his first and only world-title shot when he faced IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on March 10, 2007, where he suffered a second-round technical knockout at the hands of the Ukrainian giant. He won a unanimous decision over Domonic Jenkins in Carson, Calif., on Sept. 27 in his last outing. Jameel McCline has been a "whisker" away from winning his first heavyweight world championship, twice, and has contended in four world championship matches. He is another giant boxer that stands 6 feet 6 inches tall and has weighed as much as 277 pounds before entering the ring. For a big man who came to the sport later than most, his athletic abilities and agility—not to mention punching power—are astonishing. He beat Michael Grant and Lance "Mount" Whitaker in 2001, and the following year he defeated Shannon "The Cannon" Briggs and faced Wladimir Klitschko in his first world-championship match. He fought gamely against Klitschko but suffered a 10th-round loss by technical knockout. He shocked then IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd when they met at Madison Square Garden in 2004, sending Byrd to the canvas with a devastating right hand early in the second round. Byrd literally hung on to McCline in desperation and narrowly escaped being knocked out. Byrd not only recovered but went on to win a narrow split decision. McCline regained his championship-level skills in 2007 when he and Nikolai "Russian Giant" Valuev set an all-time record for combined weight at 590 pounds. McCline suffered a heartbreaking loss in his third world-championship appearance when he was forced to withdraw against Valuev after suffering a freak knee injury at the end of the third round that left him unable to continue. Undaunted, McCline became a last-minute substitute after Oleg Maskaev was sidelined after a training injury just before he was to meet Samuel "The Nigerian Nightmare" Peter for the WBC interim heavyweight championship at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 6, 2007. McCline shocked Peter by sending him to the canvas in the second round and twice more in the third. The referee almost halted the contest, but Peter survived the round and rebounded to win by decision. Mike Mollo wants to end McCline’s quest to appear in another championship match and catapult himself back into title contention. The Chicago native ran his undefeated record to 15-0 before suffering his first setback at the hands of DaVarryl "Touch of Sleep" Williamson in 2005. The young prospect regrouped quickly, and stunned Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin "The Clones Colossus" McBride with a second-round stoppage when they met in 2006. In the biggest test of his career, Mollo tangled with Andrew Golota earlier this year in a highly entertaining slugfest. Mollo had his opponent staggered on several occasions, but the wily Golota survived the early storm to prevail by decision after 12 rounds. Juan Palacios fought for and won the WBC interim strawweight championship by defeating Omar Soto by technical knockout in round 10 when they met in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on Aug. 2. Palacios comes from the notoriously tough streets of Managua, Nicaragua, and like so many of his fellow countrymen before him, he fights in an exciting, straightforward style. He is a busy fighter who is comfortable boxing or brawling. His challenger, Japanese champion Teruo Misawa has built a respectable record and will be fighting for the first time outside of his native country. He plans to use this opportunity to prove himself on the world stage. Marco Antonio Barrera is one of the greatest fighters of this era, winning five world titles in three separate weight divisions. Now a lightweight, Barrera would like nothing more than to become the first Mexican-born champion to win world titles in four weight divisions before he hangs up his gloves. His wins over Prince Naseem Hamed, Erik Morales, Johnny Tapia and Paulie Ayala will always be remembered in the annals of boxing history and by boxing fans everywhere for the way Barrera displayed his considerable skills and tremendous heart. Chinese fans will also be able to witness one of the top prospects in all of boxing when Devon Alexander appears on the card. Fans in his native St. Louis are expecting great things from this undefeated WBC No. 1-ranked contender at the 140-pound limit. Boxing aficionados have also been buzzing about the emerging skills of this 21-year-old, who will be challenging for a world title in the very near future.

Olympian Sutherland turns Pro

IRELAND'S Olympic bronze medallist Darren Sutherland is the first Olympian from the home nations to turn professional and will be managed and promoted by Frank Maloney. Sutherland, 26, has signed a three-year contract with Maloney and makes his professional debut in home city, Dublin on Thursday December 18. The historic homecoming will be staged at Dublin City University where Sutherland is studying Sports Science. Sutherland will campaign as a super-middleweight and his fights will be exclusively televised live by Sky Sports. Maloney said: "From the minute I watched Darren in the Olympics he was the only fighter I wanted to sign." "I believe he will become the my fifth world champion following in the path of Lennox Lewis, Paul Ingle, Scott Harrison and David Haye. "This is a long term mission and will be an incredible journey. I invite the Irish public to join Darren on what will be a fantastic ride. "On a personal level I haven't felt this excited since the day Lennox Lewis signed with me in April 1989." Sutherland's medal in Beijing was one of the finest achievements ever by an Irish sportsman in the Olympics. After a first round walkover, Sutherland outpointed Algeria's Nabil Kassel and Venezuelan Alfonso Blanco before losing to eventual middleweight winner James DeGale in the semi-final. Sutherland had won four of their previous five encounters against the Englishman and it would be no shock if their paths crossed in a major professional fight. Sutherland is expected to work with several British and American trainers before deciding who to team up with. Maloney expects to announce the Irishman's first professional opponent next month.Ticket for Sutherland's professional debut at DCU will be on sale next month, and the card will also feature leading British and Irish fighters. DARREN SUTHERLAND FACT FILE Born: 18th March 1982 Birthplace: Dublin Stance: Orthodox Nickname: The Dazzler Amateur Club: St Saviour's ABC Amateur Honours: 2008 Irish Olympian - Bronze medallist Gold Medallist in European Olympic Qualifier, Greece Irish National Senior Champion 2007 Irish National Senior Champion. Gold medallist in Multi-Nation Tournament, Croatia. Gold medallist in Multi-Nation Tournament, Finland. Bronze medallist in Multi-Nation Tournament, Germany. European Union Champion, Ireland. Silver medallist in Multi-Nation Tournament, Ukraine... Gold medallist in Multi-Nation Tournament, Germany. Last 16 of World Championships, USA. 2006 Irish National Senior Champion. Four Nations Champion, Ireland. 2005 Gold medallist in Multi-Nation Tournament, Liverpool. Gold medallist in Multi-Nation Tournament, Albania. Gold medallist in Multi-Nation Tournament, Russia. Quarter-Finalist, World Championships, China.2003 Win - Ireland V Germany (home). Bronze medallist in All Ireland Senior Championships. 2002 Irish Under-21 National Champion - 75kgs. Bronze medallist in All Ireland Senior Championships 2001 Irish Under-21 Champion - 71kgs. Win - Ireland V France (away). Win - Ireland V France (away). Win - Ireland V Poland (away) 2000 Irish Intermediate Champion - 71kgs Leinster Champion - 71kgs. 1999 (in England) Quarter-finalist Junior ABA Championships - 71kgs. North-East Counties Junior ABA Champion - 71kgs. NABC North-East Regional Finalist - 67kgs. Yorkshire Champion - 67kgs 1998 (in England) NABC National Semi-finalist - 67kgs. NABC National Regional Champion - 67kgs. NABC Northern Counties Champion - 67kgs. Yorkshire Champion - 67kgs.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Putting on the Pounds at the York Hall

MORE than 700lb of raw fighting flesh will thrill fans at York Hall, Bethnal Green on Friday October 17. Little man Ian Napa tops the bill when he challenges Belgian ace Carmelo Ballone for the European super-bantamweight. Big boys Tom Dallas, David Howe and Larry Olubamiwo all box four rounders and will be bidding to steal the show. Even more incentive for the trio to shine is the £500 on offer from promoter Frank Maloney to the 'Fighter of the Night'. Promoter Frank Maloney said: "Britain is crying out for a new heavyweight star and all three of these lads think they will breakthrough. "They all believe they are better than each other and the rivalry is already pretty intense. "I suppose if one of them wins the bonus money he can already claim to have one over the other two. "Later next year there is no reason why these three man mountains won't be up against each other with even bigger prizes at stake." Tickets for this action packed night of Britain's best can be obtained by calling the hotline 0871 226 1508 or from

Costello grows up on the Mean Streets

Unbeaten light-middleweight prospect Thomas Costello is no stranger to the inside of some of the country's most notorious prisons. Fortunately it's as a visitor preaching the benefits of boxing rather than an inmate.But the Birmingham teenager admits that if it wasn't for the fight game, he could be watching the lectures rather than giving them. "I come from a pretty rough part of Birmingham, and a lot of the lads I grew up with went off the rails," said the 19-year-old who fights in his home city on October 31 at the Aston Events Centre. "Boxing's been my life and now I prefer a night in with my girlfriend to going out on the town. About the most exciting thing I do outside of boxing is carp fishing! "But if the sport hadn't come along then I might have been one of the boys I visit on the inside. I could easily have gone down that road." Costello, undefeated in six fights, makes regular trips to Young Offender Institutions in Birmingham, and also takes his gloves and punch bags to a number of the city's schools. "It's important to give something back to the community, and hopefully what I'm doing will encourage a few more people to take up boxing," said Costello. "It's given me such an amazing chance in life. May be it can give others hope as well." An outstanding amateur, Costello is trained by his dad John, a former boxer, and he says that he owes much of his success to him. "My dad gave up work a few years ago to help me," said Costello. "He was a pretty good fighter himself so he knew what I was going through, and has always been there. "He's got a couple of decent prospects in the gym, and then there's my little brother Joe, who is European champion and world number one at his weight in the U17s." Costello, who says he may end up at super-middleweight, will next appear at the Aston Villa Events Centre on October 31 on a card topped by fellow Brummie Don Broadhurst. And he is relishing the resurgence of boxing in England's second city. Costello featured on the undercard of the Amir Khan-Michael Gomez scrap at the N.I.A in June that was a 10,000 sell-out. "It's great that we're doing big shows again up here," he said. "Fighting at the N.I.A on Khan's undercard was really special and I'm sure in time I can become a big attraction in Birmingham with my exciting style. There's some really talented lads both professional and amateur, and I can't wait to start fighting for titles myself. "But too many boxers have ruined themselves by thinking about too much too soon, so I'll just be taking my time and not rushing things." Tickets for the Aston Events Show are available from the Ticket Factory 0871 945 6000 or Aston Events Box Office 0121 327 1649.

Portugal prominent in Golf

The European Tour visits Portugal for the third time in 2008 this week for the Portugal Masters with the country’s continued prominence as an international destination of choice for golf fans and holidaymakers very much at fore. The Portugal Masters is part of a far-reaching concept developed by the Portuguese government that has highlighted golf as one of the ten strategic tourist products in its National Tourism Strategy, prioritising the construction of top level courses and the hosting of major golf tournaments. The partnership between The European Tour and Turismo de Portugal encompasses the Portugal Masters and the Estoril Open de Portugal along with Seniors and Challenge Tour events, and this partnership is now in the second of a three-year agreement. These events have proved highly successful and it is clear that this is a strategy that is working well. There have been notable champions of both The European Tour events with Spain’s Pablo Martin creating history in 2007 when he won the Estoril Open de Portugal, becoming the first amateur to win on The European Tour. England’s Steve Webster completed an emotional victory at the inaugural Portugal Masters a few months after the death of his mother, while earlier this season Grégory Bourdy added his name to the growing list of French champions by winning the 2008 edition of the Estoril Open de Portugal. Now the stage is set for another enthralling week. The success of these events has helped develop a flourishing golfing culture in the country. Portugal won the Golf Destination of the Year – Europe award from the International Association of Golf Tour Operators and the country now boasts 75 golf courses - 33 of which are in the Algarve. Each year more than 300,000 golfers head to Portugal’s courses playing 1.4million rounds of golf and generates 25% of Portugal’s tourism revenue, showing the game has a vital role in the country’s – and the Algarve’s - tourism industry. This week it is the turn of Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, one of Oceânico’s famous five championship golf courses in Vilamoura, to welcome some of the top names in world golf all competing for the €3,000,000 prize fund at the Portugal Masters. Oceânico Golf, the major player in the golf, property and leisure markets in Portugal, has reinforced its relationship with The European Tour by becoming Official Partner for the 2008 Portugal Masters. Prior to the tournament itself, Oceânico’s two new Amendoeira golf courses at the Oceânico Amendoeira Golf Resort, designed by 2008 Ryder Cup Captain Nick Faldo and Ryder Cup player Christy O’Connor Jnr, were opened. While these two venues will no doubt further enhance Portugal’s reputation as a golfing Mecca in the long term, fittingly six of Faldo’s Team from Valhalla will be among the headline draws attracting the crowds this week to Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, one of Oceânico’s current flagship venues. Søren Hansen, Miguel Angel Jiménez, Robert Karlsson, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood and Oliver Wilson all tee up alongside Webster, the defending champion who won the inaugural title 12 months ago.For Oceânico Golf, the week will be particularly special given it sponsors a number of the leading players who are part of the field. These include Westwood and the Irish pair Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley. Paul Broadhurst who 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, is also in the field along with compatriot David Howell, another player sponsored by Oceânico.Added interest is provided by a number of players teeing up who have won previously in Portugal: Bourdy, winner the last time The European Tour visited Portugal for the Estoril Open de Portugal; Robert-Jan Derksen; Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge, who won the WGC – World Cup for Wales at the Victoria course in 2005; Niclas Fasth; Alastair Forsyth; Michael Jonzon; Pablo Martin; Phillip Price; Jarmo Sandelin; Daniel Vancsik and Jean Van de Velde.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cleverly outpoints Oakey

Nathan Cleverly is eyeing a possible fight with Dean Francis following his impressive win over Tony Oakey on Friday night. Cleverly defeated Oakey on points to win the Commonwealth light-heavyweight title at the Everton Park Sports Centre in Liverpool. He had been due to fight Francis until the Basingstoke man vacated the Commonwealth belt six weeks ago. But a fight with Francis - the British title holder - could be resurrected in the wake of Cleverly's superb victory. And both fighters now hold triumphs over Oakey. Cleverly refused to call out Francis after the Oakey win - but didn't rule out a fight against the veteran puncher."I'm not going to get caught up in all the hype," the 21-year-old said. "It's going to be back to the drawing board and down to hard work. "We are going to sit down now and decide whether to defend this or go for another title." Meanwhile Cleverly said it was a dream come true to lift his first title - but said he won't be fully satisfied until he wins a world belt. "It makes all the hard work worthwhile. I've dreamt of this since I was 11 when I started boxing," he said. "I just have to stay level-headed and my dream to become world champion can be realised. "I haven't set a time to achieve my goal because anything can happen in boxing. "It's hard to be a champion, but harder to stay one and that's why I've got to dig deep."

Mitchell in third Seniors Win

England’s Peter Mitchell carded a closing round of four under par 68 to claim his third victory of the season at the Lake Garda Italian Seniors Open at the Palazzo Arzaga Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort.The 50 year-old from Kent started the day tied with Chile’s Guillermo Encina but in the end had to withstand a sustained challenge from both Ian Woosnam and Gordon J. Brand before winning by one shot on 13 under par 203. The victory was worth €30,0000 (£23,364) and helped the Englishman to climb up to fourth place on the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit behind Woosnam, Bernhard Langer and Brand. Mitchell had opened with rounds of 68 and 67 and produced five birdies and a bogey to edge out his nearest rivals in one of the most exciting finishes seen on this season’s Seniors Tour. "That’s the hardest I have ever had to work to win a tournament," the exhausted Englishman said after rolling a curling three-foot putt into the hole on the treacherous 435-yard par-4 final hole. "You wouldn’t believe how quick the greens were. I spent the whole day trying to dribble the ball up to the hole but still had five or six three-footers coming back. "It’s great to win a third title but now I need a beer and a bit of a rest."
Brand started the day one shot behind Mitchell and Encina but couldn’t quite do enough to add to his back-to-back victories earlier this season at the De Vere PGA Seniors Championship and the Travis Perkins plc Masters. He did lead for a while after holing a 30-foot putt for an eagle on the 522-yard par-5 eighth hole but he lost out on a chance of getting into a play-off when he three-putted from about 30 feet across the final green. "I hit that putt as pure as anything but it just wouldn’t stop rolling," he said after signing for a 68. "It was a shame. It was such a good roll and I think it was probably the only significant putt I missed all week long." Woosnam carded a flawless round of 67 which included four birdies in-a-row from the eighth but like Brand could not do quite enough to catch Mitchell. His consolation was a cheque for €17,000 (£13,239) which moves him just under €30,000 ahead of Langer at the top of the Order of Merit with just one counting event left to go."I didn’t play quite as well as I did the first two days," admitted the Welshman. "I hit some good shots but not quite enough to catch Peter."He’s really on a roll."Meanwhile home favourite Costantino Rocca failed to ignite the challenge the large local crowd had come to see. The former Ryder Cup star from nearby Bergamo closed with a level par 72 that saw him drop from a share of fifth place in to a tie for seventh on seven under par 209.
It was also mixed day for Scotland’s Sam Torrance who arrived in Italy still seeking his first victory of the 2008 season. The former Ryder Cup captain did claim six birdies but also ran up a ruinous seven on the 156-yard par-3 seventh to finish with a one under par 71 and a three under par aggregate of 213.

Karlsson sets sights on Shanghai

Robert Karlsson, the most prolific Swedish winner in the history of The European Tour and the current leader of The European Tour Order of Merit, will aim to add China to the ever-growing list of countries where has enjoyed success when he lines up in the star-studded field for the HSBC Champions in Shanghai next month. The 39 year old Swede, who recently took his tally of European Tour successes to nine with back-to-back victories in the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Germany and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland, will make his second appearance at the Sheshan International Golf Club from November 6-9, having competed for the first time in the tournament which heralded the start of the 2007 European Tour season. Then, he recovered from a first round 73 with subsequent rounds of 68-69-70 for an eight under par total of 280 and a share of sixth place, four shots behind runner-up Tiger Woods and six shots adrift of the eventual champion, Y E Yang of Korea. "I am very much looking forward to returning to Shanghai for the HSBC Champions," said Karlsson. "I didn’t play the last time but enjoyed the whole experience the previous year and I will be aiming to improve on the finish I achieved then. "Sheshan International Golf Course is always presented in excellent condition and provides a very good test which is what the world’s top players always want, and is part of the reason why the strength of the field which will assemble in China is so strong. "The other reason, of course, is that sponsors HSBC have developed a much deserved reputation for staging high quality golf tournaments across the world, and I am certain the latest HSBC Champions will be another. Everyone connected with the tournament is to be applauded for that." The inclusion of Karlsson in the field further strengthens what is already a superb line up; headed by World Number Two Phil Mickelson of the United States and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, a winner of two Major Championships in 2008. In addition, reigning Masters Tournament Champion Trevor Immelman will tee up alongside players of the calibre of Sergio Garcia, Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson. Mickelson said: "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, every time I teed it up at the British Open, that I hadn’t won outside of the US since 1993! "It was also fantastic to have my family there to enjoy the experience of visiting China and we certainly saw some amazing sights. I will be doing all I can to successfully defend my title in November." Harrington added: "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!" Of course, the HSBC Champions also heralds the start of the inaugural Race to Dubai on The 38th European Tour International Schedule, a global journey which will comprise at least 53 tournaments in 26 destinations before reaching a thrilling crescendo with The Dubai World Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai in November 2009. "The Race to Dubai is a tremendously exciting development for everyone involved with The European Tour and European golf as a whole, and something which has made the whole world of golf sit up and take notice," said Karlsson. "Obviously, at present, I am leading The 2008 European Tour Order of Merit with this week’s Portugal Masters and the Volvo Masters to come. It would be fun if I finished the season as European Number One and became the first Swedish player to achieve that feat. It is not a goal itself for me but I would certainly be very pleased if it happened. Plus, it would be absolutely fantastic to be part of The Race to Dubai as European Number One especially after the golf I have played this year."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cleverly offers tips to Cipriani

Welsh boxing star Nathan Cleverly has offered England rugby poster boy Danny Cipriani boxing lessons after he was KO'd in a training ground incident earlier this week. And Cipriani would be wise to take up the offer from hot shot Cleverly who challenges Tony Oakey for the Vacant Commonwealth light-heavyweight title tomorrow night (Friday 10 October) at the Everton Park Sports Centre in Liverpool. The fight will be televised live and exclusive on Sky Sports. The 21-year-old says once he's dealt with the Portsmouth's finest, he'll gladly give Cipriani some fighting tips. The England fly-half was clumped by Wasps and England team-mate Josh Lewsey this week for missing tackles in a training drill. According to insiders, he was felled by a right hook from Lewsey. "Cipriani is welcome down my gym any time - even if he plays rugby for England!" said undefeated Cleverly," "I'll work on keeping his guard up and his peripheral vision to spot which arm the punch is coming from, bobbing and weaving and of course how to come back with some good counter punchers - just in case he gets into any more scraps on the pitch in the future," "Boxing training is really popular with other professional sports cricket and football and I reckon a bit of boxing training could also improve his game," "After boxing, rugby is my next passion and I'd be delighted to give Danny a few boxing lessons in return for some of his rugby knowledge."

Karlsson is September's Best Golfer

Robert Karlsson has been named The European Tour Golfer of the Month for September in recognition of his superb victory in the Mercedes-Benz Championship at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof. The 39 year old strengthened his position as the most prolific Swedish winner in the history of The European Tour International Schedule with this, his eighth title overall, and his third in Germany following his successes in the 1997 BMW International Open and his triumph in the 2006 Deutsche Bank Players’ Championship of Europe. Karlsson withstood a strong final day challenge from Italy’s Francesco Molinari at the Cologne venue to maintain his reputation as one of the most accomplished front runners in Europe with seven of his eight victories having come after he led going into the final day. It also finally saw him notch a win during a sensational 2008 season where he had previously registered nine top ten finishes; including ending tied eighth in the Masters Tournament, tied fourth in the US Open Championship and tied seventh in The Open Championship. “Obviously I am delighted to be named as the Golfer of the Month for September on The European Tour,” said Karlsson. “It is great to be acknowledged for all the hard work you put in over a season and this award recognises what was a wonderful win for me in the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Cologne. “I always enjoy playing in Germany not least for the fact that the tournaments there are always very well run and everything about them is very well organised. I have had success in the country in the past too, so it was nice to go there and win again. It was also nice to get a win under my belt in 2008, because it would have felt a bit strange not to have won this season as I had been playing so well up to that point.” Karlsson faced strong competition for the September award, which was voted for by a panel of golfing journalists from newspapers, magazines, television and radio. Singled out for particular praise were Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño for his victory in The Quinn Insurance British Masters at The Belfry, and Frenchman Jean-François Lucquin for his maiden European Tour triumph in the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre. Also commended were Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez for his third place finishes in both the Omega European Masters and the Mercedes-Benz Championship, and Ian Poulter for finishing The Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Club as top points scorer from the 24 players in action, the Englishman registering four points out of five over the three days of competition. The Golfer of the Month Award winners thus far in 2008 have been: Germany’s Martin Kaymer (January), Mark Brown of New Zealand (February), Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland (March), Trevor Immelman of South Africa (April), Spaniards Sergio Garcia (May) and Pablo Larrazabal (June) and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington (July and August). At the end of the year, all monthly winners will be amongst the players considered by the panel for The European Tour Golfer of the Year.

Broadhurst headlines in Birmingham

Birmingham star Don Broadhurst will challenge for the first professional title of his career in his hometown on Friday 31 October. Broadhurst, the 2006 Commonwealth Games Champion, headlines the Aston Events Centre when he challenges for the Vacant Commonwealth Super-Flyweight Championship against an opponent to be named shortly. The change has meant that Kell Brook, who was scheduled to defend his British Welterweight title against Kevin McIntyre on this show, will now face the Scotsman at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow on Friday 14 November.
All-action Broadhurst, 25, is now unbeaten in eight fights and in his last bout in June on the Amir Khan-Michael Gomez undercard, he beat Alain Bonnel in front of 10,000 fans at the N.I.A.
He said, "It's unbelievable that I'm going to be headlining a show in my home city for the first time. I don't know who the opponent is yet and I don't care who it is, the World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko could be in the opposite corner and he would get a real good going over! I'm just over the moon that I'm going to be fighting for my first title in front of my home fans and I'm going to win it for them for all the support they have given me by coming to all my fights up and down the country. There's no way I'm going to lose." Matthew Macklin heads up the undercard when he features in a ten-round International middleweight contest, also on the card are Salford super-featherweight Stephen Foster Jnr; undefeated Birmingham light-middleweight Thomas Costello; Dudley middleweight Darren McDermott; Leicster light-middleweight Martin Concepcion and the pro debut of Peterborough super-middleweight Tariq Quaddas. A further two week delay to the mouthwatering Brook-McIntyre clash is sure to add further fuel to fire. The feuding welterweights will now meet at the historic fight venue to settle their dispute. Ricky Burns features as chief support on the card and makes the first defence of his Commonwealth Super-Featherweight title that he won against Osumanu Akaba last month.Edinburgh super-middleweight ace Kenny Anderson also continues his march towards the British title and further fights are to be added.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Oakey's experience over Cleverly's Youth

Commonwealth light-heavyweight title challenger Tony Oakey says it will be a question of experience over youth in Liverpool on Friday night.Oakey challenges 21-year-old unbeaten Welsh hot-shot Nathan Cleverly at the Everton Park Sports Centre on October 10 live and exclusive on Sky Sports. And the former British, Commonwealth and WBU champion insists that he will come out on top - even if he is preparing for the fight of his life."I won the Commonwealth title after a similar number of fights, so I know just how hungry Cleverly will be," said 32-year-old from Portsmouth. "He's young and his fresh and he's got good wins on his record he'll be dangerous. "Nathan is the upcoming fighter, but I have proved myself many times before and I'll do so again on Friday night. "I'm not taking anything for granted though because as soon as you step through the ropes into a professional boxing ring then you get my respect." Oakey lost his last fight, a KO defeat against Dean Francis in a thriller in Portsmouth, but has vowed to set the record straight. "He caught me with a great shot and I did well to get up at all," said Oakey, who was eventually counted out. "Funnily enough, the defeat was easier to swallow than my losses against Peter Haymer and Matthew Barney, where I believe I was robbed. "Beating Cleverly will give me the chance to fight Francis again, and that's what I want. "I've still got a lot left in the tank, and I've still got ambitions to fight for a European and world title. "I'm concentrating on Cleverly and not looking too far ahead, but there is a lot at stake on Friday night."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Westwood and Casey in Johnnie Walker Classic

Perth, Western Australia; Tuesday, October 7, 2008; English duo Lee Westwood and Paul Casey will join Australia’s Greg Norman in the line-up for the 2009 JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC when the event tees off from February 19 to 22 at The Vines Resort & Country Club in Perth, Western Australia. The early confirmation that Westwood and Casey will play in Asia Pacific's premier luxury golf tournament reflects JOHNNIE WALKER’s commitment to once again deliver a high-calibre field of international golfing stars to the prestigious tournament. “Since its inauguration in 1990, the JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC has always boasted a line-up that has featured the crème de la crème of the game and 2009 will be no exception,” commented David Gates, Global Brand Director for JOHNNIE WALKER. “This well-established event has always had a reputation for producing legendary winners including Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Fred Couples and of course Greg Norman, and I am confident we can look forward to continuing this tradition in Perth next year.” One of the UK’s most popular and consistent golfers, Westwood has won 29 tournaments worldwide and played on six European Ryder Cup Teams, including the recent clash at Valhalla. However he is perhaps best remembered for his fantastic 2000 season when he won six tournaments to top the European Tour Order of Merit, bringing to an end Colin Montgomerie’s record run of seven consecutive Order of Merit titles. Last year the 35-year-old showed a return to form when he won twice in Europe at the Valle Romano Open de Andalucia and The Quinn Direct British Masters. So far this year Westwood, currently ranked 12 in the world, has secured three joint second slots, most recently in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in August, along with three other top-10 finishes before concluding the US Open in third spot, one shot adrift of the Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate play-off. When Westwood and Norman last met on Australian soil at the Australian Open back in 1997, Greg was number one in the world although this did not stop the Englishman from unexpectedly overcoming the “Great White Shark” at the fourth hole of a sudden-death play-off in Melbourne to lift the title. “I’m already looking forward to playing in Perth and to the Australian sunshine which will be a welcome change from the European winter. One thing I’m sure about is that the welcome we’ll all receive at the JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC will be just as warm as the weather,” said Westwood. “It will also be a tremendous challenge to come up against Greg (Norman) again on his home soil especially after the form he showed at this year’s Open Championship.” Casey will also no doubt relish the opportunity to take on the truly international field of an event that is tri-sanctioned by the European, Asian and Australasian Tours. Currently ranked 38th in the world, 31-year-old Casey has secured six top-10 finishes this season, including a joint seventh spot in The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale and a joint third in the BMW International Open. More recently he was a member of Nick Faldo’s European Team at last month’s Ryder Cup, securing two half points from three matches. A winner of the Johnnie Walker Young Player of the Year Award in 2006, Casey will no doubt be looking to repeat the form he showed that year when he won three titles around the world, including the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, to finish the year in second spot on the European Tour Order of Merit. Over the past 18 years the JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC has been played in eight different countries and 13 different golf clubs around the Asia Pacific region including China in 2005 and earlier this year, for the first time, India, reflecting the brand’s “KEEP WALKING” philosophy. It will be the fourth visit to Perth, Western Australia for the JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC and the fifth time the event has been staged in Australia following its Antipodean debut back in 1997 at the Hope Island Golf Club.The JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC, presented by the world's number-one selling Scotch whisky, is owned by DIAGEO, the world's leading premium drinks business, and managed as it has been since the very first event, by IMG, the world's premier sports, lifestyle management and marketing company. For more information please visit Few brands can match the style and excellence of JOHNNIE WALKER and its flagship tournament - the JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC. It is an event that in 18 years has gained the reputation of being one of the best in the world, continually attracting outstanding players, huge galleries and worldwide television coverage. The JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC is owned by DIAGEO plc, the world's leading premium drinks business, which is the proud owner of the JOHNNIE WALKER brand. JOHNNIE WALKER is the world's number-one selling Scotch whisky, with net sales reaching £1bln in 2008. IMG, which conceived the event back in 1989 and has staged and managed each successive event since the inaugural tournament, won by Nick Faldo, at the Hong Kong Golf Club, Fanling, is the world's premier sports and lifestyle management and marketing firm with an international staff of more than 2,000 people in 70 offices in 30 countries. JOHNNIE WALKER has a long association with golf. Golf and Scotch whisky are arguably two of Scotland's greatest gifts to the world, which may explain why the world's leading Scotch whisky brand, JOHNNIE WALKER, sponsors Asia Pacific's premier luxury golf event, the JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC. But there is more to this brand's long-term commitment to the game of golf. Says the JOHNNIE WALKER Global Brand Director David Gates; "This world-class tournament is an opportunity for us to build relationships on many levels, with our consumers, with our trade, and with the players themselves. Most of all the tournament is a platform to promote the philosophy that lies at the heart of the JOHNNIE WALKER brand: KEEP WALKING." "This philosophy is about inspiring personal progress, inspiring people to take the next step on their journey towards their goals. Professional Golfers are inspiring examples of this message as they have overcome challenges to excel at the highest level of the sport. We hope that the tournament inspires others to follow their own dreams." JOHNNIE WALKER has been associated with golf throughout the last century with involvement in many prestigious tournaments including the Ryder Cup in the 1990s and today across all levels of the game and across all continents. The JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC was the first event to be tri-sanctioned by the European, Asian and Australasian PGA Tours. Uniquely, the location for the tournament changes every year as the event moves from one exotic location to another. It has been held in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Philippines, Taiwan, India and mainland China. The tournament attracts crowds of up to 60,000 people and hosts over 300 local and international media. The tournament also attracts one of the best fields of players assembled in the Asia Pacific region every year, drawing from the best international, world-ranked players from Europe, Asia, Australia and the USA.