Friday, November 28, 2008

Pascal arrives in England

Jean Pascal flew into England this morning in confident mood ahead of his WBC Super-Middleweight World Title fight against Carl Froch at the Trent FM Arena Nottingham on Saturday, 6th December. The Canadian challenges Froch for the vacant title that Joe Calzaghe relinquished earlier this year on a Hennessy Sports show in a clash of two unbeaten, knockout specialists. Someone's O will have to go and Pascal is convinced it won't be his since England has been a happy hunting ground for the boxer from Quebec. Pascal beat Paul Smith (Liverpool) to win the Commonwealth Games gold medal in Manchester six years ago and he is not worried about fighting in front of Froch's home fans in Nottingham with a 9,000 sell out expected on the night. “I’m glad to be back in the UK because I won the Commonwealth Games gold medal here," said Pascal. "I fought a British guy called Paul Smith in front of 15,000 fans and beat him. So I know what I’m getting into on December 6th and I’m not scared at all. I've got good memories here. “I’m quick and I’m strong. Carl Froch is a solid boxer and a heavy puncher but I know I have got better skills than him and I’m going to show that on December 6th.” Pascal will be boxing for only the second time outside of his native Quebec - and first outside of North America - after a training camp in Arizona, USA. “I’ve been training six days a week and I’m in great shape,” said Pascal. "I've not boxed for ten months so I'm itching to get back in the ring. This is the biggest fight of my life and I know I'm going to win because I'm the numero uno." Big Fight Live starts at 8.45pm on ITV4 & Froch vs Pascal WBC title fight is live on ITV1 at 10.45pm Tickets are available from the 24 hour Box Office at the Trent FM Arena on 08444 124 624 or via

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Froch at home in Nottingham

Carl Froch says there is only one place for true British boxing fans to be on Saturday 6th December – at the Trent FM Arena Nottingham or watching live on ITV1. The former British and Commonwealth champion challenges Canadian Jean Pascal in a clash of two unbeaten stars for the vacant and prestigious WBC World Super-Middleweight Title on a Hennessy Sports show. ITV1 will show the action live in the UK and ‘The Cobra’ Froch is confident the night will be his crowning glory when he hopes to become Britain’s next big marquee boxing star. Froch says his showdown with Pascal is the biggest boxing event in the UK that weekend. “There’s only one place to be on 6th December and that’s the Trent FM Arena Nottingham, or if you can't be there watching the fight live on ITV1,” said Carl. “There’s no other fight in Britain that is bigger than it, so why would you want to go anywhere else? “It’s all set up for me and it’s a great opportunity for me to show I can do the business on terrestrial TV. It’s time Britain has a new boxing star and I will make myself a superstar by beating Pascal in style. “People will have to get behind me after I win that belt because there’s going to be a void at the top if Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton retire next year. “My fight is the real deal and any knowledgeable boxing people will know what show to be at. This is a WBC title fight between two young, dangerous, hungry, unbeaten fighters. “This is not a domestic fight for a bogus so-called world title. This is the real deal. This is the number one belt in world title boxing. “Boxing on terrestrial TV is what makes household names and superstars and this is my chance. I’m going to unleash hell on the night and I’ve got everything in my corner.” Promoter Mick Hennessy says Froch-Pascal is an event not be missed by any British boxing fan. “It doesn’t get any better than this I honestly believe that if Carl comes through this fight the way I believe he can, then the country will witness the unveiling of a world superstar," said Hennessy. "I hope all of the press and media will be there to witness something special and the fans tune in to see it. It’s a very dangerous fight for Carl and I believe Jermain Taylor would have been an easier fight than Pascal, who is a former amateur star and very athletic. He has got great hand speed and can punch with either hand.” Big Fight Live starts at 8.45pm on ITV4 & Carl’s WBC title fight is live on ITV1 at 10.45pm. Tickets are available from the 24 hour Box Office at the Trent FM Arena on 08444 124 624 or via

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Americans in search of World Cup Glory

The USA team of Ben Curtis and Brandt Snedeker may not know what they are going to wear when the Omega Mission Hills World Cup begins on Thursday, but they are certainly looking forward to the start of the prestigious team event and having the honour of representing their country.Curtis, part of the victorious US Ryder Cup Team in September at Valhalla, and Snedeker are both competing in China for the first time and are relishing the experience. “I’m just looking forward to it,” said Curtis. “It's a great experience to be able to come to China to represent your country, and to play in this event. I think every golfer in the world would want to play in this event at some point during their career, and so to be able to have this opportunity; it's just going to be a lot of fun.”Snedeker, who arrived in China after finishing joint eighth in last week’s Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan, is embarking on something of a world tour and China was one place top of his list of must-see destinations.“I love seeing different cultures,” he said. “I happened to be in Japan last week, and I was in New Zealand, Fiji; I've been all over the place. And China was someplace I wanted to go, after I spent some time with people after the Olympics, and they just talked and raved about how great Beijing was and how everything was awesome over here, and really got me excited to come over here and play. It's exceeded all of my expectations so far, the hotel and resort is fantastic and everybody is so nice, so I’m very happy to be here.”Last year the United States came within a whisker of winning the title when Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum were denied by Scotland in a play-off. The team might have a different look this year but Curtis and Snedeker are determined to continue the proud tradition of the US teams of the past who have won the World Cup 23 times since 1953. “I talked to Boo last year when he got back, and he had a great time and obviously a chance to win and didn't get it done,” said Snedeker. “But he had nothing but great things to say, great place and loved the golf course. I know he really wanted to come back this year but just didn't work out. I'm glad to be here and glad to have Ben as my partner, so it will be fun.”Both players got their first taste of the Olazábal course at Mission Hills on Tuesday and liked what they saw. Curtis said: “it's going to be a good test of golf. It's going to be a lot of fun, and I think you're going to see a lot of birdies. It just seems like it's a course that you can play every day, and you'll find a new experience and just keep enjoying it.”Snedeker added: “The fairways are obviously pretty generous, but it's in great shape and it's going to be a good test, the greens are real small and I was very impressed. We only played nine holes, but a very good layout and it should make for some very exciting golf.”As for the clothing, the matter hadn’t even been discussed although Snedeker did admit they would be trying to “mix and match”.While Snedeker says “I won’t be bringing any coloured belts or funny-coloured shoes”, he may have to take the lead from Curtis, who wears NFL team logos and colors on his shirt and visor. Curtis did admit later that he brought mostly Buffalo Bills gear with him because - in true American style - the Bills’ primary colours are red, white and blue.

The return of the Malaysian Open

The 48th edition of the prestigious Maybank Malaysian Open returns to the world-renowned Saujana Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur from February 12-15 in 2009. This highly respected tournament has seen the likes of Vijay Singh, Padraig Harrington, Retief Goosen, Michael Campbell, Lee Westwood and Nick Faldo just to name a few, contend for top honours. This year is no exception with a US$2million prize purse on offer by title sponsor Maybank. “Maybank is pleased to be title sponsor again of the Malaysian Open which continues to draw top golfers from both Tours,” said Tan Sri Mohamed Basir bin Ahmad, Chairman Maybank in announcing Maybank’s sponsorship for the third consecutive year. “We are also happy with the return of the Malaysian Open to the Saujana Course which has earned an international reputation as a tough challenging course. We once again look forward to a world-class line-up of players to pit their skills on Malaysian green.” The Executive Committee of the Malaysian Golf Association welcomed the announcement of the event after its meeting and believes the Maybank Malaysian Open is the jewel in the crown of Malaysian golf and that the best players will turn out once again to compete and aim for the top prize. Golf in Malaysia continues to grow and the Malaysian Golf Association is sure fans will turn out in force to see their favourite international and local players battle it out over the four days. Making history as the first ever co-sanctioned tournament in Asia by The European and Asian Tours in 1999, the Maybank Malaysian Open 2009 will feature top players from the rankings to make up the 156 player line up. Vital points will also be on offer for The Race to Dubai which tees off this season. This replaces the previous European Tour Order of Merit and gives the top-60 ranked players a chance to compete for the US$10,000,000 prize fund at the Dubai World Championship which wraps up the season next November. The increased scope and power of The European Tour will guarantee a strong field at the course known as ‘The Cobra’. George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, explains, “The European Tour is going through significant changes this season with the inaugural Race to Dubai and we hope that the Maybank Malaysian Open benefits from this exciting new competition. Malaysia is one of The European Tour’s most exciting destinations that our Members have enjoyed since first coming here in 1999.” Kyi Hla Han, Executive Chairman of the Asian Tour echoed The European Tour’s sentiments, “The co-sanctioned Maybank Malaysian Open will return in February next year and will continue to be seen as one of the key tournaments on Tour. Saujana will provide a great challenge for our players and we are very pleased to see Maybank returning as title sponsor of Malaysia’s marquee golfing event.” Saujana Golf and Country Club, situated just outside Kuala Lumpur has hosted the Malaysian Open seven times, the last one in 2007 and has established itself as Malaysia’s number one golf club. The 2009 competition will be played on the Palm Course, which was designed by Ronald Fream and was named ‘The Best Championship Course in Asia’ in 2005. Players who have graced the established Saujana Golf and Country Club include the likes of Vijay Singh (2001 Champion), Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, John Daly, Severiano Ballesteros, Michael Campbell, Colin Montgomerie, Paul McGinley and 2004 & 2005 Champion Thongchai Jaidee. “Saujana has had the pleasure of hosting the Malaysian Open on several occasions and we are very happy to welcome the event back again for 2009”, said Dato’ Abu Bakar Mohd Nor, Managing Director of Saujana Consolidated Berhad. He continued, “The course has proved challenging for world-class players over the years and we will work hard to provide the best course and facilities possible to make this a truly memorable occasion.” Players competing in past events at Saujana had initially perceived the Palm Course as relatively easy where low scores were frequently recorded. In 2007, the rough was heightened to four inches, which gave the reversal of fortunes and frustrated many. For next year’s Maybank Malaysian Open, Saujana will provide a compromise to provide entertaining and challenging play with a rough in the region of two to two-and-a-half inches long. The new-look Tour calendar slots the Maybank Malaysian Open into February between the Indian Masters and the Johnnie Walker Classic which will be staged in Perth, Western Australia. One unique feature of the tournament is also the tax exemption on the US$2 million prize money which makes the Maybank Malaysian Open all the more lucrative for players to compete in. The schedule and location of these events makes Malaysia a perfect stop-off between India and Australia which is another incentive for players. Fans can be sure a star-studded cast will feature at the Palm Course at Saujana Golf and Country Club come February 2009 and player names are expected to be announced in the near future. “The 2009 Maybank Malaysian Open will take place at Saujana Golf and Country Club for what we expect to be the biggest and best event yet. The support of our sponsors and partners for this event will ensure it maintains its position as one of the premier events on Tour,” commented John Eu, Chief Executive Officer of GlobalOne. The 2008 Maybank Malaysian Open was won by Arjun Atwal from India who also took the trophy in 2003. Other top players including Darren Clarke, David Howell, Michael Campbell, Søren Kjeldsen, Nick Dougherty, Peter Hedblom and local favourite Danny Chia lined up at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club earlier this year year and we can expect more of the likes to return to challenge for the title.”

Scotland set for stern Defence

Scotland’s defence of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China begins on Thursday with Colin Montgomerie and Alastair Forsyth looking to become the first team to retain the title in eight years. Scotland, as defending champions, and China, the host nation are joined by teams from another 26 nations from all four corners of the world in the spirit of friendship and goodwill through golf. The opening ceremony signalled the start of the 54th World Cup with the players standing shoulder to shoulder on the 18th hole of the Olazábal Course at Mission Hills Golf Club.The 72 hole strokeplay competition will feature two rounds of fourballs and two of foursomes, beginning with the fourball format on Thursday when New Zealand, represented by David Smail and Mark Brown, and France, with Gregory Bourdy and Gregory Havret, getting the prestigious team event underway. Scotland’s defence will begin in the company of the home nation in the day’s final grouping and is sure to attract plenty of support. Scotland won the title for the first time since the inaugural World Cup in 1953 when Montgomerie and Marc Warren defeated the United States team in a play-off. Montgomerie returns to the spectacular Olazábal course at Mission Hills with a new partner in Alastair Forysth determined not to relinquish the title. “It feels slightly different with a new partner, but at the same time I am delighted to come back to a venue where we won the inaugural Omega Mission Hills World Cup,” said Montgomerie. “It was a great honour for us, and the first time Scotland had won the event. We had been runner‑up, I believe half a dozen times before, and it was good that we came here and eventually won after having lost in a playoff the previous year. “We'll be playing with the local Chinese team, and out last, so it will be busy. We look forward to trying to get off to a good start to build from there.” Forysth added: “I've played the World Cup a few times, really enjoyed it. Never played with Colin before, but looking forward, coming in as defending champions adds a little bit of spice to it, even though I had nothing to do with that. “No, it's obviously a pleasure to play with Monty. He's been around the course and done it all for Scottish and European golf, so it will be great to be by his side.” China finished 11th a year ago, their highest placing, and after the success of the Olympic Games in Beijing earlier this year, expectations are high for more sporting success. “We have had two days of practising together here,” said Zhang. “We’ve had a lot of birdies between us and hopefully we’ll continue to do so when the tournament starts tomorrow.” Liang added: “I’m glad to play in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup again and to be playing with Zhang, our expectations will be the same as our media friends. We are hoping for a good result.” As to the prospect of being paired with the defending champions, China are relishing the challenge. “I think it’s a good thing that the host country will be paired with the defending champions,” said Zhang. “We are hoping to have a good atmosphere but sometimes, it can affect the players. Golf is not like football. Golf is a calm game. We need to have our focus and concentration on all the time. Liang: Playing with Scotland, we’ll try to play our best. I hope the fans will give all their support to our team.” Sweden are another team for whom expectations are high with 2008 European Tour Number One and World Number Six, Robert Karlsson, partnering his Ryder Cup team-mate and the World Number 12, Henrik Stenson. The experience of playing together in The Ryder Cup is another factor which could favour the Swedes. Stenson said: “It's something that's different from what we play on a weekly basis. Obviously with the team format, and playing better ball and foursomes, I think it's a whole lot of fun just to be able to play in a relaxed, but still competitive mode. “It's also a great honour to play for your country and I think that's the most important thing; that we go out there and we represent Sweden and we want to win it for Sweden. Karlsson added: “It's definitely a great honour to play for your country, especially now with Sweden having a lot of good players, and to be in the top one or two percent of your country is great. “If you look on the players who have won this tournament over the years, it's very prestigious. A lot of great names up there and it would be great to join them.” Prominent Chinese and international dignitaries gathered for the opening ceremony, including Dr. David Chu, Chairman of the Mission Hills Golf Club, Mr. Dalin Cui, China’s Vice Minister of the General Administration of Sport, Mr. Stephen Urquhart, President of Omega, Mr. George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, Mr. Ed Moorhouse, Co-Chief Operating Officer of the PGA Tour, Mr. Kyi Hla Han, Executive Chairman of the Asian Tour, Mr. Tadashi Koizumi, Chairman of the Japan Golf Tour, Mr. Dan Halldorson, Deputy Executive Director of the Canadian Tour, and Mr. Ricardo Lyon, Commercial Vice President of the Tour de las Americas. And the last word went to Liang Wen-chong, who spoke on behalf of all the players, when he said: “ To all my fellow competitors, I would like to welcome you to China. I am extremely proud to be representing my country this week and I know that you all feel the same. I look forward to having the opportunity to play alongside you on the magnificent Olazábal Course here at Mission Hills, and I would like to thank the organisers, OMEGA, and Mission Hills, for their commitment to the World Cup and for bringing us all together here today. I hope that you enjoy your time in China, and I wish you all the best of luck for the championship.” 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) Venezuela (Miguel Martinez, Raul Sanz)Wales (Bradley Dredge, Richard Johnson)

Wright boxes in Loving Memory

Tyrone Wright wants to win the English Super-Middleweight Title in memory of his sister Chantelle at the Trent FM Arena Nottingham on Saturday, 6th December. The Nottingham boxer faces Paul David (Northampton/Sheffield) in a rematch of their Midlands Area light-heavyweight title, which Wright won 97-93 on points in May. Carl Froch (Nottingham) tops the Hennessy Sports bill in a world title fight. David claims the point’s verdict was controversial and is aiming to finish the rematch early, but Wright insists it will be him who forces a stoppage on what would have been his sister's birthday. “The first fight was nowhere near controversial and it was a good decision because a lot of people thought I won the fight," said Wright. “He has stirred it up, but the truth is I battered him. This fight is going over old ground but because of what he has said it has given me the motivation to go in there and knock him out. “He shouldn’t have gone ten rounds with me last time and he’s not going ten rounds again this time. I’m too powerful for him and I’m going to hurt him. I’m going to be bringing the pain. “The fight is on the same day as my sister’s birthday, but she passed away last year. I’m going to win this title in memory of Chantelle. “She had a lot of problems with diabetes and health issues. She had an epileptic fit and passed away after it. I won the Midlands Area title two weeks after that fight and hopefully I will be dedicating this title to her as well. “It could be an emotional night for me, I know, but my family have been telling me to win it for her.” Wright will have Tony Harrison in his corner after recently splitting with trainer Matt Scriven. “I’ve had a lot of ups and downs with managers and trainers but it’s not caused me to lose focus because this is for a good title and if I win this I could be in line for a British title shot," said Wright. "I want people to see I’ve got ability and I can box and that I’m not just raw power.” Wright has benefited from sparring with fellow Nottingham boxer Carl Froch, who is challenging for the Vacant WBC Super-Middleweight World Title against Jean Pascal (Canada) as top of the Hennessy Sports bill, which will be shown live by ITV1. “I sparred with Carl four weeks ago – and it was definitely a step up for me! I’ve sparred guys on the circuit, but he was on a different level,” said Wright. Tickets are available from the 24 hour Box Office at the Trent FM Arena on 08444 124 624 or via

O' Donnell set up for British Title Eliminator

John O'Donnell believes winning his last five fights have set him up perfectly for his British Welterweight Title Eliminator against Young Mutley at the Trent FM Arena Nottingham on Saturday, 6th December. The London Irish boxer has halted four of his last five opponents since suffering his only career defeat when he was pulled out by his trainer Rob McCracken against Mexican Christian Solano in May 2007. After having surgery on an ear problem that bothered him during that defeat, silky southpaw O'Donnell feels he has since improved his defence and is a stronger fighter. O'Donnell has been preparing for his fight at a training camp at the Breaffy House Resort Hotel in Castlebar, Ireland, alongside unbeaten Carl Froch (Nottingham), who headlines the Hennessy Sports show when he challenges Jean Pascal (Canada) for the Vacant WBC Super-Middleweight Title. ITV1 will broadcast the fight live. “I’ve had five fights since losing in America and I’ve got my confidence back, definitely," said O'Donnell, who won the English Title last year with a points win over Stuart Elwell. "A few things weren’t right in America, but I’ve learned from it. We decided it was best to keep me busy and after a few fights I began to feel better and stronger than I had been before the America fight. “I had an ear problem for the America fight, which I didn’t know anything about until I got back. But my head wasn’t on the fight either. I let the occasion get to me and get on top of me. “This is a bigger night for me, but that won’t happen again. I’m more confident now and I’ve just spent over a month away from home training in Ireland which has helped keep my mind on the job. That wasn’t the case in America where being away from home did me. “My defence was all over the place until after I fought in America. I got caught with a few good shots against Christian Solano but before that I had got away with it. “When we got back I listened to everything my trainer Rob McCracken had to say and it’s paid off – my defence is a lot better now. “Mutley has been up and down a bit in recent years. He had a good win against Jennings but I think he’s there for the taking for me. “He is obviously far stronger at welterweight where he won his British Title”
Tickets are available from the 24 hour Box Office at the Trent FM Arena on 08444 124 624 or via

Sutherland makes Great Strides

ARREN SUTHERLAND'S trainer Brian Lawrence has become a phone pest bombarding Frank Maloney with non-stop calls. Lawrence has been so impressed with the gym form of Ireland's Olympic bronze medallist he is can't stop running up a huge phone bill telling the world about his stable star. Sutherland makes his eagerly awaited professional debut at Dublin City University on Thursday December 18 when he boxes a six round super-middleweight fight. Darren's promoter Frank Maloney said: "Brian calls me all the time telling me how good Darren is - even late at night. "The calls would drive most people mad but at least I can sleep because I know I've invested wisely. "Most of the British Olympic team will be revealing their futures in next week, but I am not interested in any of them. "I am not a betting man, but I am convinced that Darren will go further than any of them." Lawrence added: "I have worked with a lot of fighters and Darren has the potential to be the best of the lot. "When spars things in the gym stop. Darren can fight, has amazing balance and can punch very, very hard. "Frank has unearthed a special talent without and Darren will become my masterpiece." Dazzling Darren's debut will be televised live by Sky Sports who will follow his route to the top. Top of the bill in Dublin is Rendall Munroe's (16-1) European super-bantamweight title defence against Italy's Fabricio Trotta (13-4-2) in a quality 12 rounder. Irish light-middleweight champion Jamie Moore (30-3) boxes a six rounder ahead of his crack at the vacant European light-middleweight early next year. London based Irishman Martin Power (19-3), the former British bantamweight champion faces a tough test against Gary Davies (7-2-1). In a special attraction Craig Watson (13-2) defends his Commonwealth welterweight title against Adnan Amar (22-1), a protégé of Dubliner Brendan Ingle. A third title bout on the bill sees Jason Booth (30-5) risks his Commonwealth bantamweight crown against Sean Hughes (15-7-1).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Royal Trophy returns to Asia

The Royal Trophy will return to the Schedules of the Asian Tour, The European Tour and Japan Golf Tour in 2009 when Europe’s eight-strong team seeks a hat-trick of victories over Asia at Amata Spring Country Club, Thailand, from January 9 to 11. It will be the third edition of The Royal Trophy and replaces the contest planned for January 2008, which was postponed when Thailand entered a period of mourning over the passing of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, the elder sister of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Europe’s attempt to win the match-play tournament for a third consecutive time will now take place at the exclusive Bangkok golf course at the start of 2009. The Royal Trophy features eight-man teams from Asia and Europe, led by non-playing captains, competing in 16 matches for stewardship of The Royal Trophy, which was graciously donated by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Europe won the inaugural contest 9-7 in January 2006 and retained The Royal Trophy with a convincing victory last year. The Royal Trophy will once again see four foursomes matches open proceedings on Friday January 9, with four fourball matches following on Saturday January 10. The contest will close with eight singles matches on Sunday January 11. A team requires eight-and-a-half points for an outright victory. Kyi Hla Han, Executive Chairman of the Asian Tour, said: “The Royal Trophy will give us the opportunity to showcase Asia’s growing strength against Europe. The standard of golf in Asia is on the rise and we are confident of putting up a strong challenge for The Royal Trophy next year.” Keith Waters, Director of International Policy for The European Tour, said: “We look forward to the return of The Royal Trophy following last year’s postponement and I’m sure it will be as keenly contested, and played in the same spirit, as the first two. “Our thanks go to Seve who was instrumental in launching The Royal Trophy in 2006. Everyone connected with the event will be thinking of him during this year’s contest.” Tadashi Koizumi, Chairman of the Japan Golf Tour, added: “The Royal Trophy has a great concept. It is not only a team competition between Europe and Asia, but it also plays a very important role in the promotion of the game of golf in the Asian region. With strong members representing the Asian Team, I believe we will have a very exciting match against the European Team.” The Royal Trophy is promoted by Entertainment Group Limited and Amen Corner S.A.Ivan Ballesteros, Managing Director of Amen Corner S.A, said: “We are looking forward to a passionately contested third edition of The Royal Trophy. The players from Asia and Europe are bound to compete fiercely for the pride and honor of their respective continents but we are certain that they will simultaneously uphold the highest level of sportsmanship which has become a trademark of The Royal Trophy.”

Monday, November 24, 2008

Perry sets sights on Midlands Area title

Jack Perry hopes to take a step closer to a Midlands Area Title shot by improving his unbeaten record at the Trent FM Arena Nottingham on Saturday, 6th December. The Derby boxer is considering stepping up from light-welterweight to welterweight and will see how he gets on at a heavier weight limit over four rounds on the undercard of Carl Froch’s (Nottingham) WBC World Super-Middleweight Title fight against Jean Pascal (Canada) which will be shown live by ITV1The 21-year-old will be aiming to erase the disappointing memories of his last outing at the same city centre venue when he was held to a draw by Tom Glover in May, which is the only blemish on his eight-fight career. Since then, Jack has beaten Kristian Laight on points and feels in top form after preparing at the Ingle’s gym in Sheffield. “I’m hoping to get a title shot – the Midlands or British Masters – next year before I’m 22,” said Jack. “My only blip so far was my last fight at the Arena, so obviously I’m looking to put that right in the next one. “I boxed really late on in the show in the last one and it affected me. I had warmed up three times for the fight and when the fight came around I just felt drained and not myself in there. But this time will be different. “I train with the Ingles up in Sheffield and it has been great experience training alongside British champions like Kell Brook and former world champions like Junior Witter.
“I’m think about moving up a division to welterweight so training alongside British welterweight champion Kell Brook has been great. I don’t feel a full welterweight yet but I’m in between the two at the moment and am looking to move up. “Training alongside people like Junior Witter makes you set your standards higher and it means you realise you can be there yourself.” Jack hopes to celebrate victory with a curry. “One of my sponsors is an Indian restaurant called Anoki," said Jack. "It’s great getting free meals there when I’m not training and I’m hoping to have an after party there.” Tickets are available from the 24 hour Box Office at the Trent FM Arena on 08444 124 624 or via

Home town favourites headline in Nottingham

Rod Anderton hopes he can make it a double title triumph for Nottingham at the Trent FM Arena Nottingham on Saturday, 6th December. Anderton (Nottingham) challenges Danny McIntosh (Norwich) for the English Light-Heavyweight Title on the same bill as Carl Froch’s (Nottingham) WBC World Super-Middleweight Title fight against Jean Pascal (Canada). Also, Nottingham's Tyrone Wright challenges Paul David for the English Super-Middleweight Title elsewhere on the same bill. Anderton will be challenging for his first major title and is confident of taking the belt in McIntosh’s first defence on the Hennessy Sports show, which will be shown live by ITV1. “It’s a massive night for Nottingham boxing and it’s great to be a part of it,” said Anderton. “Carl is fighting for a world title and it would be great if the three of us won titles on the night. It’s a massive night for both of our careers and there are a few other local lads in action. “There can’t have been many more bigger nights for Nottingham and East Midlands boxing than this. “It’s a big chance for me to shine, especially with the chance of the fight being shown on terrestrial TV. I’ve also sold over 300 tickets so I want to deliver for my fans. “I hope McIntosh is ready for a hard fight because I’m ready to it to him. He beat Steve Spartacus for the title, but Spartacus didn’t have a long time to prepare for it. I’ve had seven weeks and feel great. I’m ready to take this opportunity.” Anderton wants to make up for the last two times he was in action at the big city centre venue. “The last time I was supposed to box at the Arena I had to pull out at the last minute sick," said Rod. "I went from one extreme to the other very quickly. I was getting ready for the fight and feeling great, but then next minute I had covered the changing room in sick. I was gutted because I couldn’t fight then. “The time before that the referee somehow gave a draw when I fought Phil Callaghan for the second time. I had stopped him before and thought I beat him again so I couldn’t understand the decision. “But it has gone well since and I’ve won four on the trot so I’m feeling well up for the fight. I’m looking for a better outcome than the last two times I was down to fight at the Arena.” Tickets are available from the 24 hour Box Office at the Trent FM Arena on 08444 124 624 or via

Friday, November 21, 2008

Singh and Randhawa compete for India

Indian duo Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa are hoping that a strong campaign at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup will bring further growth to the game in their country. Singh and Randhawa will team up for the first time for the 28-nation competition at Mission Hills Golf Club from November 27 to 30. While Randhawa featured in the team that finished ninth in 2005 for India’s best ever finish, Singh will be making his long-awaited debut and he is gushing with pride at the opportunity to fly his country’s flag in China. "We are very excited, we are very strong as a team," said Singh, the Asian Tour’s number one in 2006 and virtually assured of this season’s Order of Merit title after securing victory at last week’s Barclays Singapore Open. "It’s great to have a chance to represent India. Golf in India is growing. If we can make things happen there, it’ll be good. We want to try and have a good finish. We have a good chance of doing well." Singh, a Member of both The European Tour and Asian Tour, has enjoyed a stellar season with victories in Europe, Japan and Asia which has lifted him back into the world’s top-50. With the year coming to a close, he wants to cap it off with a successful campaign in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup. "Although Jyoti and I haven’t played together as a team, I believe we’ll get on well together. The only thing that we are shy on is the alternate shot format. We’re not used to it but I’ve spoken to Jyoti that we shouldn’t say sorry to each other. "If he hits a bad shot or I hit a bad shot, we’re not going to say sorry. We are certainly going to put pressure on each other by leaving five or 10 footers for pars but this happens even when we play for ourselves. We should always take a stride forward and move on." A renowned traveller on the international airways to play on the world’s finest fairways, Singh has often been forced to skip the World Cup due to his hectic playing schedule."I’ve always had to defend a tournament or tried to keep my card somewhere," said Singh, who usually clocks around 40 tournaments per season. "That’s why I’ve never had the opportunity to represent India but now that we’ve got a direct entry (through the World Rankings), I am excited at the prospect at playing in the World Cup." Randhawa said he would be riding on Singh’s terrific form in China. "I just need to keep making pars and he’ll do the rest," said Randhawa, Asia’s number one in 2002. "It’s a good team and we hope to do well. It is different playing in the World Cup as there is more pressure as you’re playing for the country and there is a lot riding on it. It’s a great event and I’m looking forward to it." Randhawa and Singh are firm friends as they grew up playing professional golf during the 1990s, which the former believes will carry the team to a good showing in Mission Hills. "We’re comfortable being around each other, we are regularly having meals together on Tour. He’s a funny guy as well and I hope we don’t take it onto the golf course! We will certainly focus on our game and I’m looking forward to partnering him," said Randhawa. 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 Milkha 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) Venezuela (Miguel Martinez, Raul Sanz) Wales (Bradley Dredge, Richard Johnson

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dunne declines fight with Munroe

FRANK MALONEY has blasted Dubliner Bernard Dunne for blowing his chance of a shot at European super-bantamweight champion Rendall Munroe. Maloney offered Dunne the opportunity to challenge Munroe in England on November 22 but the Irishman's manager Brian Peters was clearly running scared and refused the fight. When the show was scrapped, the bill was moved to Dublin City University on December 18 meaning Dunne would have had crucial advantage on home soil. Maloney laughed: "Isn't it funny they wanted the fight in Dublin and if they signed the deal they would have got their wish. "Dunne has blown his chance of appearing on one of the biggest Irish cards for years." Dunne will now have to wait at least one year to become mandatory challenge as Kiko Martinez who flattened him in 86 seconds last year is currently in that position. Maloney added: "If Dunne and Peters want to get glimpse of Munroe they are welcome to watch him defend his title against Italian Fabrizio Trotta. "In fact they can sit in one of Brian's pubs and watch the fight on Sky Sports. There will be plenty room because everybody will be at the arena watching Darren Sutherland." Ireland's Olympic bronze medallist Sutherland makes his highly anticipated debut when he boxes a six round super-middleweight bout. Sutherland is a student at DCU but is currently taking a break to fulfil his dream of becoming a world champion. Other boxers on the star studded bill include Irish light-middleweight champion Jamie Moore and London based Irishman Martin Powers. Two Commonwealth titles see Craig Watson defend his welterweight crown against Adnan Amar, while Bantamweight Jason Booth puts his crown on the line against Sean Hughes. Tickets for the big Dublin bill are available from, or by calling 0871 226 1508.

Garcia hits top shot to win October Award

Sergio Garcia of Spain has won The European Tour Shot of the Month Award for October for a typically inventive stroke on his way to victory in the CASTELLÓ MASTERS Costa Azahar over his home course of Club de Campo del Mediterráneo. Garcia, seeking his first victory on European soil in three years, had seen a four shot overnight lead evaporate by the sixth hole on the final day in Spain as Peter Hedblom of Sweden roared into title contention. However Garcia was determined not to succumb on his own doorstep and, having regained the lead at the seventh, unleashed a brilliant second shot from a difficult lie, shaping it around trees and onto the eighth green for a cast-iron two-putt birdie four. That shot ensured that Garcia was never in danger of being caught during the remainder of the final round and he went on to claim victory by three strokes from Hedblom, much to the delight of his family and friends. That success proved to be the catalyst in helping Garcia find his winning touch as, just two weeks later, he triumphed again in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai to set the early pace in The Race to Dubai.Second place in the October Shot of the Month contest went to England’s Steve Webster, who chipped in from thick rough at the seventh hole on the last day of the Portugal Masters while a deft chip from South African Charl Schwartzel in the final round of the Madrid Masters secured him third place. 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), Padraig Harrington of Ireland (July and August) and Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño (September). 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 2008 European Tour Shot of the Year Award, which will be announced next month.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Karlsson and Stenson renew Partnership

Ryder Cup players Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson will renew their partnership when they tee up at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup from November 27-30. The Swedish duo, who combined to good effect in the Saturday fourballs at Valhalla, are amongst the favourites for the US$5.5million showpiece, which will again be held at Mission Hills Golf Club in China. The tournament gives Karlsson the opportunity to round off a magnificent year in style, having claimed two European Tour titles en route to lifting the Harry Vardon Trophy as European Number One. Nine-time European Tour champion Stenson also comes in to the event in fine form after a fifth place finish at the HSBC Champions, which earned the Swede €166,245 in prize money. The pair are firm friends as well as compatriots, and will pose a formidable threat to the 27 other competing nations. Karlsson said: “I’m excited about playing with Henrik again. We’ve only had the one chance so far, in The Ryder Cup, so I’m looking forward to it. He’s a great player, and I think we’ll make a good pairing. “It’s always nice to represent your country, and the World Cup at Mission Hills is definitely something I’ve been looking forward to. It’s a fun tournament with foursomes and fourballs, because you never know what will happen next. You have to shoot low, so that’s what we’ll be aiming to do.” Karlsson will be making his third World Cup appearance, as will Stenson, who boasts an impressive World Cup record having partnered Niclas Fasth to a second place finish behind Wales in 2005 and then teamed up with Carl Pettersson to take third place behind Germany in 2006. Stenson said: “I always enjoy the World Cup – it’s great fun representing your country. I’ve been close to winning it twice, finishing second in 2005 and then third in Barbados two years ago. So it would be good to come home with a gold medal this time. “I might have to carry Robert round in China though, because he seems to be struggling big time with his form recently! Seriously though, he’s a great player with loads of experience, and he really seems to be enjoying his golf at the moment. “So it’s going to be really good fun – I just hope I get my game in good shape and support him a little bit. We had a good partnership going at The Ryder Cup this year, so hopefully we can keep it up.”

Friday, November 14, 2008

Villegas and Poulter add power in Perth

World Number Seven Camilo Villegas and Ian Poulter, ranked 25, will add a touch of flair and flamboyance to the 2009 JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC in Perth, Western Australia when Asia Pacific's premier luxury golf event tees off February 19 to 22 at The Vines Resort & Country Club. Colombia’s Villegas, one of the most exciting young talents in the game today whose swashbuckling style has grabbed the attention of the golfing world in 2008, and Poulter, well known for his flamboyant dress sense both on and off the course, will line up alongside Englishmen Lee Westwood and Paul Casey as well as Australia’s Great White Shark, Greg Norman. “The 2009 JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC field is shaping up to be one of the strongest and most colourful we have ever had in the 19-year history of this prestigious tournament,” commented David Gates, Global Brand Director for JOHNNIE WALKER. “With Villegas and Poulter joining a host of truly international golfing stars from the top echelons of The European, Asian and Australasian Tours, the action on the course in Perth is guaranteed to be highly competitive and extremely exciting. Combine this with the wonderful backdrop of Western Australia and the fantastic off-course entertainment that JOHNNIE WALKER traditionally organizes and we are in for another spectacular JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC.” With his sultry Latin looks, 26-year-old Villegas exploded onto the international golfing stage with two straight victories on the US PGA Tour in September at the BMW Championship and the prestigious US TOUR Championship which secured him second spot behind Vijay Singh in the FedEx Cup. In doing so, he made the record books by becoming the first Colombian to win on the US PGA Tour. Overall his 2008 performances saw the Florida resident surge up the World Ranking and earn him almost US$4.5 million in prize money. A professional since 2004, Villegas is known as “Spiderman” because of the low-to-the-ground crouching method he employs to line up his putts. The charismatic Colombian has also been heralded as one of America’s ‘hottest bachelors’ by the USA’s People magazine. Poulter’s most recent win at the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in Japan at the end of 2007 and a string of consistent performances this year has seen him climb to the highest echelons of the game. Returning to his native England for this year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, the 32 year old snatched second spot behind Padraig Harrington after a superb final round 69. Then in September’s Ryder Cup at Valhalla, Poulter finished the week as the highest points scorer on The European Team, more than justifying the wild card bestowed on him by Captain, Nick Faldo. Earlier this year Poulter brought his own brand of ‘Bollywood Bling’ to the JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC in India when he played in customized outfits that reflected the luxury and character of JOHNNIE WALKER Gold Label. Each outfit was extravagantly decorated with the iconic JOHNNIE WALKER Striding Man using an incredible 40,000 different coloured gold and black Swarovski crystals. There is little doubt that the popular Poulter will once again wow the crowds with his flamboyant fashion and thrilling golfing style in Perth in February. 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 of continuous progress. The tournament’s tradition of attracting fields of the highest calibre has meant that its past winners read like a Who’s Who of golf. Since its establishment in 1990, the JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC has been won by the likes of Tiger Woods (1998 & 2000), Nick Faldo (1990 & 1993), Greg Norman (1994), Ernie Els (1997 & 2003), Retief Goosen (2002) and Adam Scott (2005). 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. Major partners Eventscorp, MasterCard and Rolex are proud to support the 2009 JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC. For more information please visit

Torrance joins Millionaire Club

Sam Torrance’s victory in the season ending OKI Castellón Open España – Senior Tour Championship saw the Scot become the ninth player to pass the €1million mark in official career earnings on the European Senior Tour. Europe’s 2002 Ryder Cup winning Captain’s €64,433 first prize took his Senior Tour career earnings to €1,059,609 in just 64 tournaments and moved him to seventh on the all time money list, leapfrogging Seiji Ebihara and Terry Gale who also passed the milestone this season. The trio have joined an exclusive group of players to have achieved the feat so far, with Tommy Horton the first, followed by Noel Ratcliffe, Carl Mason, Nick Job, Jim Rhodes and Denis O’Sullivan. Torrance, who is slowly recovering from a hand injury that has troubled him for two years, has now targeted more tournament victories and another prize money milestone. “I’m looking at €2million now - €1million is nice but I want €2million. I’m greedy,” said the Scot. “It’s great to pass the mark though. “It’s been great to win again – it’s been a while.” Torrance’s two stroke victory at Club de Campo del Mediterráneo was his first since July 2007 when he won the Bendinat London Senior Masters and it also saw him reach another milestone – double figures for Senior Tour titles. The 55 year old’s tenth victory also continued a run of winning each year since his first full Senior Tour season in 2004. He won the Senior Tour Order of Merit crown in both 2005 and 2006, following a fine European Tour career that saw him earn €5,491,084 in prize money. American Jerry Bruner is in pole position to become the tenth player to pass the €1million mark when the new season begins, after his tied eighth place in Spain took his earnings to €998,782. Torrance’s compatriot Bill Longmuir is next in line with €989,776. Newly crowned Order of Merit winner Ian Woosnam has made a magnificent start to his Senior Tour career, earning €320,120 in his rookie season, while three-time winner Peter Mitchell amassed €217,488 in just ten events.

Maloney's search for a Star

SCOTT WOOLFORD showed he was for real against Matthew Hatton last time out. Now the exciting Ramsgate boxer bids to show promoter Frank Maloney he doesn't need to look any further for his next superstar. Maloney stages his next non-televised 'Search For A Star' bill at York Hall, Bethnal Green on Saturday November 15. Although former Maloney promoted fighter David Haye will be hogging the headlines at the O2 Arena on the same night, Maloney reckons fans will get proper value for money at his show. Maloney, who guided Haye to the world cruiserweight title said: "People accuse promoters with TV contracts of not taking risks, but I'm going up against what is supposedly one of the biggest nights in London boxing this year."One thing for sure is that at York Hall you will be guaranteed non-stop excitement and 50-50 fights." Woolford, 25, who dropped a narrow points verdict to Ricky Hatton's younger brother in September meets Colchester's Tom Glover (5-5-3) for the vacant Southern Area welterweight title over ten rounds. Ramsgate's Woolford (8-2) hopes a win against 27-year-old Glover will book him a place in the next series of British welterweight title eliminators. Maloney added: "Scott boxed magnificently against Matthew and I feel he deserved a draw for his performance. "He surprised me and that is why I am really going to push him over the next 12 months." Also on the bill is leading British light-middleweight contender Gary Woolcombe. He boxes Matt Scriven, who makes a living as a private security guard in war torn Iraq. And there is sure to be explosive action when Medway heavyweight Tom Dallas (2-0) and Larry 'The War Machine' Olubamiwo (1-0) box four rounders against selected opponents. Body Beautiful Olubamiwo who is 6ft 5in and almost 19 stone looked sensational on his debut last month stopping Vlado Szabo in the first round of a contest televised live on Sky Sports. Maloney predicts: "Dallas v 'The War Machine' will be one the best heavyweight match-ups in Britain in about 18 months." 'Search For A Star 2' tickets can be purchased by calling 0871 226 1508 or by logging on to

Moore gets home advantage in Ireland

JAMIE MOORE will warm up for his crack at the European light-middleweight title by boxing a six rounder at The Helix, Dublin on December 18. The Irish champion, 30, will have crucial home advantage when he fight Michele Piccirillo for the vacant title early next year after promoter Frank Maloney came to a private agreement with the Italian's handlers. Maloney said: "These are a crucial few months for Jamie and a six-rounder will fill him with even more confidence ahead of the Piccirillo. "Getting home advantage against Piccirillo is a big help."Former British champion Moore (30-3) added the Irish title to his stash when he stopped Ciaran Healy inside three rounds in July. Maloney added: "Although Jamie boxes out of Salford he is proud of his Irish heritage and I'm sure he'll get another great welcome next month. "If he defeats Piccirillo it could possibly make a defence of that title in Dublin." Top of the bill at the venue which is located on the campus at Dublin City University is Rendall Munroe's European super-bantamweight title defence against Italian Fabrizio Trotta. Ireland's Olympic bronze medallist Darren Sutherland makes his highly anticipated debut when he boxes a six round super-middleweight bout. Sutherland is a student at DCU but is currently taking a break to fulfil his dream of becoming a world champion. Tickets for the big Dublin bill are available from, or by calling 0871 226 1508.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cunningham joins Veterans Day Parade

PHILADELPHIA—International Boxing Federation cruiserweight champion Steve "USS" Cunningham will honor fellow servicemen past and present by taking part in the annual New York City Veterans Day Parade on Tuesday. Cunningham will defend his crown against former World Boxing council light heavyweight champion Tomasz "Goral" Adamek at Prudential Center in nearby Newark, N.J., on Thursday, December, 11. He started his boxing career while in the Navy, and he firmly believes that the discipline he gained serving as an aircraft re-fueler aboard the USS America and the USS Enterprise in the mid-1990s, was the springboard to his success as a professional prizefighter. A rightly proud Cunningham said, "Being in the parade is a true honor. I served four years in the Navy. I know what it means—the recognition given to people who, like me, served their country. I feel privileged to be taking part and while doing so will be remembering those heroic men and women that will not be there, those who were killed fighting in the wars, as well as honoring those that are still with us. I’m going to march with dignity and pride." The IBF cruiserweight championship fight between Champion, Steve "USS" Cunningham and challenger Tomasz "Goral" Adamek is co-promoted by Main Events and Don King Productions. Tickets priced at $303, $153, $78, $53, $38 are on sale now and can be purchased at The Prudential Center box office or by calling TicketMaster on 201-507-8900. About the New York City Veterans Day Parade New York City Veterans Day Parade 5th Ave. from 26th St. to 56th St. 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008. This parade is the largest of its kind in the nation, providing an opportunity for New Yorkers and visitors from across America and around the world to honor those who have preserved our freedoms. The theme for 2008, "Legacy of Honor," pays tribute to veterans of all eras, and also serves to welcome home the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The New York City Veterans Day Parade features over 20,000 participants, including veterans of all eras, active duty military, ROTC and JrROTC units, civic and youth groups, all accompanied by music performed by a dozen of our nation’s best high school marching bands. Floats, military and vintage vehicles and other special contingents add to the spectacle and excitement of the parade, which is viewed by over 400,000 spectators. The parade route is approximately 1.5 miles, and takes 30-40 minutes to complete.

Woosnam wins Seniors Order of Merit

In winning his maiden European Senior Tour Order of Merit, Ian Woosnam wrote another chapter of history in an already remarkable career by becoming the first former European Tour Order of Merit winner to be crowned the Senior Tour Number One. The John Jacobs Trophy, given to the player who tops the Senior Tour money list, now sits proudly alongside the Welshman’s two Harry Vardon Trophy victories of 1987 and 1990, his 1991 Masters Tournament win, his 2006 Ryder Cup winning Captaincy and OBE. It is an accomplishment which Woosnam ranks up there with all of the rest of his feats, having battled health problems including ME to return to competitive golf in style this year. He said: "It’s another one for the record books. It’s always special to do something for the very first time. I don’t think I will be the only one to do it, as there will be guys who have won the European Tour Order of Merit who will join the Senior Tour and hopefully win the Order of Merit here as well. "But it’s special to be the first – it’s nice to do it. This ranks alongside the rest of my achievements in my career. It will go on the mantelpiece with the rest of them. "John Jacobs has always been a great supporter of golf, so it’s extra special to win the John Jacobs Trophy. Particularly in my younger days I had a few lessons off him, and thank heaven he didn’t mess about with my swing too much!" Woosnam undoubtedly enjoyed a fine rookie Senior Tour season, winning both the Parkridge Polish Seniors Championship and the Russian Seniors Open, as well as finishing runner up on three occasions, including finishing second to Bernhard Langer at the Casa Serena Open in the Czech Republic to continue his affinity with the old Eastern Bloc countries. Those performances helped the Welshman succeed Carl Mason as the Number One Senior Tour player with earnings of €320,119, finishing €62,376 ahead of Englishman Gordon J Brand in the Order of Merit.Certainly his maiden Senior Tour title in Poland in May was something which Woosman will always cherish, with his final round course record 63 at Krakow Valley Golf and Country Club ending an 11 year run without a strokeplay victory. "To win the first title was a bit like getting a monkey off my back as although I won the World Matchplay in 2001, I’d not won a strokeplay title since the PGA Championship in 1997," said the former World Number One. "What a wonderful tournament it was in Poland that week. To win my first tournament, as a senior and it be sponsored by my own sponsor Parkridge, in Poland where they do so much business – you really couldn’t ask for more than that. "Russia was really hard work, but I play well on certain style golf courses and that was one of them. Then Casa Serena was another modern golf course which suited my style of play. When I feel comfortable and my confidence is high it doesn’t matter where I’m playing, because I feel I can do well. "Last year I hadn’t played for pretty much eight months, and then I went to America after the first Senior Tour event in Barbados and played there. It took me quite a while to get back into the swing of things again. As I got through the year and started swinging better, and felt more comfortable on the European golf courses, I started scoring better. Then once I got the first win I felt more confident, and after that I just felt I could win every tournament. "I always thought I could do well this year – it just depended on my health. I would still say I’m nowhere near 100 per cent – I’m probably around 75 per cent. I still don’t feel well in the mornings and I get really tired. To be away for two weeks in a row is draining, so it’s great on the Senior Tour just being away for five days at a time. It really suits me as I get home every weekend. Being away in America really takes it out of me, but I feel comfortable on the Senior Tour." Having secured his maiden Order of Merit crown, Woosnam’s thoughts have already turned to next season when he will try to defend the John Jacobs Trophy. "What I want to do now is win a Major," he said. "It would be great to win The Senior Open Championship next year."

Garcia reigns as Wind takes Control

Leisurecorp, the Dubai World company developing Jumeirah Golf Estates, has two reasons to celebrate today after Wind course designers Sergio Garcia claimed victory in the very first event of The Race to Dubai, and Pete Dye, the father of modern golf course design, was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Following a rain-interrupted weekend of golf, Sergio Garcia beat Englishman Oliver Wilson in a play-off to win the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, the first tournament in the season-long Race to Dubai, the $10 million competition that will climax at the Dubai World Championship held at Jumeirah Golf Estates in November 2009. Today also sees fellow Wind course designer Pete Dye inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. This evening, Pete Dye will be among six new individuals to be inducted into the Hall and recognised for their contributions to the game of golf. Following tonight’s induction, the Class of 2008 will bring the World Golf Hall of Fame membership to 126. David Spencer, CEO-Golf for Leisurecorp, said:“Today is a great day for Leisurecorp. We’ve spent a year preparing for the first event in The Race to Dubai and Shanghai has not disappointed. Sergio is an extraordinary talent and this victory takes him into second place in the world rankings – in anyone’s books an ideal start to The Race to Dubai. “And the icing on the cake is tonight’s ultimate recognition of fellow Wind course designer, Pete Dye. He’s not just the best-known golf course architect alive today but also regarded as one of the most imaginative course designers in the world. It is hugely deserved for Pete to be awarded this highly prestigious position in the Hall of Fame. Without doubt, Pete Dye is a true golf legend.” From November 2009, Jumeirah Golf Estates will host the richest tournament in world golf, the US$10 million Dubai World Championship. Wind is one of four courses at Jumeirah Golf Estates. In a unique collaboration, Dye is working with Sergio Garcia – also working on his first Middle East project – and Greg Norman on the design of the course. Wind will carry all of the signature elements of Pete Dye courses – undulating fairways, pot bunkers, heavy rough and tight, protected greens. It will be Dubai’s first true links-style course and aims to provide a demanding test for golfers of all standards.

Karlsson is October's Top Golfer

Robert Karlsson has won The European Tour Golfer of the Month Award for October after becoming the first Swede to win the Harry Vardon Trophy. Karlsson, who also won the award for September, sealed his place in history as The European Tour Number One at the end of an outstanding month during which he won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship after a play-off and finished joint third in the Portugal Masters. Karlsson’s win at St Andrews was his second victory in consecutive appearances following his triumph in the Mercedes-Benz Championship the previous month and put him in pole position in the race to be Number One. Karlsson then cemented his place at the top with his impressive performance at Oceânico Victoria Golf Club in Portugal two weeks later and was crowned Number One at the end of the Volvo Masters. His two victories, allied to top tens in three of the Major Championships and 12 top ten finishes in total through the season, helped the 39 year old win €2,732,747. He also took his victory tally on The European Tour to nine, strengthening his position as Sweden’s most prolific champion. “This is by far my greatest achievement in golf – I never thought I would be in this position so it’s just incredible,” said Karlsson after finishing European Number One. “The Order of Merit is based over the whole season and the last three events before the Volvo Masters – where I finished first, first and third – were so important. I went from fifth or sixth on the Order of Merit to the top and managed to stay there.“I would say the last three and a half years, since I played well at the end of 2005, I've obviously taken it up to a new level and now I have won the Order of Merit and it's fantastic.” The award was voted for by a panel of golfing journalists from newspapers, magazines, television and radio who considered all the outstanding performances of an exceptional month for European Tour Members who recorded 12 victories around the world. Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Sergio Garcia won the Portugal Masters and the CASTELLÓ MASTERS Costa Azahar respectively while Søren Kjeldsen won the last Volvo Masters at Club de Golf Valderrama. There were also wins around the world for Thomas Aiken, Arjun Atwal, Retief Goosen, Zach Johnson, James Kamte, Doug McGuigan and Liang Wen-chong along with Bernhard Langer, who made history by becoming the first European to win the Champions Tour Money List. The 2004 Ryder Cup Captain won three times in his rookie season in amassing US$2,035,073. Renton Laidlaw of The Golf Channel said: “We all acknowledge Bernhard Langer’s wonderful achievement in winning the Champions Tour Money List and the fact that no fewer than 12 European Tour Members won around the world in October, but Robert Karlsson brought for him a truly great season to a wonderful conclusion by finishing Number One on The European Tour Order of Merit following his victory in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and third place finish in the Portugal Masters. Robert is a very good ambassador for The European Tour, and a very good player who has enjoyed a stellar season.” The Golfer of the Month Award winners in 2008 were: 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), Ireland’s Padraig Harrington (July and August) and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson (September and October). All monthly winners will be amongst the players considered by the panel for The European Tour Golfer of the Year.

Torrance ends season on a High

Sam Torrance claimed his first win of 2008 at the OKI Castellón Open España – Senior Tour Championship, on a day when another Ryder Cup winning captain, Ian Woosnam, sealed his first European Senior Tour Order of Merit title. Torrance, who has struggled all year with a hand injury, fired a final round 69 at Club de Campo del Mediterráneo to finish on 13 under par 203, two strokes clear of Chilean Angel Fernandez and Japan’s Katsuyoshi Tomori at the Senior Tour’s season finale. The Scot, who had a two stroke overnight lead going into the final round, dropped his only shot of the tournament on the par four tenth hole to let Fernandez draw level but immediately recovered with a birdie on the 11th. He then picked up another shot on the 16th hole, while Fernandez could only bogey the 17th, to seal his tenth European Senior Tour victory.It meant the 2002 Ryder Cup winning Captain maintained his record of winning each year on the Senior Tour since his first full season in 2004. “It was last chance saloon to keep that run going,” he said. “I knew that coming here. I hope to keep it going next year but only do it earlier. “It’s a lovely way to spend four months now reflecting. It’s fantastic to win again. I’m delighted. It’s been a tough week. I’ve not been well all week which has probably taken my mind off the golf but it is great to win again – it’s been a while.“I’ve been playing well for the last couple of months so it was a case of just doing it at the right time. I made a bad bogey on the 10th. I had a good tee shot then an eight iron just caught the top of the tree – it was a poor shot. That was my only bogey of the week though.” The win moved Torrance up from 20th to eighth in the final Senior Tour Order of Merit, which he won in 2005 and 2006. Torrance paid tribute to Woosnam who claimed his maiden Senior Tour Order of Merit title – and the John Jacobs Trophy – despite withdrawing because of a back injury after completing nine holes of his final round at Club de Campo del Mediterráneo. “Congratulations go to Ian for winning the Order of Merit after a fine rookie season. I’ll be giving him some stick next year though,” joked Torrance. Woosnam, who won two times in 2008, earned €320,119 in his rookie season to finish €62,376 ahead of nearest rival Gordon J Brand and become the first former European Tour Order of Merit winner to repeat the feat on the Senior Tour. He said: “It has been a great season and I’m happy to be back in the record books.”

China prepares for World Cup Pairing

Chinese star Zhang Lian-wei believes he and partner Liang Wen-chong can launch a title challenge at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup on home soil later this month. Zhang, who is credited for China’s rapid rise in the game over the past decade, feels they can improve on last year’s 11th place finish when the 28 nations chase for honours at Mission Hills Golf Club from November 27 to 30. “I believe that this year will be much better than 2007. Liang has more power in his game now. He has also gained a lot of experience in the past year after playing in the Majors and other big tournaments around the world,” said Zhang. The tenacious Liang has certainly become one of the region’s top stars after winning the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit crown last season, becoming China’s first player to achieve the feat. He has followed up on that success with a second career victory at the Hero Honda Indian Open last month. The 43 year old Zhang, the first Chinese golfer to win on The European Tour International Schedule and a five-time winner on the Asian Tour, is delighted with how his protégé has risen in stature after taking Liang under his wing nearly a decade ago. “It’s great to see him enjoy his success now as he has worked very hard at his game,” said Zhang. “We will be looking to play well in the World Cup especially when it is in front of our home fans.” Zhang first teamed up with Liang in the World Cup in 2001 before reuniting again last year to produce the country’s best finish in the prestigious team event. He has very much been an integral part of China’s golfing history and also featured in the country’s first hosting of the World Cup back in 1995. “In 1995, the World Cup was held in our country for the first time and the game was still very new then. Last year, I returned after 12 years and it felt really good. Playing with Liang was a great experience for us.“It was amazing to see the number of spectators who turned up to watch the event which is good for golf in China. It will help boost the interest of the game and encourage more people to take up the sport. “I am looking forward to another huge turnout this year which will motivate us to play well,” added Zhang. A native of Shenzhen, the veteran is determined to enjoy the week at home for one of the country’s main golfing highlights of the year. “I’m looking forward to it, being at home for the World Cup. My sponsor Omega has also been very supportive and I really appreciate their backing,” he said. Scotland will return as defending champion following its victory at the Olazabal Course 12 months ago. Colin Montgomerie, who partnered Marc Warren in 2007, will have a new partner in Alastair Forsyth this year. 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)Venezuela (Miguel Martinez, Raul Sanz) Wales (Bradley Dredge, Richard Johnson)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Witter the Hitter is Back

Former WBC World Light-Welterweight Champion Junior Witter is looking to produce a stylish win when he begins his comeback at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on Saturday, November 8th 2008. Witter (Bradford) boxes Victor Hugo Castro (Argentina) in a ten-round international bout on a Hennessy Sports show in his first fight since losing the prestigious WBC World Light-Welterweight Title by split decision to Timothy Bradley (USA) in May. Former European and British champion Witter hopes to get a rematch with Bradley next year and win back the same world title. “Junior was an excellent world champion and I’m confident he can regain the form that saw him beat the likes of Lovemore N’dou, DeMarcus Corley and Vivian Harris before his split decision points loss to Bradley,” said promoter Mick Hennessy. Joint top of the bill is former WBC world title challenger Danny Williams (Brixton) faces Poland’s Albert Sosnowski over ten rounds following the withdrawal of John McDermott from a British heavyweight title fight that was scheduled to feature on the show. Former British Light-Welterweight Champion Lenny Daws (Morden) is aiming to produce an impressive display to stay in the hunt for another title shot after comprehensively out-pointing Frenchman Mihaita Mutu over ten rounds in his last fight in June. “I was happy with how it went against Mutu who is an experienced opponent. I’m just waiting to get my chance to go for the British title again. I just need to keep active and in good form until I get my chance,” said Daws. “David Barnes is the champion right now and he has turned his career around. He fights Colin Lynes on December 5 and hopefully I can get the winner.” Colchester light-welterweight Lee Purdy and High Wycombe’s Sheffield-based Gareth Couch are closing in on title shots and will be looking to extend their impressive records in other bouts on the bill. Belfast boxer Kevin O’Hara returns to action while unbeaten duo Steve O’Meara, from Wembley, and Dwayne Lewis, from Canning Town, continue their young careers after making promising and exciting starts in the paid ranks. Bradley Evans (Royston), who was due to make his professional debut, is off the bill.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Changes to 2009 European Tour Schedule

The Race to Dubai, which begins with this week’s HSBC Champions in Shanghai, has brought about several changes in the structure of The 2009 European Tour International Schedule, not least in the length of exemptions categories for many of this season’s tournaments and beyond.The modifications have been undertaken after discussions within the Tournament Committee who felt the need to address the growing size of several winners’ categories allied to the impact this had on opportunities throughout other exemption categories. The first change comes in Category 1: Winners of the four Major Championships and The Race to Dubai, which has been reduced from ten years to seven years. The change in Category 2 comes in the tournaments which now fall into that grouping; ie the BMW PGA Championship is joined by The Dubai World Championship, both of which carry five year exemptions for the respective winners. Category 2b continues to have a three year exemption but, in addition to the winners of the individual World Golf Championship events, the grouping now also features The European Open – reduced from its previous exemption of five years – as well as the Open de France ALSTOM and The Barclays Scottish Open, which are both increased from their previous exemption of two years. The final change comes in Category 3 which will carry a two year exemption for the winner of events featuring a prize fund of €1.5 million and above; while Category 3b – events with prize funds below €1.5 million – will see their winner’s exemption drop from two years to one. This latter category will also include the winner of any dual ranking events by virtue of their prize funds. For purposes of this definition for the 2009 season, the exchange rates at the start of this week – Monday November 3, 2008 – will be used for prize fund calculations in other currencies. The Committee also felt that Ryder Cup players deserved an improved status within the exemption categories and it was therefore agreed that they will now sit above the top 115 from the previous year’s Order of Merit. The changes will only affect those players winning any of the above tournaments mentioned from the 2009 season onwards – the length of any exemptions already earned will remain unchanged.

Larrazabal acknowledged as Rookie of the Year

Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal has capped a magnificent maiden season on The European Tour by winning the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award. Larrazabal – who succeeds last year’s winner Martin Kaymer of Germany – becomes the fourth Spaniard to receive the award, following José Maria Olazábal in 1986, Sergio Garcia in 1999 and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño in 2005. Like that illustrious trio, Larrazabal also claimed his maiden European Tour title in his first full season on Tour. The Spaniard’s victory in the Open de France ALSTOM in June was made all the more remarkable by the fact that he earned his place in the tournament through the 36-hole pre-qualifying event held in Chantilly the previous week. Despite, in his own words, being "the 150th best player here", the Barcelona-born 25 year old never looked back after compiling an opening round of 65 at Le Golf National in Versailles, before eventually cruising to a four shot win despite a concerted effort on the final day by Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie. Larrazabal said: "Obviously the main reason I won the award was for winning the Open de France ALSTOM, and I’ll never forget that victory. To win such a big tournament the way I did, with guys like Lee Westwood and Colin Montgomerie chasing me on the last day, was just amazing. "It’s an amazing honour to be named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year, because there are so many great young players on Tour today. If you look at some of the players who have won the award in the past, you get an idea of how big an honour this is. "You only have to look at last year’s winner, Martin Kaymer, to see how successful you can go on to be after winning the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award. Martin is a great example to me because he has had an unbelievable second season, and that is what I have to aim to do in 2009." The €666,660 cheque he collected for winning the Open de France ALSTOM accounted for more than half the €960,858 Larrazabal earned in 2008, which saw him finish in 18th place in The Order of Merit. The other contenders for the award, which was inaugurated in 1960, were Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and the English duo of Robert Dinwiddie and Ross McGowan.The selection panel for the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award is comprised of The European Tour, The Royal & Ancient and the Association of Golf Writers.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

European Tour launch new identity in China

The start of The 2009 European Tour International Schedule at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China, on November 6, will coincide with the introduction of The European Tour’s new corporate identity. The new European Tour logo style, which will also be adopted by the European Senior Tour and European Challenge Tour, evolved following a research project conducted across a wide-range of interested parties, with the creative work being led by FutureBrand, a respected New York based design agency. Harry Vardon, who many consider as the first truly international touring professional golfer, was chosen as the iconic figure represented within the new logo. Vardon’s vision in 1912 is interesting in that after his travels to the Continent and to the United States he “found evidence of great enthusiasm for the game in other parts of the world.” Vardon wrote of receiving invitations to Australia, India, South Africa and other countries and, although deeming these places to be “so very many driver shots away that I have hesitated to leave my native teeing-ground,” he pointed out that “Golf is now the game of all nations and it deserves to be.” The Harry Vardon Trophy, first presented in 1937, is awarded to the winner of The European Tour Order of Merit. This reference to Vardon is carried into The European Tour Race to Dubai graphics and into the Dubai World Championship itself when, at Jumeirah Golf Estates, the winner of The Race to Dubai will be decided on November 22, 2009. Another element of the new corporate identity is a world skyline graphic, representing the cities and countries visited on The European Tour International Schedule that form such an important part of The Race to Dubai. They also represent the diversity of The European Tour Membership - 47 nationalities - and the global nature of The Race to Dubai with 27 destinations hosting tournaments en route to the Dubai World Championship. A multi-lingual text background will also be used to compliment these messages and to further reflect the multi-cultural, international diversity which now makes up The European Tour Membership and its followers around the world. George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “The Tour and its Membership has always respected the significance of the traditions of golf and, similarly, we recognise the importance of increasing the popularity of the game around the world. “The Race to Dubai is designed to take The European Tour to a new dimension and to reflect this milestone we felt it appropriate to bring together the distinctive image of Harry Vardon with the world skyline graphic. This mirrors our policy of developing an International Schedule which takes the Tour to all corners of the globe and provides opportunities for players from every country in the world to compete.” The Race to Dubai carries a Bonus Pool of US$10 million and culminates with the Dubai World Championship, which itself has a prize fund of US$ 10 million. The new European Tour identity, together with the new Race to Dubai graphics, will be introduced globally on November 4 and will be present at each tournament in the run up to the season-ending Dubai World Championship in November 2009.

Watford bid farewell to Boothroyd

WATFORD Football Club announced that first team manager Aidy Boothroyd has left their employment with immediate effect, by mutual consent. Chairman, Graham Simpson, issued the following statement in regards to Boothroyd’s departure: “It is with some sadness that we have taken the decision, along with Aidy, that the time is right for a new manager to take Watford Football Club forward. “Both parties feel that his tenure at the Club is simply at an end and, following discussions, we have mutually decided that a parting of the ways is in the best interests of all concerned.” Boothroyd famously guided the Hornets to the Premiership after victory in the Play-Off Final in 2006, and although the side found themselves relegated back to the Championship in 2007, he guided the team to an FA Cup semi-final date that same year. Last season the Hornets finished sixth in the Championship, despite having led the table for many months, before ultimately losing out in the play-off semi-finals to Hull City. However, since November 2007 results have seen Watford claim only 12 league wins in the last 48 games, taking just 53 points in that time. The Club’s Board will now begin the search for a suitable candidate to build on the excellent work started by Aidy Boothroyd. Aidy leaves with the best wishes of everyone at Watford Football Club. The Club will issue no further comment.

Danny Williams to feature at York Hall

Danny Williams will be joint top of an explosive bill that promises fireworks when he collides with Albert Sosnowski in an international heavyweight bout at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on Saturday, November 8th 2008. Williams is part of the second show from Hennessy Sports that will be screened by ITV Sport following the knockout success last month of Jon Thaxton’s European Lightweight Title win. Former world title challenger Williams (Brixton) faces Poland’s Albert Sosnowski over ten rounds following the withdrawal of John McDermott from a British heavyweight title fight that was scheduled to feature on the show. Sosnowski has a formidable record of stopping 26 opponents in 45 fights with just two defeats and is a strong opponent for British heavyweight champion Williams. Junior Witter (Bradford) will also have his first fight since losing the prestigious WBC World Light-Welterweight Title in May on the same bill against an opponent yet to be finalised. Former British Light-Welterweight champion Lenny Daws (Carshalton), Colchester knockout artist Lee Purdy, title hopeful Gareth Couch (High Wycombe), Belfast boxer Kevin O'Hara as well as unbeaten duo Steve O’Meara (Wembley) and Dwayne Lewis (Canning Town) make up a cracking bill that promises fireworks.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Karlsson captures the Order of Merit

Robert Karlsson, the first Swede to capture The European Tour Order of Merit, will take 72 hours to savour the enormity of his achievement – and then concentrate on defending that title in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai this week. The 39 year old, who claimed the Harry Vardon Trophy ahead of Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood of England in the final Volvo Masters at Valderrama, is already relishing the start of a new campaign when The Race to Dubai commences at Sheshan International Golf Club on Thursday. Karlsson, who finished tied 32nd in the final event of the 2008 season, said: “I played so well at the HSBC Champions a couple of years ago and I love the course at Sheshan. “My form is good and I am playing well – I didn’t putt very well at Valderrama last week and it was very hard to concentrate with all the Order of Merit business, but I am still very confident that I can do something in China. “It feels fantastic to start the new season and The Race to Dubai so quickly after winning the Order of Merit. The fact that The Race to Dubai is about to start is pretty exciting and for it to be starting with an event like the HSBC Champions in China is great. “The tournament always attracts an amazing field and this week is no different – it is one of those tournaments with a great atmosphere among the players because, basically, all of the best players in the world are there. “The 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.” In becoming the first Swedish player to finish European Tour Number One, Karlsson cemented his place in golf’s history books. A quite amazing season, in which he won twice – at the Mercedes-Benz Championship and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship – saw him elevate his game to a new level. Not only did his level of consistency border on the frightening, but he proved he is undoubtedly one of the world’s finest players with top eight finishes in three of the four Major Championships as well as a box-office performance at The Ryder Cup in America. Those stunning results, coupled with a further seven top tens throughout the year, helped the 39 year old amass €2,732,749 in European Tour prize money – enough to finish ahead of double Major Champion Harrington, who took second place, with Westwood narrowly behind the Irishman in third. “This is by far my greatest achievement in golf – I never thought I would be in this position so it’s just incredible,” said Karlsson, who will make his second appearance at Sheshan International. On his previous visit to Shanghai at the start of the 2007 campaign, 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. The inclusion of Karlsson in the field strengthens what is already a superb line up; headed by World Number Two Phil Mickelson of the United States and 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. 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 27 destinations before reaching a thrilling crescendo with the Dubai World Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai in November 2009.

Maccarineli looks to regain Title

Enzo Maccarinelli aims to reclaim his WBO World Cruiserweight title when he challenges undefeated American Johnathon Banks for the vacant title on Saturday 6 December at the ExCeL London. Big Mac joins Nicky Cook, who makes the first defence of his WBO World Super-Featherweight, and Amir Khan's comeback against Irishman Oisin Fagan on Frank Warren's end-of-year extravaganza. The Swansea banger is raring to go after nine months out of the ring since he lost his crown to David Haye and believes he will be better than ever. "I'm delighted to get the opportunity to fight for my old title in my first fight back and I thank my promoter Frank Warren for giving me this golden opportunity," Said Maccarinelli. "It's been a while since my fight with Haye and I'm not going to dwell on it, what happened happened and it's in the past," "Since the fight I've just had my head down and been putting the hours in the gym correcting what I did wrong and I believe that I'm better than before. I've got to prove a lot of people wrong." "This is the future and my chance to win my title back and get my career back on track. Detroit slugger Banks is unbeaten in 20 fights with 14 knockouts - nine inside the first round -and is trained by American great Emanuel Steward, but this doesn't worry Maccarinelli.He added, "It's very apt that his name is Banks because I'm going to do a real job on him," "He's got an good record with plenty of knockouts and I can bang also so I reckon it's going to be a real tear up on the night," "I'm certainly not underestimating him and he probably thinks the same about me after the Haye fight, but after seeing his last fight against Vincenzo Rossitto I'm confident that I can beat this guy," "It's great to go up against one of Emanuel Steward's boxers and it will be mean more to beat him because Steward is a master tactician and I will have beaten him also," "For me, this is more about what I can do not what he can do. I've got to get back in there and prove to people that I am a champion and I will do that."