Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thaxton's French Connection

If Jon Thaxton’s life story came before a Hollywood producer they’d probably give it the tagline of “the feel good story of the year”. However following a spectacular one punch KO to win the European Lightweight title last time out the Norwich man says the credits won’t be rolling on his career any time soon.Thaxton makes the first defence of his crown on February 28th at the Norwich Showground, the scene of his knockout win over Juan Carlos Diaz Melero to claim the title last October.The 34-year-old will be back in front of the ITV 4 cameras again with French Champion, Anthony Mezaache looking to make his reign a brief one. However Thaxton who has proved that nice guys can finish first believes he’s getting better with age.“I’m like a fine wine,” joked Thaxton. “The confidence that comes with winning the European title has made me a better fighter. When I’m at my best it’s going to take a hell of a fighter to beat me and especially when I’m on home ground.”Despite being a pro since 1992 the southpaw puncher says he’s hungrier than ever for success and he’s not looking to rest on his European laurels. “If my promoter, Mick Hennessy can line up a world title fight for me then I’d jump at the chance. Who wouldn’t? I’m looking to make a few defences of my European title but a world title fight would be the icing on the cake.”Thaxton is also not ruling out a double title clash with British champ John Murray. The unbeaten mancunian successfully defended his title with an impressive win over Lee McAllister last month and Thaxton was ringside to provide analysis for ITV. “I’ve no problem with that fight, I’ll carry on defending my European title against whoever is put in front of me be it John Murray or anyone else. Murray’s a very good fighter and I think that would be a great fight. At the end of my career nobody will be able to say Jon Thaxton ducked anyone so if Mick can line that fight up then we’ll get it on.”For now though Thaxton is concentrating on Mezaache although he admits he is still in the dark about his French opponent. “I don’t know anything about him as the fights just been confirmed but rest assured I’ll do my research and I’ll know everything I need to know by the night of the fight. “I’m the champion and he’s coming to my backyard so really he has to worry about me but I don’t underestimate anyone because I’ve been in his shoes and it’s a great position to be in. He’s got nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s a banana skin for me but I won’t be slipping up.” Featuring on the exciting undercard: Danny McIntosh v Matthew Barney for the English Light Heavyweight Title (subject to Boards approval), also appearing New Heavyweight Sensation Tyson Fury, Matthew Thirlwall, Steve O’Meara, Daniel Herdman, Earl Ling and making his pro debut, ABA Senior Featherweight Champion 2008 & awarded the best boxer of the night Royston’s Bradley Evans. Tickets for Jon Thaxton’s European title defence at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on the 28th February are available from the Ticketline box office on 0871 424 4444 or via

Kell Brook tips Jennings to beat Cotto

Welterweight hot-shot Kell Brook is backing Michael Jennings to beat Miguel Cotto on February 21 - so he set up a huge all-British showdown with his rival. Jennings will face Cotto in Madison Square Garden in New York on February 21 for the vacant WBO World title, and Brook will be keeping a close eye on the outcome. The 22-year-old, one of boxing's brightest prospects, makes the second defence of his British welterweight title at York Hall tomorrow night (Friday 30 January) against Stuart Elwell live on Sky Sports, following his first round blow out of Kevin McIntyre last year. And the confident youngster is already dreaming of world glory. "Jennings is the fight that I want and a lot of the public want," said unbeaten Brook, who has stormed to a 18 wins with 11 knockouts. "If Miguel Cotto has underestimated Jennings then he's going to be in trouble. "Jennings is a very talented boxer and he might end up snatching the title off Cotto."If that happens I'll be knocking on Frank Warren's door asking him to make me against Jennings - and I think I could win that fight. It's the one everyone wants to see." Meanwhile Brook has vowed not to take Elwell lightly in front of the Sky Sports cameras - and given the Midlander's former career, hasn't cut corners in training. "He's a former Royal Marine so he's going to be tough and hang on in there, but I'm keeping my belt," said the Brendan Ingle trained fighter."They're calling me Special K at the moment and people will be seeing plenty of sparks at York Hall on January 30."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

McIntosh ready to throw a Barney

There must be something in the water in Norwich with English Light Heavyweight champ, Danny McIntosh joining a long line of big punchers from the area including former WBO heavyweight champ, Herbie Hide and reigning European Lightweight champ Jon Thaxton. There’s only one problem – McIntosh wishes he didn’t punch so hard!The undefeated 28-year-old is looking to defend his title (subject to Board approval) against Matthew Barney at the Norfolk Showground in his hometown on February 28th live on ITV4 and he’s hoping to get some rounds under his belt against seasoned campaigner Barney.McIntosh raised some eyebrows last time out with a stunning one punch KO of Rod Anderton on the Carl Froch – Jean Pascal undercard in December but he says it was a result that brought mixed feelings.“I’m just as happy to get the rounds in to be honest”, said McIntosh. “I knew as soon as I hit Anderton that he was gone and it was ‘fight over’ but I’d prefer to go a few rounds and get the experience under my belt. I suppose the KO’s are pretty exciting for the crowd and that last one was pretty spectacular but I was actually hoping it would have gone a bit longer!“Nobody thought of me as a puncher earlier on in my career but the truth is I’d rather do the rounds and get the experience under my belt. I’ve still only had 9 fights so I like to get as much ring time as possible. On the plus side my last couple of wins have been on ITV so it’s great to get that kind of coverage on big bills because it gets people talking about you.”Prior to his quick fire win in Nottingham McIntosh had claimed the English title stopping local rival Steve Spartacus in a real thriller at the Norfolk Showgrounds. McIntosh is looking forward to his return there next month when he provides the chief support to Jon Thaxton’s first defence of his European title.“It’s always nice to fight in Norwich and having all your own supporters there does give you that extra boost. It’s great that there are big shows back in Norwich. I’ve had a lot of advice from Jon down through the years and he’s someone I’ve always looked up to. “In fact it was Jon who inspired me to go to Sheffield to train with the Ingles. He did the same thing and of course it’s a sacrifice with the travel and everything but it’s too easy to stay at home and have the home comforts. There’s a lot of good boxers here in Norwich so I felt that to break out of the pack I’d have to link up with the Ingles.”McIntosh knows he can make a real statement if he can impress against Matthew Barney. The Southampton man is on an impressive run of wins following his last defeat, a point’s loss to Carl Froch for the British Super Middleweight title in 2005. “Barney’s a good fighter, very elusive and awkward and he’s fought at top level,” said McIntosh. “In my opinion he was robbed in a European title in Germany a few years back and he’s on a good run lately so he will fancy the job. I think a good win over Barney can make a bit of a statement and catapult me to the top of the British ratings but it will be my hardest challenge yet. There aren’t too many guys queuing up to fight him.”McIntosh says he doesn’t fear any of his domestic rivalries and feels he will be ready for any of them in another couple of fights. “Tony Oakey’s a good pro but he’s not a natural light heavy and I don’t think Nathan Cleverly’s as good as is made out either. I think the biggest threat out there is still Dean Francis, He’s a top notch fighter but I believe I’m as good as any of them and if I can just get a little bit more experience I believe I can go on to win the British and Commonwealth titles and who knows after that. We already have one European Champ in Norwich, who’s to say we couldn’t have another one.”Tickets for the English Light Heavyweight title clash between McIntosh and Barney and Jon Thaxton’s first European title defence at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on the 28th February are available from the Ticketline box office on 0871 424 4444 or via

DeGale ready for Pro Debut

James DeGale will be fighting fit for his professional debut - and so will health conscious members of the public he is working with. The Olympic gold medallist will have his first fight under promoter Frank Warren on February 28 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.He's been training hard under taskmaster Jim McDonnell, ensuring that he is in the best shape possible for his big night. And now DeGale is poised to pass on some of McDonnell's secrets after signing up for The Feelgood Factor for ITV1, a major new initiative to encourage the nation to get fit and lose weight. The high-profile campaign, supported by ITV's most popular shows and their stars, will see three groups of viewers with bad eating habits and poor exercise regimes attempt to get fitter with celebrity mentors. Eamonn Holmes and Mylenne Klass will host the show. DeGale will take training sessions with one of the groups, and is delighted to be involved. "Healthy living is really important and it will be great to pass on a few tips," said DeGale. "And I'll be able to sympathise because when I was I kid I was called 'Chunky' because I was a bit over weight. "But although I'll push my group hard, I won't be as tough with them as Jim McDonnell is with me - it wouldn't be fair! "I don't think I've ever worked as much as have done in the last few weeks, and Jimmy is leaving no stone unturned to get me in the best possible shape for my debut. "Things have been going fantastic in the gym - and I could have my first pro fight tomorrow I feel so good. "I can't wait to find out who I will be fighting and to get in the ring on February 28 and get my career started with a bang." Tickets for the Olympian show, priced at £30, £50, £100 and £150, are available from: Ticket Factory 0844 338 8000 Ticketline 0871 888 9991 See Tickets 0871 220 0260 Ticket Master 0844 847 2500

Nate Campbell responds to Ali Funeka

Unified lightweight world champion Nate “Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell (32-5-1, 25 KOs) gave a stern warning to International Boxing Federation No. 1-Ranked lightweight mandatory challenger Ali “Rush Hour” Funeka (30-1, 25 KOs) at a Don King-hosted press conference at BankAtlantic Center today promoting their Valentine’s Day meeting in South Florida. “I’m a New Age guy that likes to be on the Internet,” Campbell began. “Then I went on the Web and read what Ali Funeka said he’s going to do to me on Valentine’s Day. He said he sees nothing special in me. He said he knows me like the back of his hand. That’s rhetoric but he’s going to pay for it. I’m going to beat him like he tried to steal something from me.” Campbell said there was no previous ill will between him and his South African opponent.“This was a basic training camp for me until I heard his mouth. Now it’s personal. He’s got to pay the retail American price for his words, not the South African price. I’m going to hit this 6-foot-1-inch Funeka everywhere it’s legal and maybe where it ain’t if the referee turns his back. If he truly wants to win, he better be ready to fight, kill or die.” Campbell’s comments caught the attention of the assembled media and his promoter, Don King. “He’s not fooling around,” King said of Campbell’s comments. “Don’t forget what this man did to Juan Diaz, and he did that partly on my behalf. I hope Funeka knows what he’s getting into.” King announced tickets to the fight, priced at $200, $75, $40 and $25 (with all seats buy one, get one free excepting a limited number of golden circle seats) will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000, by visiting or at the BankAtlantic Center box office. Dubbed “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” by King, the card will also feature colorful former three-time world champion Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga (28-7-1, 22 KOs) tangling with undefeated Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (14-0, 11 KOs) to determine the WBC’s No. 1 ranking and mandatory challenger at the 154-pound limit as well as another important match at 154 pounds with interim WBC super welterweight champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (44-1-1, 24 KOs) taking on former IBF welterweight champion Kermit “The Killer” Cintron (30-2, 27 KOs). A full undercard, with opponents to be announced soon, will showcase heavyweights Ray “The Rainman” Austin (26-4, 17 KOs) and Bermane “B-Ware” Stiverne (16-1, 16 KOs); undefeated cruiserweight Francisco “The Wizard” Palacios (16-0, 9 KOs); welterweight Ivan Kirpa (22-1, 14 KOs); lightweights Anges Adjaho (23-1, 14 KOs) and Angelo “The Cobra” Santana (4-0, 3 KOs); junior lightweight John “Action” Jackson (13-1, 13 KOs); undefeated light heavyweight Anthony Dirrell (14-0, 12 KOs); and featherweight Gary Russell (1-0, 1 KO). The event is promoted by Don King Productions. Campbell vs. Funeka is presented in association with One Punch Productions. Mayorga vs. Angulo is a co-promotion with Gary Shaw Productions. Campbell vs. Funeka, Mayorga vs. Angulo and Martinez vs. Cintron will also be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

King's Valentine's Day Match Up

Boxing promoter Don King will present another tremendous international boxing event in South Florida when his “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” lands at BankAtlantic Center on Saturday, Feb. 14 featuring unified lightweight world champion—and Jacksonville native—Nate “Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell (32-5-1, 25 KOs) opposing International Boxing Federation mandatory challenger Ali “Rush Hour” Funeka, from East London, South Africa. Colorful crowd favorite and former three-time world champion Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga (28-7-1, 22 KOs), from Managua, Nicaragua, will appear against World Boxing Council No. 3-ranked super welterweight Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (14-0, 11 KOs), from Mexicali, Mexico. This match is an elimination bout to determine the WBC’s No. 1 ranking at the 154-pound limit and become the mandatory challenger to the organization’s champion. Another bout of great importance at 154 pounds will be showcased when interim WBC super welterweight champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (44-1-1, 24 KOs), from Buenos Aires, Argentina, takes on former welterweight world champion Kermit “The Killer” Cintron. The BankAtlantic Center will be configured in a fan-friendly half-house configuration with only the best seats in the lower bowl and floor areas being placed for sale. In addition, promoter Don King has created a special “Valentine’s Day 2-for-1” ticket promotion where almost everyone who buys a seat will get an additional ticket for free, starting at just $25 (except a small number of golden circle seats). “A two-for-one ticket offer and setting up the arena so all fans will be as close to the ring as possible are innovative and great ideas for this card,” King said. “This way, more of my Florida neighbors can afford to bring their sweethearts, family or friends to see this great night of boxing on Valentine’s Day at BankAtlantic Center.” Florida Panthers President Michael Yormark is excited to have boxing at BankAtlantic Center, the Florida Panthers home arena. “Don King is one of the biggest names in sports and we are honored to welcome him to the BankAtlantic Center,” said Yormark. “His track record for promoting world-class events speaks for itself. That said, it is a great thrill to bring boxing to the BankAtlantic Center for the first time, which once again reinforces our ability to successfully host nearly any type of event.” Tickets priced at $200, $75, $40 and $25 (with all seats 2-for-1 excepting a limited number of golden circle seats) will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000, by visiting or at the BankAtlantic Center box office. Campbell picked up his world titles in a tremendous, upset victory over then-unified lightweight champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz. Campbell outgunned and battered the previously unbeaten Diaz for 12 rounds on March 8 in Cancun, Mexico. He won the fight by split decision but there was little doubt among the Mexicans assembled in an outdoor bull ring that Campbell had made good on his pre-fight prediction to take his younger but more heralded opponent into deep water to defeat him. His win culminated a made-in-Florida dream that saw Campbell escape from his violent upbringing in a Jacksonville ghetto, embark on an improbable career in boxing at the late age of 24 and reach the pinnacle of his sport. The fast-handed and even-faster-talking new champion’s first defense of his titles was slowed by Joan Guzman, who failed to make weight the day before the two were scheduled to meet on Sept. 13 in Biloxi, Miss. Guzman said he was too weak to fight over the limit, scratching the match altogether. The road gets no easier for Campbell, who must now meet his IBF mandatory challenger in Funeka. This will be the first time the South African has appeared outside of his country, but he was able to stop highly regarded Zahir Raheem in the fourth round when they met on July 25 to earn the right to face Campbell. At his loquacious best, Campbell is still no match for the Nicaraguan boxer also appearing on the card, flashy Ricardo Mayorga, who is in a class by himself when at his trash-talking best. Mayorga, who often trains in South Florida but will make his first prizefighting appearance here, tends to batter opponents outside the ring verbally as well as physically inside the squared circle. His meteoric rise captured the imagination of the boxing world when he dethroned reigning 2002 Fighter of the Year Vernon “The Viper” Forest twice in succession in 2003. He went on to face some of the most well known boxers in the sport including Cory Spinks, Felix “Tito” Trinidad, Oscar de la Hoya, “Ferocious” Fernando Vargas and, most recently, “Sugar” Shane Mosley. Mayorga is a dangerous marauder who always comes to fight. Extra motivation may come from the fact that the young, undefeated prospect Alfredo Angulo, 26, thinks he can dispatch the big-fight veteran Mayorga, 35, in just his 15th professional appearance. A win here for Mayorga would extend his notable career, while Angulo would benefit from beating, by far, the biggest name on his building resume. Known for his punching prowess, Angulo must first prove he will not be overly influenced by the withering verbal assaults he can expect from Mayorga designed to mine the depths of his being in search of the slightest weakness or trigger point—a ploy that his ensnared fighters of much greater experience and left them psychologically disheveled. Another bout of significance at 154 pounds will also be featured when interim WBC super welterweight champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (44-1-1, 24 KOs), from Buenos Aires, Argentina, faces the highest profile opponent of his career in former IBF welterweight champion Kermit “The Killer” Cintron (30-2, 27 KOs), from Reading, Pa. Martinez, 33, earned his interim title in his last appearance on Oct. 4 when he dominated Alex Bunema, making him quit after eight rounds. The former champion Cintron, 29, brings a title-fight experience and considerable skills into his first fight at 154 pounds. The event is promoted by Don King Productions with a full undercard. Campbell vs. Funeka is presented in association with One Punch Productions. Mayorga vs. Angulo is a co-promotion with Gary Shaw Productions. Campbell vs. Funeka, Mayorga vs. Angulo and Martinez vs. Cintron will also be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Montgomerie appointed European captain

Colin Montgomerie has accepted an invitation from the Tournament Committee of The European Tour, ratified by The Ryder Cup Policy Board, to captain The European Team in The 2010 Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, South Wales, from October 1 to 3, 2010.Montgomerie, who was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on June 23, 1963, becomes the 22nd golfer to captain a Ryder Cup Team against the United States and the sixth Scotsman, following in the footsteps of George Duncan (1929), John Fallon (1963), Eric Brown (1969 and 1971), Bernard Gallacher (1991, 1993 and 1995) and Sam Torrance (2002). Montgomerie made the first of eight Ryder Cup appearances in 1991 and he was on the winning European Team in 1995, 1997, 2002, 2004 and 2006. In all he has played 36 matches with 20 wins and seven halved. He owns the phenomenal record of not having lost any of the eight singles he has played and shares the record for most singles matches won (six) and most singles points gained (seven). Montgomerie succeeds Nick Faldo with the aim of regaining The Ryder Cup following a successful spell in which Europe defeated the United States on no fewer than seven occasions in 12 matches since 1985. Europe’s victories were achieved under the captaincies of Tony Jacklin (1985, 1987), Bernard Gallacher (1995), Seve Ballesteros (1997), Sam Torrance (2002), Bernhard Langer (2004) and Ian Woosnam (2006) while Jacklin presided over a halved match in 1989. Montgomerie said: “This is the proudest moment of my career. I have enjoyed some wonderful times, not least of all playing in eight Ryder Cups and winning eight Harry Vardon trophies, but to be named The European Team Ryder Cup Captain is something to cherish. My wife, Gaynor, and I are absolutely delighted. “The Ryder Cup has been a huge part of my life and the next 20 months leading up to the 2010 contest will be invigorating. I’ve enjoyed the thrill of playing under six superb Captains – Bernard Gallacher, Seve Ballesteros, Mark James, Sam Torrance, Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam – and every one brought something new to the table and contributed so much. “After playing in eight successive matches it is difficult to explain how much I missed not being part of The Ryder Cup in 2008. Now I have the opportunity to captain a European Team seeking to regain the trophy and I am very pleased to be doing so at The Celtic Manor Resort, a venue with which I have a great affinity. “We want to win the Cup back in Wales. That will be our priority. Nevertheless I know that Corey Pavin and his American team will share with us the desire for this match to be played as has become tradition with fair play and good sportsmanship top of the agenda. “It is also going to be a very special experience playing The 2010 Ryder Cup on a course which is the first in history to be built to host the match. It is set up to challenge the best and being a course with a whole host of tempting options and punishing hazards there will be drama every step of the way. It is going to be an extraordinary week for everyone especially, of course, Sir Terry Matthews, the visionary behind not only the development and continued success of The Celtic Manor Resort but also the Wales Ryder Cup bid. “I would like to stress that I am delighted to be taking this role now for 2010. You can wait too long to become captain and lose touch. I did not want that to happen and this opportunity has ensured it will not. I believe I have the stature to do the job and my experience of playing in this great event so often can only help, too. “I also want to make it clear that I’ve accepted the captaincy with the knowledge that I do not think my days of winning are over. Everyone who knows me will understand that commitment has always been a key word in my vocabulary and I am still focused on winning tournaments. But I’ve also made the commitment to captain The 2010 European Ryder Cup Team and not to play in it. I’ll be focusing on getting everything right for our arrival at The Celtic Manor Resort.”

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jennings sets a trap for Cotto

Fresh off the back of Shane Mosley's surprise KO win over Antonio Margarito at the weekend, Michael Jennings has promised to deliver another welterweight shock when he fights Miguel Cotto next month. Chorley based Jennings will challenge Cotto for the WBO World Welterweight crown at New York's Madison Square Garden on February 21. And the 31-year-old says that Mosley's ninth round stoppage in LA on Saturday night has been an inspiration. "A lot of people thought that Margarito would walk right through Mosley, but the fight proved that anything can happen in boxing," said Jennings, who has a 34-1 (16) record and is a former British and current WBU World champion. "It was a cracking fight, but there was always a danger that Margarito could be given a bit of a boxing lesson because he gets hit so much, and that's what Mosley did to him. "I'm looking for another upset when I box Cotto and I'm confident that will happen. He's got two arms and two legs like everyone else, he's not some superman. "And who knows how much his loss against Margarito has taken out of him. "This is the kind of fight I've been dreaming about for years, and it's a fantastic opportunity that I plan to grab with both hands. "Going out to New York and meeting Cotto at the press conference has given me confidence as well. "Before you fight someone you tend to build them up in your head as some kind of monster, but standing toe to toe with Cotto I realised he's no different from me - and a bit smaller! "I'll have a height and reach advantage when I fight him and that will suit me down to the ground."

Bradley Evans joins Hennessy Sports

Bradley Evans believes he has made the right decision in turning professional rather than waiting another 4 years for a crack at Olympic glory.The 2008 featherweight ABA champion from Royston has signed professional terms with Hennessy Sports and has no regrets at not living the Olympic dream. Evans makes his pro debut on the undercard of Jon Thaxton’s European Lightweight title defence in Norwich on February 28. Although still only 19 the teenager believes the time is right to switch codes.“I could have waited for the London Games but so many things can happen,” said Evans. “You could get a bad decision in a qualifier or you could qualify and then pick up an injury just before the Games. It’s too much of a risk and I’d have gone stale waiting until 2012.”Instead Evans is leaving behind a glittering amateur career that saw him win the Junior ABA’s and Four Nations Gold in 2007 before winning last year’s Senior ABA’s, where he also picked up the best boxer of the night award . “I think my style is a lot more suited to the pro game anyway and I’m really looking forward to getting my career started now.”Evans will be in the capable hands of leading pro trainer Tony Sims and he says he’s already been put through his paces in the gym. “The training’s definitely a lot harder in the pro’s. It’s a much more physical game and it’s a completely different sport from the amateurs. I’m really enjoying it though and I’ve been sparring seasoned pro’s and champions like Lenny Daws so you can only learn from sharing the ring with guys like him.”Evans isn’t making any bold predictions about his pro career just yet but is quietly confident about his future. “At the moment I’m happy to take it one fight at a time and work my way up. I think I can go all the way but I know there’s a lot to learn. I’m still young so there’s plenty of time and I know if I put in the hard work the rewards will come in the end.”Tickets for Evans debut on the undercard of Jon Thaxton’s European title defence at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on the 28th February are available from the Ticketline box office on 0871 424 4444 or via

Munroe invests in his Future

RENDALL MUNROE has spent £5,000 to make sure it is all right on the biggest night of his boxing life. The Leicester dustman defends his European super-bantamweight title at Barnsley Metrodome on Friday February 27 when he faces mandatory contender Kiko Martinez in a rematch. Munroe, 28, won the title when he outpointed the Spaniard (20-1) in a huge upset last March and has made three successful defences. Southpaw Munroe (17-1) is taking no chances and promoter Frank Maloney said: "I think this camp is costing Rendall a few grand, but this is a tough, tough fight. "Rendall has forked out a small fortune importing sparring partners from Europe and also brought in Gary Davies who recently beat Martin Powers. "Gary is ideal sparring. Just like Martinez he carries a heavy dig with the overhand right."There is no doubt that this is the most important fight of his life and one he must win to move on to the next level."Martinez is world class and if Rendall come through well then there could be a big fight for him in May that will capture the public's imagination." Maloney managed to get home advantage, but Martinez and his manager Father Ted lookalike, Pat Magee insisted the fight take place outside the East Midlands. Maloney added: "Even though Barnsley is fair trek from Leicester, plenty of Munroe's fans have bought tickets and he is becoming more and more popular." In the chief supporting contest Munroe's stable Scott Haywood (19-2) moves into world class when he challenges WBC ranked number three Ajose Olusegun for the Commonwealth light-welterweight title. Tickets for the show priced £35 and £75 are available from 0871 226 1508 or

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tyson Fury in Norwich Showdown

Unbeaten heavyweight phenomenon Tyson Fury has already set his sights on the man he hopes will be his next opponent. The 6 feet 8 ½ inch 20 year old is scheduled for his third pro fight in Norwich on February 28th when he appears on the undercard of local hero, Jon Thaxton’s first defence of his European Lightweight title. However it’s another Norfolk man that is occupying Fury’s thoughts at the moment. “I’d love to fight Sam Sexton in Norwich,” said Fury. “He’s a local lad and I believe he’s always complaining that he never gets to fight at home, so I’d love to give him that opportunity.”Fury is coming off an impressive stoppage win over Marcel Zeller earlier this month. The German entered the ring having won 21 of his 24 pro fights with 20 of those wins coming by KO but he found Fury too hot to handle. Sexton also has a decent resume having lost just once in his 12 pro fights and he also won the Prizefighter tournament last September but Fury isn’t impressed. “His record isn’t as impressive as Zeller’s so it might be a bit of step down but it would still be a good fight for the people of Norwich. He just won the Southern Area title and I think that’s about his limit. “If I can’t beat the likes of Sexton I’ve no business talking about World titles so that’s why I want to fight him now. I don’t want people saying that I’m just all talk like some of the other prospects out there. I want to walk the walk as well.”Promoter Mick Hennessy is hoping that Sexton will take up the challenge “It’s a great chance for Sam to fight in his hometown in a significant fight so hopefully he will step up to the plate.” Tickets for Tyson next fight on the undercard of Jon Thaxton’s European Title Defence at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on the 28th February are available from the Ticketline box office on 0871 424 4444 or via

Challenge Tour gets set for Ireland

The stunning Champions Club at Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort on the outskirts of Dublin will host the fifth edition of the Challenge of Ireland on the European Challenge Tour from June 11-14, 2009. Since its inaugural event in 2005 – won by Scotland’s Marc Warren – the tournament has yet to produce a home winner, but this year’s venue does at least carry the signature of one of Ireland’s most famous golfing sons, Ulsterman Darren Clarke. Together with European Golf Design and the club’s owners, the Jackson family, Clarke helped design the Champions Club at Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort, which he describes as “a labour of love”. Clarke – who won the Benmore Developments Northern Ireland Masters, an event he sponsored on the Challenge Tour in 2003 – believes that Moyvalley has the potential to be “one of the premium clubs in world golf”. The 13-time European Tour champion said: “Moyvalley’s 550 acres of rolling countryside presented a fantastic challenge, and the results are spectacular. I look forward to seeing the course develop into one which golfers across the world will want to play and enjoy. “I’m especially delighted with the greens, which are among the best putting surfaces in the country. We created gentle slopes which will make players think about where to place their approach shots, especially when the greens are fast or in windy conditions. As a Champions Club member, it is our intention to roll out this club as one of the premium clubs in world golf.” Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort, situated on the breathtaking Balyna Estate in County Kildare, takes over the staging of the Challenge of Ireland following two successful years at Glasson Golf Hotel & Country Club, which itself succeeded Killarney Golf and Fishing Club in 2007. The 7,370 yards, par 72 course will present the Challenge Tour Members with a stern examination, according to the club’s owner Stuart Jackson. He said: “We are honoured to be chosen to stage the Challenge of Ireland presented by Moyvalley, which we hope will attract a quality field of some of the game’s brightest young talents. We are extremely proud of the course we have created in partnership with Darren Clarke, and I’m confident it will provide a fitting stage and become a popular venue on the Challenge Tour for many years to come.” Alain de Soultrait, Managing Director of the Challenge Tour, said: “The Challenge of Ireland is traditionally one of the most popular events on our Schedule, as we always receive a warm welcome in this most hospitable of countries. This year should be no different, as we move to the beautiful Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort. I am genuinely excited about the prospect of seeing our Members face a true test of golf next June.” Since its inception, the Challenge of Ireland has played an integral role in the development of some of the host nation’s emerging talent. In the 2007 Challenge of Ireland presented by Glasson, Gareth Maybin played as a sponsors’ invitation and was the highest home finisher in 15th position. The young Ulsterman subsequently went on to record three top ten finishes en route to 49th place in the final Rankings, thereby securing full playing privileges on the Challenge Tour last season, when he finished fourth to ensure his place in The Race to Dubai. The 28 year old has since proved his credentials with a remarkable start to his maiden European Tour campaign, losing out to Richard Sterne in a play-off at the South African Open Championship on only his fourth appearance of the season. Maybin’s compatriot Gareth Shaw will hope to follow a similar path, having finished in a tie for fourth in the 2008 Challenge of Ireland presented by Glasson – his first event as a professional – en route to securing category 11 status for the 2009 Challenge Tour Schedule.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Broadhurst supports Gavin

Don Broadhurst has urged promoter Frank Warren to put him in the same dressing as close pal Frankie Gavin next month - so he can help him through any first-night nerves. Gavin will make his debut in his home city of Birmingham on February 28 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham alongside fellow Olympians James DeGale and Billy Joe Saunders. And as well as having his 2008 Beijing Games team-mates by his side, Gavin will also be sharing a bill with fellow Brummie and close friend Don Broadhurst. The unbeaten prospect makes the first defence of his Commonwealth super-flyweight title, and says he is looking forward to fighting with Gavin again after they progressed through the schoolboy ranks together to make it into national amateur squads. "I knew from back when we were kids that Frankie was going to be a very special talent," said Broadhurst, who like Gavin won gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. "We've always been close and if he needs any advice about the professional side of things then I'll always be here to help him. "The one thing I would tell him is to stay patient against the fighters he'll start out against because they'll try and mess you around and put you off your game - but I know he'll be just fine. "As soon as Frankie steps through the ropes he's brilliant, but I remember from our amateur days that he used to get a bit nervous beforehand. "It would be great if we could share a dressing room together because I'll help him get over any butterflies he might have and make sure he gets his professional career off to a flying start." Broadhurst is helping to spearhead the revival of boxing in Birmingham, recently headlining a show in his home city, and also shifting nearly 1,000 tickets for his first fight at home, at the NIA last June.
"Hopefully me and Frankie can put Birmingham back on the map and encourage other people to start boxing as well," said the 24-year-old. "There's such a buzz in the city at the moment. I remember what happened in Manchester a few years ago with Ricky Hatton and all the lads that came through up there, and the same thing can happen in Birmingham." Tickets for the Olympian show, priced at £30, £50, £100 and £150, are available from: Ticket Factory 0844 338 8000 Ticketline 0871 888 9991 See Tickets 0871 220 0260 Ticket Master 0844 847 2500

Tyson Fury Rages War on the Heavyweights

Promoter Mick Hennessy admits he has a real problem with Tyson Fury – just how does he hold the 6 feet 8 ½ inch heavyweight phenomenon back!In front of the ITV cameras last weekend Fury despatched German KO artist Marcel Zeller in the third round in only his second pro fight. The vastly experienced Zeller entered the ring with 21 wins from his 24 outings with all but one of those victories coming by knockout.Hennessy says Fury jumped at the chance to take on Zeller despite having just over 2 minutes of professional experience himself courtesy of his first round debut win in December. “Tyson proved at the weekend that he’s ready and willing to take on all comers right now, said Hennessy. “In fact he'd fight both Klitschko brothers in the morning if he could but we need to be sensible and take it fight by fight. With his ability he can certainly be fast tracked but he’s still only 20 years old so he won’t be rushed.“The frightening thing with Tyson is that he’s only going to get better and better and the sky’s the limit really. People said it was madness to match him with a dangerous puncher like Zeller so early on but I’ve seen Tyson in the gym sparring guys with big reputations and I know what he’s capable of.“Have a look at any of the other big prospects in world boxing or indeed the world champions and see who they fought in their second fight – not too many of them will have a guy like Zeller on their records that early.”Hennessy is planning on keeping his latest star very busy in 2009. “Tyson will fight again on the undercard of Jonathon Thaxton’s European title defence in Norwich on February 28th. Assuming he comes through that injury free then he will be out again on the Wayne Elcock – Matthew Macklin card in Birmingham on March 14th.”Fury’s looks have been compared to that of legendary matinee idol, Errol Flynn while his punching power has reminded some of a young George Foreman. Hennessy is in no doubt that Fury is the complete package and can be become the saviour of the much maligned heavyweight division.“It’s hard not to get excited about Tyson. He has the looks, the charisma, the size, the ability and the physical and mental toughness required to go all the way. He is already breathing new life into the heavyweight division. The problem these days is that nobody even cares who the heavyweight champ is anymore.“In my opinion the general public don’t know one Klitschko from the other and even hardcore boxing fans would struggle to tell you who the other belt holders are. Tyson’s only had 2 fights but there’s already a media frenzy about him. We’ve been inundated with interview requests and he seems to be transcending boxing already. “Obviously it’s early days yet but I believe British boxing has unearthed a new star in Tyson and it’s only a matter of time before the name Tyson will once again be the talk of the boxing world.”

Challenge Tour gains Momentum

Linna Golf Club in Finland, a member of The PGA European Tour courses, is one of six superb new venues which will be rolled out in 2009, when the Challenge Tour continues its epic voyage across four continents and a minimum of 24 events in 18 different countries. The breathtaking course, which will also host the 2010 European Amateur Championships, cuts through birch and pine forest bordering a seven kilometre-long lake on the historic Vanajanlinna Hotel estate, situated 100km north of the Finnish capital Helsinki. The Challenge Tour players will get the chance to test themselves over the 7,224 yard course between June 11 and 14, when the SK Golf Challenge makes its second appearance on an exciting schedule containing a blend of new and established venues. In addition to the SK Golf Challenge’s move to Linna Golf Club, the stunning Darren Clarke-designed Champions Club course at Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort in Co. Kildare, Ireland, will make its maiden appearance on the Schedule when it hosts the Challenge of Ireland presented by Moyvalley from June 11-14; whilst the majestic Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Club in Aviemore, Scotland, is the new venue for the fourth edition of the Scottish Challenge from July 30-August 2. Other new additions to the Schedule include: Båstad GK, which will host The Swedish Challenge from June 25-28; Holsterbo GK, which will stage the ECCO Tour Championship from October 1-4; and Le Querce, where the Italian Federation Cup will be played from October 22-25. The seven-month season will comprise a minimum of 24 tournaments including the quartet of established Challenge Tour ‘Majors’, worth a combined prize fund of €1,915,000. The €800,000 SAINT-OMER Open presented by Neuflize OBC, the only dual-ranking event on the Schedule, will be played from June 18-21; the €430,000 Kazakhstan Open, which will again carry the biggest prize fund for a full Challenge Tour event this season, will be held from September 17-20; the US$500,000 Qingdao Golf Open, which returns after the success of the inaugural event last year, will be staged from September 24-27; and the €300,000 Apulia San Domenico Grand Final, where the identity of the 20 graduates will again be decided, marks the close of the season from October 28-31. All four tournaments will return to the courses which so successfully hosted them last year: respectively, Aa St Omer Golf Club in Lumbres, France; Nurtau Golf Club in Almaty, Kazakhstan; Qingdao Huashan Golf & Resort in Qingdao, China; and San Domenico Golf in Puglia, Italy. In addition, the Challenge Tour will also return to some former favourites in the form of Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi, Kenya, which from April 16-19 will host the 17th edition of the Tusker Kenya Open, currently the longest-running event on the Schedule; whilst the Royal Waterloo Golf Club in Brussels, Belgium, will also return to the Schedule when it stages the Telenet Trophy from May 28-31. The Tour will retain its presence in South America with the Club Colombia Masters, held from March 19-22 at Country Club de Bogotá in Bogotá, Colombia. This will be the second event of the season, following the curtain-raiser at the Challenge de España from March 5-8. France will again host four events – the ALLIANZ Open Côtes d’Armor Bretagne from May 14-17; the SAINT-OMER Open presented by Neuflize OBC; the ALLIANZ EurOpen de Lyon from July 9-12; and the ALLIANZ Open du Grand Toulouse from October 8-11 – whilst Switzerland will stage two tournaments with the Credit Suisse Challenge from July 2-5, and the Trophée du Golf de Genève from July 13-16. Alain de Soultrait, Managing Director of the Challenge Tour, said: “In the current climate we are delighted to be able to announce a strong Schedule, with some new courses which will provide our Members with a true test of their golfing skills. It is great to welcome some old favourites like Muthaiga Golf Club and Royal Waterloo Golf Club back onto our Schedule, and we are just as excited about visiting our new venues in Great Britain, Ireland, Italy and Scandanavia. “Whilst we were understandably sorry to see some of our events postponed for a year, particularly in South America, we look forward to welcoming them back onto the Schedule in 2010. We are also hopeful of adding two or three more events during the course of the 2009 season, which promises to be just as enjoyable and competitive as the previous 20.”

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Life and times of Billy Joe Saunders

Trainer Danny Hoy says 2008 Olympian Billy Joe Saunders won't be at his peak for another six years. And with hot talent Saunders, still just 19, he is already being tipped as a potential world-class operator given his form as an amateur, Hoy's statement will give light-middleweight rivals a few sleepless nights. Saunders will make his professional debut on February 28 at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham, alongside fellow 2008 Olympians Frankie Gavin and James DeGale.Hoy will be in his corner, and is backing his man to achieve big things. "Training has been going fantastically well," said Hoy. "Mentally and physically, Billy Joe is spot on at the moment and he can't wait for sparring to really get going next week. "But what's really impressed me is that Billy Joe has said that he doesn't want to be rushed and doesn't see himself fighting at the highest level until he's 25. "I agree that he won't be at his peak until then, although even that age is quite young these days for a light-middleweight. "We've only seen a fraction of his potential at the moment, and he can really push on from what his achieved already. The sky is the limit."Saunders is in good company turning professional at a young age - the likes of Naseem Hamed, Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan were all punching for pay when they were still teenagers. And if he does make it to the top, one of the men he'll have to thank is Hoy, who has been his trainer since he began boxing. "I remember Billy Joe coming into the gym when he was seven or so, and we'd just let him punch a bag or get on with something in a corner somewhere," remembers Hoy. "People ask me if I always knew he was special, but when kids first begin boxing properly when they are 10 or 11, it's really too young to tell if they have got it or not. "But by the time Billy Joe was 13 I felt we were on to something. At the age, he had the ability to switch tactics mid fight depending on who his opponent was, and that's quite a rare skill for someone so young to have. "He just kicked on from there. Although he's always had great strength, I've concentrated on his boxing skills so he didn't become reliant on it, and now he can box and he can fight." Hoy says he is looking forward to Saunders' professional debut - although it will be a first for him too as he's not had a pro fighter before. "I'm learning about the pro game as well, but I've already had some great advice from the likes of Dean Powell and trainers Johnny Eames and Alan Smith and I know Billy Joe we are going to be just fine," he added. Tickets, priced at £30, £50, £100 and £150, are available from: Ticket Factory 0844 338 8000 See Tickets 0871 220 0260 Ticket Master 0844 847 2500 Ticketline 0871 888 9991

Froch seeks a fight with Taylor

WBC Super Middleweight champ Carl Froch has issued a missing persons appeal on behalf of former World middleweight champ, and the current mandatory challenger for his title Jermain Taylor. Froch believes that Taylor has gone into hiding as he looks for a way out of fighting the Cobra who was crowned WBC champ after a fight of the year thriller with Jean Pascal in December. “Taylor calls himself “Bad Intentions” but if you ask me it should be “No Intentions” because I don’t think he has any intentions of fighting me,” said Froch. “At this rate the only thing he’s going to win any time soon is the world hide and seek title. If anyone’s seen him lately I’d be very interested to hear about his whereabouts. I’m guessing that he’s probably at home in bed with his head under the covers waiting until an easier fight comes along. “Purse bids for the fight are due on Friday but there’s been a deafening silence from Jermain about the fight. You can draw your own conclusions on why that is. Look what happened last year, he ducked out of a vacant WBC title fight with me when he could have had a 50 – 50 share of the purses and instead fought in an eliminator so there’s definitely a track record there. “His own promoter has admitted publicly that they don’t have too many attractive options right now and yet there still running from the only fight that means anything on the world scene – a fight for the most prestigious belt in boxing. “I’ve always believed that Taylor doesn’t really have the heart for battle anyway, he has all the physical tools required to be a great fighter but he likes to fight in a comfort zone. When you step into that ring with me there’s no comfort zone and there’s no hiding place.” Froch’s promoter, Mick Hennessy also feels there’s a reluctance on Taylor’s part to step up to the plate. “I believe Lou DiBella and Taylor are trying to walk away from this fight and look for the exit door. I’ve made a formal $1.6 million offer to Taylor’s promoter Lou DiBella for him to fight Carl Froch in the U.K. in either April. It would be a massive fight over here and that offers on the table right now so we can either do a deal or we can wait for the purse bids on Friday. “Lou has been talking about the offer he’s made but what about the offer that I’ve made? Lou is trying to make this a take it or leave it situation but Carl is the champion, not Taylor and in my opinion he needs to respect that and the WBC purse bid process if it comes to that. “If we can’t agree a deal beforehand then I know that Carl is happy to accept the outcome of the purse bids regardless of where the fight ends up.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Big Fight Tickets for Khan vs Barrera

Tickets will go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday 21 January) at 9am for Amir Khan's epic showdown with Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera. Set for the Manchester Evening News Arena on Saturday 14 March, it's sure to be a smash hit at the box office with all 22,000 seats expected to fly out. Khan's super-fight against the seven time/three weight world champion follows previous classic fight nights at the M.E.N Arena including Joe Calzaghe's stunning win over Jeff Lacy and Ricky Hatton dethroning Kostya Tszyu. From his training camp in Los Angeles, Khan said: "My phone has been red-hot since this fight was announced last week; everybody want a tickets to be there. Barrera is a living legend and one of the greatest fighters of all time. As a boxing fan, if I wasn't in the ring facing him, I would definitely be there just to say that 'I was there' to see him fight in person. At the end of the day the respect and admiration I have for Barrera will go to one side on March 14. I have a huge task in front of me but I know with the team I have around me I will be in the best shape possible. It's going to be a great night!" Tickets, priced at £40, £50, £75, £100, £150, £200 and £300, are available from the following outlets: See Tickets 0871 220 0260 Ticketline 0844 888 9991 Arena 0870 190 8000 Amir Khan Boxing 01204 535 332 07817 559 450

Ashley Sexton Sets New Sights

ASHLEY SEXTON is ready to shed the L plates and race to the British flyweight title. Flash Ash has had just three fights, but steps up to eight round class at Fenton Manor, Stoke on Friday. Sexton (3-0) hopes a win will catapult him towards a crack at the winner of the vacant British and Commonwealth title clash between Chris Edwards and Wayne Bloy which tops the bill. The Cheshunt kid has taken a hastily arranged fight against Fikret Remziev Kurdov at just four days notice. Sexton, 21, gets his chance because Mark Thompson has been forced to pull out of his final eliminator for the Commonwealth flyweight title against Philip Kotey because of a broken hand. Manager Mickey Helliet has already compared his man with Charlie Magri, who won the British eight stone title after just three fights in December 1977. Sexton won his first two professional contests on points, but in December showed he carried a decent dig stopping Georgian Levan Garibashvili in three rounds. As an amateur he won four national titles, and confidently predicts he'll taste more glory punching for pay. He said: "Because of my amateur experience and class of boxers I have mixed with, I feel really confident I can clean up the division in quick time. "I would like to fight the winner of Chris Edwards-Wayne Bloy if the British Boxing Board of Control would allow it." The all-action co-promotion with Impact Boxing also features another of Sexton's biggest rivals Paul Edwards. Among the local fighters on the bill are English lightweight champion Scott Lawton and heavyweight Alex Ibbs. Tickets for 'Stoking the Fire' which is being televised live by Sky Sports are selling fast and can be purchased by calling 0871 226 1508 or by logging on to Prices £35 and £70.

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Kid on the Block

PAUL EDWARDS might have only had two professional bouts, but he's already eyeing up a British flyweight title fight. The 5ft 5in scouser boxes on the undercard when Chris Edwards and Wayne Bloy square off for the vacant British and Commonwealth flyweight title at Fenton Manor, Stoke on Friday. Liverpool has produced some of Britain's finest ever eight stone fighters over the years including Keith Wallace, Peter Kane and the hugely under-rated Peter Culshaw.Edwards, 22, hasn't lost a round since turning professional last year outpointing Robert Palmer and wily veteran Delroy Spencer. If he remains unbeaten it looks certain that he will contest domestic honours later this year against Chris or Wayne. Edwards who boxed for the famous Salisbury ABC and won the 2005 ABA title is convinced he'll become 'Lord of the Flies' as a professional. He said: "This is just my third pro fight but already I am right up there in the British ratings and there is already talk of a title shot. "Being a flyweight isn't like fighting at feather or super-middle, there aren't a lot of us about so it's easy to climb up the ratings fast."Realistically, I could be fighting for the British title inside the next year so I am loving every minute of it." Promoter Frank Maloney said: "Apart from heavyweight boxing, the flyweights have always been my favourite division. "It is fantastic that the division is coming alive in Britain again and I believe Paul can be the flag bearer." Tickets for 'Stoking the Fire' which is being televised live by Sky Sports are selling fast and can be purchased by calling 0871 226 1508 or by logging on to Prices £35 and £70

Prizefighting in South Florida

One of the premier arenas in America, BankAtlantic Center of Sunrise, Fla., will host professional prizefighting for the first time when Don King Productions presents a star-studded world-championship boxing event at the South Florida venue on Saturday, Feb. 14. Promoter Don King has dubbed the event “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” and already boasts World Boxing Organization and International Boxing Federation lightweight champion Nate “Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell risking his crowns against IBF No. 1-ranked mandatory challenger Ali “Rush Hour” Funeka; former three-time world champion Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga meeting undefeated World Boxing Council No. 3-ranked contender Alfredo “Perro” Angulo to determine the WBC’s
No. 1-ranked mandatory challenger at the 154-pound limit; and another important match at 154 pounds with interim WBC super welterweight champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez taking on former IBF welterweight champion Kermit “The Killer” Cintron. “I have been trying for years to land a date at the BankAtlantic Center and finally the stars aligned for me to make it happen,” promoter Don King said of the Broward County venue not far from his Deerfield Beach, Fla., headquarters. “I have been able to bring a number of tremendous boxing cards to South Florida over the years, and this big Valentine’s Day card is going to be another fantastic night for boxing fans.” King said he plans to have 10 fights or more on the card. Ticket prices and full event information will be announced at a South Florida press conference King is planning for next week. The BankAtlantic Center is the home arena for the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League and recently gained prestige after being named one of eight finalists for “Arena of the Year” by Pollstar Magazine, an influential trade publication that closely follows the entertainment touring industry.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Amir Khan to face Marco Antonio Barrera

Amir Khan's blockbuster showdown against Marco Antonio Barrera will take place at Britain's number one boxing venue The Manchester Evening News Arena on Saturday 14 March.
Promoter Frank Warren yesterday announced that Khan would face the seven times, three weight, World champion, and today is delighted to confirm that the 20,000 seat venue will host the epic fight. The M.E.N Arena has staged the biggest British fights in recent times featuring greats like Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank, Naseem Hamed and more recently classic fights like Joe Calzaghe v Jeff Lacy and Ricky Hatton v Kostya Tszyu. Bolton hot-shot Khan aims to exorcise his demons at the M.E.N Arena - where he suffered his first professional loss last September to Breidis Prescott - by beating the Mexcian legend and thrusting him back into the elite fighters of the lightweight division. Khan said, "I'm so happy that the fight is at the M.E.N Arena and it's going to be an absolutely wicked atmosphere on the night that will really get my juices flowing,""There have been so many great nights there and I was ringside for Calzaghe v Lacy and Hatton v Tszyu and I believe that my fight against Barrera ranks up alongside those, I just can't wait." "It's also the perfect opportunity to rid the ghosts of my loss to Breidis Prescott last year and a victory would send my career onto another level." "This a fight for the fans and a chance for them to see Barrera, who is a living boxing legend, in a British ring against a young fighter who aims to achieve what he has." Tickets, priced at £40, £50, £75, £100, £150, £200 and £300, go on sale at 9am on Wednesday 21 January. Tickets can be resevered now through See Tickets on 0871 220 0260.

Warriors rage War in Wigan

Tyson Fury, British boxing’s biggest new star, has taken on a risky second professional fight at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan on Saturday, 17th January against an opponent who has won 20 of his 21 wins by stoppage with only three losses. Former ABA champion Fury (Manchester) made an excellent debut when he stopped Bela Gyongyosi with a body shot in the first round in Nottingham last month. The 6feet 8 ½ inch 20-year-old continues his march towards global recognition when he boxes Marcel Zeller (Germany) on the undercard of John Murray (Manchester) against Lee McAllister (Aberdeen) for the British Lightweight Title on a Hennessy Sports show that ITV4 will televise live from 7.40pm. Zeller might be far more experienced than big-hitting Fury, but the Manchester star is convinced he is ready for the task. "I want to take on good opponents because I believe I’m good enough and there’s no point in hanging around," said Tyson. "Obviously my promoter Mick Hennessy is not going to put me in with a world champion just yet, but I’m confident in my own ability and what I can achieve so that’s why I believe I can beat the likes of Zeller (21-3). "I was happy enough with my pro debut but I only had a couple days notice for it because I had just come back off honeymoon, but I’ve prepared a lot better for this one." Promoter Mick Hennessy is convinced of Fury’s potential to go all the way after signing the former amateur star last year. "You don’t get 20 knockouts like Zeller has if you can’t punch but I believe if Tyson stays focused he will become a mega star and a genuine world heavyweight champion in the future," said Mick. "It's refreshing when someone says to you he wants to fight better opponents to the ones you are coming up with, but obviously I'm going to have to rein him in a bit." Tickets can be purchased on the night at the Robin Park Arena.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Maloney wins purse bids

FRANK MALONEY has won the purse bids for Matthew Marsh's British super-bantamweight title defence against Liverpool's Mark Moran. His bid in excess of £31,600 means Moran (11-0-1) who Maloney co-promotes with VIP Promotions will have crucial home advantage. The eagerly awaited clash between Britain's top 8st 10lb fighters will take place at Leigh Indoor Sports Centre on Friday April 17. Maloney said: "This is what is known in the trade as a pick 'em fight and home advantage could be crucial so it is a big bonus to win the purse bids. "Both fighters sell a lot of tickets but Mark's fans could swing the fight in his favour. "I think Moran will win, but the only guarantee I can make is that it'll be a candidate for domestic Fight of the Year." Southpaw Moran turned professional in October 2003 and his finest win came last May when he stopped Danny Wallace to become English champion in front of 58,000 fans at City of Manchester Stadium. Moran, 26, was a team-mate of Marsh (11-1) at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and won a bantamweight bronze medal. Marsh, also 26, captured the British title last June outpointing Esham Pickering and in his only defence won a majority decision over Rocky Dean. The cockney boxer's only professional loss came when stepped up to featherweight in October 2007 and was stopped in 11 rounds by Derry Matthews in a WBU title challenge. Marsh didn't fare as well as Moran when then Commonwealth Games were held in Manchester getting knocked out by South African flyweight Nzimeni Msutu when he was clearly weight drained. An action packed undercard will be revealed shortly, but will feature the best young talent from Liverpool and Manchester.

Froch goes after Taylor

WBC Super Middleweight king Carl Froch seems to be ruffling a few feathers as he looks to put American boxing fans on notice about his intentions to clean up the super middleweight division starting with Jermain Taylor. A tabloid U.S. boxing website published a factually incorrect report on Saturday 10th January that the Cobra would be sidelined until June with a rib injury. Froch quickly moved to deny the story stating that he is ready, willing and able to meet mandatory challenger Jermain Taylor as soon as the fight can be signed and sealed. Purse bids for the bout have been called for Friday week with the two to meet within 90 days of the bid. Now the same website that published the report is rowing back on their initial claims but still taking cheap shots at Froch. “I seem to have upset this Mark Marley guy a bit,” said a bemused Froch. “He’s stuck another piece on his website calling me every name under the sun. Despite all his bluster he still hasn't managed to explain where he came up with the story that I would be out injured until June.“I’ve never heard of this clown before but he says he once met Muhammad Ali or something. Anyway whoever he is it would appear that his website has about as much class as the guy himself. I got a headache just looking at it.“He points to quotes I gave to Ron Lewis in the Times as proof that I was going to be out injured until June. Surely any respected journalist would do a little more research than that before writing a piece. In fact if he’d read the entire piece with Ron in the Times he’d have known that I’ve already started back training for my first defence and expect to be back in the ring in early April. “In fact this week there was even talk of a March 28th date with Taylor and I’d have no problem with that either. I just want to get the fight on and prove to the world that I’m the best super middleweight out there.”

Chisora aims for Heavyweight Stardom

Derek Chisora says he'll win a world heavyweight title - and complete a riches to riches story.That's because the hard hitting sensation from Finchley comes from a wealthy land-owning family - and went to private school. But despite his priviliged upbringing, Del Boy has been terrorising opponents between the ropes, and has his sights firmly set on making it all the way to the top. The 25-year-old returns to action on January 30 at Bethnal Green's York Hall against Norway's Daniel Peret in an eight-rounder on the undercard of Kell Brook's British Welterweight title defence against Stuart Elwell, live on Sky Sports. And Chisora is aiming for another explosive performance to build on his impressive 8-0 record which already includes five KOs. "My family was well off when I was a youngster, but by the time I'd reached my teenage years I was out of control," said Chisora, whose family owned a string of farms in Zimbabwe. "I was involved with the police and boxing stopped me from going to prison! "But now I'm on the straight and narrow and my aim is to become a world champion within the next three years. "By the end of this year I want to be challenging for the British title, and I know that I've got the KO power to win a Lonsdale belt - and get a world title as well." Promoter Frank Warren added: "Derek's always phoning me up asking if he can fight guys like Audley Harrison, Matt Skelton and Martin Rogan. "His self belief is incredible and I've got every confidence that he's going to become a major star." Tickets, priced at £30 and £50, are available from Frank Warren Box Office on 01992 550 888 ***FIGHT CARD*** FRANK WARREN PROUDLY PRESENTS
CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING YORK HALL, BETHNAL GREEN FRIDAY 30th JANUARY, 2009.THE WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP OF GREAT BRITAIN Kell Brook (Sheffield, England) vs. Stuart Elwell (Walsall, England) THE VACANT SOUTHERN AREA SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP Richard Horton (Ongar, England) vs. Tony Salem (Finchley, London, England) 8 Rounds International Heavyweight Contest Derek Chisora (Finchley, London, England) vs. Daniel Peret (Trondheim, Norway) 6 Rounds Light-Middleweight Contest Denton Vassell (Manchester, England) vs. TBA 4 Rounds Super-Featherweight Contest Vinny Mitchell (Dagenham, England) vs. Robin Deakin (Crawley, England) 4 Rounds Super-Featherweight Contest Liam Walsh (Cromer, England) vs. Sid Razak (Birmingham, England) 4 Rounds Super-Bantamweight Contest Ryan Walsh (Cromer, England) vs. Shaun Walton (Telford, England)

British and Commonwealth Flyweight title

WAYNE BLOY insists he will not under-estimate Stoke hero Chris Edwards when they clash for the vacant British and Commonwealth flyweight title next week. Grimsby's Bloy (5-3) faces the Potteries puncher at Fenton Manor, Stoke on Friday 23rd January in what promises to be a classic domestic battle. Edwards (11-13-3) boasts a patch record of just 11 wins, 13 losses and three draws, but Bloy's trainer Stuart Fleet said: "Edwards has improved massively. "His record is deceiving because he lost a few of his early fights, but he has lost just once in two-and-a-half years and that is at championship level. "We are not under-estimating Edwards, but this is the type of opportunity that Wayne has been waiting for. "Wayne has effectively been in camp for months and this is the best he has ever been." In the chief support Manchester knockout artist Mark Thompson (18-1) boxes Ghanaian Philip Kotey (19-4) in a final eliminator for Craig Watson's Commonwealth welterweight championship. Another great fight on the bill sees the show's co-promoter Scott Lawton (25-4-1) make the first defence of his English lightweight title against Salisbury's Henry Castle (19-4). Tickets for 'Stoking the Fire' are priced £35 and £70. They can be obtained from or 0871 226 1508

Els to feature in Korea

Three-time Major winner Ernie Els will spearhead a world class field at the forthcoming Ballantine’s Championship in Korea. The South African ace will be joined in the line-up for the €2.1 million showpiece by Henrik Stenson of Sweden and England’s Lee Westwood. Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland will be back to defend his title while former Masters champion Fred Couples is also in the impressive field. The Ballantine’s Championship will return to Pinx Golf Club – venue for last year’s inaugural tournament – on the picturesque holiday island of Jeju, from April 23-26, 2009. “I’ve enjoyed my previous visits to Korea and I’m delighted to be returning to take part in the Ballantine’s Championship for the first time,” said Els, winner of the US Open in 1994 and 1997 and the British Open in 2002. “Korea is at the forefront of the Asian golf boom and the fans there are extremely passionate and knowledgeable about the game, so I’m really looking forward to playing at Pinx Golf Club. “I know the inaugural Ballantine’s Championship was an outstanding success and I’m excited to be involved in what promises to be another fantastic tournament.” Els, currently 10th in the world rankings, has more than 50 victories worldwide to his name, including an astonishing seven World Match Play Championship titles. He has twice finished top of the European Tour Order of Merit and has triumphed 16 times on the PGA Tour. Westwood, the world No.11, has an impressive 18 European Tour victories to his name and another solid campaign last year included finishing third at the US Open. World No.12 Stenson is a six-time winner on the European Tour and ended the 2008 season in style when he partnered Robert Karlsson to victory for Sweden at the World Cup in China. McDowell triumphed in dramatic fashion at Pinx last year, edging India’s Jeev Milkha Singh on the third extra hole. The victory sparked a stellar season that yielded a second success at the Barclays Scottish Open and his Ryder Cup debut. “Winning the 2008 Ballantine’s Championship was an unforgettable moment in my career and also the start of a brilliant year for me,” said McDowell. “I have some wonderful memories of my week at Pinx Golf Club and I’m thrilled to be returning as defending champion. “I know Ballantine’s and the organisers are putting together a world class field and the Korean fans can be assured I’ll be doing my very best to mount a successful title defence.” Superstar Couples – hugely popular in Korea – won the Masters in 1992, one of 15 career victories on the PGA Tour, while he also has two European Tour successes. The evergreen American had three top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour last year.“I’ve always had so much fun playing in Korea and I cannot wait to return there to play in the Ballantine’s Championship,” said Couples. “I’ve heard great things about the tournament and Pinx Golf Club, so it promises to be an awesome week.” Ballantine’s is title sponsoring the tournament – which is co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours and Korea PGA – for a minimum of three years. “We are very proud to be launching the 2009 Ballantine’s Championship knowing we will play host to such a high calibre field of international golfers,” said Christian Porta, Chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers, which owns Ballantine’s. “With the star players announced today, we have high hopes of a stylish and world class showcase in April, and are confident that this prestigious event will continue to build on the outstanding success of the inaugural tournament last year.” The 2009 Ballantine’s Championship will have a full field of 156 players headed by the top 60 available players from the official world rankings. In addition, the top 25 players from the Korea PGA, as determined by the Ballantine’s Points System, will be awarded places, giving homegrown golfers the opportunity to compete en masse alongside the game’s elite. The remainder of the field will be split between the European and Asian Tours, plus eight sponsor invitations.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Froch hits back at Taylor

WBC World Super Middleweight Champion Carl “The Cobra” Froch has directed his venom at Jermain Taylor and his team after a boxing website suggested that Froch was sidelined until June with a rib injury. Froch believes it’s just another in a long line of tactics for Taylor and his promoter Lou DiBella to avoid facing the new King of the Super Middleweights.“Some guy from a site I’d never heard about before has written that I’m injured until June and won’t be able to defend my title until then," fumed Froch. "This Marley guy said that there’s nothing wrong with my ‘flapping jaws’ but that I have a rib injury. In my opinion the only people flapping are Taylor and his team by trying to find another way to duck out of the fight."This Marley character needs to check his facts before writing a story. Maybe he’s only new to the game or something but he needs to start learning quickly. Where did he get this nonsense from about me being sidelined until June? It’s complete BS and if he’d bothered to call my promoter Mick Hennessy he’d know that I've no injury worries now and I’m ready, willing and able to defend my title against Taylor.”Froch believes that Taylor is looking for any excuse to get out of his position as mandatory challenger to Froch's title and hunt down some easier prey instead. “I believe Taylor and DiBella have been swerving me for some time now, they obviously don’t fancy the job,” claimed Froch.“He declined the opportunity to contest the vacant WBC title with me and instead fought Jeff Lacy in a final eliminator for that same title. Now this mysterious rumour is being spread in the U.S. that I’m injured and out until June so he’s looking at other options. The only person that’s going to be out is Jermain Taylor after I’ve smoked his boots.“Everyone knows what I bring to the table. I’ve just been involved in the fight of 2008 to win the WBC title and I’m going to be putting the heat on Taylor so hard that he’s going to have to fight for his life. I’ve proved I’ll get into the trenches and go to war to entertain the fans and if Taylor’s willing to do the same then I’m sure that will be the fight of 2009.“Purse bids for the fight have been called for Friday week so we’ll see what their made of then but I can guarantee I’ll be ready to defend my title against Taylor within 90 days of the purse bid as per the WBC rules.”DiBella is known for his walk on part in the most recent Rocky film and Froch says he should stick to the big screen. “A promoter’s job is to make the big fights but I believe this is one fight DiBella is trying to help his fighter to get out of. Maybe he should stick to being a promoter in the movies.”The Nottingham man won the WBC title in December following a 12 round thriller with undefeated Canadian; Jean Pascal after Taylor had turned down the chance to meet Froch for the vacant crown.“Pascal’s a tough, tough man and a hell of a fighter; I went into that fight without being 100% fit but still prevailed. I can’t wait to make the first defence of my WBC belt but I believe Taylor is clearly clinging to the hope that I’m still injured and that he can duck out of the fight again.”Taylor from Little Rock, Arkansas holds a pair of wins over Bernard Hopkins from his time as World Middleweight champ but Froch is no respecter of reputations. “Just to make it clear, once and for all, I’m ready, willing and able to defend my title against him anytime, anyplace. Now all he needs to do is crawl out from the Little Rock he’s been hiding behind and we can get the fight on.”

Cleverly against the new James Toney

Nathan Cleverly will make the second defence of his Commonwealth light-heavyweight title against James Toney on February 13 in Swindon - James Obede Toney that is. Although the 28-year-old Ghanaian doesn't have quite such a formidable record as namesake James Toney, the former world cruiserweight champion, "Hot Ice" carries a heavy punch and has stopped 19 of his 23 victories early. And his name provoked a raised eyebrow or two from unbeaten Welsh sensation Cleverly. "When matchmaker Dean Powell told me he'd got James Toney as an opponent I thought 'hold on a minute boyo', a former world cruiserweight champion and heavyweight title contender might be a bit too ambitious, even for me!" said Cleverly. "Then he mentioned his middle name and I realised it was James Obede Toney - but he'll still give me a tough fight. "I've seen some of his title fights from America and Canada, and he's been taking on world class operators like Lucien Bute and Roman Karmazin so he'll not be a push over. "I fought an African in my last fight and knocked him out in four rounds, and if I can do the same against Toney then I'll be delighted because he's a very dangerous opponent." Cleverly, still only 21, picked up the Commonwealth light-heavyweight strap in October with a points win over Tony Oakey, before knocking out Douglas Otieno in Widnes in December. He's now unbeaten in 14 fights with four stoppages, and promoter Frank Warren is backing him to become a star. "I love the way Nathan fights, and if he keeps on improving like he did last year he will soon be knocking on the door at world level," said Warren. The show, co-promoted in association with Keith Mayo, will take place at the Oasis Sports Centre and is to be shown live on Sky Sports, will also feature local star Jamie Cox, who won a gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and has built an impressive nine-fight unbeaten record as a professional. "It's great to be fighting in my home city, and hopefully I can have a title fight here later this year," said Cox. "It means so much to me to be showing all my fans what I can do. Obviously the first step on the ladder is to win an English title, but I won't be happy until I've got a world title around my waist." Tickets, priced at £30 Bench, £40 Terraced, £60 Outer Ring-Side and £100 Ringside including VIP, are available from The Oasis on 01793 445 401.

Murray in war of words with McAllister

John Murray is getting ready to make Lee McAllister pay for calling him ‘a cry baby’ when they fight for the Hennessy Sports boxer’s British Lightweight Title on Saturday, 17th January. Murray (Manchester) will make the first defence of his title at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan and ITV4 will show the action live on the first event from Hennessy Sports in 2009. The unbeaten star is looking forward to showing his continuing progression and is now even more determined to do a job on McAllister (Aberdeen) after the Scot’s comments earlier this week. McAllister claimed he would ‘smash up’ Murray and criticised the champion for twice pulling out of their British Title showdown. But Murray claims McAllister has a 'padded record' and is going to pay for his remarks in the ring. “I pulled out before Christmas because of a cut on my head and I didn’t want to go into the fight unless I was 100 per cent,” Murray hit back. “You need to be at your best because this is a professional sport and I’m taking this fight very seriously, as Lee will find out. “I’m not crying about training over Christmas. I worked hard and I’ve had to make sacrifices but it’s part of the job and it has made me even more hungrier for the fight. “When we are in the ring together, it’s going to dawn on him he may be singing it but I’m going to be bringing it. “McAllister might talk a good fight but I walk the walk whereas he just talks the talk. “He has got a padded record and he hasn’t done anything. He boxed Craig Docherty just over a year ago, but Docherty was past his best then and that’s his best win. “When he’s in there with a real top lightweight like me he is going to be in trouble, let’s just hope that after all the fuss he has made of me pulling out with a head injury he has the bottle to turn up Saturday night.” Tickets are available from the Ticketline Box Office on 0871 424 4444 or via

Kim and Montgomerie to feature in Perth

America’s Anthony Kim and Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie have added their names to the star-studded cast of the Johnnie Walker Classic, which takes place from February 19-22 at The Vines Resort & Country Club in Perth, Western Australia. The participation of World Number Nine Kim, one of golf’s hottest young talents, and Montgomerie, the most prolific British winner in European Tour history, will add strength and depth to an already stellar line-up for Asia Pacific’s premier golf event. The tournament will also feature the legendary Greg Norman of Australia, World Number Eight Camilo Villegas of Colmbia, and England’s talented trio Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, the World Number 11. Kim said: “I’m very excited to play in my first Johnnie Walker Classic. I’m really enjoying playing in tournaments all around the world, and I can’t wait to visit Perth. One of my goals this year is to win my first European Tour title, and it would be great to do that at the Johnnie Walker Classic.” Commentating on the confirmation of Kim and Montgomerie, David Gates, Global Brand Director for Johnnie Walker, said. “The confirmation of Anthony Kim adds an extra sparkle to this year’s Johnnie Walker Classic, as the 23 year old is one of the most exciting names in golf at the moment following his two wins on the US PGA Tour and his pivotal role in America’s Ryder Cup victory last year, in what was only his second year as a professional. “Meanwhile Monty, a regular competitor in the 19-year history of the Johnnie Walker Classic, will no doubt be hoping that his support for one of Asia Pacific’s most popular events will reward him with this prestigious title and the iconic Striding Man trophy.” Born in California of Korean origin, Kim recorded his two victories in 2008 at the Wachovia Championship and the AT&T National in sensational style, before going on to secure fourth spot in the FedEx Cup in only his second year on the US PGA Tour. A highly-decorated amateur who only turned professional in 2006, Kim also earned himself an automatic spot in Paul Azinger’s US Ryder Cup team last September. At Valhalla he made an eye-catching debut by securing two-and-a-half points out of a possible four, and displaying a youthful exuberance which captured the imagination of golfing fans across the globe. Montgomerie overtook England’s Nick Faldo as the most prolific British winner on The European Tour when he won his 31st Tour title at The European Open at The K Club in Ireland in 2007. Later that year, he went on to secure the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China in partnership with compatriot Marc Warren. Only the second European alongside Bernhard Langer to play in five successful Ryder Cup teams, the 45-year-old has also lifted The Harry Vardon Trophy a record eight times. He said: “I’m really looking forward to playing in the Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth. It’s a tournament I always enjoy, and yet it’s one I haven’t managed to win. I came pretty close when I finished second to Nick Faldo in Singapore in 1993, and have had a few top 10 finishes over the years. But it’s certainly a title I would like to have on my CV, and I hope this will be the year.” The Johnnie Walker Classic’s tradition of attracting fields of the highest calibre has meant that past winners read like a who’s who of golf. Since 1990, the tournament has been won by the likes of England’s Nick Faldo (1990 & 1993), South Africans Ernie Els (1997 & 2003) and Retief Goosen (2002), Australians Norman (1994) and Adam Scott (2005), and America’s Tiger Woods (1998 & 2000). With the confirmation of so many talented players the 2009 event, which holds the unique status of being tri-sanctioned by The European Tour, Asian Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia, promises to be no different, with the field boasting some of the best golfers from around the world. Over the past 19 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 for the first time last year India, reflecting the brand’s “Keep Walking” philosophy of continuous progress. It will be the Johnnie Walker Classic’s fourth visit to Perth and the fifth time the event has been staged in Australia, following its antipodean debut at the Hope Island Golf Club in 1997. 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, managed by IMG, the world’s premier sports, lifestyle management and marketing company, and supported by Eventscorp, MasterCard and Rolex. For more information please visit

Thompson to turn up the heat in Stoke

FRANK MALONEY is backing Heywood powerhouse Mark Thompson to settle the promoter's row with estranged fighter Craig Watson. KO artist Thompson (18-1) boxes Ghanaian Philip Kotey (19-4) in a final eliminator for Watson's Commonwealth welterweight championship at Fenton Manor Sports Complex, Stoke on Friday 23rd January. Watson who quit Maloney's successful stable last month will have to defend against the winner by June 30. Maloney said: "Mark's manager Steve Wood has been nagging me like the wife to get his man in with Watson.
"Right now I would say that Mark is one of the Britain's most concussive punchers and I believe he will walk through Watson. "In fact I think the African is a tougher test than what Watson will ever be." Watson was handled expertly by Maloney for more than three years before he showed no loyalty and jumped ship. Maloney added: "I am very upset with Craig and a fight against Mark has become personal for me because he walked out after I built his career. "He listened to hot air spoken by somebody else and decided he would be better off elsewhere. "Like other fighters who have returned to me over the last year he will find out the grass isn't greener on the other side. "Other fighters I took back, but Watson is one boxer who will discover there is no room at the inn if he wants a stable to return to." Top of the bill on the biggest night of professional boxing in The Potteries for years is local boy Chris Edwards (11-13-3) showdown with Wayne Bloy (5-3-1) for the vacant British and Commonwealth flyweight title. Another great fight on the bill sees the show's co-promoter Scott Lawton (25-4-1) make the first defence of his English lightweight title against Salisbury's Henry Castle (19-4). Tickets for 'Stoking the Fire' are priced £35 and £70. They can be obtained from or 0871 226 1508

Sutherland in search for Success

IRISH Olympic hero Darren Sutherland returned to the gym to continue his assault on the world super-middleweight title. Sutherland, 26, has his second professional at Robin Park Arena, Wigan on Friday March 6 when he faces a selected opponent over six rounds. The Dubliner who stopped Georgi Iliev on his debut last month, returned to London last night after a three week break with his family. Dazzler spent Christmas and New Year at home and then took parents Linda and Tony, and 17-year-old sister Shaneika on a seven day break to Tenerife. And Sutherland who lives, eats and sleeps boxing revealed he was desperate to get back to trainer Brian Lawrence during his first family holiday for several years. The most exciting prospect in world boxing said: "It was the longest period I have spent with my parents for years and we reflected on my success. "I ran every day while I was in Tenerife xcept one. I needed routine because the only thing to do was eat and sunbathe. "I was itching to get back to the gym by the start of the New Year and I'm glad I listened to my advisors and booked the trip or else I would not have gone. "I would have headed back to London and started training for my next fight. I can't wait to get back in the gym, even though I'll be up at 5am Monday morning." The mega card in Wigan will be topped by Salford southpaw Jamie Moore who challenges Italy's former world champ Michele Piccirillo for the vacant European light middleweight title. Also on the bill is middleweight Prizefighter winner Martin Murray, who is arguably Britain's most exciting fighter. Tickets for this big night of action priced £90 (VIP Ringside), £80 and £35 are available from and 0871 226 1508

Nigel Northridge in the Chair

The PGA European Tour is pleased to announce that Nigel Northridge, the former Chief Executive of Gallaher Group Plc, has accepted an invitation to join the Board as Non-Executive Tour Group Director. Northridge joined the international tobacco manufacturer Gallaher in 1976 as a management trainee. During his 30 years with the Company he held a wide range of senior positions in general management, sales and marketing in the UK and abroad. He was Group Chief Executive from 2000 to 2007, when the Company was sold to Japan Tobacco. Neil Coles, Chairman of The PGA European Tour Board of Directors, said: “We are delighted that Nigel has agreed to join our Board as a Non-Executive Group Director. This is a timely appointment coming as it does when we are on the cusp of a new era in the history of the Tour with the launching of The Race to Dubai. Nigel brings with him a wealth of experience from the international market place which will greatly support our continued development of the game globally.” Northridge, 52, became Non-Executive Chairman of Paddy Power Plc, the international Irish-based betting and gaming group in January 2009. He is also the senior Independent Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Remuneration Committee of Aggreko Plc, the global leader in the power hire sector; and a Non-Executive Director of Thomas Cook Group Plc, one of the world’s leading leisure travel groups. In September 2008 he joined the Board of London Irish Rugby Club. Northridge, whose business philosophy has always commanded three tenets, “Keep it Simple”, “Stay Accountable” and “Make it Happen”, said: “It is a great honour for me to join the Board of the Tour. I have had a passion for the sport of golf, in all its facets since childhood, and look forward to contributing to its future development.” During his 30 years at Gallaher Group Plc, he presided over a strong, global sponsorship programme which included the Benson & Hedges International Open which was played on The European Tour International Schedule no fewer than 33 times from 1971 to 2003.

Joy for Asia in The Royal Trophy

Asia held off a final day singles resurgence from Europe to secure an historic first victory at The Royal Trophy, triumphing 10-6 at Amata Spring Country Club. After establishing a five point advantage after the first two days of the team matchplay event, Asia required just two points from the eight Sunday singles matches. Prayad Marksaeng beat Pablo Larrazabal 5 and 4 after Paul Lawrie had claimed a 3 and 2 triumph over Liang Wen-chong before Toru Taniguchi sank the winning putt as he cruised to a 7 and 6 win over Niclas Fasth to send the huge home crowds into ecstasy. European captain José Maria Olazábal - deputising for Seve Ballesteros, who is recovering from surgery on a brain tumour - had hoped his Team could perform a final day miracle escape but it was not to be for the visitors. Paul Lawrie won the day's second match but disappointing performances from Larrazabal and Fasth, playing in the fourth and seventh matches respectively, ensured Asia an unassailable lead. Nick Dougherty, Oliver Wilson and Johan Edfors recorded their first points of the week, but their wins were ultimately in vain as Asia emerged victorious. Olazábal congratulated Joe Ozaki's Asian team for their triumph before hinting Ballesteros would return to reclaim the trophy in 2010. "My last words are for Seve," said the Spaniard as he addressed his eight-man team. "He is recovering from some health issues, but even though I'm the captain this year, I might not be the captain next year - and I can assure you he is going to be tougher than I was." "I want to thank my players for trying hard this week," he added."We lost, it hurts but that will make us better in the future." Olazábal’s players were united in their praise for their Captain, most notably Hansen and Dougherty. Hansen said: “Olly has been a great Captain. This week is all about the players and we didn’t perform as we can. There were eight guys out there in front of us and we didn’t beat them, didn’t get the putts in the hole at the right time. Olly has been great this week. He was great as an assistant to Faldo at The Ryder Cup and I would love to play under him in the future.” Dougherty said: It’s disappointing and I feel really sorry for Olly because he has done a great job, phenomenal. He is going to be a very worthy Ryder Cup Captain one day. Everything he does is class: his motivation, the way he handles people, everything like that. “You can imagine what the atmosphere was like for us. After the first day we were sitting around saying ‘what the hell happened?’, then on the second day it was a double ‘what the hell happened?’ But even through all of that he was brilliant. He got the message across but was funny at the right time while still getting the message across. You can’t help but respect a guy like that anyway and all he achieved in the game.” SUNDAY SINGLES RESULTS (Asia names first) Final Result: Asia 10 Europe 6 Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn) vs Soren Hansen (Den) All Square; Liang Wen-chong (PRC) lost to Paul Lawrie (Sco) 3&2; Charlie Wi (Kor) lost to Nick Dougherty (Eng) 1-up, Prayad Marksaeng (Tha) beat Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 5&4; Hideto Tanihara (Tha) lost to Oliver Wilson (Eng) 3&2; SK Ho (Kor) lost to Johan Edfors (Swe) 5&4; Toru Taniguchi (Jpn) beat Niclas Fasth (Swe) 7&6; Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) beat Paul McGinley (Ire) 5&4.

Friday, January 09, 2009

New Season for European Senior Tour

The European Senior Tour is set to break new ground in 2009 with 16 tournaments already confirmed as part of a schedule which will visit at least 11 different destinations over a ten month season. The historic inaugural Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters presented by The Stapleford Forum, played over the Jack Nicklaus designed Empire Hotel and Country Club, is one of three new tournaments on the 2009 schedule and will launch the new season from February 27 to March 1. It is the first time Brunei has hosted a tournament on The European Tour, the European Senior Tour or the European Challenge Tour. Other new tournaments in 2009 are the Son Gual Mallorca Senior Open at Golf Son Gual, Mallorca, from May 8 -10, and the Benahavis Senior Masters at La Quinta Golf and Country Club, Spain, from October 2- 4. The Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard will be played at Sunningdale Golf Club, Berkshire, from July 23-26, followed by the US Senior Open Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club, Carmel, Indiana, from July 30 - August 2, with the first Senior Major Championship of the season, the US Senior PGA Championship, taking place from May 21-24 at the Canterbury Golf Club, Beachwood, Ohio. Aside from The Senior Open Championship, England will also host the De Vere Collection PGA Senior Championship, which returns to De Vere Slaley Hall in Northumberland for the second successive year from June 25-28, while the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters at Woburn Golf Club and the Weston Homes PGA International Seniors at Stoke-by-Nayland Golf Club will both take place in September.
Those two tournaments follow the newly sponsored Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Senior Open, which will take place at the Sam Torrance re-designed course at Fairmont St Andrews from August 21-23. Long term fixtures on the Senior Tour schedule are the DGM Barbados Open (March 18-20), which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2009, the Jersey Seniors Classic (June 12-14), the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open (June 19-21) and the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open (August 7-9), while the Casa Serena Open, in the Czech Republic, also returns to the schedule from September 18-20 after the success of the inaugural tournament in 2008. The season will end with the traditional finalé, the Senior Tour Championship, again taking place at the Club de Campo del Mediterráneo, in the Spanish region of Castellón, from November 6-8. It promises to be another exciting campaign for the Senior Tour with last season’s Number One Ian Woosnam set to face some stiff competition in defence of the John Jacobs Trophy from fellow Ryder Cup winning Captains Bernhard Langer and Torrance, as well as the Senior Tour’s all-time leading money winner Carl Mason and Peter Mitchell, a three-time winner in his maiden campaign last season. Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, said: “Despite the difficult current economic climate which is affecting everyone at the moment, we are pleased to be announcing a strong and attractive 2009 European Senior Tour schedule. “We are optimistic the final list of tournaments will mirror the schedule of 2008 in terms of number of events and further announcements will be made once details are finalised. It is very encouraging that new tournaments have been added in Brunei, Mallorca and Spain and we very much appreciate the ongoing support of our existing Promoters and Sponsors, many of whom have been with us for a number of years now.”

Europeans score at Royal Trophy in Thailand

José Maria Olazábal believes his European Team are capable of mounting a glorious comeback to retain the Royal Trophy after losing the opening day foursomes session 3-1 to an inspired Asian Team at the Amata Spring Country Club in Thailand. After making a superb start in the alternate shot format – Europe led all four matches in the early part of the day – the Asian Team, inspired by the Thai pairing of Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marksaeng’s 5&4 victory over the Swedish duo of Johan Edfors and Niclas Fasth, won two of the day’s four matches on the 18th green, much to the delight of the huge home crowds. Scotland’s Paul Lawrie and Dane Søren Hansen had taken the first point of the day with a 2&1 win over teen sensation Ryo Ishikawa and Toru Taniguchi of Japan, but news of Jaidee and Marksaeng’s big win swept through the crowd to ensure Charlie Wi and Liang Wen-Chong, and then SK Ho and Hideto Tanihara, won their respective matches against Nick Dougherty and Oliver Wilson and Pablo Larrazabal and Paul McGinley. But European Captain Olazábal believes his players have the ability and confidence to turn round the early deficit. “I believe in the players we have and the pairings that we have,” said Olazábal, who named an unchanged line-up for Saturday’s fourballs. “The boys know that they didn’t play up to the standards that we are used to seeing from them today and they face a very tough challenge. “We are going to have play really well in the next couple of days to win this event. The players know that we need to put our foot down on the gas and really push the pedal. I have said all along this week that we a great respect for the Asian Team, but we believe that we can win here and tomorrow we are going to have to play our guts out.” Dougherty, Larrazabal, McGinley and Wilson were desperately disappointed to lose their matches on the 18th green. Wilson said: “Nick and I didn’t play well at all – at the end of the day we lost that match and we should never have lost it from the position that we were in. We got off to a good start and then a few poor shots and hit some very poor chips today. If we could have kept the pressure on the Asian Team when we were two up then we would have been pretty comfortable. We didn’t so well today – it was a poor performance on our behalf. “But there is a long way to go though and we are still very confident. We know that it is important to get off to a good start in matchplay and we haven’t done that. We have to get together and get our heads together and turn it on in the next couple of days. The first day is over now and we move on and get plenty of points on the board tomorrow.” Larrazabal said: “Paul and I played really well for the first eight holes. We were three up but I think we just lost the concentration a little bit and then lost the momentum we had after putting the ball in the water in the ninth. Then, all of a sudden, they won three holes in a row and we were back to all square. Tomorrow is a new day and we will have to go out there and attack and be very aggressive.” Royal Trophy – Friday Results (Foursomes) Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn) and Toru Taniguchi (Jpn) lost to Paul Lawrie (Sco) and Soren Hansen (Den) 2 & 1; Charlie Wi (Kor) and Liang Wen-chong (PRC) beat Paul McGinley (Ire) and Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 2-up; Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) and S.K. Ho (Kor) beat Nick Dougherty (Eng) and Oliver Wilson (Eng) 1-up; Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) and Prayad Marksaeng (Tha) beat Niclas Fasth (Swe) and Johan Edfors (Swe) 5 & 4. Royal Trophy – Saturday Draw (Fourballs) 11.05am: Ryo Ishikawa and Toru Taniguchi vs Soren Hansen (Den) and Paul Lawrie (Sco) 11.18am: Charlie Wi (Kor) and Liang Wen-chong (PRC) vs Nick Dougherty (Eng) and Oliver Wilson (Eng) 11.31am: Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) and S.K. Ho (Kor) vs Niclas Fasth (Swe) and Johan Edfors (Swe) 11.44am: Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) and Prayad Marksaeng (Tha) vs Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) and Paul McGinley (Ire)