Friday, February 27, 2009

Chelsea freeze Ticket Prices

Chelsea Football Club announced today (Friday, February 27), that it will be freezing prices on all non-corporate tickets at Stamford Bridge for the 2009/10 season. It is the fourth successive year there has been an absolute price freeze on Premier League and Champions League knockout phase tickets, giving a net reduction of approximately 12% over the period when inflation is taken into account. There will also be a VAT decrease of 2.5% on season tickets following the reduction announced by the Government last year which Chelsea did not apply retrospectively on season ticket purchases. That means only season ticket holders will get the VAT decrease benefit for the entire 2009/10 season even though the tax is planned to return to 17.5% in December 2009. At that time members and general sale tickets will be readjusted in line with the return to the standard VAT rate as these categories had benefited immediately from the reduction. The price freeze covers season tickets and match day tickets for members, juveniles and senior citizens. Prices will also remain the same for the Champions League group match discount scheme, introduced last season, as well as the discount schemes for FA Cup and Carling Cup matches that have now been running for three seasons. These schemes have meant Stamford Bridge has been at capacity to Chelsea fans for all matches this season. Chelsea Chief Executive Peter Kenyon said: “In these uncertain economic times we believed that a price freeze for the fourth consecutive year was absolutely the right decision for our supporters. “We appreciate the monetary and other demands on our fans and value their loyalty. We believe Chelsea offers excellent value for money on and off the pitch which is why Stamford Bridge has been sold out to our fans for every game played here.“ Further detail on ticketing policy for next season including feedback from the Fans Forum on any major policy amendments will be announced in due course. The full policy will be posted on the website when those amendments are confirmed. Existing season ticket holders in hospitality areas have also had their ticket prices frozen provided they renew prior to the time hospitality areas are put on general sale.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Barker set to face Duddy

Commonwealth middleweight champ, “Dazzling” Darren Barker has challenged John Duddy to earn a shot at World champion, Kelly Pavlik. Barker’s promoter Mick Hennessy has offered the New York based Irishman the chance to challenge Barker for his Commonwealth title on the undercard of the Carl Froch – Jermain Taylor fight on the East Coast of the U.S. on either April 18th or 25th April and it’s a fight Barker would relish. “John’s obviously a very popular guy over there,” said Barker. “But I believe there’s more to being a fighter than selling tickets and while there is a talk of a fight with Kelly Pavlik I don’t think John has earned that chance yet. I’m a traditionalist and I believe you should earn those kind of fights in the ring and not in the box office. “I’d love to defend my title against Duddy. I think it would be a cracking fight with two unbeaten guys from this side of the Atlantic going at it on that side of the pond. I know that Mick Hennessy has spoken to his management and while they were keen to fight on the card I don’t think they’re all that keen on the idea of fighting me.” The London stylist believes Duddy’s current reputation is the product of careful matchmaking and clever marketing and questions if there is any substance behind the hype. “To be honest John’s opposition to date has been very much hand picked, fighting a collection of guys that were either well past their best or weren’t much to begin with in the first place. If he steps up and fights me he’d face a very different type of opponent. I believe I’m a world class fighter and I think by the end of the year I’ll be knocking on the door of a world title fight myself but I want to make sure I’ve earned that right first.”Promoter Mick Hennessy said, “I’ve had talks with Duddy’s management and they’re looking to fight in late April but I’m not interested in watching Duddy fighting another faded veteran and I find it hard to believe that his own fans are either. “I think it’s time Duddy stepped up to fight a dangerous, unbeaten fighter and prove he belongs at world level. I’m offering him the chance to do just that in April against Barker in what would effectively be a home town fight for Duddy.”

Barney prepares for McIntosh

Matthew Barney admits he’s drinking in the last chance saloon this weekend when he challenges Danny McIntosh for the English Light Heavyweight title at the Norfolk Showground in Norwich.
Saturday nights intriguing clash on the Hennessy Sports show will be broadcast live on ITV4 and provides the chief support to Jon Thaxton’s first defence of his European Lightweight title. Local favourite McIntosh won the title in a thrilling derby with Steve Spartacus at the same venue last October but Barney says this is a fight he cannot afford to lose. “I’m 34 now and I know this is probably my last chance to get back into the title picture,” admitted Barney. “I’ve been training very hard for this, sparring has gone well and I’m putting everything in to this fight. When, and I stress when I beat McIntosh I want a crack at either the British or Commonwealth title. Dean Francis has the British title and I’ve already beaten him so maybe we can get that on again.” Barney believes the title fight experience accumulated in his 32 fight pro career will prove the difference against McIntosh who is unbeaten in 9 pro fights. “I think McIntosh is biting off a bit more than he can chew with me. He’s not a bad fighter but he’s very inexperienced and I’ve seen enough of him to be very confident going into this fight.” Barney says he has no concerns about going into the lion’s den to face McIntosh who will enjoy raucous home support in Norwich. “I’d go anywhere for a fight so that’s not a problem for me. I’ve no problem taking on anyone in their backyard. I fought Carl Froch in Nottingham for the British title and I went to Germany to challenge Thomas Ulrich for the European title. I beat Tony Oakey in Portsmouth so going to Norwich won’t bother me in the slightest.” McIntosh has branded Barney an “awkward, negative” fighter but the 34-year-old from Southampton bristled at that suggestion. “I think that’s unfair, generally the only people that call me awkward are the people who have real problems with me. I’m a clever boxer and I use my head in there but if some people want to call that awkward or negative then that’s their problem not mine.” Barney also dismissed any suggestions that McIntosh’s power punching would be a factor in the fight. “I’ve boxed lots of people who are supposed to be big punchers and they haven’t bothered me so I’m certainly not worried about McIntosh’s power. “I’ll be giving him plenty to worry about myself. Like I say he’s a good fighter but he’s not anywhere near the level of some of the guys I’ve been in with before. I think I’ll just know too much for him.” Barney’s clash with McIntosh for the English Light Heavyweight title is the chief support to Jon Thaxton’s first defence of his European Lightweight title against French Champion Anthony Mezzache. The exciting undercard also features heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury alongside Matthew Thirlwall, Steve O’Meara, Lee Purdy and Earl Ling. A special attraction sees the pro debut of 2008 ABA Champion Bradley Evans. The Royston featherweight came away from last years ABA’s with the best boxer of the night trophy.

Munroe back from Oblivion

RENDALL MUNROE has hailed his former amateur trainers who stopped him from walking away from boxing when he was a teenager. Leicester's boxing binman listened and is on the verge of a world title challenge provided he successfully defends his European super-bantamweight championship against old rival Kiko Martinez (20-1) at Barnsley Metrodome on Friday. Promoter Frank Maloney hopes to set up a clash against the winner of next month's WBA title fight between Ricardo Cordoba and Bernard Dunne if Munroe (17-1) overcomes the Spaniard he claimed the crown from last year. Thanks to his coaches at Old Robin Hood ABC, John Whike and former professional Dave 'Sticky' Pratt, who is also Rendall's uncle he decided to box on after becoming disillusioned. Munroe, 28, recalled: "I couldn't get any fights. I kept turning up to box and then discovering that my opponent hadn't turned up. "That's hard to take when you've been training for weeks and I started to lose interest in boxing. "'Sticky' and John told me it would be a waste if I decided to give up. They said I had a talent and should think about turning professional. "I thought about it, spoke to my dad and decided that was the best thing for me to do. Also on the bill Derby's Scott Haywood (19-2) challenges WBC ranked number six light welterweight Ajose Olusegun (25-0) for the Commonwealth title. The show also marks the professional debut of Olympic bronze medallist Tony Jeffries who boxes Belarusian Aliaksandr Vayavoda (5-12) in a light-heavyweight four rounder.

Haywood hits the Headlines

SCOTT HAYWOOD is making sure his challenge for Ajose Olusegun's Commonwealth light-welterweight title is front page news. The Derby dazzler has turned his hand at becoming a journalist by writing a big fight diary for his local evening newspaper where he gives readers a fantastic insight into his training regime. Haywood, 27, is certain he'll be getting even more column inches if he beats the London based Nigerian at Barnsley Metrodome on Friday. "I know I am his worst nightmare," Haywood said. "I am worried about taking this fight because he is a top-ranked opponent but I'm not really that nervous about facing him. "I believe in my own ability. He hits a lot harder than me but if he doesn't catch me early on, I am going to take it away from him. "He is a big hitter but the longer the fights go the less effective he gets and that's when my fitness will really tell. "If I let him do his stuff, he is going to beat me but I won't let that happen. There is always somebody out there to beat anyone and I believe I have a good enough style to be the first to beat Olusegun." Haywood (19-2) stormed to the English title last September with a thrilling points win over Midlands rival Dean Harrison, but has given up the belt to challenge Olusegun who is ranked sixth in the WBC rankings. Top of the bill in South Yorkshire is Leicester dustman Rendall Munroe who defends his European super-bantamweight title against old rival Kiko Martinez. In a special attraction, Sunderland's Olympic bronze medallist Tony Jeffries makes his professional debut in a light-heavyweight battle against Belarusian Aliaksandr Vayavoda.

French Challenger ready for Thaxton

French raider Anthony Mezaache will cross the channel this weekend intent on plundering Jon Thaxton’s European Lightweight title. The two men clash live on ITV4 on a Hennessy Sports show at the Norfolk Showground in Norwich on Saturday night as Thaxton looks to make the first defence of his title. Local hero Thaxton won the title at the same venue last October with a stunning one punch knockout of Juan Carlos Diaz Melero but Mezaache is adamant that lighting will not strike the same venue twice. “I’ve watched a lot of Thaxton’s fight and he is a good boxer and I have a lot of respect for him but he is not unbeatable,” said the reigning French champion. “Thaxton can certainly punch but that doesn’t bother me, I’ve never been stopped so I don’t believe his power will be a problem. This is a fight I have wanted for a very long time and I am coming to take the title from Thaxton. “The pressure is all on him fighting in his hometown. Nobody is expecting me to spoil the party but I have a surprise in store for them. I've been training for this fight since late last year and it's the biggest chance of my career so if anyone thinks I am coming just to make up the numbers they are mistaken.” Mezzache is currently on a 7 fight unbeaten run but he has unhappy memories of his last trip to the U.K in 2005 when he suffered a points defeat at the hands of former British lightweight champ, Dave Stewart. “I’m hoping that Thaxton saw the Stewart fight and thinks that I will be a soft touch,” revealed the 30-year-old. “I was very inexperienced back then and took that fight at just a few days notice. That defeat woke me up and made me get serious about my career. I’m a completely different fighter now and I will prove that on Saturday.” Despite talk of a possible world title tilt in the pipeline Thaxton insists he’s not overlooking the challenger. “I’ve worked too hard in my career to throw this away. I pride myself on being a true professional and while it’s great to hear all the talk about world title fights the only thing I’m thinking about right now is beating Mezzache and strapping that European title belt around my waist again on Saturday night.” Thaxton’s European Lightweight title defence against Mezzache headlines a night of top quality boxing at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich this Saturday (February 28th). An exciting undercard features heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury while Norwich’s Danny McIntosh defends his English Light Heavyweight Title against Matthew Barney. Also appearing are Matthew Thirlwall, Steve O’Meara, Lee Purdy, Earl Ling and making his pro debut, ABA Senior Featherweight Champion 2008 and awarded the best boxer of the night Royston’s Bradley Evans.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fury on Thaxton Undercard

Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury is predicting another explosive performance in Norwich this Saturday night when he features live on ITV4 on the undercard of Jon Thaxton’s first European Lightweight title defence. The unbeaten Fury will be going for his third straight win as a pro on the Hennessy Sports event when he takes on Daniel Peret in a scheduled 6 rounder. The Norwegian based Russian is a veteran of 35 fights but Fury isn’t impressed. “I‘ve seen Peret fight and he’s a big Russian lump who’s in for a real hiding come Saturday night,” blasted the 20-year-old. “I hope he doesn’t think he’s coming over here for a nice weekend in Norwich because I can guarantee you he’ll be leaving with painful memories of the place. “He’s a big, experienced guy and has a reputation for being very durable. You look at some of the guys that have struggled with him like John McDermott and Derek Chisora. They weren’t very impressive against him and he beat that Scott Belshaw who Frank Maloney was going around saying was the next George Foreman. “Mind you, who takes any notice of Maloney, he was going around shouting ‘Bring on Tyson Fury’ for another one of his heavyweights, Larry Olubamiwo. He turned into Larry the Lamb when the fight was actually offered to Maloney though because apparently what he meant to shout was ‘Bring on Tyson Fury…in another 18 months.” Another man keen to avoid Fury is Norwich’s own Sam Sexton. Fury had offered him the opportunity to be in the opposite corner at the Norfolk Showgrounds this weekend but the Prizefighter champ turned down the opportunity of a fight in his hometown. “Sexton’s been moaning for years that he can’t get fights at home in Norwich and then when he was offered one he didn’t want to know about it. His matchmaker Dean Powell said he was interested but we heard that his trainer was ringing other trainers up asking them if I was as good as people said and then all of a sudden he developed a bad back. “I’m disappointed that he didn’t step up to the plate. It could have been a great fight for Norwich but I suppose he’s happy enough dining out on being a three round Prizefighter champ for another few years. He should have left the three round fights behind in the amateurs. “If he can get out of bed this week though he should come down to the press conference on Thursday and explain to the knowledgeable boxing fans and media in Norwich just why he ducked out of fighting me. The fights still there for him if he wants it. I plan on keeping busy this year so if he changes his mind then I’m happy to oblige.” Having despatched his first two professional opponents with ease Fury says he’s looking for a another explosive performance against Peret in front of the ITV4 cameras this weekend. “It’s been great having my fights shown on ITV4. Not everyone has the satellite subscription channels so it’s been great exposure for me to fight on ITV4. I think people are really starting to sit up and take notice because they know that when I say something, I’m willing to back it up. “I’m a throwback fighter, I don’t want to fight 20 nobodies in a row before I fight someone with a pulse. I’m ready to fight any of the other so called top prospects out there right now. It’s not my fault that they’re not up for it so in the meantime I’m going to keep bowling over whoever’s put in front of me.” European Lightweight champ and local hero Jon Thaxton tops the bill at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on Saturday night (February 28th) with an exciting undercard featuring Fury V Peret while Danny McIntosh defends his English Light Heavyweight Title against Matthew Barney. Also appearing are Matthew Thirlwall, Steve O’Meara, Lee Purdy, Earl Ling and making his pro debut, ABA Senior Featherweight Champion 2008 and awarded the best boxer of the night Royston’s Bradley Evans.

Saunders in tip top Shape

Top prospect Billy Joe Saunders makes his professional debut on Saturday night - but says he's ready to start campaigning over the championship distance straight away. The 19-year-old, who will feature on a blockbuster Olympian card at the N.I.A in Birmingham, will face former Hungarian lightweight champion Attila Molnar over four rounds live on Sky Sports. But the confident teenager, who went to the 2008 Olympic Games, insists that he could easily fight three times that distance that after teaming up with renown trainer Jimmy Tibbs. He looked in excellent shape today during a media work out at the Peacock Gym in London's East End. "I thought I was fit when I went to the Olympics last year," said Saunders. "But the work that Jimmy has been giving me to do has taken me to another level. "I don't think I've ever worked so hard in my life - fighting on Saturday night is going to be the easy bit." Saunders has enjoyed quality sparring before his professional debut - fellow 2008 Olympians DeGale and Frankie Gavin also feature - and has benefited from the advice of experienced Tibbs. "Jimmy has been around boxing for years, so he knows what he's talking about," said Saunders. "I feel like improved 100% in the few weeks that I've been with him. "He's really whipped me into shape and I could easily go 12 rounds on Saturday night if I was asked to." Tibbs, who has trained a multitude of world champions, added: "Billy Joe had quite a professional style to start with, so I've not had to change him too much. "He's got an amazing talent and I'm really excited about Saturday night, because the public are going to see a very special boxer."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Jeffries in Barnsley Boxing Bout

OLYMPIC bronze medallist Tony Jeffries will launch his professional career in the light-heavyweight division when he makes his debut at Barnsley Metrodome on Friday 27th February.That was the weight where 'Jaffa' swept to glory in Beijing last summer, but he hasn't ruled out eventually sweating down to the 12st super-middleweight division.The Sunderland star said: "I would like to think I could end up boxing at super-middleweight, but I am a big lad at 6ft 2in."In the amateurs the light-heavyweight division limit is 12st 10lb, which is 3lb more than the professional limit so it will be hard."With the right training and diet I might be able to get down, but time will tell."Promoter Frank Maloney and the hot prospect's manager and father Phil Jeffries are looking at potential opponents for Jeffries..Tony, 23, who trains in Manchester added: "The first few months as a professional will be a learning curve for me."I had a lot of amateur experience which will help, but it will also be strange fighting without a head guard and vest."To be honest I just can't wait to get back in there and fighting again. It seems ages since I have been in the ring."I am just glad Frank has got me out quick after things went wrong with Dennis Hobson."For all the latest updates on the best prospect in British boxing check out Tony's fantastic website or for Tony's professional debut are on sale priced £35 and £75 from and 0871 226 1508.Top of the bill on this historic night in Barnsley is Rendall Munroe's (17-1) European super-bantamweight title defence against Spaniard Kiko Martinez (20-1). Also on the bill Derby's Scott Haywood (19-2) challenges WBC ranked number three light welterweight Ajose Olusegun (25-0) for the Commonwealth light-welterweight title.

Kahut goes from Law to the Boxing Science

Boxing solicitor Zahid Kahut is warning Earl Ling to beware of the long arm of the law when they clash at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on the 28th February on the undercard of Jon Thaxton’s first defence of his European title. The Hennessy Sports show will see Thaxton feature live on ITV4 as he aims to take a step closer to a World title shot by seeing off the challenge of French champion, Anthony Mezaache. Kahut and Ling will be aiming to progress their own careers in a cruiserweight dust up on the undercard. Local cult hero Ling calls himself the “Wild Thing” and makes no secret about his brushes with the law in the past but solicitor Kahut who divides his time between the courtroom and the famous Ingle gym in Sheffield says the Norwich man is “going down”. “I’m expecting him to come out fast but I think once I’ve weathered the early storm then I’ll come on strong and I’d expect to stop him in the third or fourth,” claimed the unbeaten 6 foot 6 southpaw who was born in Pakistan. “I’m growing in confidence all the time and I believe as long as I stay busy and keep improving in the gym there’s no reason why I can’t look for a British title shot. When I came into boxing my goal was to have just one pro fight but now that I’ve accomplished that I want to keep setting new goals for myself. “I take inspiration from what a guy like Johnny Nelson achieved with the Ingles. When he came to them he never imagined that one day he would be a world champion but he went on to do just that.” Kahut has taken an unlikely route into the world of boxing crediting chat show legend Michael Parkinson with inspiring him to don a pair of boxing gloves for the first time. “I’d always been a boxing fan from when I was very young. I used to love watching old Muhammad Ali fights and I was also a big fan of Mike Tyson in his early days. I never actually thought about taking up boxing though, I was mainly into sports like snooker, tennis and cricket and I played all of them to a decent standard. “What actually convinced me to start boxing myself was when I watched an old interview that Michael Parkinson did with Ali. Parkinson was questioning Joe Bugner’s right to challenge Ali and Ali replied by asking Parkinson if he had ever boxed himself. When Parkinson said no, Ali said that if he’d never stepped in a ring how could he question Bugner’s right to challenge him. “I remember watching it and thinking, I’m the same, here I am a boxing fan with an opinion on every fight but I’d never got in the ring either. I decided to give it a go and see what it was all about so I headed down to the local amateur club and within 2 months I’d had my first fight. “I had 11 amateur fights total and I won 7 of them but I had to give it up because I was studying for my law degree at the time and I had other things going on in my life so the boxing had to take a back seat.” However after settling into life as a solicitor Kahut decided to return to the sport and give the pro game a shot. “I always had aspirations of having a pro fight and when I was able to get in to a 9 to 5 routine with my job it left me time to train in the mornings and evenings so I decided to turn pro with the intention of having just one fight. “On my debut I fought Scott Mitchell. I was brought in as the opponent and they had high hopes for him but I won that one and then I thought why not keep going and see how far I can go in the sport.” Now Kahut says he wants to extend his unbeaten run to 4 straight wins with a win over Ling. “I don’t know too much about him but I’m told he’s a tough guy who likes to come forward but that suits me because I’m a counter puncher. “Even before I joined the Ingle gym I used to box in that style because I always tried to model myself on Naseem Hamed and how he threw his punches, like his corkscrew uppercut. I like to walk my opponents on to my punches and at 6 foot 6 I usually have a good reach advantage over my opponents so Ling will definitely be feeling the long arm of the law!” Featuring on the exciting undercard: Danny McIntosh v Matthew Barney for the English Light Heavyweight Title, also appearing New Heavyweight Sensation Tyson Fury, Matthew Thirlwall, Lee Purdy, Steve O’Meara and making his pro debut, ABA Senior Featherweight Champion 2008 & awarded the best boxer of the night Royston’s Bradley Evans. Tickets for Kahut - Ling which is part of the undercard of Jon Thaxton’s first European title defence at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on the 28th February are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via

Rogan aiming for the Big Time

Martin Rogan is aiming to become Ireland's second heavyweight world champion - more than 100 years after the last man to hold the greatest prize in boxing. And he says victory over Matt Skelton later this month will put him on course to achieve his dream. The 37-year-old from Belfast will face Skelton at the N.I.A IN Birmingham, on February 28. Having ended the career of Audley Harrison in December when he beat the Olympic gold medallist over 10 rounds, Rogan is looking to repeat the trick against Skelton. And "The Entertainer" believes that a spectacular win over the Commonwealth heavyweight champion will allow him to gatecrash the world scene."It's everyone's dream when they are growing up to become heavyweight champion of the world," said Rogan. "Harrison was being talked up as a possible world title contender and I beat him. Now everyone is doing the same with Skelton. Both of them said that I was a stepping stone for their world title ambitions, but I'm a stepping stone for no one. "Skelton is a great fighter and it's not going to be easy, but I will go in there believing I will win, and if I do defeat him, then why shouldn't I be thinking about becoming a world champion. "And you know what - I don't think this a tougher fight than Harrison. "Harrison had a lot more class and boxing ability than Skelton. I've got a lot of respect for Matt and he's going to rough and tough, but to be honest that suits me down to the ground, more than fighting someone like Harrison. "I've got a great team behind me in John Breen and Eamonn Magee, and it's going to be about whose game plan is best, and I believe mine will be." Rogan, 11-0 with five stoppages, doesn't have history on his side in his quest for world glory. But there has been an Irish heavyweight champion before - in 1895, Peter Maher was awarded the title by retired champion Jim Corbett after beating Steve O'Donnell. He lost the crown in his first defence against Bob Fitzsimmons. "We've not had a great history of heavyweights in Ireland, and I must admit I'd not heard of Peter Maher before," said Rogan. "But I know I've the got the tools to get to the very top and finally put Ireland on the map as far as us big men are concerned. We've had lots of great fighters at lighter weights in the past, but now the heavyweights are coming! "I'm so confident after the Harrison victory. I've had a great training camp and I've been sparring with some good, big heavyweights in Northern Ireland and the south, everything has been spot on." 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 0871 888 9991 SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2009 THE NATIONAL INDOOR ARENA, BIRMINGHAM THE COMMONWEALTH HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP 12 X 3 Minutes Rounds MATT SKELTON (Bedford, England) vs. MARTIN ROGAN (Belfast, Northern Ireland) THE COMMONWEALTH SUPER-FLYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP 12 X 3 Minute Rounds at 8st 3lb (115lb) DON BROADHURST (Birmingham, England) vs. ISSAC OWUSU (Accra, Ghana) THE MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP OF ENGLAND 10 X 3 Minute Rounds at 11st 6lb (160lb) STEVE BENDALL (Coventry, England) vs. DARREN McDERMOTT (Dudley, England) 4 X 3 Minute Rounds Middleweight Contest JAMES DeGALE (Harlesden, London, England) vs. VEPKHIA TCHILAIA (Tblisi, Georgia) 4 X 3 Minute Rounds Welterweight Contest FRANKIE GAVIN (Birmingham, England) vs. GEORGE KADARIA (Tblisi, Georgia) 4 X 3 Minute Rounds Light-Welterweight Contest BILLY JOE SAUNDERS (Hatfield, England) vs. ATTILA MOLNAR (Hungary) 4 X 3 Minute Rounds Featherweight Contest STEVEN SMITH (Liverpool, England) vs. STEVE GETHIN (Walsall, England) 4 X 3 Minute Rounds Light-Middleweight Contest THOMAS COSTELLO (Birmingham, England) vs. MATT SCRIVEN (Nottingham, England)

Khan's investment in the Community

Amir Khan's Gloves Community Centre is set to hold a knockout show to celebrate its first birthday. The Commonwealth lightweight champion opened the Prince Street gym in Halliwell in January 2007. Khan invested £700,000 in the project to help youngsters take up boxing and keep fit. And it has been a huge hit with more than 500 people coming through the doors every week. Now, to mark the first anniversary, Gloves ABC will stage its first fight night at De Vere Whites Hotel at the Reebok Stadium on Friday, February 20. Asif Vali said, "The first 12 months have been brilliant. We have more than 500 people coming into the gym each week, with kids coming from all over Bolton."We never imagined it would be so popular, but we're growing and growing all the time. It doesn't seem a year since David Cameron, the Conservative leader, came to help open the centre. "But the best thing about us is we've still got the kids we had from day one, which means we must be doing something right." "The show is a celebration of our 1st year of operation and an opportunity for our boxers to express themselves. Khan is in America at the moment preparing for his March 14 showdown with Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera. But he still trains at Gloves Gym when he is home, and takes a keen interest in what happens at the gym. Amir always wants to know when the lads are fighting, when he's back in the country he always comes down and talks to them before fights. Asif is confident that the gym can produce another Amir Khan in the future. "We've got 14 fighters carded at the gym and we're building up a good reputation," he added. "Thirteen of them will be in action on our first-ever show. We've already sold 800 of the 1,000 tickets and it should be a great night."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Macklin clashes with former Trainer

Matthew Macklin insists that he won’t be drawn into a war of words with ex trainer Paddy Lynch ahead of his British title challenge next month. Macklin will go head to head with reigning middleweight champ Wayne Elcock in an all Birmingham clash, which is being billed as “The Battle of Brum”. The mouth watering bout headlines a Hennessy Sports show at the Aston Arena in the city on March 14th and will be live on ITV4. Lynch trained Macklin for the early part of his pro career but he will be in Elcock’s corner next month. Earlier this week Lynch blasted the challenger with a series of stinging comments but Macklin is adamant that he won’t take the bait. “I’m not going to lose any sleep over what Paddy’s had to say,” claimed Macklin. “I think all he’s done is put pressure on his own fighter. According to him Wayne doesn’t have anything to worry about. Apparently I’ve been rubbish for my last few fights, haven’t improved since I turned pro and my best performance was when I got knocked out so the fight should be a walk in the park for Wayne if that’s the case!” Macklin also rejected claims that he was “gobbing off” in the media about the fight. “I’m not sure where that came from because I’ve only ever done one interview about the fight since it was announced. All I said was that I was confident and feel I can beat Wayne inside the distance and I haven’t changed my mind on that.” Macklin admits that he felt “flat” in his last fight, a points win over Geard Ajetovic in October but says that he will have no problems motivating himself for Elcock. “My last performance certainly wasn’t anywhere near what I’m capable of. I felt flat on the night but Geard is a dangerous guy. There aren’t too many other British fighters queuing up to fight him and I still beat him quite comfortably. “I found it hard to get up for that fight and I was going through the motions a bit but I’ll have no problems getting up for Elcock. This is a massive chance for me and I’m not going to let it pass me by. “I’ve got on well with Wayne in the past and I’m sure we’ll get on well together again after the fight but business is business and I want that British title. I feel I’ve been made to wait because I had to become the mandatory challenger before they’d take the fight. Had the shoe been on the other foot I’d have given Wayne first crack at the title because it’s such a massive fight for Birmingham but they’ve kept me waiting.” An exciting undercard features the chief support 10 round battle between English Welterweight Champion Adnan Amar and Southern Area Welterweight Champion Tom Glover, also featuring new Heavyweight Sensation Tyson Fury alongside Eddie O’Rourke, Sid Razak, Callum Archer, Chris Male, Quinton Hillocks and Joel Walton. Tickets for Elcock – Macklin: The Battle of Brum at the Aston Arena, Birmingham on March 14th available from the Ticketline box office on 0871 424 4444 or via

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ross Fisher's Title Defence

Ross Fisher will attempt to become the first player since English compatriot Lee Westwood in 2000 to successfully defend The European Open title when he returns to The London Golf Club in Kent, England, to take on another world-class field from May 28-31, 2009. Fisher produced four sublime rounds of golf to hold off the challenge of Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell at the Ash venue last year and complete an emphatic seven stroke victory, despite contemplating withdrawing from the event at the beginning of the week due to fatigue. It was a majestic performance from Fisher, who began the tournament with a stunning course record 63 before finishing on 20 under par 268, and he is keen to repay the loyal home galleries with a strong defence of his crown. “It’s going to be tremendous to go back to The London Club to defend my title,” said Fisher, who is based at Wentworth Club, on the opposite side of London to the host venue. “Hopefully I can put in a strong performance and make a good defence. It would be great to follow in the footsteps of someone like Lee and successfully defend the title but to do so I will need to play really well because it will be another very strong field. I will have to be on top of my game. “The course suits my eye though. To shoot a 63 in the first round, having not seen the course before, shows that. I had a lot of family and friends there last year and I think quite a few more will be coming down again so I’m really looking forward to it.” Fisher, now 28, followed his European Open triumph by going on to finish a career best sixth on the 2008 money list, coming close to landing a third European Tour title when he, and Martin Kaymer, lost to Robert Karlsson in a three-man play-off in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews in October. However, the winner of The 2007 KLM Open in the Netherlands, admitted he was looking forward to taking on the Jack Nicklaus-designed Heritage course at The London Golf Club again after playing some of the best golf of his career there last season. “There was a tremendous amount of support for me and to win in front of a home crowd was amazing - it was such a great week,” he said. “It’s always nice to do well in your home country. To win is always a massive thing on The European Tour but to win The European Open was even more satisfying because it was against such a star studded field and because of the manner in which I did it. It was a tremendous achievement. “To beat Sergio by seven shots is some achievement and I played some great golf that week. It was probably the closest to perfection I’ve been with my game. “It almost didn’t happen because I was quite tired at the start of the week and I was close to pulling out but with it being so close to home I decided not to. I went to Wimbledon on the Tuesday to watch the tennis and didn’t play a practice round so I didn’t expect much but I had a remarkable start with the course record and just went on from there. It sounds incredible when you’ve won by seven against such a strong field but I feel like I could have won by even more.” The 32nd edition of The European Open will be staged at The London Golf Club, close to Brands Hatch in North Kent, for the second consecutive year after successfully returning to England last year for the first time since 1994 following 13 years at The K Club in Ireland. The stature of the tournament is easily illustrated with a look at the Roll of Honour which features no less than eight Major Champions – Michael Campbell, Nick Faldo, Retief Goosen, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Greg Norman and Ian Woosnam – alongside eight time Harry Vardon Trophy winner and current European Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie. With a prize fund of £2.4million, The European Open will be central in the quest to win, not only the Harry Vardon Trophy in 2009, but also of course the inaugural Race to Dubai, a thrilling journey which will conclude with the Dubai World Championship at the Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 19-22, 2009.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rory McIlroy Golfer of the Month

Rory McIlroy’s spectacular climb into the top 20 of the Official World Golf Ranking, highlighted by an epic victory in the Dubai Desert Classic, has been recognised with the Northern Irishman being named the first winner of The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month Award.McIlroy, who received a jeroboam of Moët and Chandon champagne along with an engraved Alms Dish in recognition of his success, was the unanimous choice of the panel as the January winner at the end of a highly competitive month for professional golf around the globe. The Tour Award - which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2009 – is now under the sponsorship banner of Leisurecorp, the company whose groundbreaking agreement with The European Tour has created The Race to Dubai, which culminates in the $10 million Dubai World Championship in November. McIlroy, aged 19, who edged out Justin Rose of England after a dramatic finish to the Dubai Desert Classic and is now ranked 15th in the world, is currently second behind Spain’s Sergio Garcia in The Race to Dubai standings and was delighted to be chosen as the January award winner. “It was a huge thrill to win my first European Tour title against such a high quality field and in the place where The Race to Dubai will be decided in ten months time,” commented McIlroy, who is sponsored by the Dubai-based Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts. “Obviously, I’d love to be back at the end of the season competing for the Dubai World Championship and the Number One spot in The Race to Dubai. The win has given me a lot of confidence and I’ll be looking to use that to continue to improve for the rest of the year.” Panel Member Bill Elliott, Golf Correspondent of The Observer, said: “It was not so much the winning but the manner in which Rory won. The way he played that last shot in Dubai confirmed the emergence of a very special talent. Rory and the world of golf can look forward to the future.”
There were several outstanding achievements on The European Tour in January, including victories for Denmark’s Anders Hansen (Joburg Open), Paul Casey of England (Abu Dhabi Golf Championship) and Alvaro Quiros of Spain (Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy), who earned honourable mentions from the selection panel. Meanwhile, around the world, there were victories for European Tour Members Darren Fichardt in the Nashua Masters; Retief Goosen (Africa Open), Zach Johnson (Sony Open in Hawaii), Bernhard Langer (Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai) and Geoff Ogilvy (Mercedes-BenzChampionship). McIlroy is the first winner of The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month Award. The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year will be selected from a panel from the Association of Golf Writers, Radio and Television following the Dubai World Championship at the Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates, from November 19-22, 2009, where the winner of The Race to Dubai will be confirmed.

Ballybunion to host 2009 Irish Seniors Open

The classic, rugged links of Ballybunion Golf Club in South West Ireland, will stage the 13th edition of the Irish Seniors Open in association with AIB and Fáilte Ireland from June 5-7, 2009.
Ballybunion, perched atop a beautiful stretch of County Kerry coastline, regularly features in any list of the world’s top ten courses and represents a major coup for the European Senior Tour in their quest to play at some of golf’s finest venues. The 6598 yards, par 71 Old Course is widely regarded as links golf in its purest form and features one of the world’s most awesome and aesthetically pleasing hole, the 453 yard par four 11th, named ‘Watsons’ in recognition of Ballybunion’s Millennium Captain and Honorary Life Member, Tom Watson. The announcement of Ballybunion as host venue for the Irish Seniors Open in association with AIB and Fáilte Ireland – the 17th confirmed event on the 2009 Schedule - is likely to hold a massive appeal to Senior golfers of the calibre of Watson, the five-time Open Champion and universally recognised as one of the world’s greatest exponents of links golf. Watson, a three-time winner of The Senior Open Championship, added his glowing testimonial after adding some personal tweaks to the classic lay-out, stating: “Having played the Old Course at Ballybunion many times since my first visit in 1981, I am now of the opinion it is one of the best and most beautiful tests of links golf anywhere in the world.” Ballybunion is no stranger to European Tour competition, having hosted the 2000 Irish Open, won by Sweden’s Patrick Sjöland ahead of countryman Fredrik Jacobsen and Ireland’s Paul McGinley, who finished third. With Ballybunion taking its place on the Senior Tour roster and the 2009 Irish Open being played at County Louth in Baltray, the Irish golfing public will be afforded two unmissable opportunities to watch two great tournaments played on two wonderful courses on opposite coastlines of Ireland. Fáilte Ireland and AIB have both been associated with all 12 previous Irish Seniors Opens and Martin Cullen, T.D., Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, said: "The growth of golf in Ireland over the past 20 years has been a unique partnership between Government, public and private enterprise. “The Government has invested significantly in a variety of events, including golf, and hosting this event on a course such as Ballybunion offers an opportunity to highlight the top class links courses for which Ireland is renowned. “Over 194,000 overseas visitors played golf in Ireland in 2007 with revenue amounting to €167 million, delivering valuable business and offering them an opportunity to experience not only the trophy courses, but also the many hidden gems Ireland has to offer''. Billy Andrews of AIB said: “We are delighted to sponsor the Irish Seniors Open at such a prestigious venue and we look forward to working once again with our co-sponsors, Fáilte Ireland, and the European Senior Tour.” This will be the second successive occasion that the event has been played on a classic links following last year’s visit to Ballyliffin Golf Club in County Donegal, where Spain’s Juan Quiros captured the title. Simon Duffield, General Manager of Ballybunion Golf Club, said: “We at Ballybunion Golf Club are delighted to host the Irish Seniors Open in June 2009, and we look forward to extending a warm welcome to the European Senior Tour professionals, officials and the many visitors who visit our charming and challenging golf links. In particular, we welcome those who played in the Irish Open in 2000 and, of course, those visiting us for the first time.” Charles Perring, Deputy Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, welcomed the announcement of Ballybunion as the 2009 host venue and said: “Ballybunion has few peers as a truly great test of classic links golf. We are very excited to be visiting this hauntingly beautiful part of Ireland for one of our premier events on the Senior Tour. “On behalf of the Senior Tour Members, who will enjoy the privilege of playing the Old Course in June, I would like to thank Ballybunion, AIB and Failte Ireland – both our long term partners in the Irish Seniors Open - for their role in making the 2009 tournament one of the most eagerly awaited pleasures of the 2009 Senior Tour Schedule.”

Elcock and Macklin ready for Battle

British middleweight champion Wayne Elcock says he’s happy to let mandatory challenger Matthew Macklin talk the talk ahead of their massive all Birmingham clash on a Hennessy Sports show at the Aston Arena in the city on March 14th live on ITV4. Macklin is predicting a knockout win over his local rival but Elcock and his trainer have blasted Macklin saying, “Talk is cheap”. The champion though says he won’t be drawn into a war of words ahead of the mouth watering showdown. “I know there’s local pride at stake and maybe Matt’s feeling the pressure to say these things,” said Elcock. “He’s nice kid and we’ve got on quite well in the past but all his talk has only served to fire me up even more.” Macklin had previously accused the champion of avoiding him but Elcock believes that he should be careful what he wishes for. “He’s said all these things and let’s be honest, the fight is big enough on its own. It doesn’t need all the hype to sell it but he’s definitely been disrespectful and that’s only made me more determined to keep my title. I didn’t need any added motivation for this fight as it was but I suppose all his talk has made it into a bit of a grudge match.” Elcock’s trainer, Paddy Lynch was even more forthcoming about the clash. “Wayne is a pretty chilled out lad but he’s working so hard for this one. There’s a quiet determination about him. Macklin’s great at drumming himself up but talk is cheap. Wayne will do all his talking in the ring. “You only have to compare their records and look at the calibre of their opposition. Who’s Macklin fought? He got beat by a journeyman for the English title at light middle and then he got knocked out and put in hospital when he fought for the British title. That fight was at light middle as well – and that was supposed to be the best performance of his career! “Wayne on the other hand has beaten top quality guys like Howard Eastman. In fact he was the first European to beat Eastman. He lost in a world title fight out in Germany against Arthur Abraham but there’s no disgrace in that. He was winning that fight until the stoppage and I believe Abraham’s the best middleweight in the world right now.” Lynch and Macklin have a storied history with the Dublin born trainer having guided Macklin through the early part of his pro career before they split following his English light middleweight title defeat to Andrew Facey. Lynch says he has not seen any improvements in Macklin since going their separate ways. “Look at his last fight (a points win over Geard Ajetovic), he was terrible. We got all the usual talk beforehand about how he was in the best shape of his life and everything but on the night he was rubbish and that was against a guy who was hardly throwing anything back. It’s a good job too because if he had been this fight next month probably wouldn’t be happening!” Lynch also poured scorn on Macklin’s decision to change trainers following his last outing, something that has been a constant feature of the Birmingham man’s career. Macklin has had stints with Lynch, Peter Harrison, Billy Graham, Buddy McGirt and Richie Woodhall but is currently based out of Joe Gallagher’s gym in Manchester. “It’s the same old story,” said Lynch. “When you can’t blame yourself, blame your trainer. He’s changed trainers again for this fight but you know the old saying you can’t put in what god left out. My old amateur trainer in Dublin used to say, I can only show you how to fight, you have to be able to fight yourself. Trainers don’t make fighters, fighters make trainers, that’s the way it’s always been in boxing.“We know all about Macklin and what you see is what you get with him. There are no surprises. He was beaten comprehensively for the British light middleweight title so what business has he fighting for the middleweight title? It doesn’t make any sense for him to be fighting as a middleweight because he wasn’t even a big light middleweight. How’s he going to deal with Wayne’s strength and maturity? He’ll get busted up and stopped. “The more Macklin gobs off the better as far as I’m concerned. He’s started off saying Wayne wouldn’t go four rounds with him, then it was six and the latest I heard was eight so he can’t make up his mind. The more talking he does the more pressure he’s putting himself under but we’ve got our game plan and there’s only one winner in this fight and that’s Wayne.” While Elcock isn’t as outspoken as his trainer he’s in total agreement with him about the outcome of the fight. “I’m confident that I’ll beat Macklin whatever way the fight goes. My biggest strength is my boxing ability but if he wants to get into the trenches and have a war I’ll beat him there too. I’m exceptionally strong, Howard Eastman found that out and it surprised him and Macklin will find out as well. As long as I’m switched on mentally then there’s no way I’ll lose this fight. “I’m not one for making predictions and naming rounds, I’ll leave that to other people. The only thing I will promise is that I will deliver on the night be it a points win or KO. I don’t mind how I win but I can assure you that the Lonsdale belt will be staying with me.” Fighting on the exciting undercard: The new Heavyweight Sensations Tyson Fury, Eddie O’Rourke, Sid Razak, Callum Archer, Chris Male, Quinton Hillocks & Joel Walton Tickets for Elcock – Macklin: The Battle of Brum at the Aston Arena, Birmingham on the 14th of March are available from the Ticketline box office on 0871 424 4444 or via

Friday, February 13, 2009

Montgomerie backs the Scottish Challenge

Europe’s 2010 Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie has praised the impact of the Scottish Challenge which continues to play a vital developmental role in the build up to The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. The Scottish Challenge this year moves to the spectacular Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Club, in Aviemore, Inverness-shire, from July 30 to August 2 and Montgomerie believes it will once again provide a platform for the next generation of Ryder Cup stars. Now in its fourth year, the tournament is part of EventScotland’s ongoing support of the European Challenge Tour and Scottish professionals ahead of The 2014 Ryder Cup and is set to attract a strong field comprising some of the most promising Challenge Tour players. Montgomerie, who will lead Europe at The Celtic Manor Resort, South Wales, said: “The Scottish Challenge is an important event which gives promising players the chance to take on one of Scotland’s leading courses and it plays an integral part in the country’s build up to Gleneagles in 2014. “Scottish amateur golf is in fine health following the victory in the World Amateur Team Golf Championship last October and over the next few years hopefully we can see some of these players progress onto the Challenge Tour and play in future editions of the Scottish Challenge, which in turn provides a platform to move on to The European Tour and maybe even The Ryder Cup in Scotland in five years time.”It is the third consecutive year that Macdonald Hotels has supported the Scottish Challenge, having previously hosted the tournament at Macdonald Cardrona Hotel Golf and Country Club for the past two seasons. Both winners of those two events, England’s Robert Dinwiddie (2007) and Dutchman Taco Remkes (2008), went on to graduate on to The European Tour after landing the title, with Remkes’s victory last year his first of three on the 2008 Challenge Tour Schedule. Remkes carded a stunning final round 65 to finish on 13 under par 271, five shots clear of England’s Seve Benson and Denmark’s Jeppe Huldahl. That victory kick-started a fine rookie season and broke the English domination of the event, with Dinwiddie’s victory the previous year following compatriot Sam Walker’s triumph in the inaugural Scottish Challenge in 2006. The Scottish Challenge has also had a significant impact on the career of Scotsman Richie Ramsay, who took up a sponsor’s invite as an unranked player in 2007 and, after making the cut, went on to gain a category six ranking for the 2008 season where he took full advantage, winning twice en route to finish eighth in the Rankings and sealing his European Tour card for the current campaign. Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Club is one of the jewels in Macdonald Hotels’ golfing crown and the 7,153 yard, par 72, Dave Thomas designed course, which has a backdrop of the Cairngorms is located along the banks of the sparkling River Spey. The course includes the signature fifth hole at 635 yards. Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland said: “EventScotland’s continued support of the Scottish Challenge represents not only our support of one of the biggest events on the Challenge Tour schedule, but also our support for Scotland’s home grown golfing talent. “The Scottish Challenge is a window of opportunity for aspiring professionals and it is vital that, in the years leading up to The 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland, we maximise this window and give Scottish talent a chance to make The Ryder Cup Team on home soil. Richie Ramsay’s successes on the Challenge Tour in 2008 are a prime example of the advantages the Scottish Challenge offers Scottish players, and we look forward to witnessing the talent which will emerge from this year’s tournament.”

Chelsea reduce losses Again

Chelsea FC plc today (Friday, February 13 2009) announced record group turnover and reduced losses for a third successive season. The group results for the financial year end June 30, 2008 also revealed that half of the interest free loans from Chelsea Ltd, whose ultimate controlling party is Roman Abramovich, have been converted into equity demonstrating a continued and strengthened commitment from the shareholder to the football club. The results followed another year of relative success on the field with football and media revenues all showing large rises on the previous financial year. The main figures were: group turnover up 11.9% to £213.1m from £190.5m (2006/7) football activities up 14.8% to £189.8m from £165.3m of this media revenues are up 30.4% to £77.6m from £59.6m Shareholder loans have been reduced to £339.8m while shareholder capital/equity has increased to £369.9m losses reduced by 43% before exceptional items to £42.6m from £74.8m losses reduced by 12.2% after exceptional items to £65.7m wages and salaries as percentage of turnover before exceptional items 70.6% gross turnover of £248m (includes adidas and other merchandise and Chelsea Digital Media not consolidated in group results) Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck said: “Following the conversion of half of the interest free loans into equity there should now be no doubt as to the owner’s commitment to the club and the stability of the company’s funding structure. “We have always believed that this ‘debt’, now reduced by 50%, has been misrepresented. Chelsea has no external debt and makes no punitive interest payments to external funders.” The results include exceptional items of £23.1m related to compensation payments to two first team managers and five coaching staff. These are treated under wages and salaries for accounting purposes only. Wages before exceptionals were £148.5m (£132.8m 2006/7) and after exceptionals £171.6m. Chelsea has also conducted independent research by TNS (October 2008) that indicates the club has 110 million “core” fans globally an increase of 20 million on the previous research. Chelsea Chief Executive Peter Kenyon said: “There is no doubt that the positive upward trends of turnover and the continued reduction in losses shows that Chelsea is building a strong business base to build on in what will be challenging times. This is even more evident given that the results were adversely affected by the exceptional items. “We have set ourselves ambitious targets to be EBITDA neutral on June 30 2010 and to require zero cash funding from the owner at the beginning of the financial year 2009/2010. “We have consistently advocated the aim of self-sufficiency which has always been supported by the owner. We are hopeful of being close to these targets in the timeframes we have set given the underlying strengths of the business. “Success on the field is a key part of this. But in line with our long stated business aims any squad restructuring in the summer will be funded predominantly by sales as we have consistently reduced our net transfer spend over the last five years and will attempt to continue this trend. “This is the fifth set of financial accounts since the takeover and Chelsea has made huge progress during that period as a football club and a business. “In that time we have had significant on field success, our turnover has increased by 96% which ranks us 5th in the world and our fan base has increased hugely. That gives us great confidence for the next 5 years.”

Nate Campbell blasts Ali Funeka

International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Organization and World Boxing Association lightweight champion Nate “Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell (32-5-1, 25 KOs) continued his verbal assault on Ali “Rush Hour” Funeka (30-1-2, 25 KOs), the man he will face in the main event on Saturday night at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. (HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader, 10 p.m. ET/PT). “I listened and read what he [Funeka] was going to do to me,” Campbell said. “He talks trash over an ocean and then he gets here and doesn’t have nothin’ to say. I’m going to be doing the talking in the ring on Saturday night. He’s going to have to face me.” Campbell’s trainer, former world champion John David Jackson, piled on. “This boy [Funeka] didn’t earn his No. 1 position,” Jackson said. “He only beat a junior lightweight to get this match. You’ve been talking trash over in Africa, now you better back it up. Nate’s going to whip your ass.” Funeka, who did have some boastful quotes attributed to him while training in South Africa, was brief in his thoughts. “It’s good to be here and I want to thank everyone but it’s too close to the fight for more talk,” Funeka said. “It will be a good match.” Newly crowned World Boxing Council super welterweight interim champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (44-1-1, 24 KOs) feels he is continuing to grow as a prizefighter. “I feel I am much stronger with each fight,” Martinez said. “I felt great in taking the championship in my last fight against Alex Bunema and I feel even stronger now.” Martinez should receive a stiff challenge from former IBF welterweight champion Kermit “The Killer” Cintron (30-2, 27 KOs), who will be making his first appearance at 154 pounds. It is interesting to note that Martinez’s only loss and Cintron’s two career losses came at the hands of the same man: Antonio Margarito. “I busted my ass in this training camp and my team worked me really hard,” Cintron said. “You will see the results on Saturday night when I win the title again.” Another significant match at 154 pounds will feature undefeated WBC and WBO No. 1-ranked super welterweight Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (14-0, 11 KOs) facing dangerous veteran Cosme “Chino” Rivera (31-11-2, 23 KOs), who has stepped in to challenge Angulo on five days’ notice. Tickets priced at $200, $75, $40 and $25 (with all seats 2-for-1 excepting a limited number of golden circle seats) are on sale now and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000, by visiting or at the BankAtlantic Center box office. The event is presented by Don King Productions in association with Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler Attorneys at Law, V Georgio Vodka, The BOVA Restaurant Group, Renato Watches and QTask. Campbell vs. Funeka is presented in association with One Punch Productions. Martinez vs. Cintron is presented by DiBella Entertainment. Angulo vs. Rivera is a co-promotion with Gary Shaw Productions. Campbell vs. Funeka, Martinez vs. Cintron and Angulo vs. Rivera will also be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT. A full, domestically non-televised, undercard will begin at 5:30 p.m. with 12 bouts in total scheduled for the event.

Thaxton in World title Bid

Promoter Mick Hennessy believes Jon Thaxton can crown his “Cinderella Man” career with an audacious world title bid. After almost 16 years as a pro Thaxton upset the odds to win the European Lightweight title at the Norfolk Showground’s in his native Norwich last October and Hennessy believes he can go one step further. Thaxton returns to the scene of his stunning one punch KO win over Juan Carlos Diaz Melero on February 28th when he makes the first defence of his title against French Champion, Anthony Mezaache. While Thaxton is busy focusing on Mezaache his promoter is already making long term plans. “Jon’s too much of a professional to take his eye off the ball but I’m hoping to manoeuvre Jon into a position to challenge for the World title. Obviously he can’t afford to slip up against Mezaache and Jon himself knows that it’s a potential banana skin. He’s been in Mezaache’s position himself before and he’s a guy with nothing to lose so that makes him very dangerous but Jon knows all about that. “People wrote him off after he lost his first European title attempt but I had faith in Jon and he delivered in style when he got a second crack at it. Jon has been one of British boxing’s greatest servants and I think it would be terrific to see him get a chance at a World title. He’s a role model for any young pro coming into the sport. His dedication and professionalism is second to none and if I can deliver a world title shot for Jon I’ve no doubt he’ll make the most of it.” Thaxton says that a world title shot would be the icing on the cake of an amazing career that has seen him battle back from setbacks inside and outside the ring including a car crash that left him sidelined for 2 years. “When I look back through my career and what I’ve been through, coming back from the car crash to win the British and European titles then I think, why not go all the way when I’ve come this far. It really would be the modern day Cinderella Man story and a real fairytale but it’s one I certainly believe in. “I love it when people say I’m finished because I get a lot of motivation out of proving the naysayers wrong. To be honest I have to credit my wife with a lot of it. When I lost to Eamonn Magee seven years ago a lot of people were telling me it was time to hang up the gloves. To be honest there’s been times when I wondered myself if I’d ever get there. My wife isn’t a boxing fan at all, in fact she can’t stand it but through all the bad times she’s encouraged me and pushed me to keep going because she knew it was still in me and that I still had the hunger to do it. Thaxton doesn’t have to look too far for inspiration. The dominant force in the lightweight division is unified champ, Nate Campbell. The American defends his titles in Florida on Saturday night and like Thaxton his career finally came good well into his thirties. “I’d love a shot at Campbell and he’s certainly a good example of how it can be done even when your in your mid thirties. He’s two years older than me and like me he’s had his ups and downs so if he can do it why can’t I? It’s a strong division but to fight him or any of the other champs at lightweight would be a dream come true. “Hopefully Mick can deliver that opportunity for me. I take everything as it comes but I train hard, I’m passionate about the sport and I’ll fight anyone. I’ve never ducked anybody in my life. In fact when people ask me who I’d like to fight I normally say either Amir Khan or Michael Katsididis. Neither of them hold any titles at the moment but I know for a fact they would be really exciting for the fans. “They’d be great fights but I guarantee I’d win them because although I like to have a ruck and a punch up I’m adaptable and I can box when I need to. I’m a good mover and have decent skills so I’ve a lot more in my armoury than people think.” The 34-year-old southpaw is keen to stress though that until fight night the only man he’s focusing on is Anthony Mezaache. “I’m really up for this one; training has gone better than ever. I’m ahead of where I would usually be at this stage in a training camp and I wish the fight was this weekend because it can’t come soon enough now. It’s at home in front of my own fans so I want to win this in style and make a real statement.” 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

Eastern Opponents for the three Debutants

Frank Warren's Olympic stars face an Eastern invasion when they make their long-awaited professional debuts at the NIA, Birmingham, on February 28. James DeGale, Frankie Gavin and Billy Joe Saunders will all meet opponents from former Iron Curtain countries. Olympic middleweight champion DeGale takes on Vepkhia Tchilaia, a 21-year-old from Tblisi, Georgia.
Frankie Gavin, the world amateur champion, tackles a second Georgian, 22-year-old George Kadaria And Billy Joe Saunders will face former Hungarian light-welterweight champion, Attila Molnar. All three opponents have vowed to cause an upset in a fortnight's time, and, given their professional experience, will pose stiff tests to each of the three Olympians. "Training has been going brilliantly, but I've had an extra edge since I've known who I will be facing," said 23-year-old DeGale. "I boxed a few Eastern Europeans when I was an amateur and did well against them, but they are always tough and I know Tchilaia will come to fight." Saunders, 19, added: "I just can't wait to get in the ring and make a statement. My opponent has been around a bit and he's even boxed the full 12 rounds before, so if I look good against him then I'll know I'm going in the right direction." And 23-year-old Gavin said: "Making my debut in my home city is a dream come true, and I'm going to put on a dazzling display for all the fans who come out to see me. "It was frustrating not boxing at the Olympics, and by February 28 I'll be desperate for a fight, so I'm counting down the days until I climb through the ropes." 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 0871 888 9991

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Campbell and Funeka exchange Words

International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Organization and World Boxing Association lightweight champion Nate “Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell (32-5-1, 25 KOs), his opponent IBF No. 1-ranked mandatory challenger Ali “Rush Hour” Funeka (30-1-2, 25 KOs) and undefeated WBC and WBO No. 1-ranked contender Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (14-0, 11 KOs) participated in media workouts at American Top Team gym in South Florida today promoting Saturday’s big “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” card at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. (HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader, 10 p.m. ET/PT) “Funeka said he knows me like the back of his hand,” Campbell told the media. “Now he gets to meet the front of my hand on Saturday night.” Funeka made comments while training in his native South Africa that Campbell felt were disparaging. After arriving in America, Funeka has taken a much more conciliatory tack towards the unified lightweight world champion. “Campbell is a good champion and a good boxer,” Funeka said. “I am hungry as well. I don’t want to talk any more trash this close to the fight.” Angulo, who received news yesterday that Cosme “Chino” Rivera (31-11-2, 23 KOs) will step in to face him after Ricardo Mayorga pulled out, said he doesn’t like to say bad things about any boxer. “It doesn’t matter that Mayorga pulled out,” a resolute Angulo said. “I was only disappointed for people who wanted to see me fight him. I trained to fight and I thank Cosme Rivera for taking the match on short notice. I respect Rivera because he is a veteran who has faced many great fighters, but when I enter the ring that respect will disappear. Then he will be just another opponent I must defeat.” Rounding out the HBO-televised tripleheader is another match of great importance at 154 pounds pitting interim World Boxing Council super welterweight champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (44-1-1, 24 KOs) against former IBF welterweight champion Kermit “The Killer” Cintron (30-2, 27 KOs). Cintron and Martinez arrived in South Florida this afternoon and will attend the event’s final press conference on Thursday.Tickets priced at $200, $75, $40 and $25 (with all seats 2-for-1 excepting a limited number of golden circle seats) are on sale now and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000, by visiting or at the BankAtlantic Center box office. The event is presented by Don King Productions in association with Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler Attorneys at Law, V Georgio Vodka, The BOVA Restaurant Group, Renato Watches and QTask. Campbell vs. Funeka is presented in association with One Punch Productions. Martinez vs. Cintron is presented by DiBella Entertainment. Angulo vs. Rivera is a co-promotion with Gary Shaw Productions. Campbell vs. Funeka, Martinez vs. Cintron and Angulo vs. Rivera will also be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT. A full, domestically non-televised, undercard will begin at 5:30 p.m. with 12 bouts in total scheduled for the event.

Munroe is a Knockout

RENDALL MUNROE has promised to deliver a knockout performance when he defends his European super-bantamweight title against old rival Kiko Martinez at Barnsley Metrodome on Friday 27th February. Munroe (17-1) caused one of the biggest ring upsets of 2008 last March when he outpointed the heavy handed Spaniard to claim the Euro crown. And the Leicester binman has catapulted into the world rankings with three successful defences since his epic win over Martinez (20-1). Southpaw Munroe, 28, said: "I am going to show everyone how much I have learned in this rematch. "The only way to better what I did last time is to stop him and I think I can do that. If I get the chance, I will go for the knock-out. "I know I surprised a lot of people when I outpointed him and now I'm planning to knock him out." Martinez, 22, has 12 wins inside three rounds on his record but Munroe is prepared for the challenger's whirlwind start. He added: "I know people think I'm a slow starter and Martinez has got a lot of quick knock-outs, so he's going to come out with all guns blazing. "He's going to come out throwing bombs. He is a puncher.." A special attraction on the show being televised by Sky Sports is the professional debut of Olympic light-heavyweight bronze medallist Tony Jeffries. Also on the bill Munroe's stable mate Derby's Scott Haywood (19-2) challenges WBC ranked number three light welterweight Ajose Olusegun (25-0) for the Commonwealth light-welterweight title. Tickets priced £35 and £75 are selling fast. You can order from and 0871 226 1508.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jennings out to brush Cotto aside

Heartbreaker Michael Jennings is abandoning his girlfriend on Valentine's Day - so he can concentrate on breaking Miguel Cotto's heart in New York. But Jennings has vowed to return from the States with a bunch of two-dozen red roses - and the WBO World Welterweight title.Chorley's finest flies to America on Saturday ahead of his Madison Square Garden clash with Cotto on February 21. And it means that he'll be spending Valentine's day apart from his partner Zoe. However the 31-year-old says it will all be worthwhile when he inflicts defeat on power-punching Cotto, a former two-weight world champion. "I like to wine and dine my missus on Valentine's Day, but this year I'll be spending it traveling to New York - and in a no nonsense gym in the Bronx where I'm headed as soon as we touch down," said Jennings. "But if I win this fight it will make all the sacrifices worthwhile because if I beat Cotto then I've made it into the big league. "And she has already told me that the best present I can bring her back isn't expensive perfume or a diamond ring - but the world title. "There will be some huge fights down the line for me if I can win that belt. "Training camp has gone really well, and I feel in the shape of my life. "I don't think I've ever been sharper, and unless Cotto is taking me 100% seriously then he's in for a nasty surprise. "Obviously I've got a lot of respect for him because of what he has acheived at the highest level. But I'm not going to New York for a pay day. I'm coming to win and to become a world champion. It's what I've dreamed of for years."

O' Donnell's crack at the Commonwealth Title

John O’Donnell says he’s ready to make a real statement by ripping the Commonwealth Welterweight title from Craig Watson at the York Hall, London on April 11th. The 23-year-old from Shepherds Bush is relishing his all southpaw clash with Watson and believes it’s the fight that will propel his career to the next level. “I’ve already held the English title and now this shot at the Commonwealth title has come along,” said O’Donnell who has won all but one of his 21 pro fights. “I believe I can go all the way but I want to do things traditionally and work my way up through the titles.” O’Donnell had his sights on a British title shot but a planned eliminator for the Lonsdale belt fell through last December with Midlands’s boxer Young Mutley pulling out of their scheduled clash. “I had trained really hard for the Mutley fight and was over at the Breaffy House in Ireland at the Carl Froch training camp. “I was firing on all cylinders for it and then on the week of the fight he pulled out so it was a sickener but my promoter Mick Hennessy’s got me a straight shot now at the Commonwealth title so I’m over the moon.” O’Donnell isn’t underestimating the challenge in front of him and says he has a lot of respect for Watson. “I've known about him since he put Amir Khan on the canvas in the amateurs and in my opinion he was robbed of a stoppage win that night. I watched his last fight when he beat Matthew Hatton to win the Commonwealth title. That was a good performance and he’s a strong, tough kid and a southpaw like myself.” Facing a fellow southpaw isn’t an issue for O’Donnell who enjoyed a glorious amateur career that saw him win Junior Olympic Gold, Junior Four Nations Gold, and a pair of Junior ABA titles. “It’s never bothered me fighting southpaws, in fact I beat Stuart Elwell to win the English title and he’s a southpaw,” recalled O’Donnell. “I had some good sparring sessions with Junior Witter as well at the Froch training camp in Ireland and he can switch between southpaw and orthodox. You can’t get much better than sparring a former World champ and Junior’s a class fighter. “Since I heard this fight was in the pipeline I’ve already racked up quite a few rounds in the gym in the last few weeks but I’ll probably look at getting in some extra southpaw sparring now as the fight gets closer.” O’Donnell will be performing in front of the ITV 4 cameras on April 11th and he’s certainly proving quite popular with the cameras recently. “Before my last fight in Ireland I had to do a photo shoot and I’ve just done another one for the next issue of Arena magazine. I’m sure I’ll get some stick from the lads in the gym but I said I’d try my hand at it anyway. “Who knows I might be able to pack in the boxing, the modelling is certainly easier than getting punched in the face for a living!” joked O’Donnell. “It was good fun and I enjoyed it but for the next photo shoot I want to have that Commonwealth title around my waist.” Promoter Mick Hennessy is confident that O’Donnell will shine on April 11th. “I’ve always believed that John is destined for big things and this is a major opportunity for him to shine. It’s a cracking domestic match and a quality Commonwealth title fight. You look at fights like Wayne Elcock and Matthew Macklin for the British title next month and O’Donnell and Watson and these are the kind of matchups that do justice to the great history of those titles.” O'Donnell's Hennessy Sports stable mate Lenny Daws will provide the chief support at the York Hall on April 11th with further details of the undercard to be announced shortly. Tickets are on sale from the Hennessy Sports Ticketline Box Office on 0844 888 4402 or via

No love lost in Valentine's Match Up

Former International Boxing Federation No. 1-ranked welterweight Cosme “Chino” Rivera (31-11-2, 23 KOs) has agreed to step in on five days notice to face undefeated World Boxing Council No. 3-ranked super welterweight Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (14-0, 11 KOs) on Don King’s “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” boxing card on Saturday at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. Mercurial former three-time world champion Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga, from Nicaragua, was to have faced Angulo, but pulled out 10 days before the match. Rivera, 32, from Huatabampo, Mexico, is a dangerous veteran who has been in 45 prizefights and fought in nearly 350 rounds. By contrast, the 26-year-old Angulo, from Mexicali, Mexico, will be entering just his 15th professional match and has participated in less than 50 rounds. Angulo brings the customary Mexican all-out approach to his opponents, and boxing insiders have been impressed by his power and burgeoning boxing skills. A win over the experienced contender Rivera would bolster his resume. Rivera would like nothing more than to play the role of spoiler in his first appearance at 154 pounds. He went the 10-round distance against future world champion Andre Berto—flooring Berto in round 6 before losing by decision on July 7, 2007. Rivera also met then-unified welterweight world champion Zab “Super” Judah in 2005 when he was the IBF No. 1-ranked welterweight. Rivera fought bravely but Judah was able to stop him in the third round. The main event showcases unified (IBF/WBO/WBA) 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. Another match of great importance at 154 pounds pits interim World Boxing Council super welterweight champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (44-1-1, 24 KOs), from Buenos Aires, Argentina, against IBF welterweight champion Kermit “The Killer” Cintron (30-2, 27 KOs), from Reading, Pa. Tickets priced at $200, $75, $40 and $25 (with all seats 2-for-1 excepting a limited number of golden circle seats) are on sale now and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000, by visiting or at the BankAtlantic Center box office. The event is promoted by Don King Productions in association with Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler Attorneys at Law, V Georgio Vodka, The BOVA Restaurant Group, Renato Watches and QTask. Campbell vs. Funeka is presented in association with One Punch Productions. Martinez vs. Cintron is presented by DiBella Entertainment. Angulo vs. Rivera is a co-promotion with Gary Shaw Productions. Campbell vs. Funeka, Martinez vs. Cintron and Angulo vs. Rivera will also be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT. A full, domestically non-televised, undercard will begin at 5:30 p.m. with 12 bouts in total scheduled for the event.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Team bonding for Saunders and DeGale

Billy Joe Saunders and James DeGale are recreating the spirit of the 2008 Olympics - by working together ahead of their professional debuts. The deadly duo will have their first fight in the paid ranks on February 28 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham under promoter Frank Warren. And to ensure they are both in tip-top condition they have been sparring together ahead of their big night. It's a throwback to the Beijing Games where they represented Great Britain, DeGale going on to win Olympic gold. "It's great working with James again," said 19-year-old Saunders, who has been sparring a number of fighters across the South East in preparation for his debut. "We must have sparred hundreds of rounds together when we were up in Sheffield at the Institute of Sport, and we are always learning from each other. "The team spirit in Beijing was superb, and I know we'll be looking to recreate that when we box together as professionals. "The professional side of things has a reputation for being a bit selfish. "But with us all boxing on the same cards up and down the country, it's a bit like being back in the elite squad, and we'll keep driving each other on to achieve more and more." DeGale, 22, added: "Teaming up with Billy Joe is great. He's improved so much since the Olympics - but hopefully so have I. "Sparring has been fantastic and I feel so sharp at the moment." And the Olympic champion quipped: "We asked Frankie Gavin along to some of our sessions as well, but he's lost so much weight recently we didn't think it would be fair!" 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 0871 888 9991

Tyson Fury sets sights Abroad

Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury has called Frank Maloney’s bluff after the promoter challenged him to fight his prospect Larry Olubamiwo. The 6 foot 9 inch Fury has won his two professional contests to date with impressive stoppages against European opposition and faces Russian Daniel Peret next time out in Norwich on February 28th live on ITV4. Fury has had to look outside Britain again after a series of British rivals rejected the fight including Olubamiwo and Prizefighter champ, Sam Sexton. Olubamiwo who calls himself the “War Machine” is unbeaten in his three pro fights but his victims had a less than impressive combined record of just 11 wins from their 93 pro fights. Despite Maloney’s talk though Olubamiwo clearly wasn’t ready to go to war with Fury. Fury’s trainer and uncle, Hughie Fury explained, “We read a piece after Olubamiwo’s fight last month that Frank Maloney was going around shouting, ‘Bring on Tyson Fury’. I thought great, here’s a British fighter who’s not afraid to take on Tyson. So I rang Maloney up and told him that if his man wanted it he could have it for February 28th in Norwich. “He started backing down straight away and said he was actually talking about 18 months down the line. What’s he on about? His man is already gone 30 so what’s the point in waiting another year and a half for the fight to happen. That’s the difference between Tyson and these other guys, when he says he wants a fight he wants it. “Frank says he has the best heavyweight prospects in the UK, with guys like Olubamiwo, Scott Belshaw and Tom Dallas. Well if Olubamiwo isn’t ready why doesn’t he turn up with one of his other heavyweight prospects for Tyson’s fight in Birmingham on March 14th? “Sam Sexton was the same, I believe he was moaning that he never gets to fight at home in Norwich so when Tyson offered him the chance to fight him at the Norfolk Showground’s there on February 28th all we heard back was excuses. “We talk about fighting these guys because we want to fight them but you get other people talking about it just to get a headline for their man. We want a British title shot and beating any of these other British fighters is the quickest route to that. We’d rather fight anyone in Britain sooner than these East European’s but at the moment they’re the only guys who will step up to the plate and fight Tyson. “People say we’re trying to rush him but some fighters have enough class that they can be pushed on quickly. Anyway it’s not like we’re calling out the Klitschko’s or anything. We’ve only mentioned the British heavyweights and let’s be honest it’s a dead division at the moment. He’s sparred some of the top heavyweights around and none of them have bothered him so we know what he’s capable of. That’s why we want a British title shot as soon as possible. “Part of the problem is to get sparing in the amateurs we travelled around to spar with a lot of these guys. The sparring was enough to put them off. They all know they wouldn’t last in a fight with Tyson so they’re all running ‘down the line’.” Fury’s promoter Mick Hennessy revealed, “Tyson’s only had two fights but I believe the rest of the British heavyweight contenders are already running for cover. Peret should be a good yardstick for him because he’s already beaten Scott Belshaw and has never been stopped by any of the other British heavyweights he’s fought like John McDermott or Derek Chisora.” Featuring on the exciting undercard: Danny McIntosh v Matthew Barney for the English Light Heavyweight Title (subject to Boards approval), also appearing Lee Purdy, Matthew Thirlwall, 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 Fury - Peret which is part of the undercard of 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

Bermondsey boxer in Title tilt

Bermondsey middleweight Matthew Thirlwall returns to the ring at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on February 28th Live on ITV4 to kick off what he hopes is going to be a big 2009.
By his own admission Thirlwall has yet to translate the undoubted potential he showed in the amateurs as an ABA Champion and regular England International into professional success. Having recently turned 28 he knows time is running out for him to turn potential into achievement. With his long term injury problems now behind him the Londoner believes he’s within touching distance of a title shot. “Originally it was my knee but more recently it was an elbow injury that was causing problems,” explained Thirlwall. “I’m over the injuries now. It was very frustrating at the time because everything was so stop – start but I’m feeling great at the moment so I just want to keep as busy as possible this year and get some consistency.”The Robert McCracken trained fighter says he’ll be keeping a close eye on the upcoming British middleweight title fight between Matthew Macklin and Wayne Elcock with a view to challenging the winner later in the year. “I think it’s going to be a great fight and I’d love a shot at the winner. I keep changing my mind about who will win but at the moment I’m leaning towards Elcock.“I suppose it all depends on the night really but I think Elcock’s a rough, strong kid and he could catch up with Macklin in the later rounds and stop him. Macklin’s capable of outboxing him too though so it’s a very hard one to call.“I’d jump at that chance to fight the winner if it came along. If I can get a couple of good wins under my belt then I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t be ready for a fight like that. It would be a dream come true to fight for the British title and I wouldn’t care who was in the opposite corner as long as I got a chance to fight for the Lonsdale belt.” 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, Lee Purdy and making his pro debut ABA Senior Featherweight Champion 2008 & awarded the best boxer of the night Royston’s Bradley Evans.
Tickets for Thirlwall’s next fight which is part of the undercard of 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

Monday, February 09, 2009

Cleverly looks for fight with Francis

Hot talent Nathan Cleverly is aiming to send out a KO message to British champion Dean Francis on Friday night. The pair will both appear on the same bill in Swindon - with a mouth-watering clash between the two scheduled for later this year. The light-heavyweight duo have been on a collision course for months, and Cleverly can't wait for the fight to happen. "Knowing that Francis holds the British title has been driving me mad," said the undefeated 21-year-old, who puts his Commonwealth crown on the line at the Oasis Sports Centre against Kenyan puncher Samson Otyango live on Sky Sports. "I believe I'm number one in the country, but until I beat Francis there will always be a debate as to who is the top dog. "I've been willing to fight him since the autumn, but for one reason or another the fight hasn't been made."But once I've dealt with Samson Otyango in style on Friday, then Francis can't run from me any more. "I've always dreamed about becoming a British champion, and to add the Lonsdale belt to my Commonwealth title would be a great buzz. I just hope Francis doesn't get cold feet after he sees me knock out Otyango. Cleverly has had just 14 fights, but is already being tipped as a star of the future.However veteran puncher Francis, who still harbours ambitions of challenging for a world belt, would be his toughest opponent to date. "It would be man against boy if we ever met," said Francis, who keeps busy with a fight against talented Joey Vegas in Swindon."Nathan's a good kid, but he's never fought anyone who punches like me, and he won't be able to take my power."

Carl Froch calls out Jermain Taylor

WBC super middleweight champ, Carl “The Cobra” Froch says he’s delighted to hear that Jermain “No Intentions” Taylor is alive and well after all. The former World middleweight champ and mandatory challenger for Froch’s title has been mysteriously quiet of late but he finally surfaced at the weekend. Taylor released a statement waffling on about Joe Calzaghe but was still ambiguous about his desire to trade punches with Froch who is new King of the super middleweights following his thrilling title win over Jean Pascal in December. “I’m just happy to hear from Taylor to be honest as he’s been on the missing persons list for the last few weeks now,” said Froch who was honoured with a civic reception in his native Nottingham last week. “Everyone in his camp from his promoter to his trainer is saying that he wants to shut me up but I still haven’t heard that from Jermain. “Instead he went on about how he never got the chance to fight Calzaghe. Joe would probably have tapped and slapped his way to a boring points win but I guarantee you, I will smoke Taylor’s boots and destroy him. “He did get one thing right though when he said that I’m no Joe Calzaghe. That’s certainly true. When Calzaghe won a version of the world title it took him 10 and a half years to fight in the U.S. and 44 fights before he won the title that I now hold. “I’m willing to cross the Atlantic for my very first defence and take on all comers, you won’t find me hiding at home for the next decade and hand picking my defences. I respect Joe, he’s been a great champion and he’s beaten everyone put in front of him but let’s face it two uninspiring points wins over a pair of old timers hardly makes him a boxing legend.” Despite Taylor’s reluctance to talk about a fight with Froch it appears the clash is close to being signed for a mid April date. “I’m hearing that it’s looking very promising but they’ll probably still need to drag Taylor to the ring kicking and screaming because I don’t think he wants any part of me. “Taylor says that the best should fight the best, well what’s he waiting for then? And if that was the case why was he considering swerving me and fighting the likes of Jean Pascal – the guy I just beat or Allan Green. “In my opinion Taylor sees his career as one big gravy train and he wants some more easy paydays before it grinds to a halt. I believe he doesn’t have any respect for the fans that actually pay his wages and would rather talk the talk without walking the walk. “His promoter said that I’ve brought out the beast in him well let’s hope he’s beast enough to finally put pen to paper and get the fight on.”

Sutherland's Six Round Fight

DARREN SUTHERLAND has promised his growing army of fans a treat when he makes his second professional appearance. Ireland's Olympic bronze medallist was in explosive form on his professional debut in home city Dublin in December despatching Georgi Iliev in the first round.And the 26-year-old insists he will deliver an even better performance when he boxes a six round super-middleweight contest against a selected opponent at Robin Park Arena on Friday 6th March. Top of the bill is the vacant European light-middleweight title fight between Salford southpaw Jamie Moore (30-3) and Italy's former world champion Michele Piccirillo (50-4). Sutherland who has been sparring with Dean Francis said: "I really can't wait to deliver some fireworks in my next fight. "To tell you the truth I am looking forward to it more than my pressure debut even though that was such a special night in Dublin that will stay with me forever. "Jamie is top of the bill and there will be absolutely no pressure on me because the focus will be on his fight. "On my debut that were such big expectations because of all the publicity after Beijing and it seemed like I knew everybody who was in the hall." Manager and promoter Frank Maloney believes he has already spotted traits that separates Sutherland from the other top fighters. He added: "When the weather was bad last Monday, Darren couldn't do his road work properly or get a train to the gym in London for sparring. "Instead he walked two miles from his home to a health club where he could do some work. "I bet there were plenty of champions who got up, saw the snow and ducked out of training. This fella is different and made sure he got some kind of training done." Tickets for this night of top quality action are available, priced £35, £80 and £90 VIP Ringside are available from 0871 226 1508 and

Friday, February 06, 2009

Scottish Past Masters in Brunei

Ryder Cup winning Captains Bernard Gallacher and Sam Torrance and two time Major winner Sandy Lyle will ensure the new European Senior Tour season gets off to a flying start when they tee up in the inaugural Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters presented by The Stapleford Forum from February 27-March 1. The Scottish trio will headline an impressive field at The Empire Hotel & Country Club in Brunei as the Senior Tour breaks new ground when it reaches its most easterly venue. Torrance, who captained Europe to Ryder Cup victory against the United States in 2002 at The Belfry, will be hoping to build on an impressive end to the 2008 season as he targets reclaiming the Number One spot and succeeding another Ryder Cup winning Captain, Ian Woosnam, as winner of the John Jacobs Trophy, which is awarded to the leading Senior Tour player. After struggling with a hand injury for the past two seasons, 55 year old Torrance showed glimpses of the form that saw him win the Order of Merit in 2005 and 2006 when he finished runner up in the Scottish Seniors Open before capturing his tenth Senior Tour title in the OKI Castellón Open España – Senior Tour Championship. Compatriot Lyle will be hoping to kick-start his own Senior Tour career with a maiden victory in Brunei, with his best finish so far coming in the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open where he led after the first round before finishing tied 11th. The 1985 Open and 1988 Masters Champion, who won 18 European Tour titles in total, will be hoping for a belated present after celebrating his 51st birthday on February 9. Coincidentally Lyle shares the same birthday as Gallacher, who will be 60 years old when he tees up in Brunei for his first Senior Tour appearance since the Scottish Seniors Open in 2006.
Gallacher, who has one Senior Tour victory and 13 European Tour titles, competed in eight Ryder Cup Matches before captaining the European Team in 1991, 1993 and 1995. The presence of such an illustrious Scottish trio in the field reflects their support for sponsors Aberdeen Asset Management, the Scottish global investment management group which also sponsors The 2010 Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie. Aberdeen Asset Management renews its association with the Senior Tour having previously sponsored The Senior Open Championship between 2005 and 2007. Gallacher, Lyle and Torrance are joined in the field by former Ryder Cup players, England’s Gordon J Brand, who was runner up to Woosnam in the 2008 Order of Merit, and Italian Costantino Rocca. Another player targeting a strong opening to the new campaign in Brunei is Englishman Carl Mason, the all-time leading money winner on the Senior Tour, who this season is looking to become the first player to break through the €2million barrier. Mason, who has won three Order of Merit crowns in five years on the Senior Tour, will be hoping for a return to form after dropping to seventh last season. Meanwhile Australian Mike Harwood, a five time winner on The European Tour, will make his Senior Tour debut in the Brunei tournament, which is one of four events being promoted on the 2009 European Senior Tour by long-term partners WSM Sponsorship. The Jack Nicklaus designed course at The Empire Hotel & Country Club is built upon a stunning cliff top location and has hosted the Asian Tour’s Brunei Open since 2006. The beginning of the tournament week will coincide with Brunei’s National Day which falls on Monday, February 23.