Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stellar field at the Scottish Open

South Africa’s Retief Goosen returns to the scene of one of his many former triumphs when he tees up in The Barclays Scottish Open, to be played at Loch Lomond Golf Club from July 9-12, 2009. Goosen, 40, the double US Open Champion, comes into the tournament fresh from victory in the Transitions Championship on the US PGA Tour and is joined in The Barclays Scottish Open field by fellow former US Open Champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina, defending champion Graeme McDowell from Northern Ireland and the popular Boo Weekley, one of the mainstays in the triumphant American side at last year’s Ryder Cup at Valhalla. Goosen made his first appearance at Loch Lomond back in 1996 when he finished tied 29th and has since gone on to claim one victory and a further two top four finishes at the world-famous west of Scotland club.The South African’s victory came back in 2001 less than a month after he won his first US Open title at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On that occasion he led from start to finish and he replicated that feat at Loch Lomond after opening with a nine under par 62 and then going on to record rounds of 69, 66 and 71 to finish three shots ahead of Thomas Björn and four in front of John Daly, Barry Lane, Paul McGinley and Adam Scott. Cabrera, the 2007 US Open Champion, is also a regular competitor at The Barclays Scottish Open having made his debut back in 1997 when he finished tied for 16th place. His best performance to date was in 2005 when he opened strongly with rounds of 64 and 67 but lost out to South Africa’s Tim Clark who posted rounds of 67, 66, 65 and 67 for a 19 under par aggregate of 265. Weekley makes a welcome return to The Barclays Scottish Open as part of what is likely to be one of the strongest fields the tournament has ever attracted. “It is still early days but, judging from the phone calls we’ve been getting, it looks likely to be a tremendous field,” said Championship Director, Peter Adams. “We have already received verbal entries from several golfers within the top 20 on the Official World Golf Ranking and expect to make a number of other major announcements over the coming months.” Last summer, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell supported by his mum Marian, dad Kenny and other family members, added his name to a stellar list of champions when he closed with a three under par 68 to finish two shots ahead of South Africa’s James Kingston on 13 under par 271. This year marks the 14th successive year Loch Lomond has hosted a major European Tour event. It staged its first international tournament back in 1996 when Thomas Björn triumphed and subsequent champions have been Tom Lehman (1997), Lee Westwood (1998), Colin Montgomerie (1999), Ernie Els (2000 and 2003), Retief Goosen (2001), Eduardo Romero (2002), Thomas Levet (2004), Tim Clark (2005), Johan Edfors (2006), Grégory Havret (2007) and Graeme McDowell (2008).

O' Meara enjoys the Spotlight

Having brought over 300 supporters to his last outing at the York Hall, Wembley’s Steve O’Meara is expecting his fans to come out in their droves once again for his next bout at the famous London fight venue on April 11th. O’Meara is unbeaten in 6 pro fights and he will be hoping for lucky number 7 in London’s East End next month when he features on the undercard of the eagerly anticipated Craig Watson – John O’Donnell Commonwealth title fight. O’Meara’s last appearance at the York Hall saw him outpoint J.J. Bird in a fight that was shown live on ITV4 and he will be back in front of the ITV cameras again on April 11th on another Hennessy Sports event. The former footballer believes his playing career is one of the primary reasons why he has become such a popular ticket seller. “I made a lot of friends though football and a lot of those people come to my fights now so it’s great to have that kind of support,” said O’Meara who turned to boxing after a promising football career ended with a bad leg break. With almost a year’s apprenticeship served in the pro ranks the 25-year-old says he’s more than happy with his progression so far. “The main thing is to keep busy and to pick up as much experience as I can both in the gym sparring with guys and then in my fights as well. I didn’t have a lot of amateur experience behind me when I turned pro so I know I’ve an awful lot to learn.” Part of that learning process took him to the U.S. last year where he spent time in the notoriously tough gyms of Philadelphia ahead of a bout at the legendary Blue Horizon in the city last June. “That trip was a great experience for me. I spent time just going around the gyms in Philadelphia and sparring there. You have to gain their respect over there because when you walk into those gyms you’re a real outsider and it can be intimidating. Once they know you can fight though they respect you and it was a great to experience all the different styles over there. “To fight in the Blue Horizon really topped it off because it’s such a legendary fight club and all the greats have fought there over the years. It’s a lot like the York Hall in Bethnal Green with the balconies and there isn’t a bad seat in the place so there always a good atmosphere there.”O’Meara is part of an exciting undercard to the Craig Watson – John O’Donnell Commonwealth Welterweight title fight. The chief supporting contest features Lenny Daws and Peter McDonagh in a clash for the English Light Welterweight title while heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury, Bradley Evans, George Hillyard and Stephen Haughian also feature.

Large prize fund on the Challenge Tour

The 2009 Kazakhstan Open, to be played at Nurtau Golf Club in Almaty from September 17-20, will carry the largest prize fund in European Challenge Tour history with €450,000 on offer to the field, an increase of €20,000 from last year. The Kazakhstan Open thus continues its proud tradition of having carried the largest prize fund on the Challenge Tour Schedule in each year since its inception in 2005, when the purse was €250,000. Indeed, the size of the prize is such that in all four years since that inaugural event the winner has progressed onto The European Tour, with last year’s champion Gary Lockerbie of England following in the footsteps of Sweden’s Leif Westerberg, Wales’s Mark Pilkington and Ireland’s Stephen Browne, who triumphed in 2007, 2006 and 2005 respectively. The event has also helped launch the career of rising star Martin Kaymer, who finished in a tie for third at the 2006 Kazakhstan Open. His cheque for €18,000 helped Kaymer to fourth place in the final Challenge Tour Rankings that year and the young German has since taken The European Tour by storm, winning the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and the BMW International Open in his homeland en route to eighth place on the 2008 Order of Merit. Similarly, top 12 finishes at the 2005 Kazakhstan Open helped England’s Ross Fisher and Argentina’s Andres Romero secure graduation from the Challenge Tour and, like Kaymer, both men have since become European Tour champions. This year, the tournament again returns to the stunning Nurtau Golf Club which is widely considered to be one of the leading courses on the Challenge Tour Schedule and capable of hosting future European Tour events. At 7,319 yards it is certainly one of the longest, whilst the Tien-Shen (or “heavenly celestial”) mountain range which forms the backdrop lends itself to some spectacular views. Alain de Soultrait, Director of the Challenge Tour, said: “It is a mark of the strength of the Kazakhstan Open that this year’s prize fund has again increased, despite the current economic climate. It is also testament to the hard work and commitment shown by the Kazakhstan Golf Federation and promoters Parallel Media Group, whose determination to make the Kazakhstan Open one of the major events on the Challenge Tour Schedule always makes for a tremendous week. “I fully expect this year’s event to be to be just as successful and well received as the previous four, as our Members always look forward to the challenge that the magnificent Nurtau Golf Club presents.” Konstantin Lifanov, Director of Nurtau Golf Club, said: “We are delighted to host the fifth edition of the Kazakhstan Open, which continues to go from strength to strength. It is always nice to hear the players compliment the efforts our greenkeeping staff put in to ensure the course is in the best possible condition for the tournament, and we are again confident of providing a venue worthy of the occasion in September.” Nurtay Abykayev, President of the National Federation of Golf in Kazakhstan, said: “It gives us great pleasure to present this tournament again, which over the years has played an important role in promoting golf in our country. Kazakhstan is a proud nation and we are very pleased with the positive feedback we receive from the players and everyone involved, which shows just how successful the event has become. “Our relationship with the Challenge Tour, which is already strong, grows by the year. We feel we have come a long way since the first Kazakhstan Open in 2005, and I am confident we can improve even more in the years to come.”

Fury names his Price

Tyson Fury has offered David Price a chance to settle their differences in a professional ring. Undefeated heavyweight sensation Fury is set for his fifth pro fight at London’s York Hall on April 11th and he wants Price to be in the opposite corner. Fury has already racked up four stoppage wins from his first four outings having only turned professional last December. The Hennessy Sports promoted fighter will be looking to make it five next month on ITV4 on the undercard to the Craig Watson – John O’Donnell Commonwealth title fight. Price who made a winning pro debut last weekend has already said that he wants to battle it out with Fury for the British heavyweight title. The Liverpudlian has also accused his former amateur rival of being “disrespectful” but Fury believes that if the fight is to happen it needs to happen now. “If we are going to fight then we may as well fight now because based on his pro debut there’s no guarantee David Price will make it to British title level. I’d love for the fight to happen when there are titles at stake because I think it would be a massive fight but my worry is that with his chin Price won’t make it that far.” Tyson is relishing his first professional appearance at the York Hall next month having won his ABA Super Heavyweight title there. “I love the atmosphere at the York Hall because the fans there really love their boxing. It’s a great venue and somewhere I’ve always wanted to fight as a pro.” However Fury isn’t so sure that Price shares the same ambition. “He says he’ll do his talking in the ring well here’s his big chance, he can step up and fight me on April 11th. I’m still waiting on an opponent so the jobs there for him if he wants it. He says he wants to stay busy and he’s just coming off a win so here’s his chance.” Fury says he wasn’t impressed with Price’s debut win at the weekend and remains convinced that a fragile chin will prove to be the Beijing bronze medallist’s downfall. “He got hit with one clean shot in the whole fight and it had him all over the place. Imagine if that had been me hitting him?” Price’s debut crisis came after he dropped his hands and turned away following the referee’s call to break but his concentration lapse almost cost him dearly with opponent Dave Ingleby tagging him with a clean right hand. “That proved to me that’s he’s still an amateur and he was waiting for the ref to step in and protect him,” said Fury. “The one piece of advice that pro referee’s give is to ‘protect yourself at all times’. I’ve heard he’s blaming it on his gum shield falling out. He said it was too small and yet he says I’m the one with the big mouth! I hope he doesn’t use his gum shield as an excuse for not fighting me next month.” Fury’s fifth pro outing is part of an exciting undercard to the Craig Watson – John O’Donnell Commonwealth Welterweight title fight. The chief supporting contest features Lenny Daws and Peter McDonagh in a clash for the English Light Welterweight title while Bradley Evans, Steve O’Meara, George Hillyard and Stephen Haughian also feature

Monday, March 30, 2009

Evans to feature at the York Hall

With a successful pro debut behind him 2008 ABA featherweight champ Bradley Evans believes he’s on the road to title contention in the paid ranks. The Royston man impressed when he made his pro bow in Norwich last month and he’s back in action at the York Hall on April 11th – the scene of last year’s ABA finals success. Evans is part of the undercard to the Craig Watson – John O’Donnell Commonwealth title fight with the Hennessy Sports show live on ITV4. The 19-year-old can’t wait for his first pro fight at the traditional home of British boxing in London’s Bethnal Green. “I always loved boxing at the York Hall as an amateur and I can’t wait to fight there as a pro,” said Evans who picked up the best boxer of the night award at last year’s ABA’s courtesy of his featherweight title triumph. “I should have a good few coming down to support me and I’ll be looking to put on a show for them.” Evans fan club will no doubt be boosted by a recent ITV4 profile surrounding his pro debut. “All my friends saw it and when you’re a new pro starting out it’s great to get exposure like that so that the public can find out a little bit more about you.” The teenager has been handed the ring moniker of “The Buzzsaw” by his trainer Tony Sims but the modest Evans admits that he’s still adjusting to the paid ranks. “Even the fact of fighting without the vest and headguard takes a bit of getting used to. I’m definitely happier as a pro though because it suits my style a lot more. I’m learning so much in the gym and I’ve been sparring with Lenny Daws for this fight. “Lenny has an English title fight with Peter McDonagh on the same card and he’s a real role model for a young pro like me. He’s a fitness fanatic and he trains so hard, he does everything at a crazy pace so I know that if I can keep up with him in training I’m doing something right.” Evans second professional fight is part of an exciting undercard to the Craig Watson – John O’Donnell Commonwealth Welterweight title clash. The chief supporting contest features Lenny Daws and Peter McDonagh in an English Light Welterweight title showdown while Tyson Fury, Steve O’Meara, Bradley Evans, George Hillyard and Stephen Haughian also feature.

Three former Captains add to Senior Pairings

Ryder Cup Captains Mark James, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam will headline one of the strongest fields of the 2009 European Senior Tour season when they tee up in the €300,000 inaugural Son Gual Mallorca Senior Open from May 8-10. Scotsman Torrance, the current Senior Tour Order of Merit leader, will renew his battle for supremacy with Welshman Woosnam who claimed the John Jacobs Trophy in his rookie season in 2008. In-form Torrance captured his 11th Senior Tour title -and his second in three appearances – in the last Senior Tour tournament when he won the DGM Barbados Open by four strokes. The 2002 Ryder Cup winning Captain, winner of 21 titles on The European Tour, also won the 2008 season ending OKI Castellón Open España – Senior Tour Championship and has targeted succeeding Woosnam as the Senior Tour Number One, having topped the Order of Merit himself in 2005 and 2006.Woosnam heads to Son Gual Golf in Palma hoping to add to the two Senior Tour titles he won in 2008 at the Parkridge Polish Seniors Championship and Russian Seniors Open. Those victories helped the 2006 Ryder Cup winning Captain and former World Number One become the first former Harry Vardon Trophy winner on The European Tour to win the John Jacobs Trophy on the Senior Tour and he has now set his sights on back-to-back Order of Merit crowns. James, meanwhile, returns to Europe to make his first Senior Tour appearance of the 2009 season in Majorca looking to claim the €45,000 first prize. The 55 year old Englishman, European Team Captain at the 1999 Ryder Cup in Brookline, is searching for his second Senior Tour victory following his win in the European Senior Masters in 2005. James also has three US Champions Tour victories to his name including the Ford Senior Players Championship in 2004.The trio of Ryder Cup Captains will be joined in the field by many other of the leading Senior Tour players including former Ryder Cup players Gordon J Brand of England, who finished second behind Woosnam in the 2008 Order of Merit, Italian Costantino Rocca and Ireland’s Des Smyth. All-time leading Senior Tour career money winner Carl Mason, a three time John Jacobs Trophy winner, makes his first appearance of the new season as he attempts to continue his run of winning in each of his seasons on the Senior Tour. Zimbabwean Tony Johnstone, winner of the 2008 Jersey Seniors Classic, also returns to action having spent the winter commentating in South Africa for Sky Sports. The impressive field is one of the strongest to assemble on the Spanish island and will tackle the Thomas Himmel designed course which is owned by the Pamer family from Germany, with Langer Sport Marketing managing and promoting the event. Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the Senior Tour, said: “With entries soon to close for the inaugural Son Gual Mallorca Senior Open we are already delighted with the present quality of the field, which is certain to create a great deal of interest in Mallorca and help raise the island’s profile as a first class golfing destination.”

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cash offer for Dunne to fight Munroe

FRANK MALONEY is willing to pay Bernard Dunne £150,000 (STERLING) if he agrees to defend his WBA super-bantamweight title against Rendall Munroe. The promoter would expect the Dubliner to defend his newly won title in England as he would be receiving a career best payday, but Maloney the European champion would be willing to travel across the Irish Sea.
Maloney said: "It is a natural fight and the money is there to stage the contest in England in September. There is £150,000 on the table for Bernard. "I have spoken to Rendall and he would be willing to fight Dunne in his backyard if the title is on the line. "When we were ringside in Dublin for Dunne's title win against Ricardo Cordoba, Rendall kept pointing at Dunne and saying, 'Get me him.' " The Leicester dustman has good reason to fancy his chances against Dunne when their paths eventually cross. Dunne's only loss came when his suspect chin was exposed in 86 seconds by Kiko Martinez in August 2007. Since then southpaw Munroe has defeated the Spaniard twice inside a year making a mockery of Martinez's supposed punching power.Maloney added: "I never gave Dunne a chance against Cordoba and everybody in Ireland should be extremely proud of his achievements. "It was a wonderful night and a great promotion on Saturday, but until Dunne fights Munroe he cannot even call himself the best 8st 10lb fighter in Britain and Ireland let alone the world. "Dunne-Munroe will happen and wherever it takes place I am confident that Rendall will win inside the distance."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fury issues a warning to Price

Tyson Fury believes that heavyweight newcomer David Price should heed his own advice and issue a restraining order against him if he is to have any chance of making it in the pro ranks. Price has yet to step between the ropes as a pro but the Beijing bronze medallist has accused unbeaten sensation Fury of stalking him. The Liverpool man holds a win over Fury from the amateur ranks and he says he’s keen to continue that rivalry now that he’s about to have his first pro fight under boxer turned promoter, David Haye. “A restraining order might be a good idea because if I get within a few feet of him I’ll knock him cold,” said Fury. “What he really needs though if he’s going to do anything as a pro is a chin transplant. “I had him on the floor in the amateurs when I was a 10 fight novice and just 17 but he says he doesn’t remember that. Maybe he doesn’t want to remember it but I have the fight on tape and would be happy to send him a copy but I’m sure it’s something he would rather forget. “He could hardly keep upright in the amateurs and that was with big gloves and a head guard on. Imagine if we met now, he wouldn’t get out of the first round. He says he wants to build a rivalry with me and is talking about a 12 rounder for the British title but he’ll never get that far. I think he’d struggle to do 12 rounds of shadow boxing without getting knocked out! “He’s like a lot of these other British heavyweights coming out with this nonsense about needing to build the fight up. You build a rivalry by getting in there and fighting each other instead of just talking about it. I just hope the fight can happen as soon as possible because let’s face it the first decent fighter he meets is going to knock him out. If he wants it all he needs to do is to pick up the phone to my promoter and we can get the fight on instead of just talking about it.” Fury is currently preparing for his fifth pro fight on the undercard of the massive Carl Froch and Jermain Taylor WBC World title fight at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut on April 25. “I can’t wait for my American debut, I’ve fought over there in the amateurs and really enjoyed the experience. I’m looking forward to showing American fight fans that there is someone out there who can breathe some new life into the heavyweight division and it most certainly isn’t David Price.”

Daws and McDonagh clash at York Hall

Lenny Daws is predicting that Peter McDonagh will be in for a nasty surprise when they clash for the English Light Welterweight title on a Hennessy Sports show at the York Hall on April 11th. McDonagh has said that he believes Daws is struggling to boil down to Light Welterweight ahead of their title clash which will be shown live on ITV4 as the chief support to the eagerly anticipated Commonwealth Welterweight title match up between John O’Donnell and Craig Watson. Daws though is adamant that he has no problems making the 10 stone weight limit. “I’m pretty much on the weight already so if he thinks I have problems he’s in for a shock. In fact once he gets in there with me I think he’ll be surprised at just how strong I am at the weight.” McDonagh is noted for being a seasoned, durable foe and the Bermondsey fighter is currently in the best form of his career having ended the unbeaten run of Lee Purdy last time out to claim the Southern Area title. Daws however is going by the old adage that that while form is temporary, class is permanent. “I believe I’m a level above Peter. I remember him from the amateurs and he hasn’t changed much. I’m sure he’ll be well up for the fight and credit to him for stepping up to the challenge and wanting to prove he belongs at this level but I think it’s a step too far for him. “He’s known as being tough and has a great chin, his only stoppage defeat was on a cut so I’ll be looking to make a statement against him and wearing him down for a stoppage. I’ve been doing 10 and 12 rounds in sparring easy and it’s the best I’ve felt in the gym for a long, long time and I think that will show in my performance.” The Morden fighter is hopeful that an impressive win in front of the ITV cameras will see him back in the mix for a shot at his old British title. “Every fight is important but I know that a good win here should be enough to get me a crack at my old British title. I wasn’t happy with the way I lost that Lonsdale belt so I’m desperate to get my hands on it again.”

Big fight Countdown for Froch vs Taylor

This time, Jermain Taylor is training for one thing, and one thing only. He wants his championship belt back. Taylor, who held the Mddleweight Championship from 2005 through 2007, willget his shot at the WBC Super Middleweight belt when he faces current WBC titleholder Carl Froch on Saturday, April 25, on Showtime Championship Boxing from MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. The telecast will air live at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). Taylor (28-2-1, 17KO"s) said the knowledge that he could be champion again is the only incentive he needs to train like he never has before for this fight. He has a new perspective and appreciation for boxing after more than nine years as a professional fighter."Every time I get up in the morning, I say to myself, let's go get that belt back," Taylor said. "Every fighter wants to be world champion and have a belt. I have a sense of purpose and motivation to be a world champion again."It will be Taylor's first action in the ring since a unanimous victory over Jeff Lacy on Nov. 15, 2008, a near-flawless performance that rejuvenated Taylor's career and vaulted him back to boxing's elite. Taylor first won a title
on July 16, 2005, when he beat Bernard Hopkins. He held the title until Sept. 29, 2007, when current titleholder Kelly Pavlik took the belt away. "I'll be honest, I didn't know what I had until I lost it", Taylor said. And now I want it back. I'll do the hard work that it takes to get it back. I know now what it takes. I know if you get comfortable, you'll lose. There's nothing comfortable about this camp. I'm very focus on what I have to do for victory. I'm bringing a lot of fire power and explosives with me when I enter the ring on April 25th." Taylor is training in his familiar locale of Miami, Florida where he has worked out of and on since turning professional in 2001. Taylor said this camp has a renewed sense of energy from all of Team Taylor. They know what is on the line, and everyone is working to get Taylor back to the top of the boxing world."This camp is a lot more focus and intense because there is a championship title on the line," Taylor said. "It's a totally different camp. I can see it in everyone's faces. They want the title back as much as I do." Taylor is once again working with his longtime mentor and head trainer, Ozell Nelson. Both said the pairing is working as well as it ever has. "Ever since we started training camp, we've talked about it," Nelson said of the quest for the super middleweight crown. "It means a lot to Jermain to become world champion again and we plan to take full advantage of the opportunity. Jermain knows what he has to do and he's hungry for the title. It's about putting the work in, staying focus and executing the game plan. This is a camp full of confidence."
“I’m confident that a re-focused, dedicated Jermain Taylor will take the belt from Carl Froch’s waist,” said Taylor’s promoter, Lou DiBella. Taylor has said that he took Kelly Pavlik lightly when he first lost his title in 2007. But it is a new Taylor fighting Froch (24-0, 19 KOs) now, one that is hungry for a title like he never has been before. Taylor is going into April 25 with a sense of urgency unseen in his career before now."Here's why," Taylor said. "I'm the one wanting the title not him. He's trying to keep the title and make a name for himself by fighting me. He has never fought on this level or anyone like me before. I'm going to take him in deep
water and I hope he can swim."Taylor has never been a boxer to trash talk. Froch doesn't seem to have a problem opening his mouth, and it is making for an exciting buildup to the highly-anticipated fight. "I've been hearing he's talking a lot of trash," Taylor said of the Englishman Froch. "If that's what he feels he has to do for this fight, so be it. I don't expect him to be talking nice."Taylor certainly isn't about to be nice when he enters the ring on April 25th. Not when the WBC Super Middleweight belt is on the line. Froch (24-0, 19 KOs), of Nottingham, England, will be making the first defense of the vacant 168-pound crown he gained in his last outing with a unanimous 12-round decision over Jean Pascal on Dec. 6, 2008. He earned the title shot after registering a fourth-round TKO over Albert Rybacki on May 10, 2008, on ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME. The six-foot, 31-year-old Froch, who has fought all but one of his fights in the UK, is one of 30 Shobox alums to become a world titleholder. A victory over Taylor would provide Froch instant stardom. The winner on April 25 will perhaps have the opportunity to unify against the IBF champion, the winner of this Friday’s Lucian Bute vs. Fulgencio Zuniga bout. Taylor (28-2-1, 17 KOs), of Little Rock, Ark., has had a prolific pro career since winning a bronze medal for the United States in the 2000 Olympic Games. The six-foot-one-inch, 30-year-old Taylor is the only boxer to twice defeat future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins. In a WBC title eliminator last Nov. 15, Taylor dominated Jeff Lacy en route to taking a unanimous decision. Taylor also has defeated former champions Cory Spinks, Raul Marquez and William Joppy.

Chelsea search for Asian Star

Chelsea Football Club is launching a search for young Asian football stars of the future. The club has teamed up with the FA, Kick it Out and the Asian Media Group to launch the ‘Search for an Asian Soccer Star’ and will be holding open trials for youngsters from Asian backgrounds during the May Bank Holiday with the most talented players being offered a three-day residential trial at the club’s world class Academy. The Search for an Asian Star event will take place on the 2, 3 and 4 May at Chelsea’s training ground in Cobham for players in the Under 12,13 and 14 age groups and will be open to London and South-East based players from Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi backgrounds. Participants will be judged on a series of matches and tests specifically designed and used by the Chelsea Academy to demonstrate their speed, skills and ability. The winners from each age group will be offered an initial three-day trial at the Chelsea Academy and any player meeting the required standards will be offered the chance to join some of the country’s most talented young players in the Chelsea youth system. “We realise that there is a lack of representation of players from Asian backgrounds within the game and we hope that the competition will help inspire Asian youngsters,” said former Chelsea and England star Graeme Le Saux. “We want to show that race is no barrier to joining our club and that opportunities for Asian players do exist. We are proud of the religious and racial diversity at Chelsea and it is important that all clubs share our ambition that players should only be judged on their talent and their potential,” he added. With two young British Asian players already at the club, Chelsea would like to see a further injection of Asian talent throughout the game. To achieve this aim Chelsea will also be inviting managers, coaches and scouts from clubs at all levels of the game to identify talented youngsters and information will also be on hand for Asian players to find clubs in their area. Piara Power, Director of Kick it Out, welcomed the initiative: “Kick it Out is delighted to support this great programme. I hope that the Search for an Asian Soccer Star project will help inspire Asian players to take their involvement further at all levels of the game. For a leading club like Chelsea to provide such fantastic opportunities for Asian players shows they are taking the issues facing Asian participation seriously.’’ Managing Editor of the Asian Media Group Kalpesh Solanki said: "It is great to be involved in this innovative and forward-thinking project with Chelsea. We feel there is the talent within the Asian community but it has not been given the appropriate high-profile support and encouragement that is needed. Chelsea have taken a huge step forward in this regard and shown what can be done when there is a will for change at the very highest club level. The club management, like us, recognise that a diversity on the field helps smash prejudice and inspires a future generation."Zesh Rehman, the first British Asian player to play at all levels of the professional game said: “I think clubs need to take a more active role and engage with their communities and I think it’s a great project. Chelsea are a Premier League club with a massive profile across the world I am sure other clubs can look at that and use it as a template for future reference.” The FA’s Consultant in Race Equality Brendon Batson underlined the FA’s support for the scheme: “The FA are delighted to offer our support to the Search for an Asian Soccer Star initiative. For a club like Chelsea to offer these opportunities demonstrates their commitment to breaking down the barriers between the game and the Asian Community and mirrors the ambition of the FA that football is representative of all our communities.” Asian Football Network Manager Kuljit Randhawa said: "The Asian Football Network is pleased to offer its full support to Chelsea FC's Asian Star Project. This initiative provides a unique opportunity to highlight the wealth of untapped talent that exists in the South Asian footballing community." Mesba Ahmed, Chief Executive and Founder of the London Tigers and organiser of the annual Asian Community Cup held at Stamford Bridge, welcomed the initiative: “We have always enjoyed close links with Chelsea and are delighted to support the event. Giving young Asian players the chance to get involved with the game and the chance to join a club like Chelsea can only help inspire them and shows Chelsea’s commitment to the Asian community.”

Monty makes 500 appearances on Tour

Colin Montgomerie today gathered some of his close golfing friends around him in Seville on the eve of his 500th appearance as a professional on The European Tour – and proved that you can have your cake and eat it! The 2010 European Ryder Cup Captain marked the occasion alongside two-time Masters Champion José Maria Olazábal, the course designer this week, and his fellow Spaniard and Ryder Cup player, Miguel Angel Jiménez at the Real Club de Golf de Sevilla as the trio prepared for the first round of the Open de Andalucia de Golf 09.Montgomerie, who has won a record 31 European Tour titles – one of numerous standards he has set in a professional career spanning 22 years – will become the 18th player in Tour history to clock up 500 starts in the company of his good friend, Jiménez, this week’s tournament Promoter, and Denmark’s Søren Kjeldsen. The 45 year old Scot, who has won a record eight Harry Vardon Trophies as Europe’s Number One, commented: “I feel very fortunate to say that number - 500. It means I’ve been healthy for over 20 years. It adds up to around 25 tournaments for the last two decades. If you add that up into a series of miles I think I’ve almost walked from London to Hong Kong! “I am very fortunate to say that I’ve been healthy for all those years and lucky enough at 45 to still be playing. I hope to get a lot further up that tree than 500 but right now I am very honoured to join the select band of 18 of us who have made it this far. “There are some records of which I am very proud. For example, I’ve made 421 cuts out of 499 so far and 182 top ten finishes, which is a Tour record. I think 182 top tens shows a lot of consistency and a high level of performance and I hope to get that figure up to 200 – hopefully with number 183 this week!” Montgomerie added: “I look forward to every event that I play in and start with the feeling ‘this could be a win’ or ‘a very good finish’ or a career changing episode in one’s life. I do enjoy the competition. I love what this game brings out in me. I’m fortunate that what I do for a living and what I would do for a hobby is the same thing.”

Casey hits top shot in Fabruary

Paul Casey’s superb six iron strike for an eagle two during the final of the World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play, has been awarded The European Tour Shot of the Month for February. The Englishman knew he had to conjure up something special to get back into the 36 hole showdown against Geoff Ogilvy after the Australian had moved four up after nine and, coming to the 493 yard tenth hole at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Arizona, he did just that. Faced with a shot of some 197 yards, into the wind and downhill, the nine time European Tour champion produced a perfect six iron, the ball checking beautifully on the putting surface before rolling into the hole. “It was a really good shot, I knew it as soon as it had left the club,” said 31 year old Casey, who eventually lost the final 4 and 3. “I struck it well, I hit it where I was aiming and it looked good in the wind. I hit three wood off the tee which was always the game plan to get into the correct position and it shows that sometimes that is the best thing to do.
“I am delighted to have won the Shot of the Month Award as it is always nice to have your good play recognised. It made my day when I was told the news.” Second place in February went to another Englishman, Ross McGowan, for his excellent fairway wood approach to the par five ninth hole of The Vines Resort and Country Club during the Johnnie Walker Classic which set up an eagle three; while a third Englishman, Ian Poulter, took third place for his fine escape from a fairway bunker on the 17th during his match with Charl Schwartzel in the WGC – Accenture Match Play, a shot which not only set up a tap-in-birdie but which also gave him the impetus to go on and win the match. Casey is the second winner of the 2009 season, the January award having gone to Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy for the bunker shot which helped him win the Dubai Desert Classic. The European Tour Shot of the Month is presented to the Tour Member for the shot judged to be the most outstanding played during each calendar month on The European Tour International Schedule. The winning shots from each month are entered into The European Tour Shot of the Year.

Short List for Laureus World Sports Awards

A spectacular year of action has set up one of the most exciting contests ever for the 2009 Laureus World Team of the Year Award, featuring a high profile sporting battle between the most successful Olympic teams and the top football teams in the world. The tenth Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognise sporting achievement during the calendar year 2008, are widely acknowledged as the premier honours on the international sporting calendar. The names of the Nominees, and the venue and date of the 2009 Laureus World Sports Awards will be announced by April 16. The Jamaica Olympic Sprint Team made a near clean sweep in Beijing, overwhelming the United States, the traditional powerhouse of sprinting. It was the first time one country had claimed so many medals since 1912. Usain Bolt won gold in the men’s 100 and 200 metres, Veronica Campbell-Brown successfully defended the 200 metres and Shelly-Ann Fraser became the first Jamaican woman to win the Olympic 100 metres. The men’s team also won 4x100 metres relay gold. Zou Kai’s victory on the horizontal bars on the last day of competition in Beijing gave him his third gold medal and the China Olympic Gymnastics Team their ninth. It was a perfect ending to the host country's brilliant gymnastic display, giving it the best result ever in the discipline. China’s other gold medals came from Chen Yibing, He Kexin, Li Xiaopeng and Xiao Qin. In addition to staging a spectacular Olympic Games, host nation China recorded their best ever Olympic results. The full China Olympic Team led the final medals table with 51 gold, 21 silver and 28 bronze. The Great Britain Cycling Team won eight gold medals, four silver and two bronze, dominating the sport. The individual gold medallists were Nicole Cooke, Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Rebecca Romero and Bradley Wiggins. And there were team gold medals in the Men’s Team Pursuit and Men’s Team Sprint. The Germany Men’s Olympic Hockey Team beat Spain 1-0 to win the Olympic gold medal. Christopher Zeller’s goal in the 16th minute gave the Germans their first Olympic hockey title since 1992. While the Olympics dominated the sporting scene in August, it was football that produced some sparkling team displays earlier in the year. The Spain Football Team, under coach Luis Aragones, won the European Football Championship. It was Spain’s first major title for 44 years. They beat three-times champions Germany 1-0 in the final with a goal by Fernando Torres. Spain's total of 12 goals made them leading scorers and Xavi was named Player of the Tournament. Under coach Sir Alex Ferguson, English Premier League club Manchester United won their third European Cup/Champions League and also the English Premier League Championship in 2008. Just days after having secured their 17th English League title, they beat English rivals Chelsea on penalties after a 1-1 draw in normal time in the Champions League final in Moscow on May 21. The star of Manchester United’s season was Portuguese striker Crsitiano Ronaldo who scored 42 goals. The Egypt Football Team won a record sixth African Nations Cup, beating Cameroon 1-0 in the final in Accra, Ghana in February. Mohamed Aboutrika scored the winning goal. They won the inaugural African Nations Cup in Sudan in 1957 and also won in 1959, 1986, 1998 and 2006. One team managed to be represented in both camps - Olympics and Football – as the Argentina Olympic Football Team retained the Olympic title they won in Athens, beating Nigeria 1-0 in the final in Beijing. This year there is a strong challenge from the United States. New York Giants staged one of the biggest upsets in NFL history, winning the Super Bowl 17-14 and preventing hot favourites New England Patriots becoming the first undefeated team since 1972. While Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA basketball play-offs for a record 17th time. Philadelphia Phillies, the oldest continuous one-name, one-city franchise in American professional sport, won only the second baseball World Series in their 126-year history, when they beat Tampa Bay Rays 4-1, with Cole Hamels being named Most Valuable Player. Detroit Red Wings victory over Pittsburgh Penguins was their 11th Stanley Cup ice hockey championship. They have now made the playoffs in 23 of the last 25 seasons, including the last 17 in a row – the longest current streak of post-season appearances in American professional sport. One of the sporting victories most enjoyed in the United States took place in Kentucky in September. Led by six determined rookies, inspired by a brilliant captain in Paul Azinger and roared on by a passionate crowd, the United States Ryder Cup Team beat favourites Europe 16½-11½ in this historic golfing encounter for the first time in nine years. More impressively, they did it without the best golfer in the world, Tiger Woods, who was injured. The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula One Team provided the car driven by Lewis Hamilton as he became the youngest ever Formula One World Champion. During the year the team won six Grand Prix - Hamilton won in Australia, Monaco, Britain, Germany and China, and his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen won in Hungary. But McLaren did not win the Constructors World Championship. That was taken by Ferrari for a record 16th time with their drivers Felipe Massa and Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen. Ferrari won eight Grand Prix – Bahrain, Turkey, France, European, Belgium and Brazil (Massa) and Malaysia and Spain (Raikkonen). In rugby, it may not have made up for losing to France in the quarter-final of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, but 2008 was a wonderful year for the New Zealand All Blacks as they re-established themselves as the top team in the world. They won the Tri-Nations Series against Australia and World Champions South Africa, then they completed an autumn Grand Slam in the British Isles, beating Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. The All Blacks were named International Rugby Board Team of the Year and their coach Graham Henry was voted Coach of the Year. In cricket, South Africa became the first team in 16 years to win a Test Series in Australia. If they had won the final game in Sydney, they would have taken over the No.1 world ranking from the Australians. During the year, South Africa won 11 out of 15 Tests, losing just two matches. They won the Test series in England and drew in India. Captained and coached by Australian spin legend Shane Warne, Rajasthan Royals cricket team won the inaugural Indian Premier League, despite being regarded by some as one of the weaker teams in the league. The team lost its first match by nine wickets, then recovered for an 11-3 winning record to qualify for the play-offs. They beat Delhi in the semi-finals and Chennai by three wickets in the final in June. Double Olympic gold medallist Edwin Moses, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, said: “The Olympic Games produced some memorable moments. As well as producing a great Games, the Chinese certainly delivered on the medal count. And as a former track runner myself, I thought the performances of the Jamaican sprinters were amazing. Having Franz Beckenbauer and Bobby Charlton as Academy members, I know just what a great year it was for football. Whichever six teams are nominated from whichever sports, the Academy is going to have a truly great list of nominees to vote for.” There is a two-part voting process to find the winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards. Firstly, a Selection Panel of the world’s leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters from over 120 countries votes to create a shortlist of six nominations in various categories including Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year, Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year and Laureus World Comeback of the Year. The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy then vote by secret ballot to select the Award winners. The Laureus Academy is the ultimate sports jury, made up of 46 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, who have made an outstanding contribution to world sport. The Laureus Academy members also vote for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability and the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year, the nominations for which are made by specialist panels. The 2008 Awards Ceremony in St.Petersburg, held in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was attended by global figures from sport, entertainment, business and fashion. In addition to members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, among the guests present were Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, England football coach Fabio Capello, Russian swimming star Alexander Popov, Paralympic ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius and Tour De France winner Alberto Contador. From the world of entertainment there was Kim Catrall, Cuba Gooding Jnr, Dennis Hopper and Kyle MacLachlan. Among the legends of sport who were present to receive Awards were tennis legends Roger Federer and Justine Henin, British racing driver Lewis Hamiton, wheelchair tennis star Esther Vergeer and members of the South African team, which won the Rugby World Cup.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Anderson's quest for a Title

Scottish sensation Kenny Anderson is aiming for an explosive victory over Nathan King on Friday night. The pair clash for the Vacant Celtic Super-Middleweight title at the Bellahouston Sports Centre, Glasgow, as chief support to Ricky Burns' Commonwealth super-featherweight title defence against Michael Gomez. The fight is 26-year-old Anderson's first for a title, and he is looking to extend his unbeaten run to 10 fights against gritty Welshman King live on Sky Sports 2. And the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist says that once he has dealt with King, he'll be looking to capture the British title before the year is out. "King is pretty experienced and he's only been stopped once, so I've prepared for a hard 10 rounds," said Edinburgh ace Anderson. "This is just the kind of test that I need at this stage of my career, and I'm desperate to impress, especially as my fight will be screened on Sky. "But victory on Friday will just be the start. "My ultimate aim is to win a world title, but my immediate target is the Lonsdale belt. "I'm improving with every fight, and within 12 months I'm confident I will have that title. "The domestic super-middleweight scene is in transition at the moment because Carl Froch has gone on to world level, and I plan to take advantage of the power vacuum. "When I was growing up my heroes were the likes of Steve Collins, Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank and Joe Calzaghe, and I want to follow in their footsteps."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Torrance tops the Leaderboard

Sam Torrance sealed a stunning week in the Caribbean by capturing his 11th European Senior Tour title in the DGM Barbados Open, safely negotiating a tricky final round for a four stroke victory over Paraguay’s Angel Franco. Having sent records tumbling with some scintillating golf over the first two days, Torrance found the going a little tougher in his final round but had more than enough in the tank to see the job through. The 2002 Ryder Cup Captain started the final day with a commanding nine stroke advantage following opening rounds of 65 and 63 – the new course record at Royal Westmoreland – but he dropped his first shot in 43 holes on the eighth.He carded three more bogeys and two birdies en route to a two over par final round of 74 but with Franco only able to post a 69, Torrance’s 14 under par total of 202 saw him comfortably crowned the tenth new winner of the DGM Barbados Open on its tenth anniversary. The Scot admitted the magnitude of his overnight lead had left him unsure about how to approach the decisive final 18 holes but he said he was delighted with his second win in three appearances, following his victory in the 2008 season ending OKI Castellón Open España – Senior Tour Championship. “I survived,” said the 55 year old. “It feels fantastic to capture my 11th Senior Tour title and to win again. “It was a tough day out there, a lot trickier than the first two days but I got over the line. I guess it can’t be horrible taking a nine shot lead into the final round but I had never really been in that position before so I didn’t quite know what to do. “I was quite negative really. I played for par a lot but in the end I just got the job done. I did all the hard work during the first two days. I played magnificently on both of those days. I don’t think anyone could have played better than I did in those two rounds. Torrance’s victory continued his run of winning in each of the last six seasons on the Senior Tour and moved him up a place to sixth on the all time Senior Tour career money list, which is led by England’s Carl Mason. After also finishing tied sixth in the season opening Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters presented by The Stapleford Forum, Torrance has made the perfect start in his quest to win back the John Jacobs Trophy he won in both 2005 and 2006, with the €25,234 first prize moving him to the top of the Senior Tour Order of Merit. “The plan before the beginning of the season was to go for the Order of Merit, absolutely, and it’s been a great start to the year” he said. “I’m playing in the next event in Mallorca and I’m really looking forward to it.” Franco equalled his best Senior Tour finish, set in the Jersey Senior Classic and Russian Seniors Open last year. He finished four shots ahead of third place Mike Harwood of Australia, who was making only his second Senior Tour appearance after a break from competitive golf of more than ten years. Defending champion Bill Longmuir of Scotland carded his third consecutive 71 to finish tied seventh, while Welshman Ian Woosnam, the 2008 Senior Tour number one, closed with a round of 73 to finish in a share of 27th on six over par 222 in his first appearance of the new season.

Wagner wins in Colombia

Teenage sensation Alan Wagner capped a day to remember for Argentine golf when he clinched his maiden Challenge Tour title at the Club Colombia Masters presentado por Samsung. Hours after his compatriot Estanislao Goya – who graduated from the Challenge Tour last year – had registered his breakthrough European Tour victory at the Madeira Islands Open BPI – Portugal, Wagner entered the winner’s enclosure for the first time at Country Club de Bogotá in Bogotá, Colombia. On a dramatic final day when the lead changed hands several times and torrential rain led to a two-hour suspension in the afternoon, Wagner eventually emerged triumphant after signing for a round of 68 to close on 13 under par. That left the 19 year old, whose winner’s cheque for US$32,000 catapulted him to the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings, one shot clear of his nearest challenger, overnight leader Edoardo Molinari of Italy. Wagner flew out of the blocks with three birdies in his first four holes to surge to the top of the leaderboard at the expense of Molinari, who in contrast started his level par round of 72 with a bogey. France’s Julien Guerrier soon overhauled the Argentine with five birdies in his opening ten holes, but an eagle at the 13th hole – allied to a bogey at the 15th for the Frenchman – saw Wagner regain control, and it was a lead he would never relinquish, despite a late rally by Molinari. Wagner said: “I can’t believe it’s actually happened. The key for me today was to try to not get too anxious and stay focused, especially with the rain delay. I tried not to think about winning the tournament and what it would mean, but now that I have I’m in dreamland. And for my close friend Estanisloa [Goya] to win on The European Tour on the same day makes it extra special. “Now I hope to play a full season on the Challenge Tour, and hopefully if I play well enough I can one day follow him onto The European Tour. But that’s for another day – for now, I’m just going to enjoy the moment.” Guerrier finished in third place on 11 under par, one shot ahead of Argentina’s Julio Zapata and England’s Jamie Moul, who climbed from 20th place at the start of play to a tie for fifth after his round of 66, the lowest of the day.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Froch fights for British Honour

Carl Froch stands alone as Britain’s sole World boxing champion and the WBC Super Middleweight title holder doesn’t plan on giving up that status any time soon. The Cobra makes the first defence of his title next month when he travels to the U.S. for a mega fight with former undisputed middleweight champ, Jermain Taylor. Froch's April 25th date at The Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut is seen as a risky assignment by many but Froch says he’s in the business of taking calculated risks. “Winning the World title at home in Nottingham was the proudest moment of my career but there’s no point staying at home and defending your title against nondescript challengers. You need to step out of your comfort zone and I really want to lay down a marker in the sport by taking on and beating the best. “With the greatest respect to some of the other British guys who’ve held titles recently not many people outside of their own homes would have considered them genuine world champions. Being the World Champ is about being the very best in your weight division and taking on all comers to prove that. That’s why I’m putting it all on the line and going to the States to take on Taylor. It’s all about making a statement and proving to people that I am the best super middleweight on the planet.” Froch says that winning a world title has actually increased and not diminished his hunger for success. “When some people win a world title they start thinking they’ve made it and start looking for a cash out payday. They lose that edge but I’m hungrier than ever right now. I’ve worked my whole career to get to this point and now that I’ve become a World Champion I just want to push on and prove beyond doubt that I’m one of the best out there pound for pound.” Froch is certainly in no doubt that the famous green WBC belt will be returning home to Nottingham with him after his fight with Taylor. “Jermain’s a very good fighter, you don’t unify the middleweight titles and beat Bernard Hopkins twice without being a good fighter but I simply believe I’m the better man and deep down he knows that too, that’s why he had to be forced into taking the fight. “He’s talking about going to war and shutting me up but lets face it does he really want to get into the trenches with someone like me? He’s going to find out very quickly in there that I can walk the walk as well as talking the talk because this is a major showcase for me to put the World on notice just what I’m all about.

Watson looking for a Knockout

Craig Watson is determined to make boxing fans sit up and take notice by knocking out John O’Donnell when they contest the Commonwealth Welterweight title in London next month. The two clash in front of the ITV4 cameras on a Hennessy Sports show at the York Hall on April 11th and Watson is forecasting an early night. Despite winning the Commonwealth title in 2007 Watson remains best known to many boxing fans for dumping Amir Khan on the canvas in the amateurs but he’s determined to add another stoppage win to his highlight reel next month against O’Donnell. “I feel I’m still a little bit under the radar and I’m definitely an underrated fighter,” said the 26-year-old. “This is a good chance for me to prove just how good I am with a big fight live on TV. O’Donnell’s a very good boxer but he hasn’t been in with anyone like me and I honestly believe I’ll walk right through him. “I’m feeling as strong as an ox, I’m throwing 400 punches a round in training and I think I’m going to outwork him, out muscle him and stop him early on. I’ve watched him and he’s got good hand speed but he’s not very strong and that’s my department. “I’ve been working on applying controlled pressure and I don’t think he’ll be able to withstand that. I’ve beaten decent fighters like Ali Nuumbembe, Michael Lomax and Matthew Hatton but he hasn’t really beaten anyone yet.” Watson’s career has been stop start of late with a number of recent fights falling through. However despite having not fought since a comprehensive win over Matthew Hatton last May he doesn’t believe ring rust will be an issue.“Being out of the ring for almost a year isn’t ideal obviously but I’ve had very good sparring for this one so my timing feels spot on right now. It’s been a frustrating time for me with fights falling through. I’ve had bad news after bad news but I’m raring to go for this one. I’ve trained like a demon for it and I’m just itching to get in there now.” The all southpaw battle will have fight fans split down the middle in what on paper looks to be a real 50 – 50 affair but Watson says he has no problems fighting a fellow “lefty”. “Michael Lomax is a tall southpaw just like O’Donnell and I beat him easy. I bashed him up over 8 rounds and he went on to win Prizefighter after that. I was really just a light welterweight back then but I’ve matured and grown into the weight now and feel a whole lot stronger now. This is a real chance for me to shine and take my career to the next level. Watson v O’Donnell headlines a fantastic line-up of championship boxing at the legendary York Hall in Bethnal Green. In the chief support bout Lenny Daws meets Peter McDonagh for the English Light Welterweight title while Steve O’Meara and hot prospect, Bradley Evans also feature on the undercard.

O'Donnell inspired by Carl Froch

John O’Donnell says he’s taking inspiration from WBC Super Middleweight kingpin Carl Froch ahead of his Commonwealth title challenge in London next month. O’Donnell takes on Craig Watson at the York Hall for his Commonwealth Welterweight title on a Hennessy Sports show which is being screened live on ITV4 on April 11th. Froch of course has a massive night of his own to look forward to next month as he crosses the Atlantic to put his WBC title on the line against Jermain Taylor in the first defence. With both men trained by Robert McCracken O’Donnell is hoping that he can go on to emulate Froch’s achievements starting with ripping the Commonwealth title away from Watson. “Carl did things the traditional way by winning the British and Commonwealth titles and I’d like to do the same,” said O’Donnell. “I see Carl day in, day out in the gym and he’s an inspiration to me. “He’s a world class fighter with world class ability but he still works harder than any other fighter I know and he’s a great role model for young fighters like myself coming through. He just wants to prove that he’s the best out there and he’s shown that by going over to fight Jermain Taylor in the U.S. “I can’t think of too many other fighters that would take a massive fight like that for their first defence but that’s Carl’s mentality. When you’re rubbing shoulders with guys like that in the gym it brings you on because you get to see exactly what it takes to reach the top.” O’Donnell believes that a victory over Watson will go some way to propelling him towards the top of the British and European welterweight ratings. “I’ve a lot of respect for Watson because he’s a tricky southpaw and I think he’s underrated but I’m confident I can do a job on him. Training’s going perfectly and I’m really stepping up my sparring now this week so by fight night I should be in the best shape of my life.” O’Donnell’s Commonwealth title bid headlines a fantastic line-up of championship boxing at the legendary York Hall in Bethnal Green. In the chief support bout Lenny Daws meets Peter McDonagh for the English Light Welterweight title. Steve O’Meara and hot prospect, Bradley Evans also feature on the undercard.

Burns makes his Mark

Body art fan Ricky Burns is planning his latest tattoo - a knocked out Michael Gomez.Commonwealth super-featherweight champion Burns will make the second defence of his title in Glasgow on March 27 against hard-hitting veteran Gomez. Sky Sports televise live. And the 25-year-old is so confident of victory he has devised a unique way of celebrating it. "I've been working with my tattooist on a design to mark my win," said Burns. "It's Gomez after I've knocked him out! "I had a tattoo done after I won the Commonwealth title, my first major professional belt, and I'll get one to remember the Gomez fight by as well." Burns, from Coatbridge, Scotland, has a 25-2 (6) record and is unbeaten in 10 fights. And he says he is planning more tattoo designs to commemorate different stages of his boxing career. "After I've beaten Gomez, I want to clean up domestically," he added. "My two targets are British champion Kevin Mitchell, and former world champion Nicky Cook. "I've been after Mitchell for a while but I'm not sure he wants the fight. "With all the wins and tattoos I've got planned, I might have to go up a few weight divisions to fit them all on my body!"

DeGale's Royal Appointment

Olympic champion James DeGale faced his toughest opponent yet - The Queen. DeGale picked up an MBE from Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace, along with other British stars of the 2008 Games. "I was pretty nervous, it's much more frightening than boxing!" said DeGale, who was honoured after landing the middleweight title in China. "But the Queen was fantastic and I actually had quite a long chat with her. She was asking me about my boxing and how I started out - hopefully she'll now become a fan. "Being given the MBE is a fantastic honour, and it made me so proud today. "Afterwards they play the national anthem, and it gave me goose bumps and reminded me of winning the gold medal in Beijing. It was quite a feeling. "Last year I promised myself that I would win gold in China, and I managed to make that dream come true. Now I have to prove myself all over again in the professional ranks though." DeGale didn't spend too long in central London, heading straight to the gym after the ceremony. It's so he will be in excellent shape for his second professional fight, which takes place in Belfast on either May 8 or May 9. The 23-year-old got his paid career off to the best possible start with a comprehensive four-round win in Birmingham last month.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Montgomerie reaches milestone in Andalucía

Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, the most prolific British winner in European Tour history, will celebrate his 500th European Tour appearance as a professional at next week’s Open de Andalucía. Montgomerie, who will captain Europe at The 2010 Ryder Cup, will bid to capture his 32nd European Tour title when he tees up at Real Club de Golf de Sevilla in Seville, Spain. The record-breaking Scot opened his account on his 54th European Tour appearance back in 1989, when he cruised to an 11-shot win at the Portuguese Open – his biggest margin of victory in a European Tour event. Since then the 45 year old has re-written the history books several times, having amassed a total of €23,639,775 in European Tour Official Career earnings, recorded 182 European Tour top ten finishes, set 13 European Tour course records, and lifted the Harry Vardon Trophy for finishing European Tour Number One eight times. In addition, he has notched eight holes-in-one on The European Tour, won six European Tour titles in a single season, received The European Tour Golfer of the Year award four times, and captured three consecutive BMW PGA Championship titles. Montgomerie said: “I am very fortunate to have reached the landmark of playing in my 500th European Tour event as a professional. I am very lucky that my career is also my passion, and that I still enjoy the thrill of competing just as much as I did when I started out on The European Tour 20 years ago. “Over the years and the 499 professional events I have played in, I have been delighted and proud to be part of The European Tour and to see it develop into the thriving worldwide Tour it stands as today. My 500th event will be the Open de Andalucía, a tournament run by Miguel Ángel Jiménez, a good friend and a great player. When he asked me to take part in the event, I immediately said yes.” Jiménez is again promoting the event which for the first time will be played at Real Club de Golf de Sevilla, a course designed in 1992 by another of Montgomerie’s close friends, fellow Ryder Cup star José Maria Olazábal of Spain. The careers of the two men are closely linked – indeed, as far back as 1984, Olazábal claimed The Amateur Championship at Montgomerie’s expense. Three years later Montgomerie turned professional, and collected his first pay cheque – for €1,905 – after a tied 45th finish at the 1987 German Masters. Twenty years later, in July 2007, he won the more substantial sum of €593,580 after surpassing Nick Faldo’s previous record of 30 European Tour titles with his one-shot victory at The European Open at The K Club in Ireland – also the scene of his 2006 triumph over American David Toms, which ensured he remained unbeaten in eight Ryder Cup singles matches stretching back to 1991. Montgomerie went on to cap the 2007 season in some style by partnering compatriot Marc Warren to victory at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China, thereby securing Scotland’s first win in the event. He will now fulfil a lifetime’s ambition by captaining Europe at The 2010 Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bourdy looks to defend Title

France’s Grégory Bourdy will attempt to kick-start his 2009 season when he aims to follow in the footsteps of Paul Broadhurst in 2006 by successfully defending his Estoril Open de Portugal title from April 2-5. The 26 year old will return to Oitavos Dunes, in Estoril, where he defeated Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth and England’s David Howell last year in a three-man play-off following a superb final round comeback to win his second European Tour title. Bourdy went into the final day with a four stroke advantage over the field but looked as if he had let the title slip through his fingers as he reached the turn three over par for his final round. He recovered on the back nine to finish on 18 under par 266 and set up the play-off, which he won by defeating Howell on the fourth extra hole, after Forsyth had dropped out two holes earlier. Bourdy will again be joined by the pair in the field this year and he admitted he was looking forward to returning to the scene of his dramatic triumph to defend his title. “It was a very good comeback and a strange finish,” said Bourdy. “I was still confident of my game despite the bad start to my final round having played so well on the first three days. I thought it was possible to make some more birdies on the back nine and I managed to do that. It was a very exciting finish. “To then win the play-off against David Howell and Alastair Forsyth was great, especially after playing so badly on the front nine. It was a very good comeback. Maybe that made me enjoy the title much more than my first victory in Mallorca in 2007, because it was more difficult to win this tournament. “It was my first play-off on The European Tour but I had played in some play-offs before and I had always won so I was quite confident. I had played well all week so I felt good going into it. To win against David Howell, who is such a good player, was great for me. Alastair went out after the second hole meaning I finished with David, so it was like match play which made it more exciting.” Bourdy’s victory helped him finish inside the top 50 on The European Tour money list for the second successive season and he is relishing his return to Oitavos Dunes as defending champion as he looks to ignite his 2009 campaign which has begun slowly, with tied 43rd in Qatar his best finish so far. “I’m really happy to be going back to Portugal,” he said. “I love this part of the world, especially Estoril. It’s a wonderful place. I like the golf course, it suits my game, and it will be special for me going back as defending champion. “I’m feeling good about my game but I’ve not played well at the start of this year. I’ve had a really bad start but I’ve changed a few things in my swing. I have to be patient but I’m close to my best game. After a few weeks of practising I will be ready for Portugal.” Only Broadhurst and Sam Torrance (1983) have successfully defended the Estoril Open de Portugal since it became part of The European Tour International Schedule.

Senior Tour set for South Africa

The European Senior Tour will visit South Africa for the first time next season when the spectacular Fancourt, in George, hosts the inaugural Berenberg Bank Masters from March 26-28, 2010. The Links at Fancourt, designed by legendary South African Gary Player, a three time Senior Open Champion, lies at the foot of the majestic Outeniqua mountains in the heart of the Garden Route and will provide the stunning backdrop for another groundbreaking Senior Tour tournament. The Berenberg Bank Masters, sponsored by Germany’s oldest private bank which has more than 400 years experience in the sector, will be co-sanctioned by the European Senior Tour and the Sunshine Tour. Dr Hans-Walter Peters, Managing Partner of Berenberg Bank, said: “It is a great honour for us to sponsor this first European Senior Tour event in South Africa – especially as it is just three months before the country hosts football’s World Cup.” Dr Hasso Plattner, owner of Fancourt, said: “We are delighted to welcome the European Senior Tour to Fancourt and the announcement enhances our reputation as a first class tournament venue.”
Player, who will act as an ambassador for the Berenberg Bank Masters, expressed his excitement about the event being played at Fancourt next year. He said: “I’m delighted to be a part of the Berenberg Bank Masters next March, and I truly believe there couldn’t be a better venue for the European Senior Tour to make its debut in South Africa. The Links will be a true test for the players.” Gareth Tindall, Sunshine Tour Commissioner, said: “This is great news for professional golf in South Africa. This event could just be the impetus to creating the Sunshine Senior Tour that mirrors The European Tour structure. We look forward to working with Andy Stubbs and his team to ensure it will be a memorable event.” Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, said: “Our thanks go to Dr Peters and his team at Berenberg Bank for making this exciting tournament possible. We look forward to a five-star event at a five-star venue and we will all be working closely to ensure that we give the clients of Berenberg Bank the best possible experience in South Africa in 2010.” One of the stalwarts of the Senior Tour John Bland, winner of the 1995 London Masters and five Champions Tour titles, is attached to Fancourt, which, with its three Championship golf courses, is a much sought-after international golfing destination. The Links at Fancourt has previously hosted the Presidents Cup in 2003, the inaugural Women’s World Cup of Golf in 2005, and the South African Open Championship on The European Tour in 2006, which was won by home favourite Retief Goosen. Fancourt is also home to the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation, which gives golfing opportunities to talented South African youngsters from families of limited resources.

Napa in Title Defence

IAN NAPA believes he is now making up for lost time after wasting his early professional years.The East London stylist fights on his doorstep at Newham Leisure Centre on March 20 when he makes the first defence of his European bantamweight title against Frenchman Malik Bouziane (10-1). Napa, 30, delivered a career best performance in October when he grabbed the Euro crown from Carmelo Ballone. It was Napa's fifth straight win and proved that he is finally showing the promise expected when he turned professional almost 11 years ago. Napa (18-6) said: "I mixed with the wrong crowd when I was younger and I have learned from my mistakes. I've learned the value of dedication, "Every fighter on the planet dreams of a world title fight and I will prove myself when I get a chance. I am world class. "Bouziane is a big test for me and if I want to be taken seriously at the highest level I need to show my best form when we meet."A second title fight on bill sees Bristol star Lee Haskins (18-2) defend his British super-flyweight title against Nottingham's Jason Booth (31-5). Other fights on an impressive undercard include British featherweight title contender Akaash Bhatia (13-0), heavyweight Larry Olubamiwo (3-0) and flyweight Ashley Sexton (4-0).

Sunderland to stage Fight Night

FRANK MALONEY will stage a sensational triple title card in Sunderland on Saturday May 2 with a special added attraction the homecoming of Olympic hero Tony Jeffries. New European light-middleweight champion Jamie Moore makes the first defence of his title when he faces Ukraine's former amateur star Roman Dzuman (23-6-1). Salford's Moore (31-3) won the title in style earlier this month knocking out former WBC world champion Michele Piccirillo. Mike Tyson conqueror Danny Williams (40-7) risks his British heavyweight title in a rematch against John McDermott (25-4). Their combined weight is almost ¼ ton and if there clash last year is anything to go by it will be an explosive contest. Brixton's Williams was a controversial points winner in their first meeting when many ringsiders believed McDermott had done enough. European super-bantamweight champion Rendall Munroe (18-1) bids to become a double title holder when he meets a selected opponent for the vacant Commonwealth title. Like fellow southpaw Moore, the Leicester dustman is closing in a on a world title tilt. Beijing bronze medalist Jeffries hasn't boxed in home city for almost four years and a big crowd is expected for what will hopefully be a triumph return for the Sunderland's first Olympic medalist in history.Promoter Frank Maloney said: "This is the biggest night of boxing in the north-east for 20 years and I am sure the passionate fans will get behind it. "Manchester has been the capital of British boxing for a decade, but the north-east is about to take that crown." Undefeated Newcastle brothers Jon Lewis and Travis Dickinson will also box four rounders on the star studded bill. The card is the British leg of Sky Box Office's top night of action headed by Ricky Hatton's showdown against Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Swaby to face the Wrath of Fury

Lee Swaby has warned Tyson Fury that he should be careful what he wishes for. Fury has lashed out at his British heavyweight rivals by claiming that they are all running for cover but Swaby says he was only too happy to step up to the plate by tackling the 6 foot 9 inch Manchester man this weekend. The heavyweight sensation has racked up a hat trick of quick fire stoppage wins against European opposition in his first 3 professional outings with Lincoln southpaw Swaby next up at the Aston Arena in Birmingham this weekend. Their scheduled six rounder will be shown live on ITV4 (from 7:45pm) as part of the undercard to Hennessy Sports “Battle of Brum” – the mouth watering British Middleweight title clash between bitter local rivals Wayne Elcock and Matthew Macklin. Swaby, a 47 fight veteran who holds a KO win over former World Champ Enzo Maccarinelli has watched all of Fury’s outings to date but says he hasn’t been overly impressed. “I’ve watched all his fights and he’s done what he’s had to do so far but trust me I’m not just coming for the payday. I can bang and if I hit anyone clean on the chin they’re in trouble, I don’t care who they are or what size they are. “He’s a big boy and he’s got fast hands and has looked good so far but what happens when somebody tags him on the chin? We haven’t seen that yet but I think we’ll find out on Saturday night.” Swaby insists that he won’t be intimidated by Fury’s impressive physical attributes. “He might be 18 odd stone but you know what they say the bigger they come the harder they fall. I actually prefer fighting bigger guys, you can hurt your hands punching down on smaller lads and in general the bigger guys are far easier to hit. I sparred David Price to help him prepare for the Olympics last year and really enjoyed that. He’s around the same height as Tyson so it certainly won’t be anything new to me. “Fury’s been talking about how he’s going to do this and that but talk is cheap. When I’m up for a fight I can be a dangerous man, just ask Enzo Maccarinelli. If Fury leaves himself open and walks on to something then he’ll find himself on the floor because I know if I catch anyone right they’ll go over.” Alongside Fury the undercard for “The Battle of Brum” at the Aston Arena features Adnan Amar defending his English Welterweight title against Tom Glover and Wolverhampton’s undefeated Chris Lewis taking on Adam Kelly. Also in action are local prospects Chris Male, Quinton Hillocks and Callum Archer.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Fury writes off Price's Chances

Unbeaten heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury has launched another scathing attack on his British rivals ahead of his fourth pro fight in Birmingham this weekend. Fury who has enjoyed a hat trick of stoppage wins since turning pro late last year features on Saturday night’s Hennessy Sports event which is live on ITV4. Top of the bill at the Aston Arena sees Wayne Elcock defend his British Middleweight title against local rival Matthew Macklin. Fury though is already looking to the future and the possibility of renewing rivalries with one time amateur foe David Price. The Liverpudlian won a Bronze medal in last years Olympics but Fury believes that he’s destined for failure in the pro game. Price is set to make his pro bow later this month but former amateur rival Fury says he’s wasting his time. “How can you have any chance in the pros as a heavyweight if you don’t have a chin?” questioned the outspoken 20-year-old. “Every time you hit him he’s on the floor and that was in the amateurs, imagine what he’s going to be like in the pro’s with no headguard and smaller gloves. “I fought him when I was 17 and had just 10 amateur bouts total,” recalled Fury. “He was a double ABA champ and Commonwealth Gold medallist at the time. I put him down in the second round with an overhand right and it wasn’t even that good a shot. He got up and held on for dear life for the rest of the fight and got it on points. “I sparred him after that and had him in all kinds of trouble straight away. They stopped the spar after a minute and they never let me spar him again. I believe that he was their golden boy and the amateurs were protecting him for the Olympics but it meant I didn’t get a fair crack at qualifying.” Fury though believes that having got a head start on Price in the professional ranks their paths are unlikely to cross again. “The pros is a different ball game. In the amateurs he only had to avoid getting tagged on the chin for 4 two minute rounds and he couldn’t even manage that a lot of the time. “In the pros the rounds are longer and the distances are longer so he’s no chance. I’d love to fight him because it’d be lights out as soon as I hit him but he won’t get as far as a fight with me, someone else will spark him out before then. He’s going to find out pretty quick that a decent chin is a lot more useful than a bronze medal in the pros.” Alongside Fury the undercard for “The Battle of Brum” at the Aston Arena features Adnan Amar defending his English Welterweight title against Tom Glover. Also in action are Chris Male, Quinton Hillocks and Callum Archer.

Tobias follows in Uncle Mac's Footsteps

If Tobias Webb needs a few words of advice before his debut next weekend he can call on his uncle - former WBO cruiserweight world champion Enzo Maccarinelli. The 19-year-old amateur star makes his professional bow at the M.E.N Arena on March 14, on the undercard of the Amir Khan-Marco Antonio Barrera showdown, with Uncle Enzo part of the headline attraction of the show when he takes on Ola Afolabi for the Interim WBO title. And the hard-hitting super-middleweight is being backed for glory by his fellow Welshman. "This boy can really fight," said Maccarinelli. "I think punching hard runs in the family because he's even more of a knockout artist than I am. "He's worth keeping an eye on because he's going to be something special. "He did well as an amateur, and if hadn't been for politics, would have got more recognition than he did. "Tobias went to the amateur world championships in 2007 but it was more as a banger than a slick boxer, and he didn't get too far. "But now he's turned into a boxer as well. "He's always had the punch, but in the last year or so he's really developed the skills to go with it. He's the complete package." Webb, who like Enzo comes from Swansea, may move to Birmingham or London to further his ring education, but is currently basing himself in South Wales. "I can't wait for my professional debut," he said. "I've just been waiting on my medicals these last few days, and now they've finally come through. "Watching my uncle Enzo fight as I've been growing up has been a real inspiration, and I've been lucky enough to work with him in the gym and some of the other lads down here who have done really well. "We've had great success with super-middleweights in Wales - and hopefully I can continue that. "I loved being an amateur and boxing around the world, but my heart has always been set on the pro game because it suits my style perfectly."

Friday, March 06, 2009

Elcock and Macklin Clash in Birmingham

Bitter Birmingham rivals Wayne Elcock and Matthew Macklin mightn’t agree on much but one thing they can agree on is that a sparring session when they were both in the early stages of their pro career will have no bearing on their British Middleweight title fight at the Aston Arena on March 14th. The two men clash live on ITV4 on a Hennessy Sports show that’s being billed as “The Battle of Brum” in one of the most hotly anticipated domestic dust ups for years. It’s a must win fight for both men and the duo believe that a sparring session in a Birmingham Gym some years ago will have little impact on their tactics for the fight. Champion Elcock said, “We turned pro around the same time and obviously I always kept an eye on Matt as being a fellow Birmingham lad I wanted to see him do well. We came across each other quite frequently at fights and in gyms but actually only sparred together once.” “It never struck me during the spar that we might actually fight one day as Matt was only a light middleweight back then and we were pals then so there was no real edge to it. I didn’t feel like I had anything to prove in there because I never thought we’d end up fighting each other down the line. Sparring is always totally different to fighting anyway so you can never take too much out of it.” Their previous encounter doesn’t hold any special memories for Macklin either. “I was just a novice pro back then and still very raw but nothing sticks out in my memory about it. It was just a routine spar but obviously it’s going to be a lot different on March 14th. It’s a massive fight for Birmingham and the interest in it has been huge.” Macklin has linked up with new trainer Joe Gallagher ahead of the fight, his fourth trainer in his last five fights but Elcock insists he’s more than happy with long term trainer and one time Macklin mentor, Paddy Lynch. “Matt’s had a measure of success by changing trainers through the years so maybe that’s what works for him,” said Elcock. “I’m not one for skipping gyms, I like to stick with one guy, that’s what I’m most comfortable with. “For Matt’s last fight he was working with Richie Woodhall and he told me himself that it was the best he’d ever felt. Then the next thing I heard was that he was leaving Richie’s gym for another gym but each to their own.” Elcock is confident that regardless of who is in Macklin’s corner the outcome will remain the same. “I’ll be doing what I do best which is to stick to my boxing but I’m very strong and I think that will surprise Matt. Howard Eastman found that out to his cost and if Macklin wants to drag me into trenches than that’s fine as well. As long as I’m focused and switched on there’s no way he’ll beat me.” An exciting undercard at the Aston Arena, Birmingham on March 14th features heavyweight sensation, Tyson Fury while in the chief support bout Adnan Amar defends his English Welterweight title against Tom Glover.

Khan in Great Shape

Amir Khan showed all the benefits of a lengthy training camp in California today as he wowed the press during a media work out in Bolton. Looking in the shape of his life, Khan vowed to set up a world title opportunity when he faces Marco Antonio Barrera at the weekend. The 22-year-old will meet the legendary Mexican at the M.E.N Arena in a fight that will effectively double as a WBO lightweight world title eliminator. Khan has spent the last six weeks in LA working with acclaimed trainer Freddie Roach. It follows an initial two-month spell on the west coast of America following his loss to Breidis Prescott. That training camp resulted in Khan beating Oisin Fagan at the ExCeL Arena in December, and he's hoping for another victory under Roach on March 14. The American will join Khan over the weekend. "I can't wait for the fight on Saturday," said Khan. "I've still got to prove a few people wrong and hopefully I can do that against Barrera. "He's a great fighter but I think his style is made for mine. "This is the right fight at the right time for me. "I've had a fantastic training camp in the States, and everything has gone brilliantly. "Freddie is such a knowledgeable trainer and so is everyone around him.
"We've worked out a good game plan for Barrera, and now it's a case of putting it into action." As he was ahead of the Fagan fight, Khan hasn't bulked up in the States, suggesting, unsurprisingly, that he will be relying on his speed against Barrrera."We've worked on my body shape and I'm happy with the way things have gone," said Khan. "I felt so good against Fagan, we've done the same kind of things in camp fitness wise this time around."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Glover reacts to Amar's Jibe

Tom Glover has laughed off Adnan Amar’s claims that he will be knocked out inside 5 rounds when they clash for the English Welterweight title in Birmingham on March 14th. The two men go head to head on the undercard of the hotly anticipated British Middleweight title fight between bitter Midlands rivals, Matthew Macklin and Wayne Elcock at the Aston Arena.With ITV4 broadcasting the Hennessy Sports show live Glover believes he can upset Amar in the chief support bout. The Maldon fighter has a record of 6 wins, 5 losses and 3 draws but he believes that the numbers are deceiving. “I’m sure Amar will look at my record and think it’s going to be an easy night. People probably look at my record and think, he’s tough and durable but I can beat him. That’s what my last opponent Scott Woolford thought and I beat him to win the Southern Area title. “My record doesn’t do me any favours but I’ve definitely been the victim of a few hometown decisions in the past.” Glover started his career as a lightweight but he’s now moved up to welterweight and believes that has been crucial to his recent success. “I started my career at lightweight but looking back I don’t know how I made the weight. I’m much more comfortable at welterweight, I’m bigger, stronger and I’m punching a lot harder at welter as well.” Glover is hoping that taking the English title from Amar will bring the bricklayer a step closer to becoming a full time pro. “When you’re working all week it’s tough to fit in going to the gym and doing your roadwork but mentally it makes you hungrier. It’s big fights like this that really motivate me because I know a win would take my career to a new level. “It’s a huge chance for me so I’ve trained extra hard for it. I sparred with Jon Thaxton recently to prepare for the fight and that was enjoyable and a good learning experience for me. Jon used to train with the Ingles so he has a similar style to Amar. “I’ve watched him on TV before and also saw him live so I know his style. He’s a flashy switch hitter who likes to box at range. In his only loss he was outworked and worn down and I believe I can do the same. He’s been inactive of late as well and I think I can take advantage of that. “His prediction doesn’t bother me, in fact I’m hoping he does under estimate me and see it as an easy fight. If he’s complacent then he’ll be in for a big shock on the night.” Also appearing on “The Battle of Brum” undercard at the Aston Arena, Birmingham on the 14th of March is heavyweight sensation, Tyson Fury alongside Eddie O’Rourke, Chris Male, Quinton Hillocks and Callum Archer.

Khan predicts a win over Barrera

Amir Khan has vowed to end the career of Marco Antonio Barrera on March 14 in Manchester.The legendary Mexican has claimed that Khan is nothing special - and has promised to school him like he did Naseem Hamed at the start of the Millennium. "I will beat Khan because I have more experience than him and I'm still a much better fighter than he is," said Barrera, a three weight world champion. "He is a good young fighter but there's nothing he can do between now and March 14 to surpass my skills and experience. "Don't forget what I did to Prince Naseem Hamed, too, another highly-touted guy with fast hands." But Khan, who returned to the UK over the weekend after an intensive, six-week training camp in California, has hit back ahead of the pair's clash, which will be broadcast live on Sky Box Office in the UK. "Barrera is a great fighter but it's my time now," he said. "I had a great training camp in LA with Freddie Roach, everything is beginning to fall into place and I'm 100% up for this fight. "I've got a lot to prove to the critics. It's not going to be easy at the M.E.N, but the sparring I had in LA has really boosted my confidence. "I don't think I am going to win this fight - I know I'm going to win it." Khan has also been having in depth talks with Manny Pacquiao, who has twice beaten Barrera, as well as a host of other Mexican fighters, and is known as "The Mexican Slayer". "Manny's been giving me some great advice," said 22-year-old Khan. "We sparred a lot ahead of my last fight, and he's had some input this time around as well. "Obviously he's beaten Barrera before, and he's given me some good tips. "He knows how tough these Mexicans can be and what it takes to beat them, and fingers crossed a bit of his magic can rub off on me."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Alexander pursues fight with Campbell

Undefeated 22-year-old World Boxing Council No. 1-ranked super lightweight Devon Alexander “The Great” (17-0, 10 KOs) has made the brash move of actively pursuing a match against former unified lightweight world champion Nate “Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell (33-5-1, 25 KOs).“I will fight anyone that Don King or the television networks want me to fight,” Alexander, a St. Louis native, said from his South Florida training camp. “I want to prove that I am one of the best fighters in the world, and what better way to do that than to take on a guy who was the king of the lightweights before making the recent decision to move up to junior welterweight.” Alexander’s longtime trainer and manager Kevin Cunningham, also from St. Louis, knows this would be a dangerous match but believes his young charge is ready to make the move. “There is no question this would be a big step up in terms of opposition for Devon, but it’s a challenge he’s ready to have,” Cunningham said. “Somebody brought up Nate Campbell to face Devon. I’m all for Nate vs. The Great. HBO has expressed interest in making it happen, so we’ll see.Cunningham also believes Campbell’s previous experiences should play a role in negotiations. “Nate has always talked about all of the fighters who ducked him on his way up,” Cunningham said of the 36-year-old former world champion. “Now he has this opportunity. The ball is in his court. It will be interesting to see if he will welcome this challenge from a worthy young foe.”Cunningham also noted that the winner of this fight could face the winner of the upcoming 140-pound world-championship unification match between Timothy Bradley and Kendall Holt. Bradley currently holds the WBC crown and Holt is the World Boxing Organization titleholder.

Pryce and Hall in Big Fight Build Up

Light-middleweights Bradley Pryce and Matthew Hall have vowed to steal the show on March 14 at the M.E.N Arena. And although they are up against a blockbuster fight card featuring Khan-Barrera, Cook-Martinez and Maccarinelli-Afolabi, the 154-pound KO artists reckon they can do it. The pair meet for Pryce's Commonwealth light-middleweight title on the biggest night of boxing so far this year. It promises thrills and spills, with both boxers boasting a high KO percentage - and both having been stopped before. "It's Sweet Sugar time," said 27-year-old.Pryce, who is on a seven-fight unbeaten run, all of them involving the Commonwealth title."I've already beaten Andrew Facey on points and stopped Marcus Portman and Anthony Small, so I'm not bad against Brits. "Hall's being talked up as the next big thing, but everyone I fight is supposed to be going places. "Ivan Kirpa and Sergey Stepkin were future world champions until I gave them a beating. "I'm going to take Hall places where he's not been before. He's a good puncher, but then so am I, and I've got more experience. "I love to go to war and I love the roar of the fans when I fight and people aren't going to be disappointed next weekend." But Hall, still just 24 despite six years in the pro ranks, said: "I stopped Pryce's stablemate Kerry Hope, now I'll do the same to Bradley. "It's an honour to be boxing on a massive card like this one, but fans should get there early because me against Pryce is going to be better than the main event. "Both of us like to throw bombs and be positive, so it's going to be an old-fashioned shoot out at the MEN. "I'm in the shape of my life after sparring dozens of rounds with Michael Jennings ahead of his world title fight in New York. "Pryce might think that I'm another hype job, but he's going to be in for a nasty surprise when I catch up with him on March 14."

Ogilvy get top award in February

Geoff Ogilvy’s stunning victory in the World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play, which saw him move to Number Four in the Official World Golf Ranking, proved the catalyst for the Australian to be named as the winner of The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month for February. The 31 year old from Melbourne, who received a jeroboam of Moët and Chandon champagne along with an engraved Alms Dish in recognition of his success, was the overwhelming choice of the panel which comprised members of the Association of Golf Writers as well as television and radio commentators. 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. Mention of the new sponsors is highly appropriate, for Ogilvy, aside from moving to Number Four in the World, also jumped to Number One in The Race to Dubai, narrowly ahead of the man he beat in the final in Arizona, England’s Paul Casey, with Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy – the winner of the January award and the man Ogilvy beat in the quarter-finals – now in third after the young Ulsterman’s excellent effort at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Dove Mountain. Aside from Casey and McIlroy, Ogilvy also saw off the challenge of fellow European Tour Member Camilo Villegas in the third round and the Australian highlighted those victories when he reflected on his success. “Camilo has come a very long way in a short time while Rory is about to be a top ten player in the world,” said Ogilvy who also won the tournament in 2006 and was beaten in the final by Sweden’s Henrik Stenson in 2007. “Finally to beat Paul, one of the best players in the game, was great and I think that will be the thing I remember from the week – I beat some really good players and played really well for the last three or four days. Of course, to be voted The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month for February at the end of it all, is the icing on the cake.”Ogilvy’s performance proved the highlight of another hugely successful month for European Tour Members in competition across the globe, not least in the WGC – Accenture Match Play where, aside from the eventual champion, Casey and McIlroy; South Africa’s Ernie Els reached the quarter-finals and England’s Ross Fisher finished fourth on his debut in the event. Other Members to earn honourable mentions by the panel in February were Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, who recorded his third European Tour success with victory in the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open in Bali; South Africa’s James Kamte who got the 2009 Asian Tour season off to a flying start with victory in the Asian Tour International in Thailand; and Denmark’s Anders Hansen who won the Vodacom Championship on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa. McIlroy and Ogilvy are the first winners of The Race to Dubai European Tour 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.

Amar ready to rumble with Glover

Adnam Amar claims he’ll be out to eclipse the mouth-watering top of the bill clash between Wayne Elcock and Matthew Macklin in Birmingham on March 14th. The two local middleweights go head to head in a hugely anticipated British title fight that is being billed as “The Battle of Brum” but Amar has set his sights on stealing the show. Amar defends his English Welterweight title against Tom Glover on the Hennessy Sports event which will be screened live on ITV4. Having been out of the ring since last May Amar is determined to bounce back with a bang. “It’s been frustrating time for me, watching from the sidelines,” revealed the 26-year-old. “I‘ve had a number of fights fall through for various reasons so I’m itching to get back in there now and prove I belong up there with the best in Britain. “Fighting on ITV4 will give me a big stage to showcase my skills and anytime I fight in front of the TV cameras I have an extra edge and that will show in my performance. I like to entertain and that’s what I plan on doing by winning in style against Glover.” The Nottingham native has won all but one of his 23 pro fights and he says that facing Southern Area champion Glover holds no fears for him. “He’s a tough guy and I take my hat off to him for stepping up to the plate and fighting me because I believe I’ve been avoided because of my style and ability. He’s never been stopped so it’s not going to be easy but I believe I’ll be too strong, too clever and too accurate. If he walks onto something he’ll get taken out inside 5 rounds.” Amar is confident that he can make a real statement by despatching Glover in style and pressing his claims for the British and Commonwealth titles. “In my last fight I beat Mark Lloyd convincingly to win the English title and now he’s getting a chance at Kell Brook’s British title. I wasn’t even at 50% of my best when I fought Lloyd and I still beat him easily so I think that says a lot about my ability.” With both Amar and Brook based at the famous Ingle gym in Sheffield Amar says a clash between the two is unlikely anytime soon but it’s not something he’s ruling out completely. “I spar with Kell regularly and they are always very good, even spars. I give him plenty of problems, more than he needs but at the end of the day he’s a good fighter and no disrespect to the British title but we’re both looking at bigger things. “I don’t think a fight between us would make sense unless there was big money and titles at stake but if it was down to me I’d fight anybody because I really want to push on with my career.” Also appearing on “The Battle of Brum” undercard at the Aston Arena, Birmingham on the 14th of March is heavyweight sensation, Tyson Fury alongside Eddie O’Rourke, Chris Male, Quinton Hillocks and Callum Archer.