Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Torrance returns to the Home of Golf

Scotland’s Sam Torrance is relishing returning to the ‘Home of Golf’ when the Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Senior Open is played at Fairmont St. Andrews for the first time from August 21-23 on the course he helped redesign. The former Ryder Cup winning Captain will have the advantage of a close insight of the Torrance Course which bears his signature as he aims to improve on his runners up finish behind Peter Mitchell last year. The Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Senior Open will be the first professional championship to be staged at Fairmont St Andrews following its £17million revamp, with the Torrance course set to re-open on July 14. Torrance, who won his home Senior Open at Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club in 2006, believes the Fairmont St. Andrews will be the perfect host venue for the 17th edition of the Scottish Senior Open and will provide a stern test for his fellow European Senior Tour professionals. He said: “They’ve done a fantastic job on The Torrance course. They’ve rebunkered it and put in an aerated water system, so it’s looking fantastic and will be a great test. “It’s always nice to go back to the Home of Golf and I’m looking forward to it. I fancy my chances.” Torrance will start as one of the favourites at Fairmont St. Andrews having already won the DGM Barbados Open this season – his 11th Senior Tour title – as he chases his third Order of Merit victory after lifting the John Jacobs Trophy in both 2005 and 2006. The 21-time European Tour champion will hope to succeed Englishman Mitchell, who captured the second of his three titles in 2008 in the Scottish Senior Open. Mitchell shared Torrance’s enthusiasm for the event moving to Fairmont St. Andrews, which will be an Open Qualifying course when The Open Championship returns to the Home of Golf in 2010. He said: “I’m looking forward to defending. I’d like to be playing a little better than I am at the moment – one or two things aren’t quite right. Me and my equipment aren’t quite getting on – my new clubs are too upright - but hopefully I will get that sorted out before we go to Fairmont and I’ll be alright. “I don’t know what to expect this year as I’ve not played the golf course but it will be great to go back to the Home of Golf. Last year was a great win for me. My expectations were quite low going in but I managed to hold Sam off. “In Scotland the crowds are always great and they are very knowledgeable. They are very keen about their golf.” As well as a new host venue, the Scottish Senior Open has a new title sponsor for 2009 with leading golf manufacturer Srixon Sports Europe, which operates both the Cleveland & Srixon brands in the UK and Europe, strengthening its existing association with the European Senior Tour. Cleveland is already the Official Club of the Senior Tour and Srixon is the Official Ball Supplier to the Senior Tour. Greg Hopkins, Chief Executive Officer of Cleveland Golf and COB of Srixon Sports Europe, said: “Cleveland Golf/Srixon could not be happier to be involved with the European Senior Tour, as we have been for the past four years. It is our belief that this is one of the best marketing tools in the game and the Scottish Senior Open is one of the best supported events on the Senior Tour.“We are particularly excited that the Scottish Senior Open has been moved to the Home of Golf, St Andrews, which is a fitting place for the championship. It is a great honour for us to be part of this event.” Charles Head, General Manager at Fairmont St Andrews, said: “We are delighted to welcome the European Senior Tour to St Andrews, the Home of Golf. We look forward to an outstanding event which will showcase the investment made in the resort and the new Torrance Course. I certainly think Sam's works will be a stern test for all the participants.” Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, the national events agency, said: “The Cleveland Golf / Srixon Scottish Senior Open is a fantastic event and a great example of Scotland’s ability to host world class golf tournaments at world famous venues which attract world renowned competitors. “Sam Torrance is an outstanding ambassador for golf in Scotland and it’s exciting to see him return to his signature course to compete against a stellar line up of players, including defending champion, Peter Mitchell. We look forward to seeing some great competition at this year’s tournament.”

Jamie Moore defends European Title

JAMIE MOORE has promised to take the fizz out of Jimmy Colas when he makes the second defence of his European light-middleweight title at Leigh Indoor Sports Centre on Friday July 24. Moore, recently promoted to number three in the WBC rankings recently is rapidly closing in on champion Sergio Martinez, but knows there can be no slip ups against Colas (27-6).
Salford southpaw Moore (32-3) has beaten several serious injuries during his career and claims there are no more fitness worries. Relieved Jamie, 30, said: "I am injury free. When I train I no longer have to changes routines to avoid injury and I am stronger, fitter and punching harder than ever. "Once I have beaten Colas there is a mandatory defence lined up against another Frenchman Christophe Canclaux, but if the world title chance comes before then I'll take it."Manager Steve Wood and promoter Frank Maloney believe they could persuade Martinez to make a voluntary defence before the end of this year. They have already made efforts to make the match with the Argentinean's promoter Lou DiBella, but if that fails the pair remain confident that 'Mooresy' will be made mandatory contender at the WBC convention in November. Moore won the title in March knocking out Michele Piccirillo in three rounds. In his only defence in May he stopped Russian Roman Dzuman. On the same FTM bill hard-hitting Gary Davies puts his British bantamweight title on the (9-2-1) line for the first time, when he faces top class Londoner Ian Napa (18-7).

Jeffries Help is at Hand

TONY JEFFRIES has raised more £50,000 for charity since returning home from last summer's Olympics with a treasured bronze medal. His fantastic efforts have led to calls for the Sunderland hero to be recognised in the New Year honours list. Jeffries' popularity is soaring and the might Mackem's third professional contest in his home city at Seaham Centre on July 10 is close to a complete sell-out. The 24-year-old's latest charity efforts was at Bridges shopping centre last weekend when he raised another five figure sum, with the benefactor, Grace House hospice appeal. Jeffries performed a public workout with trainer Bobby Rimmer and then spent three hours signing autographs and posing for pictures. Promoter Frank Maloney said: ""When honours are given out for charity work, Tony deserves some sort of accolade. The time he puts in helping various charities is incredible "He doesn't just turn up sign a few pictures and go home. He is active in organising events like white collar box evenings." In a special attraction on the bill Jeffries possible future opponent and fellow Olympic bronze medallist Darren Sutherland aims to show his awesome potential. Maloney will name the super-middleweight duo's opponents later this week. In the Sunderland bill topper Bristol southpaw Lee Haskins (18-2) defends his British super-flyweight title against Sheffield's serving soldier Ross Burkinshaw (6-1-2). The cream of boxing talent in the north-east will also box on the card including local heavyweights Dave Ferguson and Danny Hughes. Newcastle's fighting brothers John Lewis Dickinson and Travis Dickinson are also in action.

Dwayne Lewis targets the Olympians

Undefeated Dwayne “Night Nurse” Lewis believes he’s the dark horse in the Super Middleweight division. While Olympic medallists like James Degale, Tony Jeffries and Darren Sutherland have been grabbing the headlines for their amateur exploits Lewis is adamant that he’s the best of the emerging 12 stone bunch. The Tottenham Hotspur fanatic is currently unbeaten in 7 pro starts and has his next outing at the York Hall, Bethnal Green on July 18th. The bout is on the undercard of the British Light Heavyweight title clash between unbeaten duo Danny McIntosh and Nathan Cleverly with the Hennessy Sports event being screened live on ITV4. Lewis has been sparring Beijing Gold medallist James Degale in preparation for next months bout and he feels that despite his amateur pedigree Degale still has a lot to learn about the pro game. “I found the sparring with him quite easy,” revealed the Canning Town native. “As far as I’m concerned he’s still an amateur. When you turn professional you need to change you’re style and I don’t think he’s done that yet. Everything is different in the pro ranks including the training and the sparring and a lot of these amateur stars have to learn that the hard way. “These Olympians are getting all the coverage because they did well in the amateur game and that’s fair enough but people need to realise that amateur boxing and professional boxing are two different sports altogether. “You only have to look at what’s happened to both of Britain’s medallists from the previous two Olympics. Khan’s been knocked out and his chin is always going to be a problem in the pro’s and Audley Harrison has failed abysmally in making a name for himself. “All credit to these guys for what they’ve done as amateurs but the pro’s is a man’s sport. It takes a different set of attributes to succeed in the pro game and a lot of these good amateurs fade away and never amount to anything as professionals.” Lewis says he’d be happy to give any of the Olympians a personal introduction into the world of professional boxing. “I’m on the verge of the British top 10 at the moment and once I’ve cracked the top 10 some of these Olympians might be ready for a real fight and looking to make some noise. I don’t have anything to prove against those guys but if they want it then I’ll be waiting for them to show them just how tough the pro game is.” Lewis however is very much his own man and is already planning his own route to the top. “I want to get this one out of the way on July 18th and then have a couple of 8 rounders to get me in the mix for a Southern Area title before the end of the year. Then all going well I can start moving through the levels next year. Lewis will have an interested spectator ringside at the York Hall next month in the shape of Spur’s striker Jermain Defoe. Lewis has been friends with the England international since childhood and Defoe has followed his progress through the pro ranks with interest. “I’ve known Jermain since we were kids,” revealed Lewis. “He’s a big boxing fan and I’m a massive Spurs fan so it will be great to have him cheering me on. He might be bringing a few of the other Spurs players as well to see if he can convert them into boxing fans!” A clash of unbeaten fighters tops the bill at the York Hall on July 18th with Danny McIntosh and Nathan Cleverly squaring off for the British Light Heavyweight title. The undercard features former British and European Champion Jon Thaxton alongside heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury and Ireland’s European Union Lightweight Champion Andy Murray. Hot prospects Steve O’Meara, Lee Purdy, Del Rogers and Bobby Ward will join Lewis on an action packed night of championship boxing.

Mitchell back with Avengance

Red-hot talent Kevin Mitchell is confident of getting a world title shot - but knows he could miss out if he doesn't perform on July 18. The Dagenham Destroyer is closing in on a crack at WBO World super-featherweight world champion Roman Martinez. But first he has to come through an eight rounder on the undercard of Amir Khan's WBA World Light-Welterweight title challenge against Andreas Kotelnik on July 18 at the M.E.N Arena. It will given unbeaten Mitchell an opportunity to spend more time in the ring following a year-long absence with a hand injury. The 24-year-old British champion returned to action in May, winning comfortably at York Hall. And now his sights are firmly set on fulfilling his childhood ambitions and becoming a world champion. "I used to go to bed at night and dream about lifting a world title," said Mitchell. "It's so close now I can touch it. "But instead of dreams, I now have nightmares about missing out on my big chance before I even get it. "Losing in an eight rounder would be an absolute disaster for me, and the thought of it makes me get up in the morning and do my road work at 6am and train harder than ever before." Mitchell was ringside when Martinez captured the title against Nicky Cook, Mitchell's gym-mate, in Manchester in March. And he's vowing to avenge that defeat on behalf of his close friend. "I know Nicky is desperate for another world title fight," said Mitchell. "But the next best thing for him would be me beating Martinez. "Nine times out of 10, Nicky would have done a job on him, but he just got a bit careless and got caught. "It shows how dangerous Martinez can be, and if I do get to fight him I will have to be on my guard. "But I feel really strong now, and after an operation on my hand I'm punching harder than ever before and I'm ready to win that world title in style."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Langer looks for Maiden Senior Major

Bernhard Langer hopes to capitalise on his superb recent form when he seeks to win his maiden Senior Major in The Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard at Sunningdale Golf Club from July 23-26. Having won three times on the US Champions Tour already this year, Langer finished an impressive tied ninth yesterday after contending in the BMW International Open, just coming up short in his bid to become the oldest winner in European Tour history, and he has now set his sights on adding another Major to his two Masters Tournament wins. The 51 year old German was fourth at Royal Troon last year on his Senior Open debut, having finished runner up to Jay Haas in the US Senior PGA Championship. Langer has previously tasted success at Sunningdale, having won The European Open over the Old Course in 1985 – the same year he captured his first Green Jacket. The 2004 Ryder Cup winning Captain, who topped the US Champions Tour Money List last season, feels that triumph, allied to his current purple patch, could help propel him to glory next month. “I think it always helps to have won a tournament on a golf course and I have some good memories of Sunningdale,” he said. “I like it a lot. The course is usually in fantastic condition and it is a good shot maker’s golf course, so I’m looking forward to it very much. “Traditionally we have always played The Senior Open on a links golf course so this is a little bit of a different challenge, but not a bad one. I’m excited to be back at Sunningdale and hopefully we will have some good weather and we certainly will have good competition. “My game has been pretty good in the last two to three years. It obviously changes slightly week to week so it just depends on how I get over the jet lag and how the putter works, which is a big part, but hopefully I’ll be contending for the title. “Winning a Senior Major is top of my list of priorities, alongside winning the Money List and the Charles Schwab Cup. Last year was very good, the only thing that was missing was a win at a Major and hopefully I can achieve that this year.” Langer created history last season when he became the first European – and only the third player altogether following Americans Lee Trevino and Bruce Fleisher – to win the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year and the Rookie of the Year awards in the same season on the US Champions Tour. Indeed he takes his place amongst an illustrious roll call of history makers in The Senior Open Championship, including an array of Major winners and former Ryder Cup players and Captains. “It is definitely a strong field, as is usually the case in The Senior Open, and the challenge will come from many, many areas. “You have the five time Open winner, Tom Watson, and you have all sorts of guys who just turned 50, such as Tom Lehman, a former Open Champion himself, as well as many others who have played extremely well and continue to do so. “So it’s not just a handful, there are at least 60 to 80 guys who have the chance to win the Championship. “It means a lot to me to still be competing against the same guys I grew up with on the tour, with Woosie (Ian Woosnam), Sandy Lyle, Nick Faldo, Tom Lehman, Tom Watson and so many others. “It is always great to compete against players like Mark O’Meara, Tom Kite and many, many, more. You could go on and on. They are all legends. They have all been some of the best over the years, and they still love to compete and it shows in their game.”

Sutherland sets sights on Irish title

DARREN SUTHERLAND looks certain to become the first Olympian to challenge for a professional boxing title. His promoter Frank Maloney has plans for the Beijing bronze medallist to challenge for the Irish super-middleweight title later this year. Sutherland (3-0) bids to continue his impressive professional form at York Hall, Bethnal Green tomorrow (Tues 30th June) when he meets Ukraine's Gennadiy Rasalev (2-1) in a six rounder. Maloney said: "The progress Darren has made with his trainer Brian Lawrence is astonishing, and he could be ready for a title later this year. "When he turned professional in December, I thought it would be 18 months before he'd be ready, but there is no stopping him. "There are some good Irish-Americans who could challenge him for the all-Ireland title, but the opponent I would like is Jim Rock. "It would be a great fight between two Dubliners who would be so fired up because of local bragging rights." Provided 27-year-old Sutherland passes the Rasalev test, Maloney plans for him to box again ten day later in Sunderland before taking a well earned family break. Top of the bill at York Hall is Jason Booth's (32-5) British super-bantamweight title defence against Rocky Dean (14-10-2). The action packed card also features a fierce British featherweight title eliminator between Harrow's Sikh slugger Akaash Bhatia (14-0) and Welshman Jamie Arthur (14-2).

Fury focuses on McDermott

Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury is hot on the trail of English Champion “Big Bad” John McDermott after the British Boxing Board of Control ordered that the bout must take place before the end of November. Purse bids for the bout have been ordered for July 8th and Fury says he can’t wait to get his hands on McDermott. The 6 foot 9 inch Manchester heavyweight has won all 6 of his pro fights since turning pro last December and maintained a 100% KO ratio on the process. His next outing comes at the York Hall, Bethnal Green on July 18th when he appears on the undercard of the Danny McIntosh – Nathan Cleverly British Light Heavyweight title fight. The Hennessy Sports event is live on ITV4 and Fury hopes a win at the York Hall will secure a crack at McDermott’s English title. “I’ve been looking for John McDermott for a while now,” revealed Fury. “He’s been offered the fight before but turned it down but now that the fights been ordered by the Board he surely can’t chicken out again. They call him ‘Big, Bad, John’ and that certainly sums him up. He’s a big lump and he’s not very good but he has that English title and he’s pushed Danny Williams close on a couple of occasions lately for the British title. I think it’s a natural eliminator for the British title so hopefully the Board will make it for a final eliminator as well as the English title.” Meanwhile Fury has laughed off claims from Derek “Del Boy” Chisora that he “wouldn’t get out bed” for the kind of money he was being offered to fight Fury. The Finchley boxer is currently serving a suspension from the sport for biting opponent Paul Butlin in his last outing and Fury says he’s not being missed. “It’s not the first time his big mouth has got him into trouble,” said Fury. “My advice to Derek would be to stay in bed because he’ll be a lot safer there. I don’t think he’d fight me for all the money in the world. He was at my last fight with Scott Belshaw and he got to see me up close and personal and you could tell he doesn’t fancy it. I’m told that he couldn’t take Belshaw’s body punches in sparring so how would he cope with mine?” A clash of unbeaten fighters tops the bill at the York Hall on July 18th with Danny McIntosh and Nathan Cleverly squaring off for the British Light Heavyweight title. The undercard features former British and European Champion Jon Thaxton alongside Fury and Ireland’s European Union Lightweight Champion Andy Murray. Hot prospects Steve O’Meara, Dwayne Lewis, Lee Purdy, Del Rogers and Bobby Ward also feature on an action packed night of championship boxing.

Mason's Success at Slaley Hall

Carl Mason completed a hat-trick of De Vere Collection PGA Seniors Championship titles after easing to a three stroke victory at De Vere Slaley Hall. Englishman Mason fired a three under par under par final round 69 to capture his 21st European Senior Tour title and close the gap on Tommy Horton’s record of 23 career victories on the over 50s circuit. The all-time leading Senior Tour money winner, who also won the championship in 2004 and 2007, continued his sequence of winning in each of the seven seasons he has been on the Senior Tour since joining in 2003. After extending his three shot overnight lead with two birdies in his opening four holes, Mason had a double bogey after finding the water off on the fifth hole but that proved to be a minor blip as he carded five more birdies. A double bogey on the last eroded the margin of victory his nine under par total of 279 was enough to hold off Paraguay’s Angel Franco and South African Christopher Williams, who tied for second, and give Mason a belated birthday present, after he celebrated turning 56 on Thursday. “It was a sweet victory – they all have been,” he said. “I was very pleased with the way I played – I played great. “I hit two bad shots all day and took double bogeys on them but apart from that I was steady as a rock. I had that winning mode. “I like that feeling again. It was good. That’s my third PGA Seniors Championship which is nice. It’s a good event to win, a four round event. “I putted a lot better this week and my game gets better when I do that, I’m convinced of that.” “I knew I was playing well so when I knocked it into the water on the fifth I wasn’t that bothered as I knew I was hitting the ball well. I was pleased with the way I kept going.” Mason, who has won the Senior Tour Order of Merit three times, has now set his sights on landing another John Jacobs Trophy after moving from 31st to sixth in the money list, courtesy of the €47,115 first prize. “I know what I’m like, I need a confidence boost , so once I get that I normally go on a good run and hopefully I will do. It’s nice to get a win again. The Order of Merit is another target to go at. I want to go out and play good golf and do what I know I can do and if I do that I’ll go close. “It would also be nice to get to Tommy’s record of 23 wins. I’ve come this far so it would nice to get the record.” Franco closed with a round of 68 to finish runner up for the fourth time on the Senior Tour while Williams, who secured a conditional card at Qualifying School last November, rounded off a fine Senior Tour debut with a 69 for a share of second place on six under par. Fellow rookie Roger Chapman finished tied sixth after a fine 68 to record his fourth top ten placing in six appearances, while Ian Woosnam was tied tenth after closing with a round of 70 to extend his lead at the top of the Order of Merit. Play had started four hours late following a fog delay at the Northumberland resort.

Cleverly the next Welsh Wonder

Nathan Cleverly is confident that he can fill the void in Welsh boxing left by the retirement of Joe Calzaghe. Cleverly, the reigning Commonwealth Light Heavyweight Champ will look to add the British title to his resume when he clashes with Danny McIntosh in London next month. The two unbeaten fighters will put their perfect records on the line at the York Hall, Bethnal Green in the main event on July 18th with the Hennessy Sports promotion live on ITV4. Cleverly is confident that he can follow in Calzaghe’s footsteps by winning a British title en route to World honours. “There’s a lot of people talking about me lifting that mantle off Joe Calzaghe and becoming the next big thing from Wales,” said Cleverly. “That’s a pressure I’m happy to take on and I’m thriving under it. I think it will bring out the best in me and I just have to make sure I do the work and keep on winning which I will do.” The 22-year-old from Cefn Forest says he has studied McIntosh and knows what to expect on July 18th. “I respect what he’s done, he’s an undefeated guy so he obviously doesn’t know how to lose yet. That’s what makes this fight interesting, we’re both undefeated so somebody’s record is going to be damaged.” Cleverly though is adamant that it will be McIntosh’s unbeaten record coming to an end and not his. “I’m very confident,” revealed Cleverly. “He’s a respectable boxer but I think I’m in a different league to him to be honest. No way am I phased by Danny McIntosh, I’ve sparred bigger and better guys than him and I think it’s a matter of going into the York Hall on July 18th and doing what I do best, remaining unbeaten and bringing the British title away.” Cleverly splits his time between the boxing gym and the lecture theatre as a Mathematics undergraduate at Cardiff University but he says that the build up to the McIntosh fight has been a maths free zone. “For this fight with McIntosh University won’t be on my mind because of the summer break so I’m going in fresh and 100% focused on this fight. I’ve got one more year to go, that’s my final year and then I graduate. “It’s not easy, especially around exam time if I have a big fight coming up. In my last fight in particular against Billy Boyle I had exams before the fight, then I had the fight itself and I had two more exams straight after the fight so it was a tricky time but I think I showed in my performance that nothing really phases me. I just had to go into the ring, act professionally and box to the best of my ability.” Cleverly is currently enjoying a three fight KO streak that has seen him win all his Commonwealth title defences inside the distance and he’s confident of extending that run against McIntosh. “Every fight seems to be getting better for me in terms of knocking people out and if I can take McIntosh out then that will be the icing on the cake for me.” An action packed undercard at the York Hall features former British and European Lightweight Champ Jon Thaxton, unbeaten Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury, Ireland’s European Union Lightweight Champion, Andy Murray and contests featuring hot prospects Steve O’Meara, Dwayne Lewis, Lee Purdy, Del Rogers and Bobby Ward.

O'Meara in Title Contention

Steve O’Meara admits he’s tickled pink at the thought of getting himself into title contention. The unbeaten Londoner has become easily identifiable to fight fans courtesy of his pink boxing shorts and a string of impressive performances that have seen him record 8 straight wins. O’Meara will have his ninth pro fight at the York Hall, Bethnal Green on July 18th in what will be his first scheduled 8 rounder as he builds towards a planned Southern Area title fight in the Autumn. The Hennessy Sports event is live on ITV4 and headlined by the British Light Heavyweight title fight between Danny McIntosh and Nathan Cleverly with O’Meara in action on the undercard. The Wembley based fighter however has revealed that he may not be decked out in pink this time around! “I’m thinking of getting new shorts made up for this fight,” said O’Meara. “The pink ones have certainly got me noticed but I’m getting a bit of stick from my mates over them so we’ll see. They’ve brought me good luck so far though so maybe I should stick with them!” O’Meara is hopeful that an impressive win next month could catapult him into a Southern Area title shot. “Every boxer gets into this sport to fight for titles and I’m no different. The Southern Area title is a great stepping stone title and can lead on to bigger and better things so I’d love to fight for it. “I make light middleweight comfortably and I think I could do welterweight as well so I’d take a shot at either weight if it came my way. That’s definitely something I want on my record in the next few fights but I need to get over July 18th first.” The 25-year-old is also eyeing a possible Irish title shot courtesy of his Irish roots. “My parents are Irish so I’m eligible to fight for the Irish title and I know it would make my family really proud if I won that belt so that’s another option for me.” O’Meara who has previously worked as a model has given up his job as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor to concentrate fully on his boxing career. “I was spending all my time in a gym either through work or boxing and I think it meant I wasn’t as focused as I could be. I’m training full time now so when I’m in the gym I’m there for my boxing and nothing else and I can really notice the difference.” A clash of unbeaten fighters tops the bill at the York Hall on July 18th with Danny McIntosh and Nathan Cleverly squaring off for the British Light Heavyweight title. The undercard features former British and European Champion Jon Thaxton alongside unbeaten Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury and Ireland’s European Union Lightweight Champion Andy Murray. Hot prospects Steve O’Meara, Dwayne Lewis, Bradley Evans, Del Rogers and Bobby Ward also feature on an action packed night of championship boxing.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kell Brook to face Michael Lomax

Kell Brook will aim to win a Lonsdale belt outright on July 18 when he defends his British welterweight title against Michael Lomax. The Sheffield prospect - who has already picked the nickname "Special K" in building up a 19-fight unbeaten record - will form part of the huge undercard to Amir Khan's WBA light-welterweight title challenge against Andreas Kotelnik. And the 23-year-old is aiming to win a Lonsdale belt inside 14 months, having taken just seven completed rounds to win three British title fights already. After stopping Barrie Jones in the seventh, he put former British champion Kevin McIntyre on the floor three times in the first before bombing out Stuart Elwell in two. But Brook could find the going a lot tougher against Lomax, who won a recent Prizefighter tournament and trains out of the same camp as British Super-Featherweight Champion Kevin Mitchell and former WBO World Super-Featherweight Champion Nick Cook. The Essex southpaw, 30, has a 15-1-1 record and will also enjoy a significant height and reach advantage over Brook. "This is the toughest fight of my career," said Brook, who has stopped 12 of 19 foes. "Lomax is a quality operater, but once he tastes my power there will only be one winner. "I've had an early bath in all my British title fights, and I'm planning another one on July 14. "It's a great buzz when you are knocking people out, and I'm aiming for an electric display next month." Brook, now fighting out of the world famous Brendan Ingle gym, also has his sights set on European and world glory. "I'm the real deal and I want to be fighting for a world title by this time next year," he added. But experienced Lomax hit back by saying: "Brook hasn't fought anyone in my class, and he's in for a shock when we meet. "That British title is coming back to Essex, and Kell's only keeping it warm for me. I'm the better boxer and everyone will see that on July 18."

Sutherland set to Sizzle

DARREN SUTHERLAND, Ireland's Beijing bronze medallist bids for his fourth straight win at York Hall, Bethnal Green on Tuesday (30/6) when he boxes Ukraine's Gennadiy Rasalev (2-1) in a super-middleweight six rounder. Provided he comes through the test unscathed, 'Dazzler' will appear on the same card as possible future opponent Tony Jeffries at Sunderland's Seaburn Centre on Friday June 10. Sutherland, 27, is now based in Bromley and promoter Frank Maloney is backing him to impress on his London debut. He said: "The York Hall crowd is one of the most knowledgeable in the world and they know a good fighter when they see one. "I firmly believe that they will take to Darren and his popularity will quickly gain momentum in England."Every time I speak to Darren's trainer Brian Lawrence he talks about the non-stop improvement. "You improve most from ring action and two fights in ten days will bring Darren on no end. I'm proud to say there has been no Olympian busier than him and Tony Jeffries this year. "I can't believe that the two real Olympians are part of the FTM team." Maloney is also excited about Chatham heavyweight Tom 'The Bomb' Dallas (5-0) who boxes on the talent stacked York Hall bill. Dallas, 24, meets another Ukrainian Stas Belekon (3-1) and Maloney added: "Tom is hitting harder and within 18 months the British title will be within his grasp."Top of the bill at York Hall is Jason Booth's (32-5) British super-bantamweight title defence against Rocky Dean (14-10-2). The action packed card also features a fierce British featherweight title eliminator between Harrow's Sikh slugger Akaash Bhatia (14-0) and Welshman Jamie Arthur (14-2).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Amir Khan returns to Los Angeles

Amir Khan has headed back to LA as he fine-tunes his preparations for his July 18 showdown with Andreas Kotelnik. Khan will challenge the WBA light-welterweight title holder at the MEN Arena next month. The fight was switched to Manchester - and put back by three weeks - after Kotelnik picked up an injury in training. Challenger Khan had spent a lengthy training camp in LA prior to the fight. And he returned to Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym in California over the weekend. Khan will begin sparring again this week, and says the delay won't affect his preparations too much. "These things happen in boxing and I'm still going to be in great shape," said Khan. "Moving to 140 pounds as helped as well, and I just need to do some more sparring to make sure that I'm spot on for July 18." Khan will spend a fortnight in the States before ticking over with Roach in the UK ahead of his first world title challenge.

Champions in Sunnigdale Showdown

An impressive cast of Major Champions from the United States, including three Open winners, will cross the Atlantic to complement the field of international icons for The 2009 Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard at Sunningdale Golf Club from July 23-26. Five-time Open Champion Tom Watson leads the American challenge as the most decorated player in the field, with eight Major Championships and five Senior Major Championships to his name.The 59 year old is aiming to continue his sequence of winning The Senior Open Championship in alternate years, having captured the title in 2003, 2005 and 2007. He is also looking forward to competing against some of Europe’s all-time finest players, including Sir Nick Faldo, Mark James, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam, as well as Australian Greg Norman. “I certainly have great affection for The Senior Open Championship and I look forward to playing Sunningdale Golf Club as the Championship returns to England,” said Watson. “This year’s event promises to be among the most competitive Senior Open Championships played as the field appears stronger than ever.” Watson is joined at Sunningdale by compatriot Tom Lehman, who won The Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1996, and Mark O’Meara, who claimed the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale in 1998. Lehman, the 2006 US Ryder Cup Captain, is making his Senior Open debut at Sunningdale after turning 50 in March and is eager to take his place amongst some of the golfing greats on a course he knows well. He said: "I am looking forward with great anticipation to competing in The 2009 Senior Open Championship on one of the great golf courses in the world: Sunningdale Old Course. “Great Championships are played at venues with great tradition and Sunningdale is a perfect fit for this one. I have had the great pleasure to play several times on the Old and I still consider it to be one of the most fun and most interesting golf courses in the world. “As a golf club, Sunningdale takes a back seat to no-one. What could be better? A great Championship played on a great golf course hosted by great people." O’Meara is looking to go one better than his tied second place behind Watson in The 2007 Senior Open Championship at Muirfield. The 52 year old’s Open Championship victory at Royal Birkdale 11 years ago makes him the last player in the field to hold a Major Championship, with his Claret Jug coming in the same year he also won the Masters Tournament at Augusta National. He is one of five American Green Jacket winners included in the field for The Senior Open Championship, joining Watson (1977,1981), Craig Stadler (1982), Ben Crenshaw (1984, 1995) and Larry Mize (1987). Watson also won the US Open Championship in 1982, while Jerry Pate (1976), Scott Simpson (1987) and Tom Kite (1992) are also playing at Sunningdale. Jeff Sluman , who captured the US PGA Championship in 1988, completes the set of ten American Major winners in the field, with 18 Major Championships between them. They will attempt to succeed another American, defending champion Bruce Vaughan, who won his maiden Senior title at Royal Troon last year after defeating John Cook in a play-off. Former Senior Open Champions Pete Oakley (2004) and Loren Roberts (2006) also take their places in the field, along with Jay Haas who won the 2006 and 2008 US Senior PGA Championship, and Don Pooley and Peter Jacobsen who won the 2002 and 2004 US Senior Open Championship respectively. Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, said: “The array of former Major Champions coming across to Sunningdale highlights just how strong the field is for this year’s Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard. “We are delighted to see three former Open Champions in Tom Lehman, Mark O’Meara and Tom Watson join our own famous Major winners and we look forward to the most eagerly anticipated Championship in the 23 history of The Senior Open.”

Khan ready to teach Kotelnik

Amir Khan has hit back at Andreas Kotelnik and promised to give him a boxing lesson on July 18 at the M.E.N Arena. Khan, 22, has blasted the Ukrainian from his LA gym after the WBA World Light-Welterweight champion claimed he was a little boy who was going to take a beating. "If he's going around saying that I am a kid then I will let my fists do the talking," said Khan. "He's going to be in for a shock. "If he thinks it is going to be an easy fight for him then he has got something else coming. "It will be exciting but at the end of the day it will be me with the belt around my waist and we will see who the child is then. "His trash talk has made me train a lot harder, made me focused. Knowing someone out there is talking bad about you makes you want to go out there and prove him wrong. "I'm going to give him a boxing lesson. I am confident that I am going to be the teacher and show him what boxing is all about." Khan also hit back at suggestions by Kotelnik that he would repeat Breidis Prescott's first round KO victory in September last year. And he said it would be Kotelnik who'd be visiting the canvas. "The fight against Breidis Prescott, it just happened, it was just a mistake," said Khan. "My defence has really come on now. I don't think that Andreas Kotelnik can get a shot on me I'll be so sharp. "He will have to find my chin if he is going to knock me out and I don't think he is going to find it. "I'm going to be the first guy to knock him out. "I'm not going to be too big-headed, but I don't think he has ever been in with someone like me. Moving to 140 pounds has made me stronger, fitter and more explosive. I hit harder. "Who was the last fighter that he fought? I would have knocked him out. "I can be the first man to stop Andreas Kotelnik. I have got the energy to go the full 12 rounds, but if he is hurt I will put the pressure on him and I can see a late stoppage happening."

Thaxton on a Mission

He might now be referred to as the former British and European Champion but Jon Thaxton would clearly prefer the term, future British and European Champion. It’s been a roller coaster two years for the Norwich lightweight but despite 17 years in the pro ranks Thaxton promises that there are plenty more thrills and spills to come. His first objective is to get back to winning ways in London next month following the controversial loss of his European title last time out. Thaxton will feature on the undercard of the Danny McIntosh – Nathan Cleverly British Light Heavyweight title fight at the York Hall, Bethnal Green on July 18. The Hennessy Sports event is live on ITV4 and Thaxton is determined to prove that he is far from a spent force. The 34-year-old is firmly focused on regaining his beloved British and European titles and in the case of the British title winning a Lonsdale belt for keeps. The title is currently vacant following John Murray’s failure to make the weight ahead of his impressive win over Scott Lawton earlier this month. Thaxton however is in prime position to regain his old crown in the autumn having already been awarded the position of mandatory challenger. With the title now vacant Thaxton is waiting to hear who the BBB of C will nominate as his co-challenger. “It’s up to the Board who they match with me for the vacant title but I’ve no problem getting it on with anyone in the country,” said Thaxton. “I personally hope it will be John Murray. That’s the fight I want. He’s the unbeaten, young up and coming guy and I know me and him in the same boxing ring will be one hell of a fight. It’s one of those fights that will have people split down the middle but I believe I have the style, the experience and the power to defeat him. “Ever since I turned pro as an 18 year old it’s been an ambition of mine to win a Lonsdale belt outright and I’m just one win from that. It took me thirteen years and three attempts to win it for the first time but I never gave up hope and now I want to win it for keeps. That would be a tremendous achievement and it’s something I would treasure. I want that belt on my mantelpiece and its one thing that’s really driving me on now.” Thaxton also has plans to regain the European title which he lost on a contentious points decision to Frenchman Anthony Mezaache in February. “I thought I won that fight and a lot of people agreed with me but unfortunately the 3 judges saw it the other way and they are the people that matter. “I should have had him out of there in the first round when I had him down but he spat out his gum shield and bought himself some time that way. I’m a sporting guy but that for me wasn’t playing by the rules.” Thaxton admits that the defeat had him contemplating retirement, if only for 24 hours. “It was a bitter pill to swallow then and it still is now but you have to move on. I got up the day after the fight and thought maybe that’s it for me but by the time the next morning had come around I knew I wanted that title back.” The first step on the road back will come at the York Hall on July 18th and Thaxton says he can’t wait for that first bell. “I’m counting down the days right now and I’m very happy with the way I’m performing in the gym. Even at 34 and after 17 years in the professional game I still feel that I’m learning and getting better. I really believe I have not just one, but a few more big fights left in me. “I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the way I lost my European title. It cost me a World title fight so I’ve a point to prove now and that makes me a very dangerous fighter. My determination, discipline and dedication has got me to British and European titles and I’m very proud of that and my ambition now is go get both of those titles back again and then take it from there.” A clash of unbeaten fighters tops the bill at the York Hall on July 18th with Danny McIntosh and Nathan Cleverly squaring off for the British Light Heavyweight title. The undercard features Thaxton alongside unbeaten Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury and Ireland’s European Union Lightweight Champion Andy Murray. Hot prospects Steve O’Meara, Dwayne Lewis, Bradley Evans, Del Rogers and Bobby Ward also feature on an action packed night of championship boxing

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bobby Ward to make Pro Debut

Bobby “Boogaloo” Ward will finally look to get his first win in the pro ranks when he takes to the ring in London next month. Ward was left bitterly disappointed in Wigan earlier this month after an impressive pro debut was tainted when his bout with Mo Khaled was deemed a draw by referee Michael Alexander. The result shocked Ward and ITV’s commentary team of John Rawling, Duke Duke McKenzie and Barry McGuigan who all expressed their disbelief at the verdict. Ward will hope for better luck when he appears at the York Hall, Bethnal Green on July 18th on the undercard to the Danny McIntosh – Nathan Cleverly British title fight. The Hennessy Sports event is live on ITV and promoter Mick Hennessy revealed that he was particularly impressed with Ward’s first pro outing. “It was one of the most impressive pro debuts I’ve seen combined with one of the worst decisions I’ve seen,” said Hennessy. “Ward won the fight hands down and even Khaled’s corner admitted that. I think Bobby has a really bright future in the sport and he’s going to be a real fans favourite because he’s got such an exciting style.” Ward’s trainer Tony Sims echoed Hennessy’s thoughts. “I still can’t figure out how the referee could score that fight a draw,” said Sims. “Bobby won the first three rounds easily and the second and third rounds were especially big for him. The only thing you could have given Khaled was possibly a share of the fourth round. “In the third he had Khaled in real trouble and was probably only 2 or 3 punches away from finishing the fight when Khaled just went into a crouch and the referee broke them up for no reason. It gave him time to recover and the referee just waved the fight on again and the bell went before Bobby could finish the job. “There was no reason for the referee to break them at that point, that’s something you see in the amateur game, not in the pros and I believe it cost Bobby a stoppage win.” Despite his frustration at the decision Sims is excited by what he’s seen from his new protégé. “It’s early days yet but he’s a real talent. He worked very hard and he shed 2 and a half stone since coming back into the gym. He has bags of ability and that was his first fight in over 5 years so I think there is an awful lot more to come from him.” Sims revealed that Ward’s spirits were lifted by a visit from Junior Witter to his dressing room after the fight. “Junior told Bobby that he had won the fight easily but told him not to lose heart because he drew his first pro fight as well and it didn’t stop him from going on to win British, Commonwealth, European and World titles.” A clash of unbeaten fighters tops the bill at the York Hall on July 18th with Danny McIntosh and Nathan Cleverly squaring off for the British Light Heavyweight title. An action packed undercard at the York Hall features former British and European Lightweight Champ Jon Thaxton, unbeaten Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury and contests featuring hot prospects Steve O’Meara, Dwayne Lewis, Bradley Evans, Del Rogers as well as Bobby Ward.

Danny McIntosh to face Nathan Cleverly

Danny McIntosh is brimming with confidence ahead of his British title showdown with Nathan Cleverly at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, London on July 18th. The undefeated Norwich man currently holds the English Light Heavyweight title and he has no doubts that he will be adding the Lonsdale belt to his honours list next month. The mouth watering clash headlines the next Hennessy Sports event and will be live on ITV4. Despite his perfect record McIntosh has been labelled a 7/2 underdog by the bookies but he’s scoffed at those odds. “There’s going to be a lot of people with egg on their face after this fight,” predicted McIntosh. “It’s a great fight between two undefeated guys and it’s a fight that needed to be made. I’ve heard people like Barry McGuigan saying that it’s too soon for me and that I need more experience but I couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks. “When I fought Joey Vegas people said it was too soon, when I fought Steve Spartacus they said it was too soon and when I fought Matthew Barney they said it was too soon and guess what? I’m still undefeated, I won all those fights and I’ll will this one as well and I’ll prove an awful lot of people wrong in the process. “People don’t see what I do in the gym day in, day out. I know I’m ready for this and I know I’ll be leaving that ring with the Lonsdale belt.” Although McIntosh has only had 10 pro fights in comparison to Cleverly’s 16 he feels that the calibre of his opposition has been better. “Some of the guys Cleverly’s been in with have been complete unknowns,” said McIntosh. “He’s looked good blowing them away but anyone would have looked good against those guys. He’s a nice technician and a decent boxer but I don’t think he’s been tested at all yet and he’s going to get a shock when he gets in the ring with me.” The 29-year-old who trains out of the Ingle Gym in Sheffield is currently stepping up his preparations for next months contest. “I’m sparring with George Groves at the moment and I’m hoping to get some sparring in with Carl Froch shortly as well. I’m really buzzing for this fight, it’s a huge opportunity for me and I know I’m going to walk away with that British title, all I have to do is go into that ring and collect it.” An action packed undercard at the York Hall features former British and European Lightweight Champ Jon Thaxton, unbeaten Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury and contests featuring hot prospects Steve O’Meara, Dwayne Lewis, Bradley Evans, Del Rogers and Bobby Ward.

Khan behind Murray for Wimbledon Success

Amir Khan is urging close friend Andy Murray to make it a double British sporting success this summer. The 22-year-old will be cheering Murray on for Grand Slam glory at Wimbledon over the next fortnight - and is then vowing to match his feat by claiming his first world title on July 18. The Bolton hot-shot has a tough fight on his hands against Ukrainian WBA World Light-Welterweight champion Andreas Kotelnik - who has never been stopped in 34 fights - but he is confident of victory. And he reckons world No.3 Murray, who recently became Queens champion and is seeded two for Wimbledon, can become the first Brit to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry.He said: "It would tremendous for British sport this summer if I can win the world title and for Andy to do the business at Wimbledon. "He's been putting in some great performances recently and he was awesome when he got to the final of the US Open, so I think this could be the year for him. "Obviously Roger Federer is his main rival but Andy's got the toughness in him to triumph - and that's speaking from personal experience. "I've sparred a few rounds with him and he's a definetely got plenty of fight in him." Khan will tackle Kotelnik at the M.E.N Arena next month after their fight was delayed by three weeks because of an injury the champion picked up in sparring. But Khan says having to wait a while longer for his big moment will make victory all the sweeter when it happens. "It's what I've dreamed of since I first put on a pair gloves," he said. "To be in the Olympic final in Athens was unbelievable but this is going to be bigger. He added: "The British public have been going through a tough time with the economic situation recently but I think that sport can lift the mood of the nation if its athletes are doing well. "There's no big football tournaments this summer, but Andy and I can kick things off in style, and I reckon our cricketers are in with a great chance of winning back the Ashes as well."
The official betting partner of Amir Khan's world title fight Betfred.com are offering an enhanced double of 7/1, for Andy Murray to win Wimbledon and Amir Khan to conquer the world.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Casey's Champagne Moment

Paul Casey’s exquisite bunker shot at the 72nd hole of the BMW PGA Championship has resulted in the World Number Three winning The European Tour Shot of the Month for May.
The 31 year old Englishman needed to get up and down from a greenside trap on Wentworth Club’s West Course to beat local favourite Ross Fisher. Casey proceeded to play a superb bunker shot to five feet and holed the putt to secure his tenth European Tour title. It is Casey’s second monthly success in 2009, having won the February Shot of the Month award for holing his second shot for an eagle two in the final of the WGC – Accenture Match Play against Geoff Ogilvy in Arizona. In second place was Fisher’s towering approach shot to the 538 yard 18th. Playing just ahead of Casey, the man who started his career at Wentworth Club hit the centre of the green but saw his eagle putt just slip past the hole. Third place went to Shane Lowry’s second shot to the 18th – the second play-off hole – in The 3 Irish open at County Louth, a sumptuous fairway wood to ten feet. Although he missed the eagle putt, the Irish amateur beat Robert Rock of England next time around and turned professional the following week. Winners of the Shot of the Month in 2009 are: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland (January and March), Casey (February and May) and Argentina’s Angel Cabrera (April). The European Tour Shot of the Month is awarded to the Tour Member for the shot judged to be the best played each month on The European Tour International Schedule. At the end of the season, the winning shot from each month will be nominated for the Shot of the Year Award

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Woosnam relishing home support in Wales

Ian Woosnam has targeted a popular home victory in the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open to help showcase his country’s build up to The 2010 Ryder Cup. The 1991 Masters Tournament winner believes the European Senior Tour event at Royal Porthcawl is an important part of golf’s development in Wales ahead of golf’s most prestigious team competition being played at The Celtic Manor Resort, in Newport, next October. Having captured the Irish Seniors Open in association with Fáilte Ireland and AIB Bank at Ballybunion a fortnight ago, 2006 Ryder Cup winning Captain Woosnam is keen to show off one of the fine links courses in his own country. He is also keen to improve on his second place behind Peter Mitchell in last year’s Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open at Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Club and help strengthen his defence of the Senior Tour Order of Merit. “This event shows the world what sort of golf courses we have in Wales,” said the former World Number One. “We obviously have Conwy up in the north, where we played last year, and Porthcawl down here but we have a lot more golf courses across the country and some splendid sea links in mid-Wales so it is interesting to go to different places. “I’ve spoken to a lot of people recently who are putting Wales on their rota. The more we keep pushing it the bigger it is going to get. Everybody loves seeing the Senior Tour come to play. There’s a lot of people who have grown up watching us play and it’s a nice week for everyone involved. “I would like to win in Wales. I won in Ireland a couple of weeks ago but I’m not too confident. My game can change though – it is like that. I can be playing badly one minute then great the next. “I’m sure we will have great crowds. It’s easy to get to, just off the motorway, so I’m sure we will see a lot of people.” “Hopefully the weather will be kind to us and we can get the people to come out and watch. Someone played on Tuesday and said it was very bouncy – a true links golf course. The rain softened it up a little bit yesterday but if the sun comes out and dries it we will have proper links golf so I’m looking forward to that. “At the moment I’m not hitting the driver so straight so with it being dry and bouncy I get away with the odd shot a little bit. That’s what happened in Ballybunion a couple of weeks ago. It’s not all about hitting the driver it is about getting into position when it is like this and keeping it under control. I do enjoy it – I think a little bit more than I used to as a youngster and I’m a little bit more patient – only a little! With a prize fund of £500,000 on offer, the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open is pivotal in the Senior Tour Order of Merit race, with Woosnam currently second behind leader Mark James. However Woosnam will face some stiff competition for the £75,000 first prize from defending champion Mitchell, who he tees off with at 9.30am on Friday, and former Ryder Cup players Gordon J Brand, Costantino Rocca and Sam Torrance. Des Smyth and Gordon Brand Jnr also return to Royal Porthcawl where they won the Welsh Golf Classic on The European Tour in 1981 and 1982 respectively.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Moore makes Second Defence

JAMIE MOORE will make the second defence of his European light-middleweight title at Leigh Indoor Sports Centre on Friday July 24. On the same FTM bill hard-hitting Gary Davies puts his British bantamweight title on the line for the first time, when he faces classy Londoner Ian Napa (18-7). Moore who was elevated to number three in the WBC rankings last week puts his title on the line against France's Jimmy Colas (27-6). Salford southpaw Moore (32-3) overcame career threatening injuries before winning the European title earlier this year knocking out ex-world champ Michele Piccirillo inside three rounds. Moore said: "There is a lot of talk about me challenging Sergio Martinez for the WBC word title, but he is furthest from my mind. "The biggest concerns are Colas and another Frenchman Christophe Canclaux who I have to face in September. "Beat them and then Martinez becomes a real possibility for me early next year."Moore won the title in March knocking out Michele Piccirillo in three rounds. In his only defence six weeks ago he stopped Russian Roman Dzuman. St Helens's Davies (9-2-1) has emerged in recent months and showed impressive power overcoming Welshman Matthew Edmonds to become Britain's 118lb king in April. Napa, 31, is in the last chance saloon having lost the European title to Malik Bouziane three months ago. Maloney hopes to the winner will get the next shot at Bouziane.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Burns keeps tabs on Martinez

Commonwealth super-featherweight champion Ricky Burns has had enough of Kevin Mitchell - and wants WBO champion Rocky Martinez instead. The Scottish slickster makes the third defence of his title at the Bellahouston Sports Centre in Glasgow on Friday night against Kevin O'Hara. Sky Sports televise live. And if he wins he is hoping he will improve his WBO rating - and get a straight shot at Martinez. "I want Mitchell but if he's not up for the scrap then I want Martinez," said 26-year-old Burns. "I'm ranked number four by the WBO at the moment, so I could be in line for a crack at Martinez without having to go through Mitchell first. "And I'm really confident that I could beat Martinez - in fact, I'd run rings around him. "I was impressed with the way in which he dealt Nicky Cook, but Cook was winning that fight until he got caught with a good punch. "I wouldn't make the same kind of mistake against Martinez, and I'd love to get him over to Scotland and box his head off. "We had a Scottish WBO super-featherweight champion in Alex Arthur, and I can bring that title back here if I'm given my opportunity. "I've got two defeats on my record, but people forget that when I lost to Arthur and Carl Johanneson I was young and inexperienced. "In the last couple of years I've really come on, and I've improved so much in my last six or seven fights."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Khan's contest switched to Manchester

Amir Khan's big WBA World title clash against Andreas Kotelnik will now take place at the Manchester Evening News (MEN) Arena on Saturday 18 July 2009 . The Bolton star was originally scheduled to challenge Kotelnik for his WBA World Light-Welterweight title at London's O2 Arena on June 27, but because the Ukrainian has suffered a minor injury and tooth infection the bout had to be postponed. Unfortunately for Boxing fans the postponement means the O2 Arena cannot stage the big fight. Michael Jackson has the O2 Arena that night and is performing. However, the M.E.N Arena, host to so many big UK fights nights in the past, have come to Khan's rescue and have rearranged things to host Khan's first world title challenge at the scene of his fifth round victory over Mexican legend, Marco Antonio Barrera in March. The 22-year-old star said, " Firstly, I'm delighted that my World title fight against Kotelnik is still on and when July 18 comes I will never be more ready for him although, the postponement of the fight is a pain. In boxing these things happen so I have to be professional and stay focussed. However, when I'm the victor and I am finally crowned World champion it will make up for it." "Freddie Roach is adjusting my training accordingly so that I'm ready for the new date and I'm at my peak both physically and mentally," He added, "I was looking forward to headlining at the O2 Arena again and to fighting in the capital as I have a lot of fans in London. I always get a great reception there so hopefully I can go back sometime soon, maybe for my first defence! I had a great night at the M.E.N Arena against Barrera last time out and now I aim to win the World title against Kotelnik there too." Promoter Frank Warren said ; "Kotelnik has suffered an unfortunate injury and the added infection has scuppered his chances of fighting on 27th June. Kotelnik, like everyone, is really sorry for the postponement but to his credit he is fighting at the earliest possible opportunity. The added problems caused by the The Michael Jackson concerts has made it impossible to stay at the O2 but I am thankful to the MEN Arena for saving the day and I am sure the atmosphere in there will be as good, if not better, than at the O2 so we are still in for a fantastic night. This is a good fight for the fans and a great fight for Amir Khan to step up to the next level and become World Champion. The postponement, whilst unfortunate is minimal and I am pleased that the opportunity was not lost by us for Khan to get his challenge. Albeit three weeks later than planned, Saturday 18th July will be the making of Amir Khan."

Faldo features at the Senior Open

Sir Nick Faldo, who received a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours on Saturday, will attempt to join another illustrious group when he is part of a world class field for The Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard at Sunningdale Golf Club from July 23-26. The six-time Major Championship winner will look to add the prestigious title to his three Open Championships and three Masters Tournament crowns and join a roll call of past winners that includes Bob Charles, Gary Player, Christy O’Connor Jnr, Loren Roberts and Tom Watson. Sir Nick will take his place among a cast of international golfing icons in the strongest field to assemble in the 23 year history of the Championship, including Major Champions Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, Greg Norman, Tom Watson and Ian Woosnam, as well as former European Ryder Cup Captains Mark James and Sam Torrance. Faldo, who will turn 52 five days before the start of the Championship, won The European Open at Sunningdale in 1992 and is still the holder of the course record on the Old Course, which he set 23 years ago with a round of 62 in 1986. “I’m very much looking forward to playing in The Senior Open Championship at Sunningdale this year,” he said. “It’s great to have the opportunity to play alongside so many familiar faces from my own era at a venue that, for many of us, holds some wonderful memories. “In fact, I think I’m right in saying that I hold the Old Course record at Sunningdale and, whilst I’ve not shot 62 in a wee while, I’ll be hoping to go at least one better this year… I assume I’m off the forward tees!” Arguably the greatest English golfer of all time and one of the world’s most successful players ever, Faldo remains the all-time leading points scorer in the history of The Ryder Cup and won 30 European Tour titles. In 1996 he launched the Faldo Series to encourage young golfers both male and female. Nick Dougherty and Oliver Fisher were both back to back winners of the Faldo Series and Rory McIlroy is the latest graduate to win on The European Tour International Schedule. After joining Sir Henry Cotton as the only other professional British golfer to receive a Knighthood, Sir Nick said: "I was delighted to hear the news that I will be receiving a knighthood and I am more than a little bit humbled to have been afforded this great honour. "It has come as a real surprise and the reaction from my children, family and friends has made this a very special moment for me. "Golf is in so many ways a very British pastime, and Britain the true home of the sport. In recent times, this nation has produced some of the finest golfers of any generation - players like Tony Jacklin, Ian Woosnam and Sandy Lyle - multiple Major-winning sportsmen that have represented this nation at the very highest level and not been found wanting.” Last year’s Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard attracted record crowds to Royal Troon Golf Club and the world class field should ensure packed galleries at Sunningdale, which hosts the Championship for the first time.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Khan's admiration for Lewis's Roll of Honour

Amir Khan has congratulated Lennox Lewis on reaching boxing's Hall of Fame - and says he wants to follow in the former heavyweight world champion's footsteps. Lewis will be inducted over the weekend in the American city of Canastota after a glittering career which saw him become undisputed champion and twice regain the world title. And Khan, 22, says he has been inspired by the feats of Lewis - and wants his own Hall of Fame career. "I grew up watching Lennox's fights and he was one of the fighters who first got me into boxing," he said. "It's an amazing achievement to get nominated for the Hall of Fame, and I'd like to congratulate him on his success. "If I can go on to replicate just half of what Lennox did then I'll be delighted. "But like him I want to become an undisputed world champion, and I'll take the first step of that journey on June 27." It's then that Khan will tackle Andreas Kotelnik at the O2 Arena, London, in a challenge for the WBA light-welterweight title. "I'm desperate to give Britain another world champion," said Khan. "I've been training hard in the States to make it happen, but hopefully victory over Kotelnik will only be the start of things to come. "I think every boxer sets their sights high when they turn professional, and I'm no different. "I don't want to just be a world champion, I want to be a great world champion, and that's what I'm going to be working on doing for the next three or four years.

Sutherland sets sights on London Debut

DARREN SUTHERLAND will make his London debut at York Hall, Bethnal Green on Tuesday July 30. Ireland's Olympic bronze medallist (3-0) is back page news in the Emerald Isle, but is desperate to make a splash in England. Sutherland, 27, has made London his base since turning professional with Frank Maloney last year. He trains in the city centre at 'The Real Fight Club' under the watchful eye of Brian Lawrence and now lives on the outskirts of the capital in Bromley. Maloney said: "There is a big Irish community in London and I am sure they will turn up in their droves to support a man who is a national hero back home. "I'm sure fans in London's East End will like what they see because the York Hall crowd are the most knowledgeable in Britain." Sutherland's three stoppage wins since switching codes gave earned him rave reviews and shown why he is considered one of world boxing's best prospects. Maloney added: "There is a race between Britain's Olympians and Darren to see who wins a major professional title first."It is all about the right fights at the right time, but I wouldn't mind betting it is either Darren or my other Beijing medallist Tony Jeffries." Heading the Sky televised bill is Nottingham's Jason Booth (32-5) who makes the first defence his British super-bantamweight title against Thetford's Rocky Dean (14-10) The action packed card also features a fierce British featherweight title eliminator between Harrow's Sikh slugger Akaash Bhatia (14-0) and Welshman Jamie Arthur (14-2).

Ward makes first Professional Start

Bobby “Boogaloo” Ward will take his first steps into professional boxing on Saturday night when he makes his pro debut on the Hennessy Sports “Rule Britannia” event at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan. Ward, the last English fighter to beat Amir Khan will feature in a four round bout on the undercard to John Murray’s second defence of his British Lightweight title against Scott Lawton. The event is live on ITV4 from 8pm and Ward is hopeful that he can be in the mix for the British Lightweight title himself in the not too distant future. The 22-year-old takes his ring moniker from 1970’s Philadelphia middleweight Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, the first man to defeat Marvelous Marvin Hagler, and he believes he can go on to achieve big things in the pro game having rediscovered his hunger for boxing after a 5 year break from the sport. “I got married and had a couple of kids so I had to provide for them and amateur boxing is great but it doesn’t put food on the table” revealed Ward who represented the Dagenham and Repton clubs as an amateur. “I come from a big boxing family and my two younger brothers are doing very well in the amateurs. Martin is on the Team GB squad and a big medal prospect for London 2012 and John is winning all around him as well. “Seeing them do so well motivated me to come back and have a go at the pro game. I think the break has actually helped me because I’m really enjoying my boxing now again.” Ward of course enjoyed his own highly successful amateur career in which he won a host of titles, one of which came at the expenses of Amir Khan. “I fought Khan twice in the amateurs,” recalled Ward. “The first time was on a club show and I didn’t really know too much about him and took him lightly but then we met again in an English Schoolboy final in 2000 and I beat him on points. “I was ready for him the second time around because I knew how good he was then. We both stopped all our opponents on the way to the final so there was a lot of interest in that one. That was a good year for me because I travelled over to Dublin and won an Irish title that year as well. My family were always back and forth so it was great to win titles in England and Ireland. “Obviously people are going to talk about the Amir Khan fights for now but that was a long time ago and obviously I’ll be looking to make my own name in the pro ranks.” Ward will look to make that name under the guidance of top trainer Tony Sims at his gym in Hainault. Ward has already studied the progress of Sims’ star pupil, Darren Barker and he says he’s taken inspiration from training alongside the unbeaten Commonwealth Middleweight Champion. “Watching Darren in the gym shows you the standard you need to get to if you want to be a success in the pros,” said Ward. “Guys like Darren might have an awful lot of ability but they work harder than everyone else as well and that’s why they are as successful as they are and that’s something I’ve seen for myself at the gym. “I just want to take it one fight at a time for now, I’ll start out at lightweight although I might even make super featherweight eventually so with Khan going up in weight and me moving down I don’t think we’ll ever have a decider in the pro’s but I suppose you never know because boxing’s a funny old game.” Ward features on this Saturday’s “Rule Britannia” card at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan. The main event sees British Lightweight Champion John Murray put his Lonsdale belt on the line against reigning English Champion Scott Lawton while the chief support bout features a Battle of Champions with Southern Area champ Tom Glover clashing with Central Area title holder Nadeem Siddique in a scheduled 10 rounder. The card also features a host of exciting prospects including Canadian based puncher, Andrew Singh Kooner, rising featherweight star Steve “Super Bad” Barnes, welterweight Phill Fury and the pro debuts of Ward and Sheffield heavyweight, Richard Towers.

Moore and Munroe's Championship Targets

FTM stable stars Jamie Moore and Rendall Munroe are set to earn WBC title fights next year.The pair were celebrating last night after the Mexico City based governing body gave them impressive world rankings in their latest ratings. European light-middleweight champion Moore is rated third in their rankings for the 11st crown currently held by Argentina's Sergio Martinez.Leicester dustman Munroe has gone one better and is number two for the 8st 10lb title which is worn by Japan's Toshiaki Nishioka. The fighters promoter Frank Maloney will now lead a delegation to the WBC convention in Jeju, South Korea in November and lobby for both fighters to become mandatory contenders. Maloney said: "Both fighters are in a great position to get themselves world title fights in the next 12 months. "It could be possible for the current champion to make voluntaries particularly Martinez, but I feel sure both fighters can earn mandatory status." Southpaw Munroe, 28, has made three successful defences of the European super-bantamweight title and recently became Commonwealth champion. Moore, 30, is injury free for the first time in years and that showed when he captured the Euro championship with a third round stoppage of former world champion Michele Piccirillo earlier this year.

Lawton's Pre Fight Jibe at Murray

Reigning English Champion Scott Lawton has warned John Murray not to take him for granted ahead of Saturday nights British title showdown at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan. Lawton will challenge for Murray’s Lonsdale belt in the main event on Hennessy Sports “Rule Britannia” event which is live on ITV4 from 8pm. Murray claims his focus hasn’t been distracted by talk of a big fight Stateside with Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz or the prospect of another British title defence against former European champ Jon Thaxton in what would be a major domestic showdown. However Lawton is adamant that he’s ready to capitalise on any slip ups from the champion tomorrow night. “Knowing that those other fights could be out there for him probably will be a distraction for him so I have to use that to my advantage,” said Lawton. “I know John and he’s a good pro so I’m sure he’s not looking past me but maybe in the back of his mind it could have an impact. There’s a lot at stake for him and he’s the favourite so all the pressure will be on him.”Lawton failed in a previous bid to win the British title when he was defeated by then champion Jon Thaxton back in 2007 but he’s determined to make amends this weekend. “I missed out the first time around so I’m even more determined now to get my hands on a Lonsdale belt. I’m looking at it as the biggest fight of my life. To win that British title would be a dream come true for me and it’s a chance that I never thought would come again. “I’m coming into this fight as the underdog and that’s the way I like it. There’s no pressure on me at all. I’m in the best form of my career and I’m coming into this fight very, very confident. I’ve sparred John and know all about him so we’ve come up with a game plan and I know if I stick to that then I can become British Champion.” The chief support on Saturday night features a Battle of Champions as Central Area Lightweight Champ Nadeem Siddique takes on reigning Southern Area Welterweight titleholder Tom Glover over 10 rounds. The card also features a host of exciting prospects including Canadian based puncher, Andrew Singh Kooner, rising featherweight star Steve “Super Bad” Barnes, welterweight Phill Fury and the pro debuts of Bobby “Boogaloo” Ward, the last Englishman to defeat Amir Khan and Sheffield heavyweight, Richard Towers.

Karlsson and Stenson's Mission in China

Defending champions Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson of Sweden have expressed their desire to return to China to defend their position as World Champions at the 2009 Omega Mission Hills World Cup which will be staged at Mission Hills Golf Club from November 26 – 29.Karlsson, the current holder of the Harry Vardon Trophy as Europe’s Number One in 2008, and Stenson, winner of The Players Championship on the US PGA Tour in May, hope that they can be driven to victory once again by their pride in representing Sweden and by the enduring friendship they forged in winning the 2008 Omega Mission Hills World Cup. They reflected on their World Cup experience in a recent interview. “It was a great week, we had a lot of fun and it was a great experience for Robert and me because we bonded well together for the first time,” said Stenson. “We didn’t really know each other too well before that because Robert is obviously a few years older than me, so coming from different age groups we didn’t really hang out together. It was great to get to know him better during the Ryder Cups and the World Cup and I think the fact that we won showed that we got on great.“ Karlsson added: “When Henrik came out on Tour I didn’t really know who he was. I knew of his ability but I didn’t even know what he looked like at the start. He changed that pretty quickly by winning straight away and, although he then went through a rough patch, he has shown over the past five years that he belongs amongst the world’s best. It was a great experience to partner with him at the World Cup and I hope we can do the same again this year.” The pair produced an unforgettable final round performance last year. Starting the final day four shots off the lead, Stenson and Karlsson were invincible in the foursomes format, producing a stunning nine under par 63 to record a comfortable three-stroke victory over their nearest rivals. Looking ahead to the 2009 Omega Mission Hills World Cup Stenson remarked: “I am really looking forward to going back to defend with him – if both he and I can bring some game back to China there is no reason why we can’t repeat it. I hope the people in Sweden recognise the achievement – it was only the second time that Sweden have won it and I hope we gave some people some pride back home. It is a great achievement for any country to be world champions, no matter what the sport is, and I hope Robert and I can do it all again.” Karlsson added: “The final round 63 was probably the easiest 63 we have ever produced because we hit all the important shots very well and putted great so it was easy in that respect. It could probably have been lower, but it was a great score and turned out to be a special day for us and for Sweden.” ABOUT OMEGA: The prestige watch manufacturer OMEGA was founded in Switzerland in 1848 and since then has continually set the pace in many fields of watchmaking, from sports timekeeping and design awards to watches for professional use in space or underwater. OMEGA is closely associated with a world of achievements including the conquest of space, timekeeping at 23 Olympic Games and numerous precision records as well as the launch in 1999 of the revolutionary Co-Axial calibre, one of the 20th century’s major innovations in mechanical watchmaking designed with the English master watchmaker and inventor George Daniels. OMEGA was Official Timekeeper for the 23rd time at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, to be followed by the Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 Olympic Games. ABOUT MISSION HILLS GOLF CLUB, CHINA: Stretching across the lush, rolling hills of Shenzhen and Dongguan in southern China, Mission Hills is China’s highest rated golf club, and the largest golf club in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The property is home to 12 resort and championship courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Annika Sorenstam, Ernie Els, Jose Maria Olazabal, Vijay Singh, David Leadbetter, David Duval, Jumbo Ozaki and Zhang Lian Wei. Mission Hills is a full-service luxury resort, featuring four clubhouses, three spas, a five-star hotel, three golf academies (including schools from world-renowned instructors David Leadbetter and Cindy Reid), 51 tennis courts with a professional tennis academy, and numerous fine dining establishments serving cuisine from around the world. It has hosted more than 50 international tournaments, including the 1995 World Cup of Golf and the Tiger Woods China Challenge in 2001. In 2007, Mission Hills began its role as host of 12 editions of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup. Its Olazabal Course, proud venue of the OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup, is consistently ranked by various international media outlets among the best courses on the continent. ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL GOLF ASSOCIATION: Established by Canadian industrialist John Jay Hopkins in 1953, the International Golf Association’s mission is the pursuit of ’international goodwill through golf’. As owner of the World Cup name, the IGA has sanctioned the world's most prestigious international team golf competition for more than 50 years. The IGA is governed by its Board of Directors, which includes Chairman Jonathan S. Linen (past Vice-Chairman, American Express), Deane R. Beman (former PGA TOUR Commissioner), J. B. McCoy (past CEO, Bank One Corporation), Bill Souders (former Executive Vice-President and Director, Xerox Corporation) and Tim Finchem (current PGA TOUR commissioner). ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF PGA TOURS: The International Federation of PGA Tours, formed in 1996, was created to enhance the competitive structure of professional golf worldwide while preserving the traditions and strengths of the six member Tours. The member Tours are the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and the Sunshine Tour. The Canadian Tour and the Tour de las Americas are Associate Members of the Federation. At the time of its founding, three major initiatives were outlined: the formation of the International Federation of PGA Tours; joint sanctioning by the members of the International Federation of PGA Tours of significant competitions for the game's top players; and a structure for a generally accepted worldwide ranking system.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Golf's Bid for inclusion in the Olympic Games

Colin Montgomerie, European Captain for The 2010 Ryder Cup and Annika Sorenstam, International Golf Federation (IGF) Global Ambassador, will join representatives of the IGF when golf’s final case for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games will be made to the International Olympic Committee Executive Board on Monday in Lausanne, Switzerland. Sorenstam, who serves as a Global Ambassador in support of the IGF’s effort, and Montgomerie will join Tim Finchem, US PGA Tour Commissioner; LPGA of Japan President and World Golf Hall of Fame member Hisako “Chako” Higuchi; IGF Co-Secretary Peter Dawson and IGF Executive Director Ty Votaw, for the presentation. Dawson and Votaw have been coordinating golf’s Olympic bid.“We feel it is very important for the IOC Executive Board to be able to personally hear from two of the game’s most highly respected players in Annika and Colin,” Votaw said. “We will also be presenting a film featuring 16 of the game’s most prominent players including current World Number One ranked Lorena Ochoa and Tiger Woods, as well as IGF Global Ambassador Jack Nicklaus describing the compelling reasons why golf should be reinstated as an Olympic sport after an absence of more than a century.“ Golf last was part of the Olympic Games in 1904, when the United States and Canada were the only competing nations. The IGF also has announced that its Olympic Golf Committee, whose purpose is to oversee and administer all aspects of golf's inclusion on the Olympic Programme, was expanded from its original seven members to 19 organisations. The new member organisations are: The Asian Tour, Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour, Canadian Professional Golf Tour, Japan Golf Tour Organisation, The Ladies Professional Golfers Association of Japan, Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association, Korean Professional Golf Association, Ladies European Tour, Ladies Asian Golf Tour Ltd., PGA Tour of Australasia, The Sunshine Tour and The Tour de las Americas. These organisations previously served on the IGF Professional Golf Advisory Committee, whose role is to ensure the Olympic Golf Committee's objective and associated activities are consistent with the values of both golf and the Olympic Movement. They join the original IGF Olympic Golf Committee members The R&A, The European Tour, USGA, PGA of America, US PGA Tour, LPGA and the Masters Tournament. Additionally, the IGF announced that the Guam National Golf Federation and Cambodian Golf Federation have joined the IGF, increasing the total number of members to 121 from 116 countries. “These developments within the IGF structure are reflective of the continued strong international interest and support for golf becoming an Olympic sport,” Dawson said. “As we have noted, never before have all levels of golf around the world been as united towards a single goal as golf becoming an Olympic sport. Additionally, golf’s inherent values align very closely with those of the Olympic Movement, including honesty, honour, dignity and sportsmanship.” Golf is one of seven sports being considered for inclusion starting with the 2016 Games. The IOC Executive Committee is expected to recommend two sports in August to the IOC membership to vote on for the 2016 Olympic Programme. The IOC's final vote will take place in early October at the 121st IOC session in Copenhagen, Denmark. The host for the 2016 Games will also be determined during this session. The candidate cities are: Chicago, USA; Madrid, Spain; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Tokyo, Japan. Dawson and Votaw previously noted the ease with which golf would fit into any of the four finalists due to existing golf facilities in those cities. During the upcoming presentation to the IOC Executive Board, the IGF representatives will stress the unprecedented commitment by member organisations to adjust their summer schedules to ensure that no major championship conflicts or competes with the Olympic golf competition, and that the sport’s best athletes would be available to participate in the Olympic Games. The IGF will also review the proposed format of 72-hole individual stroke play for both men and women, reflecting leading players’ opinion that this is the fairest and best way to identify a champion, mirroring the format used in golf's major championships. In case of a tie for either first, second or third place, a three-hole play-off is recommended to determine the medal winner(s). The IGF also is recommending an Olympic field of 60 players for each of the men's and women's competition, utilizing the official world golf rankings as a method of determining eligibility. The top 15 world-ranked players would be eligible for the Olympics, regardless of the number of players from a given country. Beyond the top 15, players would be eligible based on world ranking, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15. Under this proposal, at least 30 countries would be represented in both the men’s and women’s competitions, from all continents. In related news, the IGF was voted in as a member of the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) during Sportaccord held this past March in Denver. Sportaccord, which was launched in 2003 and is owned by the GAISF, the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations and the Association of International Olympic Winter Federations, is an annual gathering of 1,500 leading representatives from international sport federations from around the world. Dawson and Votaw attended the meetings in March. Also, the IGF’s official Web site (http://www.internationalgolffederation.org/) has been updated to include materials from past presentations as well as promotional videos. About the International Golf Federation. The IGF was founded in 1958 to encourage the international development of the game and to employ golf as a vehicle to foster friendship and sportsmanship. Recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the official international federation for golf, the IGF is comprised of 121 Federations from 116 countries. The IGF is recognized as the representative body for golf by the International Olympic Committee and has created the IGF Olympic Golf Committee to drive its effort for the sport’s inclusion in the 2016 Games. Organizations represented on the committee are The R&A, European Tour, USGA, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, LPGA and the Masters Tournament.

Freddie Roach voted Top Trainer

Freddie Roach will collect the 2008 Boxing Writers of America Association award for Trainer of the Year this Friday night in New York before heading to Bolton with Amir Khan. Roach, regarded as the world's number one boxing trainer, recently masterminded Manny Pacquaio's devastating two-round victory over Ricky Hatton and is preparing Khan to win his first world title. Bolton star Khan takes on Ukrainian hardman Andreas Kotelnik at London's O2 Arena on June 27. Khan has been under Roach's guidance since the loss to Breidis Prescott last September, and has racked up two impressive wins over Oisin Fagan and the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera. The 22-year-old is delighted for his mentor. He said, "Freddie is a great man and a great trainer and I am so happy for him to get the award," "He is well respected throughout the sport and the result of his work can be seen when the boxers fight," "I've been working hard with Freddie in the gym for nearly eight weeks now and he feels that I am ready for the fight," "We have been working on the plan to beat Kotelnik and as long as I follow instructions then I know I will win," "Freddie will have another world champion under his belt!"

Murray marks a fight with Diaz

British Champion John Murray believes he’s ready to take on the biggest and best names in the lightweight division and he’s willing to do so on away ground if necessary. Murray makes the second defence of his British title at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan this Saturday (June 13th) knowing that a win could see him travel to Houston, Texas for a showdown with marquee U.S. name Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz later in the summer. Murray’s clash with Lawton headlines Hennessy Sports “Rule Britannia” event which is live on ITV4 from 8pm on Saturday. However just like his beloved Manchester City the undefeated Murray has plans beyond British domination and says he would relish a fight with Diaz. “I’m not looking beyond Saturday night and Scott Lawton but I know there has been talks’ regarding a fight with Diaz and I’d have that fight in a heartbeat,” revealed Murray. “I’m not really going to think about it until after this weekend because I’m focusing completely on the job at hand but the talk of a Diaz fight has only made me more determined to impress on Saturday.” Lawton comes into this weekend’s clash as the underdog but he’s coming off a career best run that has seen him lift the English title so Murray knows what he’s up against. “Scott Lawton is a potential banana skin for me and I’m well aware of that,” said the Champion. “Some people might be writing him off but I certainly won’t be, he’s in the best form of his career right now and his confidence will be sky high coming into this. We’ve sparred together before so I know just how good he is and I know I’m going to have to be at my very best on Saturday.” Murray’s promoter Mick Hennessy confirmed that talks have taken place regarding a matchup with Diaz in the U.S. “I’ve spoken with Golden Boy who promote Diaz and they are very interested in the fight along with U.S. TV,” confirmed Hennessy. “John needs to get Scott Lawton out of the way first this weekend and that’s certainly not going to be easy but negotiations regarding Diaz can potentially take place after that. The Diaz fight is one I’d love to make for John because it would be a great opportunity for him to crack the U.S. in a big way. “What a fight that would be, they call Diaz the “Baby Bull” because of his style and Murray is such an exciting fighter himself as well. A matchup like that has fight of the year written all over it and I’m confident that when John’s at the top of his game he’s truly a World class fighter and with his strength and determination he’s capable of beating any one out there.” Former Light Welterweight World Champion Paulie Malignaggi is also believed to be in the frame for a fight with Diaz but it’s understood that there has been difficulties in agreeing a catch weight for that particular matchup. Whatever the outcome of negotiations Murray realises just how important Saturday night’s fight is to his future plans. “I can’t afford any slip ups against Lawton because there’s so much at stake right now. There are quite a few fights out there for me like a potential matchup with Diaz and then there’s domestic business to take care of with Jon Thaxton for the Lonsdale belt but all those will be out the window unless I win this weekend.” The chief support on Saturday night features a Battle of Champions as Central Area Lightweight Champ Nadeem Siddique takes on reigning Southern Area Welterweight titleholder Tom Glover over 10 rounds. The card also features a host of exciting prospects including Canadian based puncher, Andrew Singh Kooner, rising featherweight star Steve “Super Bad” Barnes, welterweight Phill Fury and the pro debuts of Bobby “Boogaloo” Ward, the last Englishman to defeat Amir Khan and Sheffield heavyweight, Richard Towers.

Tyson Fury has Injury Setback

Fans of heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury will have to wait a little longer for his seventh professional outing. The 6 foot 9 inch Fury has suffered a back injury in training meaning that his next bout has now been postponed until July 18 in Norwich. Fury had been set for action on this Saturday’s “Rule Britannia” card at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan. The Hennessy Sports event is live on ITV4 from 8pm and is headlined by John Murray’s British Lightweight title defence against Scott Lawton. However with a persistent back injury hampering his preparations Fury has been forced to withdraw from the card. “I’m very disappointed but the doctor has said that the only thing for the injury is to rest for a week so then I should be able to get back to training for the July 18th fight,” said Fury. “I’ve been very busy since I turned pro and I want to keep to a busy schedule so I don’t want to risk the back injury getting any worse. I’m getting closer to a British title shot with every fight now so hopefully on July 18th I’ll take another step up in class. I know Mick Hennessy is working on something for that show and I’ll be ready for whoever shows up in the opposite corner.”

Arthur warns Khan about Kotelnik

Former WBO World Super-Featherweight Champion Alex Arthur has warned Amir Khan that he's in for a tough night's work against Andreas Kotelnik - and he's speaking from first-hand experience. Khan takes on WBA World Light-Welterweight champion Kotelnik at the O2 Arena, London, on June 27. And Arthur knows just how good the Ukrainian is after losing to him on points as an amateur back in 1998 - the same year he struck gold at the Commonwealth Games."Kotelnik was really good back then, and it was obvious that if he did turn professional then he was going to go all the way," said Arthur. "He had that real Eastern European amateur style and was a very difficult man to beat, but he's proved how good he is by going on to win a world title. "The moment our fight started I realised that he was something special, and he's still very slick, very slippery and I'm sure he'll be a real handful at the O2. "Not everyone had heard of Kotelnik before he was announced as Khan's opponent, but he shouldn't be overlooked. Believe me, he's a very dangerous fighter." But Arthur, who returns to action on June 19 in Glasgow, believes that Khan can get the better of Kotelnik. "Amir is going to have to be at his best," said Arthur, who is now aiming to win a second world title at lightweight. "He's got to use his angles, keep out of trouble and utilise his speed to dictate the fight on his own terms. "I believe that he can do it and I'll be rooting for him because Britain needs more world champions. "I've been a big admirer of Amir ever since he won his silver medal at the Olympic Games, and he's great for the sport. "I also know that Amir is in great hands because I've worked with Freddie Roach before and he is one of the best, if not the best, trainers in the world."

Gavin's taste for Sweet Success

Frankie Gavin has been reading up on Willy Wonka - after finding out his next opponent works in a chocolate factory.But York's Graham Fearn is promising to send Gavin into meltdown and snap his unbeaten run when the pair meet at the O2 Arena on June 27.The 34-year-old has a solid 4-2-1 (1) record and has never been stopped.And although he combines training with work at the Nestle Rowntree factory in his home city, he is determined to make his name by becoming the first man to beat Gavin."I've had a look at Fearn's record and he'll be a handful," said Gavin."Both his defeats have been against good prospects and I know he comes to fight."It's just the kind of contest that I need at this stage of my professional career, and I'll be at the top of my game in London."2007 amatuer world champion Gavin, 23, has won his first two professional fights, both by stoppage.He'll be looking for a hat-trick of early wins at the O2, where he will form part of a huge undercard to Amir Khan's WBA light-welterweight title challenge against Andreas Kotelnik.Gavin's fellow amateur stars James DeGale and Billy Joe Saunders will also be in action.DeGale will box former Irish champion Ciaran Healy, while Saunders' opponent has yet to be announced.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Glover out for revenge on Siddique

Essex crowd-pleaser Tom Glover will be out for revenge in Wigan this weekend as he looks to reverse a defeat to Nadeem “Golden Boy” Siddique in a battle of champions on the undercard of Hennessy Sports “Rule Britannia” event. Glover, the reigning Southern Area Welterweight Champ clashes with current Central Area Lightweight title holder Siddique at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan this Saturday (June 13th) with John Murray’s second defence of his British Lightweight title against Stoke’s Scott Lawton topping the bill. The event is live on ITV4 from 8pm on Saturday with unbeaten heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury also on the card. Glover suffered a points defeat at the hands of Siddique when they last met in 2007 and while he’s confident of reversing that result this time around he has plenty of respect for his old foe. “He’s a very sharp boxer, he’s got quick hands and he’s a good clean puncher so I have a lot of respect for him,” said Glover. He’s definitely one of the best I’ve fought but the difference this time is that it’s going to be over 10 rounds rather than 6 and I think that will suit me a lot more than it will suit him.” Last time out Siddique suffered the lone defeat on his 23 fight record with a seventh round stoppage loss to Martin Gethin for the English title and Glover believes it highlighted some chinks in the Siddique armour. “I watched that fight and I think his tank ran dry in that one. He was winning hands down for the first four rounds but then Gethin started to come on strong and by the finish Siddique had nothing left. I think our fight will go the same way, he’ll definitely be dangerous early on but I’ll be looking to take control of things around the halfway point and I think I’ll be too strong for him as the fight goes on.” Naturally Siddique would beg to differ and he has already said that he’s not concerned at the prospect of meeting Glover again but the 27-year-old Maldon native believes he’s in for a surprise. “The first time I fought him I was really only warming into the pro game,” said Glover. “I think I’d only had 8 fights while he was already unbeaten in 19 and making a name for himself so there was a big gap in experience. It was my first time on a big World title show as well (with Junior Witter successfully defending his WBC Light Welterweight title against Vivian Harris) so that all added to the pressure. “I think the tables have turned now though because he’s been out for nearly a year since getting beat and in that time I’ve had 3 fights and got plenty of rounds and experience under my belt so I think the difference will show on Saturday night.” Glover is coming off the back of two real war’s, a toe to toe small hall classic with Scott Woolford to claim the Southern Area title and a back and forth affair with Chas Symonds in March and he believes it could be a hat trick this weekend. “I’m probably not the most technical boxer in the world but I can guarantee anyone that I get in there with will know they’ve been in a real fight. I’m in the best form of my career right now so I’m coming into this fight really confident. I’m sure he will be as well having beaten me before so I think sparks could fly in this one.” Glover and Siddique face off in a Battle of Champions on the undercard of the Hennessy Sports “Rule Britannia” event at the Robin Park Arena, Wigan on Saturday, June 13th. The main event sees John Murray looking to retain his British Lightweight title against reigning English Champ Scott Lawton. Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury will have his seventh professional outing on the card with his cousin Phill Fury also featuring alongside hot featherweight prospect Steve Barnes and the pro debuts of Bobby “Boogaloo” Ward, the last Englishman to defeat Amir Khan and Sheffield heavyweight, Richard Towers. Exciting puncher Andrew Singh Kooner completes the line-up