Thursday, July 30, 2009

King backs Alexander to conquer Witter

Veteran promoter Don King believes that Devon Alexander will become his latest World Champion at the expense of Junior Witter this weekend. Witter will attempt to regain his old title at the Agua Caliente Casino in California on Saturday night with the vacant WBC Light Welterweight title on the line against the undefeated Alexander. King has overseen the 22-year-old St. Louis native’s impressive rise up the Light Welterweight rankings and he believes that Alexander has the potential to become a major star. "I saw something special in Devon from the beginning,” revealed King. “He doesn't drink, smoke or take drugs. He takes care of his body. His smile lights up a room. He's also a great role model for young people. I can't say enough good things about this talented young man. "Now he has received an opportunity in the land of opportunity and he plans to make the most of it. Those in attendance at Agua Caliente and watching across America on Showtime are going to see a very special young fighter win his first world title." Naturally Witter has other ideas and he’s determined to reclaim his old belt with a dominating win over Alexander. "I'm going to go out there and do my thing because as long as I perform to my best then I know that the title’s coming back home with me,” predicted the Bradford switch hitter. “I know I’m good enough to beat Alexander so it’s all about me fighting my fight. I’m not going to worry about what Alexander has planned. I’ve watched him fight and he’s a talented guy. He’s unbeaten in 18 fights with 11 KO’s so the numbers are certainly impressive. He’s young, ambitious and he’s an aggressive, come forward southpaw with fast hands so I rate him as a good fighter.” Although he’s had a smooth rise to the top Witter plans on showing Alexander the other side of the pro game on Saturday night. “He hasn’t had to face adversity yet in his career because everything’s gone his way so far and he’s probably expecting that to continue. The fights in the U.S. so everything’s in his favour but Junior “The Hitter” Witter loves a challenge and the Hitters going to take his title back home." Witter is adamant that he will be back to his best after admitting to a below par performance in losing the WBC title on a split decision to American Timothy Bradley in May of last year. “I had some problems outside the ring going in to that fight and it actually led me to overtrain. I didn't rest my body enough and I wasn’t easting properly but I’ve addressed those problems and the training camp for this has been great. “I’ve had excellent sparring at the Ingles Gym in Sheffield, there are some great guys coming through in the gym at the moment and that kind of competition keeps you sharp and helps to drive you on.” Alexander has also arrived in California from his training camp brimming with confidence ahead of the biggest night of his career. “He's already had the title we're fighting for, and I feel like it's my turn now,” said Alexander. “I'm not stopping my undefeated run for anyone. I'll never have a chance at the biggest fights in the world against Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao unless I win this. "I've watched tapes on Junior Witter and he's a crafty, slick fighter that likes to take pot shots at you when he gets the opportunity. My goal is to give him something where he will not be able to stay with that all night. I want to dominate him for 12 rounds. I want to be smart and aggressive at the same time." Alexander says that fighting for the World title will fulfil a childhood ambition. "It means a lot to me to be fighting in my first world championship match. I started in boxing when I was 7. I come from a rough St. Louis neighbourhood where most people go to jail or end up dead. I heard gun shots every night where you have to hit the ground and check to make sure the bullets didn't hit you. This is a tremendous opportunity God has blessed me with to be fighting for a world title.” Alexander’s trainer Kevin Cunningham is in no doubts about the outcome of Saturday’s contest. "This is a terrific opportunity for Devon," said Cunningham. "He's been preparing for this moment since he was 8 years old when I heard him say he wanted to fight for the 'green belt' of the WBC. "Training has gone great. Devon is peaking at the right time. He's been excellent in training and sparring. He's looking spectacular. The kid is definitely ready. "From what I've seen in Witter, I see an experienced, savvy veteran that can be awkward at times but I think a sharpshooter like Devon can make him pay for his mistakes. "Youth, speed, talent and persistence are things that Devon is blessed with so he can overcome anything he put his mind to. It's just a mater of execution. I think at some point in this fight it's going to come down to the fact that Junior Witter is going to realize he's in the ring with a young, hungry and extremely talented fighter that will prove that he wants it just a little more."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kell Brook in title fight with Michael Jennings

The welterweight war that the whole country wants to see is officially on after Kell Brook and Michael Jennings agreed to a mouth-watering British title clash. Rising star Brook will defend his belt against classy former British champion Jennings later this year in a classic War of the Roses match up. The date and venue will be confirmed shortly. Last week Brook, who has won a Lonsdale belt outright in just nine rounds of completed boxing, identified Jennings as the only man who could challenge his claim to be the best in the country. And Special K demanded a showdown with a fighter who recently challenged Miguel Cotto for the WBO World Welterweight title in New York. His wish has now been granted, and with the fight on, both men are promising an all action thriller. "I could have moved on to European or even world level, but I've got unfinished business at home and I need to beat Jennings to be number one," said Sheffield's unbeaten Brook. "Having fought Cotto, he is known in the States and if I do a job on him I can make a big statement about my abilities at world level. "I've taken out each of my last three opponents in the first three rounds, and I can do something similar against Jennings. He's a slow starter and I know I can get him out of there quickly." But Jennings, who has only lost two of his 37 fights, says he is confident of victory. "Brook's a good kid and he's done well to win a Lonsdale belt outright," said the Lancastrian. "But let's be honest, who has he really fought? It's not until now that he's met someone who can stand up to him, and believe me I will do. "People asked me if I was going to retire after the Cotto fight, but the thought never crossed my mind. "I want title fights and I'm delighted that I've got Brook, because this is an opportunity for me to get back into the big time. "Everyone is talking about him as the future of British boxing, but I'll take him to school." Warren added: "Both boxers have said they want this fight, and I'm delighted that they have agreed to it. I know that it's going to be a classic."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rogan gets another Shot at Sexton

Following the highly controversial ending of their first encounter, Martin Rogan and Sam Sexton had to meet again to settle their unfinished business once and for all. And promoter Frank Warren has done just that. The rematch between the two feuding heavyweights will take place on Friday 9th October at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast and it could eclipse the unbelievable drama of their first fight. In May at the same venue, the Belfast hero - who's rise to the top is like a true life Rocky story - was only seconds from victory and retaining his Commonwealth Heavyweight title in the eighth round after Sexton was out on his feet and it appeared that referee Dave Parris would step in. Instead Rogan got a warning for hitting behind the head and when the action recommenced Sexton appeared to spit his gum shield out to give him some valuable seconds. Sexton looked 'ready to go' and Rogan looked at Parris imploring him to stop the fight, Parris let the fight go on before he noticed the gum shield had come out and called a time out to have it rinsed and replaced. Rogan was tiring badly and couldn't find the shot to finish Sexton who was digging in deep, then the referee called another time out for the doctor to check Rogan's eye and following his advice Parris stopped the fight because of huge swelling under his left eye. Despite the result, Rogan showed real class and praised Sexton on his win, but is desperate for revenge and to get his Commonwealth title back. Already in training for the return, Rogan said, "I can't wait for justice to be done on October 9th and my two fists will be handing out the judgement. Everyone knows I won the last fight and the referee saved him, but that's in the past and I can't cry about it now. I just have to beat Sexton this time. I made mistakes last time and Sexton won't get that opportunity again, I am going to absolutely destroy the man. I beat him with one eye, this time I will have two perfect eyes and I'm going to be coming at him like no one has ever done in his life. There is nowhere for him to hide in that ring.Sexton, who is reveling in his new champion status, said, "Everyone knows that if the fight was anywhere else it would have been stopped because of the state of Rogan's eye. It's all on dvd for you to see, I out-boxed him in every round apart from the eighth. He is just a brawler with no boxing skill and that only thing he's got is his strength, but that wasn't much to worry about. Remember, I took the fight in Belfast and went into the lions den and beat him and now I'm going back there and will do the same again, only easier. This time there will be no stoppage and he's going to get knocked out." Promoter Frank Warren said, "It's an exciting rematch and all the controversy from the first fight will certainly build it up into a big return. Sexton went into Rogan's backyard and won the title and now Rogan has the opportunity to get it back." Tickets, priced at £25 (tier), £30 (tier), £40 (central tier), £60 (floor), £100 (floor) and £150 (ringside) are available from: Odyssey Arena Box Office 02890 739 074
Ticketmaster 0870 243 4455 Warren Promotions
01992 550 888

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Froch brushes Dirrell to One Side

WBC Super Middleweight Champion Carl Froch has laughed off any suggestions that unbeaten American star Andre Dirrell has got under his skin ahead of their opening round Super Six clash in Nottingham on October 17th. Dirrell boasted yesterday that Froch would be his “easiest fight” in the groundbreaking new series which also includes WBA champ Mikkel Kessler, IBF Middleweight champ Arthur Abraham, former Undisputed Middleweight title holder Jermain Taylor and Olympic Gold medallist Andre Ward. Froch will enjoy home advantage for the bout at the Trent FM Arena in Nottingham with tickets for the event going on sale next week and he says all the pressure will be on Dirrell to back up his words when he arrives in the U.K. “I’ve heard all that kind of talk before so it doesn’t bother me,” said Froch. “It’s Dirrell who has to worry about backing up that big talk. I actually believe he’s quite nervous about the series so he’s trying to talk himself up. When he turned up at the media tour last week I think the realisation of what he’d got himself into actually hit home and I think he was a little overawed by the occasion. “If he’s nervous getting his photo taken alongside the likes of World Champions like myself and Mikkel Kessler how’s he going to feel when he actually has to step into the ring with us? “He’s got a decent amateur pedigree and he's done well as a pro so far but he’s about to step up to a whole new level now. Most of the other guys in this tournament are proven, elite level fighters but Dirrell is still untested so it’s up to him to prove he belongs at this level. “He's unbeaten obviously so he has that confidence and mentality of a fighter who doesn't believe they can be beaten but he's forgetting that I'm unbeaten as well so I have that same confidence and mentality.” Dirrell has accused Froch of being too slow and easy to hit but the Nottingham man has watched Dirrell in action and says he sees nothing to worry him. “I've watched a couple of rounds of him in action and to be honest I’ve seen enough to know what he’s about. I'm not going to lose too much sleep over him. I'll let him worry about me. He's the guy doing all the talking and he's the guy who has to come to my back yard and take my title so he's the one with things to worry about. “He's got fast hands but I don’t see any evidence that he’s a big puncher. He likes to switch hit, changing from southpaw to orthodox but I'll find his weak side and bash him up. Let’s see how he reacts with being taken into the trenches. I’m sure we’ll learn a lot more about him then.”

Rafa Echenique's Albatross Celebration

Rafa Echenique’s stunning three iron second shot to the 72nd hole at the BMW International Open for an albatross two has won the Argentine golfer The European Tour Shot of the Month Award for June. Echenique holed out from 243 yards for the first albatross in the 21-year history of the BMW International Open at Golfclub München Eichenried. That superb shot – the impressive final blow in a round of 62 - lifted Echenique to 21 under par and in contention for the title. Although England’s Nick Doughery eventually secured victory with a 64 and 22 under par total of 266, it was Echenique’s master stroke which reverberated around Golfclub München Eichenried. He commented: “It was a fantastic feeling. Unbelievable. I hit a great driver and then I had 243 yards to the pin. The wind helped a little bit to the left and I hit a great shot, a little draw with a three iron. I didn't understand what had happened until the crowd started cheering. I didn't believe it. This was my first albatross and absolutely one of the greatest moments in my career so far.” In second place was a shot from the same tournament in Germany, Graeme Storm of England holing his approach for an eagle two at the 15th hole in the final round. Third place went to Henrik Stenson of Sweden for his deft chip-in at the first hole in the fourth round of the US Open Championship. Winners of the Shot of the Month in 2009 are: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland (January and March), Paul Casey of England (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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New venue for Madrid Masters

The stunning Spanish Golf Federation-owned Centro Nacional de Golf is the new venue for the Madrid Masters, which will carry a prize fund of €1.5million – an increase of €500,000 from last year. The second edition of the tournament will be played from October 8-11 over the 7,242 yards par 72 course, which was officially opened in 2006 by Juan Carlos I, the King of Spain. A year later Centro Nacional de Golf hosted the Open de España, which was won by South African Charl Schwartzel, who continued his love affair with the Spanish capital last year when he captured the inaugural Madrid Masters. Schwartzel triumphed by three strokes at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, where six Spaniards finished in the top ten, led by Pablo Larrazábal in third place. Triple European Tour champion Schwartzel, currently 28th in The Race to Dubai, will now return to Madrid to defend his title, intent on claiming the €250,000 first prize. This year’s event will again be promoted by GFC Golf & Business, the company co-owned by four-time European Tour champion Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño of Spain. The four main tournament sponsors are Turismo Madrid, Caja Madrid, the Madrid Golf Federation and the Spanish Golf Federation. Fernandez-Castaño, currently ranked eighth in The Race to Dubai, said: “Thanks to the generosity and support of our sponsors we have been able to increase last year’s prize fund by €500,000, which should help us attract another quality field to this year’s Madrid Masters.“Madrid has always been a fantastic place to play golf – there are now 95,000 golfers in the city, and I’m sure many of them will turn out to see some of the best players on the planet in action. “Last year’s event was a great success, but I’m confident this year’s will be even better. The course at Centro Nacional de Golf is a great venue, and I can’t wait to tee up with many of my friends from The European Tour.” As well as a championship course, Centro Nacional de Golf also boasts an academy for aspiring young golfers.

Players competing in Mission Hills World Cup

All 18 exempt nations have now been confirmed for the 2009 Omega Mission Hills World Cup to be played at Mission Hills Golf Club, China, from November 26-29. The field, selected through each nation’s leading player on the Official World Golf Ranking as of Monday, June 22, is headed by Sergio Garcia – Number Four on the Official World Golf Ranking at the cut-off date – who will represent his country, Spain, for the first time at Mission Hills. The five-time Ryder Cup player can now select his team-mate to compete over the course designed by his countryman, José Maria Olazábal, provided that the player nominated is inside the top 100 on the World Ranking as of June 22 or the second deadline of August 17. This will be Garcia’s fourth attempt to win the World Cup. He played in 2001, 2004 and 2005, with his best finish coming in his native Spain five years ago when he and Miguel Angel Jiménez finished just one shot behind champions England over another Olazábal-designed course, the Real Club de Golf Sevilla in Seville. Jiménez and Pablo Larrazabal led after three rounds at Mission Hills in 2008 but were overhauled on the final day by Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson’s brilliant closing foursomes round of 63 to the Spanish pair’s 70. Garcia is hoping he can drive Spain to victory this year, but knows the competition will be fierce. “There are always a lot of good teams at the World Cup. I think that the Swedish team, the defending champions, will be very good,” said Garcia. “The Americans always seem to bring a good solid team into the tournament. Australia, of course, is going to have a good one coming in. One of the Asian teams could be solid.” “The next time I see José María I’ll probably ask him about the course. I’ve seen a little bit of it on TV and I’ve heard good things about it. I’m looking forward to seeing it. It’s going to be a great test like it’s been every year. I’m just hoping that my partner and I can do well and bring the victory to Spanish soil.” Stenson, one half of the dynamic Swedish duo who secured the Omega Mission Hills World Cup for their country, will defend the trophy at Mission Hills, where he and partner Robert Karlsson recorded a three shot victory. It was Sweden’s second victory in the event, Anders Forsbrand and Per-Ulrik Johansson having captured the trophy for the first time in 1991. Rory McIlroy, who broke into the world’s top 20 this season, has confirmed he will make his debut at Mission Hills and he has selected Ryder Cup player and fellow Northern Irishman, Graeme McDowell, to be his partner under the united Ireland banner. For the third successive year, Ian Poulter will represent England in China, having finished fourth in tandem with Justin Rose in 2007 and sixth with Ross Fisher last year, who will partner Poulter once again this time around.
Rory Sabbatini will fly the flag for South Africa alongside Richard Sterne, Nick Watney will play under the Stars and Stripes of the USA, while Open de France ALSTOM and Barclays Scottish Open winner Martin Kaymer spearheads the German challenge in China. Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby have accepted the opportunity to represent Australia while the other confirmed nations are Denmark (Søren Kjeldsen), India (Jeev Milkha Singh), Thailand (Thongchai Jaidee), Argentina (Andres Romero), Italy (Francesco Molinari), Japan (Ryuji Imada), France (Thomas Levet), Chinese Taipei (Lin Wen-tang), New Zealand (David Smail) and Korea (Charlie Wi). China qualify automatically as host nations of the World Cup and will be represented by Liang Wen Chong who makes his fourth World Cup appearance. The leading player may select any player of his choosing from the same country provided such player was ranked within the top 100 on the Official World Golf Ranking as of either 22 June 2009 or August 17, 2009. If there was no other available player from that country within the top 100 on the OWGR on either of the dates, the exempt player’s partner shall be the next highest ranked available player from the same country outside of the top 100 as of August 17. If there is no other available player from that country within the top 500 on the OWGR as at August 17, the exempt player may select a professional of his choosing from the same country, without regard to the chosen player’s World Ranking. The deadline for the leading player to select his partner is August 28, 2009. The final field of 28 nations will be completed following three Qualifying Tournaments to be played in Asia (Kuala Lumpur), Europe (Estonia) and South America (Venezuela), with three countries going through from each regional qualifier to join the 18 exempt nations and hosts, China, at Mission Hills.

Lebedev wants crack at the Cruiserweight Title

Cruiserweight sensation Denis Lebedev is gunning for a world title following his stoppage win over Enzo Maccarinelli at the M.E.N Arena on Saturday night. The Russian needed less than three rounds to beat former world champion Big Mac - and has thrown out a challenge to current world champs Tomasz Adamek, Guillermo Jones, Victor Ramirez and Giacobbe Fragomeni. "I am the best cruiserweight in the world and I am going to prove it over the next 12 months," said the undefeated 29-year-old known as the Red Express. "Everyone in the UK said that Maccarinelli would beat me, but I took him apart and proved that I belong at world level. "I will fight anyone, any place, any time. "I badly want to win a world title, but I can unify the division as well. "With my win over Maccarinelli I have moved up the WBO ratings, but I want all four world titles. "Adamek, Jones, Ramirez, Fragomeni - are you man enough to fight me?"I'm going to breath new life into the cruiserweight division and I'm going to knock out all the champions, so they better start doing their homework on me." Southpaw Lebedev, who is based in Moscow, has won all 18 of his professional fights, 13 by stoppage. Promoter Frank Warren added: "Denis showed on Saturday that he can begin a new era in cruiserweight boxing, and he is an exciting talent. "I'm working on getting him more big fights and he has the ability to go all the way and win multiple world titles."

Andre Dirrell blasts Carl Froch

Unbeaten American star Andre “The Matrix” Dirrell has come out all guns blazing ahead of his Super Six showdown with WBC Super Middleweight Champ Carl Froch on October 17th. Froch will have home advantage for the clash with promoter Mick Hennessy confirming that the fight will take place at the Trent FM Arena in Nottingham with tickets for the event going on sale next week. The bout takes place on the opening night of the Super Six World Boxing Classic, a groundbreaking new tournament which will ultimately crown the World’s best Super Middleweight and produce a strong candidate for the best pound for pound fighter on the planet. Dirrell, an Olympic medallist from the Athens Games in 2004 has racked up 18 straight wins in the paid ranks and he’s dismissed Froch as the weakest in the Super Six line-up which also includes WBA champ, Mikkel Kessler, IBF Middleweight title holder Arthur Abraham, former Undisputed Middleweight champ Jermain Taylor and 2004 Olympic Gold medallist Andrew Ward. “I begged to get Froch in my first fight,” revealed Dirrell. “He’s the guy I wanted. This is going to be my easiest fight. This is the fight where I’ll show off and look my best and that’s a guarantee. I’ll look my best there because he’s just that easy to hit and he’s slow.” Dirrell is distinctly unimpressed with Froch despite the Nottingham man’s back to back fight of the year candidates in winning the WBC title against the unbeaten Jean Pascal last December and defending the belt in April with a dramatic final round KO over marquee American star Jermain Taylor. “Froch only beat Jean Pascal because Pascal didn’t do his job and fought the wrong fight,” claimed Dirrell. “He fought Jermain Taylor and was losing to Taylor but got fortunate and knocked him out. Froch hasn’t really shown me anything. Honestly if you want to sit back and break it down he’s not really a true champion yet. If he can win this tournament then he’ll become a true champion but he’s not there yet.” Although he travelled the world during a glorious amateur career Dirrell has yet to fight outside the U.S. as a pro. However he insists that crossing the Atlantic holds no fear for him and he will be looking to restore some American pride to the Super Middleweight division. “Even before this series came about I wanted to go to the U.K. and beat Carl Froch for the WBC title and then go to Denmark and beat Mikkel Kessler for the WBA title because I want to make a statement to the American fans that we’re not down and out. “My plan was always to go to Europe and bring those belts home because that’s the American way and I want to fulfil that to the fullest and this tournament gives me the opportunity to do just that and I know for certain that I will. I’m just super hungry because I know that these are the top guys to beat and I’m in a great position and I know that I’m going to come out of this victorious.” The 26-year-old switch hitter from Flint, Michigan has no doubts that he has the quality to emerge victorious from the Super Six series. “My skill is outstanding, my will is unbearable and my physical strength and mental game are second to none,” claimed Dirrell. “I will beat World Champion after World Champion and that in turn will make me the best out there. That’s what I love about this tournament.” Although he doesn’t hold Froch in high regard Dirrell appears to have far greater respect for his other European rivals in the Super Six series. “Mikkel Kessler will definitely be the toughest fight for me and I love Arthur Abraham’s defence so he’ll be another tough opponent. He’s also going to be quicker than the other guys because he’s coming up from a smaller weight class.” German based Abraham will also be in action on October 17th when he faces Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor in the American’s first fight since his dramatic defeat to Froch in Connecticut in April. The final bout of the first stage of the Super Six round robin takes place on November 21st when Mikkel Kessler squares off against unbeaten American Andre Ward.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kell Brook seeks out Michael Jennings

Rising star Kell Brook may now be the proud owner of a Lonsdale belt outright - but he says he's still got work to do on the domestic scene. And the 23-year-old British welterweight champion is demanding a showdown with former world title challenger Michael Jennings before the year is out. Brook continued his stunning run of KO wins on Saturday night at the M.E.N Arena when he blasted out Michael Lomax inside three rounds. It meant the Sheffield sensation - who is living up to his Special K nickname - got a Lonsdale belt for keeps after completing just nine rounds in British title fights. Now Brook is targeting a clash with Jennings, who unsuccessfully challenged Miguel Cotto in New York earlier this year for the WBO world title and is a former British and WBU champion. "I believe I am the best in the country, but I can't say that for sure until I've beaten Jennings," said Brook. "He's a good fighter and I've been a fan of his for a while, but I'll be too quick and too strong for him and he's going to become another knockout on my record. "It's the fight everyone wants to see, and I've told my promoter Frank Warren that it's the one that I want, and I'll be bugging him until I get it. "When I get Jennings in the ring I plan on doing a better job on him than Cotto. "It took him five rounds to stop Jennings, but I reckon I can do it in three and send a message out to all the other welterweight contenders that I'm the man they need to be worried about. "I had two dreams as a youngster - the first was winning the Lonsdale belt outright, and the second was winning a world title. "I'm half way there and within 18 months I know that I'm going to have achieved the second half of my ambitions as well."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

McIntosh and Cleverly Square Up

Unbeaten duo Danny McIntosh and Nathan Cleverly will come face to face tomorrow (1pm at the York Hall) to weigh in ahead of their British and Commonwealth Light Heavyweight title showdown at the York Hall, Bethnal Green on Saturday night. The double title clash headlines the Hennessy Sports event with ITV4’s coverage of the Big Fight Live starting at 8pm and running until 11pm. The undercard includes former British and European Lightweight champion Jon Thaxton in an intriguing clash with Tom Glover while unbeaten Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury makes his seventh pro appearance on the undercard. Many within boxing are tipping Welsh star Cleverly as the next Joe Calzaghe but McIntosh believes that he can upset the odds and inflict the first defeat of Cleverly’s career while maintaining his own perfect record.“There’s going to be a lot of people with egg on their face after this fight,” predicted McIntosh. “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.” McIntosh has been unimpressed by Cleverly’s reign as Commonwealth champion and questions the calibre of his opposition. “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.” Cleverly though believes he can add the vacant British title to his Commonwealth belt. “I’m very confident,” said the Cefn Fforst man. “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 and doing what I do best, remaining unbeaten and bringing the belts away.” 6 foot 9 inch heavyweight giant Tyson Fury will look to extend his unbeaten record to seven straight wins on the undercard and maintain his 100% KO ratio in the process by becoming the first man to stop durable Latvian Aleksandrs Selezens. The chief support bout will see Tom Glover looking to upset the applecart once again as he takes on former British and European Lightweight champ Jon Thaxton while in a special attraction recent Big Brother evictee Angel McKenzie will look to resume her professional boxing career as she takes on Welsh opponent Lana Cooper. The action packed undercard also features Ireland’s undefeated EU Lightweight champ, Andy Murray and hot prospects Steve O’Meara, Lee Purdy, Dwayne Lewis, Bobby Ward and Del Rogers.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Froch focused on Super Six Showdown

Britain’s only reigning World Champion Carl Froch believes he can cement his boxing legacy by winning the inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic. The “Cobra” is one of six world renowned fighters that have been selected for a groundbreaking new series which will begin later this year and culminate in a final bout early in 2011. Froch got the opportunity to get up close and personal with his rivals at a press conference at Madison Square Garden in New York earlier today although in the case of Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor the Nottingham man needed no introductions. Froch and Taylor waged war in the U.S. earlier this year in Froch’s first defence of his WBC super middleweight title. Froch eventually emerged victorious courtesy of a stunning final round KO of the former undisputed world middleweight champ. Taylor has been included on the super six roster which also includes two other American stars in the shape of Olympic gold medallist and number one ranked contender Andre “S.O.G.’’ Ward and fellow 2004 Olympic medallist and top ranked contender Andre “The Matrix” Dirrell. Joining them will be Denmark’s reigning WBA super middleweight kingpin Mikkel “Viking Warrior’’ Kessler and German based IBF middleweight champion Arthur Abraham who is moving up to super middleweight to compete in the series. Froch will kick off the round robin series in the U.K. later this year as he clashes with the unbeaten Dirrell and he believes he has what it takes to win the series outright. “I’m going to be the last man standing,” declared Froch. “I’m a world champion and I’ve worked so hard to get here that I’m not giving my belt up for anyone. This is what boxing is supposed to be about with the best fighting the best. These are the kind of challenges I’ve always wanted and I’m really fired up for this tournament. “It forces the best fighters in the division to all face each other and that’s something that has been missing from boxing in recent years. You’ve got established champions like Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham, a former undisputed world champion like Jermain Taylor who I already know all about and then you have the two rising stars from the U.S. Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell.” Froch believes that ultimately the series will come down to himself and Mikkel Kessler but he admits that his first opponent, Andre Dirrell is something of a danger man. “Right now he’s something of an unknown quantity for me because I haven’t seen very much of him. He’s coming into this tournament on the back of a lot of hype and he certainly talks a good fight. It’s in the ring that it will count though, that’s where he will have to back it up but he’s big at the weight, he’s got that great amateur pedigree, he’s unbeaten and he’s some good scalps on his record so he’s definitely a dangerous opponent for my first fight. “Ultimately I believe the series will come down to myself and Kessler in the final. He’s a reigning world champion just like me and I believe the experience of being world champ gives you that extra edge. He’s an excellent fighter but I believe I’m the best of the bunch and it’s just about going out now and proving that. ”

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dougherty gets Top Spot

England’s Nick Dougherty has been named The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month for June after his memorable, emotionally-charged victory at the BMW International Open. Dougherty, who will receive a jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne along with an engraved alms dish in recognition of his achievement, secured his third European Tour victory at the Golfclub München Eichenried with a brilliant final round of eight under par 64 to win by a stroke from Argentina’s Rafa Echenique, who scored an unbelievable albatross two on the par five 72nd hole to push Dougherty all the way. But the Englishman retained his nerve to finish one clear of Echenique and three ahead of Retief Goosen as he took the €333,330 first prize and moved into the top 20 in The Race to Dubai. Dougherty’s win in Germany was hugely poignant because it was his first win since his mother, Ennis, passed away last year, and the emotive element to his win made it all the more remarkable. “I just collapsed after my Mum died,” Dougherty said of his form and confidence after winning in Munich. “Up until that point I was playing pretty well. I was going to make The Ryder Cup Team, I had just started to break into the Majors, led the US Open and finished seventh having played with Tiger Woods – everything felt very comfortable.“Then my world turned upside down in 2008. Having been blessed to not having anything really significant in a bad way happen to me, it hit me like a ton of bricks and I wasn't prepared for it, and it was horrible. “But I sat down and, in time, started to heal and I collected myself and I realised that I have potential to be a great player. There are things I have to work on, but days like I had in Munich are not a coincidence. It was a long time coming, but it came at the right time and to be recognised as the Golfer of the Month just tops it off nicely.” There were several outstanding achievements by European Tour Members in June, in addition to Dougherty’s triumph. Denmark’s Jeppe Huldahl defied the odds to secure a maiden victory in The Celtic Manor Wales Open; Christian Nilsson of Sweden radically altered his career path by winning a place on Tour with his win at the dual-ranking SAINT-OMER OPEN presented by Neuflize OBC, while Mathias Grönberg of Sweden flew the European flag in the USA with his victory at the Melwood Prince George’s County Open on the Nationwide Tour. Dougherty, though, was the unanimous choice of the voting panel comprising members of the Association of Golf Writers, television and radio commentators. Dougherty joins Rory McIlroy (January), Geoff Ogilvy (February), Søren Kjeldsen (March), Angel Cabrera (April) and Shane Lowry (May) as a winner of The 2009 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month Award. The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year will be selected following the Dubai World Championship at the Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates, from November 19-22, 2009, where the winner of The Race to Dubai will be confirmed.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Player turns back Time

Gary Player, the most decorated player in the field for The Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard, will attempt to roll back the years when he returns to Sunningdale Golf Club, 53 years after capturing his maiden European Tour victory at the Berkshire venue. The South African won the Dunlop Tournament over 90 holes of the Old and New Course in 1956 at the very start of his glittering career and now, in the twilight of his playing days, he will hope to continue his remarkable relationship with The Senior Open Championship when he returns to the Old Course from July 23-26. Player has only missed one of the previous 22 Senior Open Championships, at Royal County Down Golf Club in 2002, and the ‘Black Knight’ remains the joint most successful player in the history of the event with Tom Watson. Both Player and Watson have won The Senior Open Championship three times, although Player edges the overall Major Championship count with 18 (including nine Senior Majors) compared to the American’s 12 (including five Senior Majors). Indeed Player’s incredible record of 164 victories spanning five decades means he is the most successful of the 18 Major Champions in the field. The 73 year old, who won The Senior Open Championship at Turnberry in 1998 and 1990 and Royal Portrush in 1997, has fond recollections of Sunningdale, which he regards as “one of his favourite places on the planet”. “My memories of Sunningdale are all good,” he said. “The Old Course is a truly classical course where you have to drive well to score well. It’s got everything a classic golf course should have. “It’s going to be a sentimental journey for me this week. When I was at Sunningdale more than half a century ago I stayed in a bed and breakfast with Mr and Mrs Beattie close to the club and they really looked after me. “Sunningdale was where I had my first Tour win and I’m looking forward to meeting up with so many old friends again and reminiscing over those great days.” Also joining Player and Watson among the list of illustrious Major Champions at Sunningdale will be Sir Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Greg Norman and Ian Woosnam. Player believes the field is the most impressive he has been part of in the history of The Senior Open Championship. “I’ve almost been an ever present at The Senior Open and it’s very rewarding for me, and I’m sure for the European Senior Tour, to see how the Championship has grown in stature and popularity over its 23 years,” he said.
“The Senior Open has been a showcase Championship for the European Senior Tour and since being recognised by the Champions Tour as a Major at Turnberry in 2003 the Americans have come over in increasing numbers. “With 18 Major winners this is the strongest field ever assembled for the Championship and with players like Ben Crenshaw, Tom Lehman, Mark O’Meara, Larry Mize and three-times Champion Tom Watson among so many leading players it’s going to be an entertaining week. I believe there are also 32 Ryder Cup players competing which adds another interesting dimension to the Championship. “After 22 years on links I was surprised when I heard it was coming to Sunningdale but It’s a lovely golf course and along with Wentworth is one of my favourites. It’s also got one of my favourite holes – the 10th on the Old Course. It’s a magnificent hole with a wonderful view down the valley and up towards the Halfway Hut. Among all the golf courses I’ve designed around the world I’d have been happy to have created that hole.” Player’s support of The Senior Open and the European Senior Tour over the past two decades will continue into 2010 when he is part of the field for the inaugural Berenberg Bank Masters from March 26-28 over The Links at Fancourt which he designed. It will be the Senior Tour’s first visit to Player’s native South Africa.

Kotelnik inspired by fellow Countrymen

WBA light-welterweight champion Andreas Kotelnik says he's been inspired by fellow countrymen Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko - and will emulate their punching power against Amir Khan. Kotelnik, who is good friends with the Klitschkos through their ties to the Ukraine, puts his WBA light-welterweight title on the line against Khan on July 18 at the MEN Arena, Manchester. And he has vowed to finish the fight early in the manner of his country's most famous sportsmen. "Vitali and Wladimir are big boxing heroes of mine," said Kotelnik. "The way they have made themselves the best in the heavyweight division by knocking out all their rivals is inspiring. "But soon the Ukraine won't just have the best heavyweights in the world, but the best light-welterweight as well. "Vitali and Wladimir's nicknames are Dr Ironfist and Dr Steelhammer, but when it comes to punching power I am The Professor. "I've been studying tapes of their fights and I know why they punch so hard - and so will Amir Khan on July 18 once I have knocked him out. "Then I'm going to America to clean up the rest of the division and become world number one. "All the talk this week has been about Amir Khan against Ricky Hatton, but I'm going to beat Khan and then I'm going after Hatton, and I'll knock him out as well."

Boxing Trio in Domestic Action

Frank Warren's trio of 2008 Olympians are all looking for KO victories over domestic opposition on July 18. James DeGale, Frankie Gavin and Billy Joe Saunders are all in action at the MEN Arena, Manchester, as part of the undercard to Amir Khan's WBA light-welterweight title clash with Andreas Kotelnik. So far, the pair have scored five stoppage wins from six starts between them, and have proved too much for European opposition. Now though they are switching their attentions to the domestic scene to see if they can keep up their run of good form. DeGale takes on former Irish champion Ciaran Healy, Gavin will face Graham Fearn, while Saunders gets ex-soldier Matt Scriven. "I know boxing fans appreciate skilful fighters, but what they really love seeing is guys who win in style, and they are going to get that with me, Frankie and Billy Joe," said 23-year-old Olympic champion DeGale. "I won my last fight in the first round and there's nothing better than hearing the buzz of the crowd when that happens. "I've been speaking to the boys in the last few weeks, and we all want to go out there and win in style. "In the early part of his career Amir Khan got punters through the door by winning quickly, and we want to do the same." Saunders, 19, added: "Scriven has got a reputation for being a tough fighter and not many stop him, so I'll know more about where I'm at after this fight. "I've had two stoppage wins so far, so in a way I want someone who'll take a me a few rounds - but you don't get paid for overtime and I'll be going in there all guns blazing." Gavin, who came into the pros with a reputation for being a slickster rather than a banger, has been working on his power with trainer Anthony Farnell. "The last few months in the gym I've really developed as a puncher," said the 2007 amateur world champion. "I've won my first two fights by stoppage, and I'm aiming to make it a hat-trick on July 18. I've been studying Fearn's stats, and he's a good fighter with a winning record, so I'm definitely going to get tested at the MEN."

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Thaxton and McIntosh Fight for Norfolk Pride

Former British and European Lightweight champ Jon Thaxton is backing fellow Norwich man Danny McIntosh to bring another British title back to Norfolk. McIntosh clashes with Nathan Cleverly in a battle of undefeated fighters at the York Hall, Bethnal Green on July 18th with the British Light Heavyweight title on the line. The Hennessy Sports event is live on ITV4 and Thaxton features on the undercard as he bids to bounce back from the loss of his European title.It will be “Jono’s” first appearance since suffering a controversial points defeat at the hands of Frenchman Anthony Mezaache in February but he’s confident that Norwich fight fans will be celebrating on the double at the York Hall. “I know that this next fight is a must win for me, otherwise my plans to win back the British and European titles will go out the window and I know Danny is just as hungry for success. I’m training alongside him at the moment at the Ingle’s Gym in Sheffield and he is really fired up for his fight with Cleverly. “He knows just what’s at stake and he’s been working tremendously hard. When something like the British title is on the line it gives you that extra bit of incentive to work even harder in the gym and I believe that dedication will pay off for Danny at the York Hall.” Cleverly, the reigning Commonwealth champion is the bookies favourite ahead of the clash but Thaxton believes that McIntosh can spring an upset. “Danny is thriving on being the underdog,” revealed Thaxton. “There’s no pressure on him because people are already writing him off and he’s relishing the chance to prove those people wrong. “I’ve seen him up close in the gym and trust me he can really bang and he’s got tremendous boxing ability as well so I really fancy him to pull it off.” Thaxton has title aspirations of his own and he believes that a win this month will put him on course for British and European title fights later in the year. “People are putting the words former Champion in front of my name now and I hate it,” admitted Thaxton. “I want those titles back and as soon as possible and I believe that as long as I come through on July 18th my next fight should either be for the vacant British Lightweight title or a rematch with Mezzache for the European so things are looking up for me right now. I just need to make sure that I don’t slip up in London.” The York Hall undercard also features unbeaten Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury in his seventh professional outing while Ireland’s reigning European Union Lightweight Champion Andy Murray is also in action. Hot prospects Steve O’Meara, Lee Purdy, Dwayne Lewis, Bobby Ward and Del Rogers also take to the ring on an action packed night of championship boxing that also features recent Big Brother evictee Angel McKenzie in her 18th pro fight.

DeGale, Saunders and Gavin back Khan

Frank Warren's three Olympians are backing Amir Khan to begin a new era in British boxing on July 18. And James DeGale, Billy Joe Saunders and Frankie Gavin are planning to be hot on Khan's heels if he manages to capture Andreas Kotelnik's WBA light-welterweight world title at the MEN Arena. While Khan occupies top billing in the north west, he will be joined on the card by DeGale, Saunders and Gavin, all of whom are having their third professional fight. With Joe Calzaghe retired and Ricky Hatton coming to the end of his career, Khan has a fantastic chance to become the new poster boy for the sport in the UK - with the Olympic trio riding shotgun."Amir was an inspiration to me when he won silver at the 2004 Olympics, and what he achieved spurred me to do well in Beijing," said Olympic champion DeGale. "If he wins a world title then he will show all of us who went to the 2008 Games that you can make it to the top. "I've been following his career closely since he turned professional, and his dedication and committment are an example to all of us. "People are saying that boxing is in transition at the moment, but I think it's an exciting time for the sport. "There's a vaccuum to be filled, and my generation is the one to do it. There's quite a few of us in our early 20s, and the talent out there is fantastic. "Amir has got all the tools needed to beat Kotelnik, and it will brilliant for the sport in this country if he does it." Gavin, the 2007 amateur world champion who worked extensively with Khan when he fought for England and GB, added: "We are still good mates and I know that Amir can beat Kotelnik. "To be fighting on the same card as him is a real honour, and I'm backing him to lead the way on July 18 and get that world title. "Amir's great for the sport, and only good things can happen if he wins that world title. I'm sure other boxers will thrive on his success, just like we did when we were amateurs." Saunders, just 19, said: "Kotelnik is technically good and can take a punch, but I think Amir will be too fast for him. It's a hard fight for him but I know he can do the business."

Sutherland Shapes Up in Manchester

DARREN SUTHERLAND will have his next fight at George Carnall Centre Manchester M41 7FJ. The Irishman, 27, was due to box in Sunderland on Friday night, but suffered a slight cut on his right cheek in his stoppage win over Gennadiy Rasalev last week. Promoter Frank Maloney said: "It was touch and go whether Darren boxed on Friday, but we decided not to take the risk. "I have one other show this month and Darren can go on that before taking a well earned summer rest." Internet reports claimed Sutherland was pulled off the Sunderland bill straight after the Rasalev fight. But Maloney hit back: "That is utter rubbish and those stories didn't come from Darren or any of his team. "The decision was made on Monday when I returned from a business trip to Portugal and had there not been the show in MANCHESTER, I may well have left Darren on in Sunderland." The Olympic bronze medallist's opponent when he bids for his fifth straight win will be named next week. Top of the action packed card is Jamie Moore's European light-middleweight title defence against Frenchman Jimmy Colas. 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).

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Amir's boosted by younger brother Haroon

Amir Khan says little brother Haroon is inspiring him ahead of his clash with Andreas Kotelnik - and wants the pair of them to hold world titles at the same time. Khan, 22, challenges for Kotelnik's WBA light-welterweight title at the MEN Arena, Manchester, on July 18. And Haroon, 18, has been hitting the headlines recently with a string of impressive amateur wins for England."I've been getting updates in the States about Haroon's progression, and I've been doing some training with him since I've come back to the UK," said Khan. "He's got so much talent and we're always pushing each other on to do better, although I make sure I'm top dog! "I don't know if he's going to go pro or not, but if he does then he's good enough to win a world title. "My dream is for us both to hold world titles at the same time and defend them at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton or in one of the big venues in Las Vegas." British boxing has seen plenty of brotherly glove over the years, and promoter Frank Warren's current stable includes Kevin and Vinny Mitchell; Paul, Liam and Stephen Smith and Liam, Ryan and Michael Walsh. "I don't know if two brothers from Britain have ever held world titles before, so it would be great if Haroon and I could go down in history," said Khan. "But before we can even start thinking about that, I need to beat Kotelnik on July 18 at the MEN Arena. "I read yesterday that he's saying that I am underestimating him, but that's not the case. "I have trained for the hardest fight of my career, and I know that I will have to be at my very best to win. "I have dreamed about winning a world title for a long time though, and it will be my hand raised later this month."

Jeffries taunted by Shakuro

TONY JEFFRIES was last night accused of being a pampered fighter. The Olympic bronze medallist was on the receiving end of a verbal salvo from Ilya Shakuro, who boxes 'Jaffa' at Sunderland's Seaham Centre on Friday (10/7) in a six rounder light-heavyweight battle.Speaking through his interpreter Belarusian Shakuro (2-1) said: "Jeffries doesn't have the same hunger that I have. "How can he? He did well at the Olympic Games and earned a big money contract from some promoter. I just exist from day to day. "He is spoilt and when it comes to the late stages of our fight he will not want to know." Jeffries, 24, has romped to quick fire wins in his first two professional fights. On his debut he stopped Shakuro's close friend Aliaksandr Vayavoda. The mouth of Minsk added: "I haven't seen the Vayavoda fight but he was angry when he came back to our gym. "He told me that the English referee jumped into far too quickly and that Jeffries' punches were nothing. "If I win this fight I might get more big fights against so called prospects and finally make some money for myself." 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.

Sutherland back to box in Leigh

DARREN SUTHERLAND will have his next fight at Leigh Indoor Sports Centre on Friday July 24. The Irishman, 27, was due to box in Sunderland on Friday night, but suffered a slight cut on his right cheek in his stoppage win over Gennadiy Rasalev last week. Promoter Frank Maloney said: "It was touch and go whether Darren boxed on Friday, but we decided not to take the risk.
"I have one other show this month and Darren can go on that before taking a well earned summer rest." Internet reports claimed Sutherland was pulled off the Sunderland bill straight after the Rasalev fight. But Maloney hit back: "That is utter rubbish and those stories didn't come from Darren or any of his team. "The decision was made on Monday when I returned from a business trip to Portugal and had there not been the show in Leigh, I may well have left Darren on in Sunderland." The Olympic bronze medallist's opponent when he bids for his fifth straight win will be named next week. Top of the action packed card is Jamie Moore's European light-middleweight title defence against Frenchman Jimmy Colas 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)

DeGale packs a punch for England Cricketers

James DeGale is backing England's cricketers to win back the Ashes - after sparring with the squad a fortnight ago. "Chunky" reckons that Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen and the rest of the team will hit the Aussies for six when cricket's oldest contest begins in Cardiff on Wednesday. "Having sparred with the boys a few weeks ago, I know how fired up they are," said DeGale, who faces a test of his own when he takes on former Irish champion Ciaran Healy in Manchester on July 18. "If they go after the Australians like they came after me, then there's no doubt they will win the series 5-0! "I'll be keeping a close eye on the Ashes all through the summer, and I'll take an hour off from training on Wednesday morning to watch the opening exchanges. "I won't be able to see much of the first two tests because I'll be preparing for the Healy fight, but I'm planning on getting to Lords for the Sunday of the second match - it will be a nice way to celebrate win number three." DeGale, who fights as part of the undercard to Amir Khan's WBA light-welterweight title challenge against Andreas Kotelnik at the MEN Arena, is keen for title fights having seen the way the sporting public crave success. "I still remember the buzz around the country when England won the Ashes in 2005," said the 23-year-old, who is undefeated in his first two professional fights. "The reaction last year when I won the Olympics was not quite as big, but it made me proud to know that the country had been behind me."Having tasted that success it's made me want more of it, and my sights are now set on becoming a world champion." Betfred, the official betting parter of the show, has Khan is the favourite at 8/15 in the main event, Kotelnik at 6/4 and the draw is 25/1. For further information log on to Tickets priced at £40, £50, £75, £100, £150, £200, £300 & £500 are available from: M.E.N Arena Box Office: 0844 847 8000 or online at See Tickets: 0871 220 0260 or online at
Khan Boxing: 01204 535 332 or online at

Kotelnik plans to ruin Khan's Party

WBA light-welterweight champion Andreas Kotelnik has warned “arrogant” Amir Khan to focus on their fight – and not look too far into the future. The pair clash at the MEN Arena, Manchester, on July 18 with the fight screened on Sky Box Office. Khan is bidding to become one of Britain’s youngest-ever world champions at the age of 22, and begin a new era for the sport in the UK. There’s has already been talk of a potential clash with Ricky Hatton should Khan win, as well as fights against the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales. And Ukrainian Kotelnik is happy for that kind of speculation to continue - and says it means Khan is underestimating him. “All I hear from Khan’s camp is that he’s going to be fighting Hatton or Marquez or even King Kong after he has beaten me,” said Kotelnik. “Amir thinks that all he has to do is turn up on July 18 and he’ll be walking away with my title. “He’s very arrogant for a fighter who hasn’t even had a world title fight yet, and I plan on punishing him badly when we meet at the MEN Arena. “I’m the one who will be going on to bigger and better things later this year because I am the one who is going to win this fight. “I have been a world champion since I beat up Gavin Rees last year, and I’m not giving up my title to anyone. “I believe that Khan is underestimating me at the moment, and that’s going to play right into my hands on July 18. “As soon as my first punch lands he’s going to start feeling pain, and he’ll soon realise why it was so stupid to talk about fighting other people. “Without my belt he’s going nowhere, and I promise everyone in Britain that he’s not getting it.” Betfred, the official betting parter of the show, has Khan is the favourite at 8/15, kotelnik at 6/4 and the draw is 25/1. For further information log on to Tickets priced at £40, £50, £75, £100, £150, £200, £300 & £500 are available from: M.E.N Arena Box Office: 0844 847 8000 or online at See Tickets: 0871 220 0260 or online at Khan Boxing: 01204 535 332 or online at

Monday, July 06, 2009

A Murray of a Different Kind

Andy Murray will be looking to record another win in London on July 18th when he takes to the ring at the York Hall in Bethnal Green. However tennis fans need not fear, because this Andy Murray is intent on making his name inside the ring and not on the tennis court. Unbeaten in 15 professional bouts Cavan’s Andy Murray is one of Irish boxing’s brightest hopes and currently holds the European Union Lightweight title. The 26-year-old will go in search of win number 16 at the York Hall with the British Light Heavyweight title clash between Danny McIntosh and Nathan Cleverly topping the bill. The Hennessy Sports event is live on ITV4 with Murray set to meet Sheffield’s Adam “The Outlaw” Kelly in an undercard bout. Although he’s now training out of John Breen’s successful Belfast gym Murray is no stranger to London. “I was based in England for the first couple of years of my pro career and six of my first eight pro fights were in London,” explained Murray. “I’m looking forward to fighting there again and especially at the York Hall because it’s a great venue and has a great tradition.” Murray’s last appearance came at The O2 in Dublin in March on the undercard of Bernard Dunne’s WBA World Super Bantamweight title win. Dunne wasn’t the only Irishman to collect a belt on the night with Murray adding the European Union title to Irish titles won at lightweight and light welterweight. “The atmosphere that night was something else and Bernard winning the world title has been a real lift for Irish boxing,” said Murray. “He’s proved to the other Irish pro’s that if you put in the work and persevere the results will come your way. Hopefully there will be plenty more nights like that over the next few years and I hope to be part of them.” Murray’s points win over Spanish champion Daniel Rasilla in Dublin was his first time to complete the 12 round championship distance and he feels that the experience will stand to him. “I was trying to pace myself and I actually felt I still had plenty left in the tank at the finish. It was a good learning experience and it’s a good psychological barrier to cross for any pro. I’m still improving and I’m in the perfect gym to do it in. “Hopefully I can use the European Union title as a stepping stone to the full European title but that’s all a bit further down the road. The only thing I’m concentrating on now is this fight at the York Hall and getting a good win 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 former British and European Champion Jon Thaxton and unbeaten Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury’s seventh professional outing. Hot prospects Steve O’Meara, Lee Purdy, Dwayne Lewis, Bobby Ward and Del Rogers are also in action on a packed night of championship boxing that also features recent Big Brother evictee Angel McKenzie in her 18th pro fight.

Baker Boy Boosted by Victory

Former Ryder Cup player Peter Baker made history repeat itself when he won the Credit Suisse Challenge for the second time, and now heads for Open Qualifying in a final bid to secure a place for Turnberry. Two years ago at Wylihof Golf Club in Luterbach, Switzerland, Baker won the title with a final round of 67, and the same score again carried the 41 year old Englishman to a one stroke victory over Austrian Florian Praegant. Baker becomes the first player to win the event twice and the first player over the age of 40 to win on the Challenge Tour since he himself won on his 40th birthday in 2007. It was a close run battle with Praegant challenging all the way but Baker managed to keep his nose in front with birdies on the 15th and 17th before holing a crucial 12 foot par putt on the last to deny his playing partner. Baker’s winning total of 18 under par 274 earned him €22,400 (£18,985) and lifted him from 31st to tenth on the Challenge Tour Rankings. “It was a tough day and Florian was very strong, especially on the back nine,” said Baker, who played in The 1993 Ryder Cup at The Belfry. “But I hung in there and it came right down to the last shot.” Baker, a three-time winner on The European Tour, flies straight to Scotland and to Glasgow - Gailes Links, where he will attempt to win one of the 12 spots available through Local Final Qualifying for a place in the 138th Open Championship at Turnberry. “I was quite tired coming into the week as this was my fourth week in a row and I just decided to put everything into the week,” he said. “This course seems to suit me. I played fantastic for the first two days but couldn’t hole a putt and but then over the weekend, while the game wasn’t so good, the putts dropped. It’s a strange game sometimes. “It might not be the best preparation for Open Qualifying but it does mean I go there with a bit of confidence and my record in Qualifying is not bad. So hopefully I will tee up next in The Open.” Baker’s victory two years ago proved the springboard to a return to The European Tour as he went on to claim a second title and finish 12th in the Rankings. Two years on the goal is exactly the same, to have another crack at the big time and secure his 24th year on Tour. An eagle three on the fourth and birdie on the seventh set Baker on his way but Praegant hit back with birdies at the tenth, 12th and 13th. Both players birdie the 14th before Baker pulled clear with his birdies on the 15th and 17th and ultimately Praegant’s five foot birdie putt on the last for a final round of 67 and 17 under par total of 275 was not quite enough. Italy’s Edoardo Molinari also challenged as he too shot a closing 67 to finish in third place, one shot further back on 16 under par 276.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Khan before the Storm

Amir Khan says top US prospect Victor Ortiz's shock defeat at the weekend has underlined how hard his fight with Andreas Kotelnik will be. Ortiz was bombed out in six rounds in an interim WBA World Light-Welterweight title fight by heavy-handed Argentine Marcos Maidana in LA.Earlier this year, Kotelnik defeated Maidana on a split decision in Germany. "Maidana's win at the weekend shows you just how good Kotelnik is," said 22-year-old Khan, who takes on Kotelnik on July 18 at the M.E.N Arena, Manchester, in a challenge for his WBA light-welterweight title. "Everyone was talking about Ortiz as the next big thing in boxing, but Maidana just walked him down. "He punches hard as well, so I know that I'm going to have to do something special to KO Kotelnik - and I will. "I saw the fight and it was an impressive victory, and shows just how good I need to be if I am to become a world champion. "Some fighters would get worried about it, but it's just inspired me. "I was working twice as hard with Freddie in the gym the next day." Khan is refusing to look beyond his clash with the Ukrainian and is focused on the fight. "It would be really stupid to start thinking about other fights," said Khan. "I am fully focussed on beating Kotelnik, and haven't even looked at any potential future opponents."Everything has been geared to winning on July 18 and I am confident that's what is going to happen." Betfred, the official betting parter of the show, has Khan is the favourite at 8/15, kotelnik at 6/4 and the draw is 25/1. For further information log on to Tickets priced at £40, £50, £75, £100, £150, £200, £300 & £500 are available from: M.E.N Arena Box Office: 0844 847 8000 or online at See Tickets: 0871 220 0260 or online at Khan Boxing: 01204 535 332 or online at

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Fury after English and Irish Titles

Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury wants to have both the English and Irish title belts wrapped around his waist in the coming months. The undefeated Manchester giant has been nominated by the British Boxing Board of Control as the mandatory challenger for John McDermott’s English heavyweight title with the bout ordered to take place by the end of November. However Fury’s strong Irish roots mean that he’s also eligible for an Irish title and he has his sights firmly set on that belt as well. “It would be great to be the English and Irish Heavyweight Champ at the same time. That would be pretty unique and I’m very proud of my Irish roots. My Dad was born in Tuam in County Galway and my grandmother on my Mum’s side was a Tipperary woman so it would be great to fight for the Irish title.” Fury returns to the ring at the York Hall, Bethnal Green on July 18th as he bids to stretch his perfect record to 7 straight wins. The bout is on the undercard of the Danny McIntosh – Nathan Cleverly British Light Heavyweight title fight with the Hennessy Sports event live on ITV4. Last time out Fury scored a devastating second round KO over touted Belfast prospect Scott Belshaw but much to Fury’s disappointment the Irish title was not on the line. “I was hoping that the Belshaw fight could have been for the Irish title because I thought it was worthy of it but you need to have been in a scheduled 8 rounder to fight for the Irish belt and the Belshaw fight was my first.” The Irish Heavyweight title has been inactive since Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin McBride won it in 1997 and Fury wants to bring it back to life again. The title was first won in 1890 by Galway’s Peter Maher who would later go on to win the World title and Fury believes he can follow in Maher’s footsteps almost 120 years later. “It hasn’t been fought for since McBride won it 12 years ago but it has a great tradition so it would be great to see the title active again. I want to win as many titles as I can in this game. I’d love to start out with the Irish and English titles and then move on to British, Commonwealth and European titles before going on to the world scene.” As usual Fury is not shy in naming some prospective Irish title opponents. “There are actually a couple of unbeaten Irish heavyweights out there who you’d think would jump at the chance of fighting for the Irish title. Declan Timlin and Coleman Barrett are both unbeaten in 7 fights and they’re both from Galway but like everyone else I don’t think they want to know about it. “The challenge is out there for them so if they want it then we can get it on for the Irish title as soon as possible. I’ll take on any Irish heavyweight out there, all I want is the opportunity to fight for the Irish title.” Tyson’s trainer and uncle Hughie Fury is even more forthcoming about his nephew Irish title chances. “When Tyson was an amateur he was a member of the Smithboro club in County Monaghan but none of the Irish Super heavyweights wanted to know about him and it will be the same in the pro’s. He’d fight Timlin and Barrett in the same night, they’d be no match for him.” Fury’s next outing comes on July 18th with a clash of unbeaten fighters topping the bill at the York Hall as Danny McIntosh and Nathan Cleverly square off for the British Light Heavyweight title. The undercard also features former British and European Champion Jon Thaxton 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.

Kotelnik dedicates fight to Oscar Winner

Andreas Kotelnik says he will beat Amir Khan - and dedicate the victory to his hero the Oscar winning actor Jack Palance. Kotelnik puts his WBA World Light-Welterweight title on the line against Khan at the M.E.N Arena, Manchester, on July 18. And he is predicting a spectacular KO in the fight, inspired by his idol Palance, whose family also came from the city of Lviv in the Ukraine. Palance, who was born Volodymyr Palahniuk, died in 2006 and was the star of more than 100 movies, winning an Oscar for his role in 1990s smash City Slickers In the early 1940s he was a heavyweight prospect, winning his first 15 fights before WWII cut short his career. "He is a hero in Lviv and I remember thousands of people coming out to see him when he visited and I was a small child," said Kotelnik. "Even then I'd seen a lot of his films, especially the Westerns he had starred in and tapes of his old fights. "To meet him in the flesh was an inspiration and it made me train even harder at the gym. "When I told him I was a boxer like him, he patted me on the head and told me America was where I had to conquer if I wanted to make it big," "I've not quite got that far yet, but I am a world champion and after I have knocked out Amir Khan I will go to America and prove that I am the best light-welterweight in the world. "We have had some very famous Ukrainians over the years, but I will become the most famous of them all when I smash Khan on July 18. "I am hoping that a lot of my fellow countrymen will be at the M.E.N Arena to watch me defend my title."