Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mickelson to light up Barclays Singapore Open

World Number Two Phil Mickelson has become the third Major Champion to confirm his participation in the US$5 million Barclays Singapore Open, the most lucrative national Open in Asia. The popular American left-hander returned to second spot in the Official World Golf Ranking after his three-shot victory over Tiger Woods in the end-of-season Tour Championship at the weekend. He joins a star-studded line-up in the Barclays Singapore Open which includes Major winners Padraig Harrington of Ireland and South Africa’s Ernie Els, who finished joint second behind Jeev Milkha Singh in last year’s edition of the tournament. Mickelson, a two-time Masters Tournament Champion will be making his third appearance at Sentosa Golf Club for the event from October 29 to November 1, which for the first time is being co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and The European Tour. Robert Morrice, Chairman and Chief Executive of Barclays Asia, said: “It is wonderful news that Phil Mickelson will play the tournament again this year as he will bring great value to the event, both on and off the course. As a member of the Barclays team, Phil is a great ambassador and role model for golf. He is a winner who personifies the game’s values of integrity, focus and precision, which are at the core of how we at Barclays are committed to earning success every day for our clients.” Peter Downie, General Manager of Sentosa Golf Club, added: “It will be great to see Phil Mickelson come to the Barclays Singapore Open and take on The Serapong Course once again. With his current form, he will no doubt start as one of the main favourites, and we look forward to watching a rejuvenated putting form by Phil Mickelson.” The 39 year old made an impressive start to the 2009 season with wins in the Northern Trust Open and WGC-CA Championship before taking time off from the game to be with his wife and mother, both of whom were diagnosed with breast cancer. He returned to action in early August and the Barclays Singapore Open will be the first leg of a two-event swing in Asia. Korea’s K.J. Choi and Northern Irishman Darren Clarke will also be playing in the tournament and more marquee names will be announced in the coming weeks with players from all over the world eager to tee it up in the 46th edition of the event. Singapore’s national Open was not played between 2002 and 2004, but returned to the Asian Tour schedule in 2005 thanks to the support of Sentosa and efforts of the event promoter World Sport Group. Australia’s Adam Scott triumphed in 2005 and 2006 before Angel Cabrera of Argentina claimed the spoils in 2007.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Boxers are Hits in Liverpool

Liverpool might be most famous for The Beatles but today a second Fab Four promised to put together a string of hits - in the boxing ring. Olympic champion James DeGale, amateur world champion Frankie Gavin and former England representatives Stephen Smith and Tony Bellew will appear at the Liverpool Echo Arena on October 30. It was a case of All You Need is Glove, A Hard Day's Fight and Glove Me Do as the quartet posed for photos in Beatles' costumes in front of the new Hard Day's Night Hotel in Liverpool. The world champions in waiting promised that over the course of the next few years the only words on the lips of their opponents will be Help.DeGale, Gavin, Smith and Bellew - all of whom are unbeaten - are firm friends after their time spent under the wing of ex-England coach Terry Edwards in the international amateur set up. And having achieved huge success in the unpaid ranks, they say they will follow it up in the professional game. "I've been saying for a few years now that the next bunch of kids who come through will be really special," said promoter Frank Warren. "These four and a few others who aren't boxing on the card have as much potential as any fighters I have worked with in all my time in boxing. "DeGale and Gavin are rightly being hailed as the next generation of superstars in British boxing, plus Bellew and Smith are sensational talents. "All four of these kids are not only brilliant boxers, but really exciting to watch. They'll definitely put bums on seats and there will be real thrills when they are making their way to the top." DeGale and Gavin will have their fourth fights as professionals at the Liverpool Echo Arena as part of the under-card to the mouth-watering British title double-header which will see Tony Quigley and Paul Smith duke it out for the super-middleweight crown, and Kell Brook and Michael Jennings go at it for the welterweight version. And the 2008 Olympians are relishing returning to a city where they boxed many times as amateurs. "I've got some really good memories of Liverpool, it's a brilliant fight city and I can't wait to box here," said DeGale. "The people on Merseyside really know their boxing, and whenever I've fought here before I've got a warm reception." Smith and Bellew are more familiar with the city, having grown up in Liverpool, and the pair are excited that big time boxing is returning to an area steeped in pugilistic history. "This is the biggest boxing show in Liverpool for years and I'm thrilled to be a part of it," said Bellew. "We've got a proud musical and footballing culture up here, and it's about time boxing was included as well. "There has been some famous champions who have come out of Liverpool, but I think we could be entering an era that's as good as any in recent memory." Smith is part of a boxing dynasty, with older brother Paul topping the bill at the Echo Arena, and younger brother Liam also in action. "Paul's an inspiration and I'm aiming to be where he is in a few years time," said Smith. "This show is going to be special because not only are my brothers on the card, I'm boxing with my old amateur team-mates as well. "The atmosphere in the camp when we boxed at internationals events was fantastic, we were always having a really good laugh and we were great mates. "We're all buzzing again after meeting up and everyone will be spurring each other on come October 30." Tickets priced at £30 (Tier), £40 (Tier), £50 (Tier), £100 (Floor), £150 (Floor) and £200 (Ringside) are available from: Liverpool Echo Arena 0844 8000 400
Ticketmaster 0844 847 2500 Frank Warren Promotions
01992 550 888

Barker backs the Blues

Commonwealth Middleweight champ “Dazzling” Darren Barker and his beloved Chelsea both have the same goals for the coming season – to prove that they are the best in England and Europe. The undefeated 27-year-old will meet up with the Chelsea squad at training on Friday although the Barnet man says he won’t be kicking too many footballs. “If I’m honest I’m pretty rubbish with my feet,” admitted Barker. “I’ll stick to the boxing but I’ve been a big Chelsea fan since I was a kid and I’ve been to all the home games so far this season.” Barker received the invite to join up with Carlo Ancelotti’s men after star player Joe Cole was ringside for his last fight. “Joe’s a big boxing fan,” revealed Barker. “He was at my last fight in Watford (a fourth round KO of Darren McDermott) and it was great to have him supporting me. I think he’s managed to convert a few more of the players to boxing and they are going to come along to the next one as well.” First up for Barker though is a trip to Chelsea’s training ground in Cobham on Friday morning. “It will be good to see their training setup. It will be a warm up session ahead of their game with Wigan so it will probably be light enough, I wouldn’t mind putting them through one of my boxing sessions at some stage though!” Barker is confident that new manager Carlo Ancelotti can finally deliver the one thing that’s been missing at Stamford Bridge in recent seasons – the Champions League. “He’s come in over the summer and already it looks like he’s going to do a great job. Obviously winning the Premiership would be great but it’s the Champions League that has been the missing piece and I think that’s the one the fans really want.” Barker will be hoping for continental honours of his own this season. He looks set to add the British title to his Commonwealth belt before the end of the year and he’s hoping to join The Blues on the European honours list by the end of the season. “It would be a dream come true to walk out at the Bridge and be able to show off the British, Commonwealth and European title belts. “I had been due to fight Matthew Macklin for the British title but he found a way to swerve that fight and vacate the title rather than fight me. He’s now fighting Amin Asikainen instead for the European title. “The Macklin fight was one I really wanted but hopefully now I can push on, win the British title and then take on the winner of that fight early next year.”

Harrington Headlines in Portugal

Padraig Harrington will bring his Major presence to the Portugal Masters at the Oceânico Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura from October 15-18. Harrington, a property ambassador for the Oceânico Group, has committed to this year’s €3 million event and will be among the favourites to claim the title having recently returned to the kind of form that saw him dominate golf’s grand slams between July 2007 and August 2008, when he won two Open Championships and the USPGA Championship in the space of six Majors. “I am looking forward to getting back down to the Algarve for the Portugal Masters,” said the Irishman, who is currently positioned eighth in the Official World Golf Ranking. “I have always enjoyed my time there and have a close relationship with the team at Oceânico. It is one of those destinations where we are guaranteed great weather and are always presented with a great golf course that is in perfect condition.” Simon Burgess, Oceânico Group Director, said: “Padraig has always been someone we have admired. When the opportunity presented itself to align ourselves with someone like Padraig we jumped at the chance. He is one of the hardest workers in the game and at the same time one of the most grounded. He has deserved every bit of success he has had over the last couple of years and we are delighted to welcome Padraig back to the Algarve.” The Portugal Masters plays an integral part of the Oceânico Group’s investment in golf, a policy that reaches all levels of the sport: from the elite and The European Tour’s Portugal Masters to the grass roots of the game with the Oceânico World Kids Golf Championship. It also represents a major commitment from the Portuguese National Tourism board, who are the main sponsor of the Portugal Masters for the third consecutive year and whose vision has seen the Algarve cement its position as one of the premier golf destinations in Europe. George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “The Portugal Masters has, over the past two years, become one of the most popular tournaments on The European Tour International Schedule. Through a combination of outstanding facilities, an outstanding prize fund of €3 million great weather and perfect playing conditions, the tournament has been able to attract many of the world’s best players, highlighted by Padraig Harrington’s entry to this year’s event. We look forward to working with our partners at Oceânico Group and Tourism Portugal to further strengthen the event.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Price is Right for Maloney

OLYMPIC super-heavyweight bronze medallist David Price has signed a three-year promotional deal with Frank Maloney. Price, 26, will have his first fight under the Maloney banner at Sunderland's Seaburn Centre on October 16 and boxes again seven days later (Oct 23) at Bolton Arena. Maloney who famously steered Lennox Lewis to the world heavyweight title tips the 6ft 8in Liverpool star to reach the very top. He said: "With the right handling and the right fights David Price can become a superstar and a household name. "Heavyweights are different to other boxers. They have to be handled and guided differently. "If he knocks over a few people I certainly won't be rushing David quickly. Look how badly Tyson Fury was exposed after eight fights against John McDermott. "It was the help and backing of Sky Sports that paid a big part in making Lennox a hero all over the world, and their support will also benefit David."Maloney believes his record with heavyweights helped persuade Price to join his stable despite other offers. He added: "Many people get heavyweights wrong, but I think my record with them is as good as anybody. "The Lennox years are well documented, but I also spotted the potential of John Ruiz and Nikolai Valuev in their early years and helped develop them. "Domestically I took James Oyebola and Julius Francis to titles and I have even taken an average fighter, Mike Holden to the British championship." Price turned professional after his Olympic success and in his only paid fight to date in March stopped Dave Ingleby in three rounds. David has been one of Britain's most successful amateurs in recent years and there is every belief he can take than form into the professional ranks In 2006 he landed gold at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games defeating Welshman Kevin Evans in the final. There was real hope that Price would repeat that success in last summer's Beijing Olympics when he stopped competition favourite Islam Timurziev in his preliminary round match A win over Jaroslavas Jaksto guaranteed a medal, but in the semi-final Price lost to Italian Roberto Cammarelle and had to be content with a bronze medal. Price represented his country all over the world winning many competitions including the Commonwealth Confederations and EU gold. At home Price has been dominant winning three ABA titles while wearing the famous vest of Liverpool's Salisbury ABC during his amateur career of almost 100 bouts. On his way to the 2006 ABA title among his victims was Fury who he easily outscored 22-8 in their clash.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mitchell triumphs in the Casa Serena Open

For a man more used to ensuring other people’s games are in good shape, Peter Mitchell proved his own golf was very much up to scratch too with a superb victory in the Casa Serena Open in the Czech Republic. The 51 year old Englishman, who finished fifth last year, carded a final round 66 at Casa Serena Golf near Prague to claim his first European Senior Tour title of the 2009 season, his 13 under par aggregate of 200 good enough for a three shot victory over fellow Englishman Glenn Ralph and Peter Senior of Australia with Welshman Ian Woosnam fourth, a further shot in arrears. “To win anywhere in the world is special but perhaps here means that little bit more not least for what happened last year but also because I love this place,” said Mitchell. “It is just beautiful round here and would be somewhere you would enjoy just walking round even if you weren’t playing golf. “Last year I nearly had my hands on the trophy but it just slipped away because I could not hole a putt in the final round to save my life. But I put that right today and perhaps, just perhaps, it owed me one. “This, however, is a real turn around for me,” added the Londoner who moved from 48th on the Order of Merit at the start of the week to fifth. “I actually thought this would be the last tournament of the season because I had been playing so poorly I didn’t want to put myself through it anymore. “But I got a bit of a putting lesson from my old friend Doug Johnson in my last tournament at Woburn and that seems to have made a difference so I guess I owe him a bit of thanks for this and definitely a beer at least.” Mitchell enjoyed a sensational rookie season on the over 50s circuit in 2008 with three victories in total on his way to finishing third on the Order of Merit. But this year his time has been largely spent away from the golf course, concentrating on developing a range of Golf Academies across England and Europe. But with the framework for those now in place, the Englishman admitted that he can look forward to a full playing schedule in 2010. If that is the case, his competitors need to take heed as he proved, with a fine three round display in the Czech Republic, that he more than possesses the armoury to be a force on the European Senior Tour. In this event last season, Mitchell began in a share of the final round lead before falling away but he made sure there was no chance of history repeating itself with a blistering start this time round, birdieing the first three holes as well as the sixth and ninth to stamp his authority on proceedings with an outward half of 31. Senior, leader after the first and second rounds, failed to ignite his challenge on the front nine but turned up the heat turning for home with three birdies in four holes from the 12th. But a bogey four at the 17th put paid to the Australian’s chances and he had to settle for a 70 and a ten under par total of 203 to tie the fast finishing Englishman Glenn Ralph, who carded an excellent six under par 65. Fourth placed Woosnam produced his usual gritty challenge but his failure to get to grips with the Casa Serena putting surfaces put paid to his chances. “I just couldn’t get the pace which meant that I was even uncertain about two putting for par from 30 feet,” he said. The consolation for Woosnam is that his €33,000 cheque moved him back to the top of the Order of Merit with €161,619 and now in with an excellent chance of regaining the John Jacobs Trophy he won for topping the rankings in his rookie year last season. Woosnam is now some €22,129 ahead of second placed Sam Torrance, who could only finish in a share of 24th place. Ralph, thanks to his fine effort has moved into the picture in third place while Mitchell is now very much in the frame with €122,087, only just under €40,000 behind Woosnam. But, with almost €100,000 on offer in total for the winners of the last two tournaments on the European Senior Tour season – the Benahavis Senior Masters and the OKI Castellon Senior Tour Championship – it is still all to play for in one of the most exciting races for the John Jacobs Trophy in recent years. One man who will not be in the mix, however, is Germany’s Bernhard Langer. The defending champion had an afternoon to forget, his final round 70 consigning him to a share of fifth place, five shots adrift of Mitchell. “It was disappointing because I think 13 under par was a total that was well within my grasp this week,” he said. “But I just had something each day which wasn’t right with my game, whether it be the putting or my swing, and that cost me in the end.”

Cleverly ready for London Show

Welsh star Nathan Cleverly says there's no place like home - or his second home, Bethnal Green's York Hall, to be precise. Cleverly will defend his British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight titles at the home of boxing on October 9 against Courtney Fry. It's Cleverly's sixth championship fight in the last 12 months, and the first defence of his British title. The 22-year-old will return to York Hall for a third consecutive time after stopping Danny McIntosh and Billy Boyle at the famous venue earlier this year. The Welshman's last six fights have been on the road, but he is relishing the prospect of another outing away from home after developing a rapport with the York Hall crowd. In addition, brainbox Cleverly starts the final year of his Maths degree at Cardiff University on the Monday of fight week. "They really know their boxing at York Hall and I was buzzing when I was told that I was going to fight Fry there," said Cleverly, who has won all 17 of his professional fights. "It's every young boxer's dream to headline a show at York Hall, and to do it three times in a row is something special. "When I beat Billy Boyle, I got a good reception, but I think the crowd were still working out if I was any good or not. "But when I went back and stopped Danny McIntosh, they were really behind me because it was a thrilling fight and I was well on top. "I don't think anyone will go home disappointed on October 9 because I'm planning another knockout display against Fry.
"He might originally be from London, but I think the crowd will be backing me. "After McIntosh and Tony Oakey (who Cleverly has already beaten) he's the best out there, so no one can say that I'm ducking people. "He's going to give me a really good test, but I'm going in there all guns blazing and looking for another quick win." "It's going to be a tough week starting Uni again for the last last year of my Maths degree, so I'm in lectures on the Monday bashing numbers around and at the end of the week I'll be in the ring knocking Fry about!" Tickets, priced at £40 and £50, are available from Frank Warren Promotions on 01992 550 888.

Thaxton looking to prove Father Time wrong

Former British and European Lightweight Champion Jon Thaxton believes he can prove the boxing world and his own father wrong by regaining his British title when he clashes with leading domestic rival John Murray next month. A win for Thaxton would see him win a Lonsdale belt for keeps while Murray will be looking to regain the title he lost on the scales earlier this year. The mouth watering domestic dustup takes places at the Altrincham Leisure Centre on October 3rd with the Hennessy Sports event live on ITV4. Thaxton’s disappointing form in 2009 has seen him installed as a 5/1 outsider ahead of the clash but the Norwich veteran says he’s determined to prove the bookies and his own father wrong. “Even my Dad’s writing me off for this one,” admitted Thaxton. “After I lost my last fight to Tom Glover he asked me to retire. He said, ‘Look son, you’ve enjoyed a fantastic career but you’ve had your day in the sun maybe it’s time to quit’. “When I told him that I wanted to carry on he shook his head and said, ‘Murray’s going to knock you out’ so even my own father doesn’t think I can pull this one off. Of course I respect his opinion, I’m a father myself and I know that 9 out of 10 times a father is right but I believe he’s got it wrong this time.” Thaxton insists that he’s happy to be cast in the role of underdog against the unbeaten Murray who has won all 27 of his bouts in the pro ranks. “I’ve had a bad year,” said the 35-year-old southpaw. “I’ve lost my last two fights when on paper I should have won them. I consider myself to be the ultimate professional but maybe subconsciously I underestimated both those guys and while I might have been physically fit for those fights maybe mentally I wasn’t where I should have been. That won’t be the case this time because I know that to win this fight I’m going to have to go to hell and back. “In my mind I’m fighting a monster, I’m overestimating what John Murray is capable of, as far as I’m concerned I’m fighting King Kong but mentally that’s the challenge I need, that’s what will bring the best out of me. “I’m preparing for war. He’s a hungry, young fighter and a top prospect. I’m actually a big fan of his and I love his exciting style. It’s going to be a great fight for the fans so as a boxing fan I’m really looking forward to the fight.” Thaxton has gone back to basics for this fight and has left the home comforts of Norwich to base himself at the Ingle’s Gym in Sheffield. “I’ve already been in Sheffield for the last 7 weeks. I’ve cut myself off from my family and kids for this one and it’s been very, very hard but I know that the sacrifices will be worth it. Dominic Ingle has been pushing me so hard in the gym and he’s studied Murray to ensure that we have a plan A, B and C. “This fight reminds me of when I knocked out Paul ‘Scrap Iron’ Ryan back in 1996. He was the big unbeaten, up and comer at the time and I was a massive underdog but I prevailed that night and I believe I can do it again.” Thaxton believes all the sacrifices will be worth it come October 3rd. “I’m thriving on this. Of course the sacrifices are very hard but that’s the way it’s supposed to be. All I’m thinking about is getting my hands on that Lonsdale belt and winning it for keeps. That’s the one thing I’ve always wanted in my career and the only man standing in the way of me doing that now is John Murray.”

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Langer looks for Leading Role

Bernhard Langer issued an ominous warning on the eve of this week’s Casa Serena Open on the European Senior Tour, telling the rest of the field: “It is time for me to win again.” The 52 year old German captured the inaugural title last year and, understandably will begin his defence as tournament favourite at the delightful Casa Serena Golf some 70 kilometres south east of Prague in the Czech Republic. Langer has won four times on the US Champions Tour in 2009 but has yet to taste victory on this side of the Atlantic, a point the 2004 European Ryder Cup Captain admitted he was keen to address. “I have been playing all right recently and fairly decent for most of the year to be honest,” he said. “I have performed well in the States but I haven’t won in my last five tournament outings, so it is time to win again! “I would like to think that I would be in the mix come Sunday – obviously I would love to defend my title successfully but there are no guarantees. There are a lot of good golfers out here and I will have to make some putts, it often comes down to just that. “There are a lot of players who can hit fairways and greens but it sometimes comes down to who makes the most putts and avoids making major mistakes who wins out in the end. Those are the guys who will play for the title and hopefully I will be one of them.” With a total prizefund of €600,000 and a first prize of €90,000, the Casa Serena Open is one of the most lucrative on the European Senior circuit and, being the third last tournament of the season, can obviously have a huge bearing on who wins the Order of Merit at the end of the year. Current leader Mark McNulty is not in action leaving the door open for the men in positions two, three and four – Sam Torrance, Ian Woosnam and Tony Johnstone – to make a significant move this week. Langer is currently in 11th spot and while it is not impossible he could finish number one, it would take other results to go his way in the final three tournaments for that to happen. Torrance – a mere €261 behind McNulty – topped the Order of Merit in both 2005 and 2006 to lay his hands on the coveted John Jacobs Trophy and an early season victory in Barbados, coupled with three top five finishes in his last four outings, has seen him move once again into a challenging position. “It felt awesome to be Number One,” said the 2002 European Ryder Cup Captain. “It was something that I had wanted my whole life. It will also be a huge challenge to win it for a third time, especially as there are so many good players reaching 50 every year, but I’m up for the challenge.” Woosnam – who won the John Jacobs trophy last season in his rookie Senior year – is close to completing a dream double and the 2006 European Ryder Cup Captain admitted it would mean a lot to repeat the feat. “I cherish my John Jacobs Trophy and to do what both Carl Mason and Sam have done in the past and win it back to back would be a very significant feat,” said the Welshman who is €5,267 behind McNulty. “John Jacobs supported me as a junior player and I’ve always been very grateful to him for all the help he gave me, so his trophy is very special.” Zimbabwean Johnstone was an outside bet for the Order of Merit crown but all that changed two weeks ago thanks to his superb victory in the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters at Woburn, a victory which pushed him up to fourth on the rankings, and only €20,757 behind McNulty. The 54 hole Casa Serena Open will take place from Friday September 18 to Sunday September 20 with the winner picking up a cheque for €90,000.

Kell Brook inspired by Mayweather

Kell Brook is planning a late night on Saturday - so he can take in Floyd Mayweather's comeback fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in the States. Hot shot Brook is promising to become Britain's answer to welterweight star "Money" in the next 18 months. The British welterweight champion defends his title in a potential domestic classic against Michael Jennings on October 30 at the Liverpool Echo Arena. And Brook says he has been inspired by the exploits of Mayweather, who currently rules the roost at 147 pounds and is considered one of the best P4P fighters in the world. "He's been one of the fighters that I've looked up to in the last few years," said Brook. "He's an amazing talent, but I'm now beginning to look at him as a potential rival rather than a hero. "I'm not at his level yet, but I know that I can win a world title. "And once I've done that, who knows what fights can be made in the future. "I'll be staying up late on Saturday night to watch the fight because I need to know exactly where I'm at at the moment, and what I need to work on to get to the top." Sheffield youngster Brook - who won the Lonsdale belt outright with a string of KO wins - says a win against Jennings will enable him to make a massive stride towards fighting for a world title. "It's a big fight against Jennings because he lost to Miguel Cotto at the start of the year, and he's a world class talent," he said. "If I can do a better job on Jennings than Cotto did, I'll know that I'm going in the right direction, and I'm sure it will help my ratings with the various governing bodies. "This is my chance to make a big statement and I promise that I'm going to look spectacular up in Liverpool. "Jennings is a nice guy and he's a good boxer, but he won't be able to cope with my power and he's going to be another boxer who won't hear the final bell." Tickets priced at £30 (Tier), £40 (Tier), £50 (Tier), £100 (Floor), £150 (Floor) and £200 (Ringside) are available from: Liverpool Echo Arena 0844 8000 400 Ticketmaster 0844 847 2500 Frank Warren Promotions 01992 550 888

Gourlay is new Chelsea Chief Executive

Chelsea is delighted to announce today (Thursday, September 17) that Ron Gourlay will be the new Chief Executive. Gourlay, who was previously the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the club, will succeed Peter Kenyon. “It is a huge honour to be offered the chance to lead Chelsea,” said Gourlay. “We have a fantastic team both on and off the field and those teams can move us onto even greater success in the future. “To be responsible for that is a fantastic challenge and I will be giving it my total commitment, drive and energy. “All successful clubs strike the balance between the footballing and commercial sides and my role is to ensure this happens as it is a critical part of our strategy moving forward. “We have great partners in Samsung, adidas, Etihad and many others. Together we will move our relationships onto the next level and develop new and exciting opportunities in other areas and with other companies in key markets around the world.” Gourlay, 46, has been with Chelsea for five years, in a variety of director level roles culminating in COO before today’s appointment. He has more than 25 years experience in football having previously undertaken senior roles at Manchester United and Umbro. Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck said: “Ron was the outstanding candidate for the job. It was not necessary to look outside as we had someone with all the necessary attributes inside which was important as it ensures continuity and a smooth transition. “He has the total support of the Board and Roman and both the football and business elements of the club will report to him. “Ron has been a central figure in the commercial success of Chelsea in recent years and he has excellent operational experience and is thoroughly respected across the football side. “We are absolutely confident that he can now take us forward into the next stage of our development as a club and business.” Ron Gourlay football industry CV: 2005-2009: Managing Director (Merchandising); Commercial and Venue Director; Chief Operating Officer; Chief Executive at Chelsea 2000-2005: Commercial Director at Manchester United 1985-2000: Business Development Director; Sales and Marketing Director at Umbro

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sexton and Rogan Meet Again

Commonwealth heavyweight title challenger Martin Rogan has offered an olive branch to rival Sam Sexton - until they get between the ropes. The pair meet in their highly-anticipated second showdown on November Friday 6 at Belfast's Odyssey Arena. It follows a controversial classic in May when Sexton, who had been out on his feet earlier in the round, halted Rogan in the eighth because the then champion had a badly swollen eye. The temperature ahead of the rematch peaked at boiling point over the summer when Rogan and Sexton clashed at a Belfast press conference. A furious Rogan accused Sexton of attempting to divide the Ulster community, an allegation the Norwich champion vigorously denied. Today, during a conference call, Rogan backed down, blamed his outburst on difficulties he was having outside the ring at the time - and underlined the respect he has for Sexton. "Emotions were running high, and unfortunately that's how they came out," said Rogan. "I think there was something in the air, and as far as I'm concerned I definitely wasn't myself that day. "I have no issues with Sam Sexton and I hope there are no hard feelings. Emotions were running high and I would like to rectify a few things."What we have to remember is that this is a night of boxing. It's a family affair and parents will be coming with their children. Sam and I have to show our sportsmanship. "I have plenty of respect for him for agreeing to come back to Belfast. "I know how difficult it is to be on the road because I went to England when I boxed Audley Harrison and Matt Skelton." But however gentlemanly Rogan has promised to be outside the ring, he vowed to do the business between the ropes come fight night. "I learned a few things in that first fight and I was probably too naive in letting Sexton off the hook," he said. "I won't make the same mistake again." Of Rogan's previous outburst, Sexton said: "I had no idea what it was all about. I was told to do a press workout in a certain gym which was a protestant one, but I also visited a Catholic gym as well. "I don't understaind what it is all about. I'm coming to Belfast to box, I don't know a thing about politics." And of the fight he added: "Every time I fight I'm getting stronger, I'm getting fitter and I'm getting faster. "I am now a much better fighter than the one who boxed Rogan in May, and the result won't be different second time around. 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 0844 277 4455 Frank Warren Promotions 01992 550 888

Kenyon ends role as Chief Executive

Chelsea announced today (Wednesday, September 16) that Chief Executive Peter Kenyon is leaving the club in a full-time capacity from October 31.Kenyon will continue to be a non-executive director and represent Chelsea on various UEFA and the European Clubs’ Association committees.He said: “I am extremely proud of my time at Chelsea and of the friendships I have forged with everyone here. “I have been in football for 15 years and I can say with great certainty and pleasure the experience at Chelsea is one of the best I have had.“When I joined Chelsea it was an incredible challenge and together with all the staff, the players, the board and Roman, I think we have really built a club, in a relatively short space of time, that can be in the forefront of European football for many years to come. That is a major achievement. “I am also delighted that our relationship is not ending and I can continue to make a contribution to keeping Chelsea in that position and to go back to visit friends.“I intend to take a little time off before considering what I do next but I am certain I have at least one major challenge left in me.“I would like to wish Chelsea the best of luck for the rest of the season. I am sure Carlo can lead the team to more great things.”Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck said: “Peter has done a fantastic job for Chelsea in the last five-and-a-half years and has been absolutely central to the success on and off the field we have had during that time.“Without his football knowledge and business acumen Chelsea would not be where we are today.“Everyone at Chelsea thanks him for that contribution and although he will not be with us on a permanent basis he will have an important role to play as a non-executive director and in the various roles he holds in European football bodies.“When Peter first joined us we knew we were recruiting a top executive from business generally, not just football. With that always came a certain inevitability he would eventually want to seek a new challenge and I am sure that is what he will do. Whatever his next permanent job we wish him the best of luck in the future. He will always be welcome back at Chelsea.” Since Kenyon’s arrival in February 2004 to October 2009, Chelsea has won eight trophies, the Premiership in 2004/5 and 2005/6, the FA Cup in 2007 and 2009, the Carling Cup in 2005 and 2007 and the Community Shield in 2006 and 2009 as well as appearing in the Champions League Final for the first time in 2008. Chelsea were ranked number one in Europe by UEFA’s co-efficient for 2008/9. Kenyon was instrumental in the club’s two record commercial deals, a new shirt sponsorship with Samsung, the most lucrative in Premiership history at the time which has subsequently been renewed at an increased level, and a record kit supplier deal with adidas.

Daws in revenge mission on Morrison

Lenny Daws believes he will become a two time British Light Welterweight Champion on Friday night when he meets old foe Barry Morrison for the vacant title. Motherwell man Morrison ended Daws first reign as a Lonsdale belt holder when he beat him on a split decision in 2007 but the Morden man is confident of getting revenge at London’s York Hall on Friday. “I always wanted a rematch with Morrison and now I’ve got the opportunity,” said Daws. “I thought I nicked it by a couple of rounds last time but I can set the record straight now. Last time I started too slowly and I know I can’t afford to make the same mistake this time, I need to get to work from early on and leave no doubts in the judge’s minds.” Daws is unbeaten in six since his defeat to Morrison and last time out he captured the English Light Welterweight title with a points win over Peter McDonagh however he has always had one eye on a rematch with Morrison. “It’s been 2 and a half years since I lost my belt and it’s been a difficult time. When you lose that belt it’s like losing a part of you so it’s great that I’ve a chance to get it back now. I always wanted the rematch with Morrison and to have the Lonsdale belt on the line is a real bonus. “I know him inside out obviously from our first fight and from watching him over the years. I know his strengths and weaknesses, he’s going to be very strong and it’s a huge opportunity for both of us but I know what I need to do to win so it’s up to me to put that game plan in to action.

Quiros returns to Portugese Triumph

Alvaro Quiros will return to the scene of the victory that began his ascent to golf’s elite top 50 at the Portugal Masters from October 15-18. The Spaniard’s win at the Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura, Portugal, last year sent him charging towards the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking before he broke into the world’s elite with his victory at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters Presented by Dolphin Energy. “It was a great feeling and great victory for me because it opened the door for so much for me,” said Quiros. “First of all, winning the Portugal Masters got me into the Volvo Masters which was my immediate target. I had not had a great season up until that point but Portugal really kick-started my year. “It also opened the door to the top 50 on World Rankings for me and then I got in there after winning in Qatar, but the Portugal Masters got me moving in that direction – it was a very important victory in my career. “I am really looking forward to going back: it is a beautiful place, a beautiful resort and there is a great atmosphere there. Everything is very relaxed and you can have a great frame of mind going into the tournament. “This will be the first time that I have actually defended a title. I didn’t get the chance to defend the Alfred Dunhill title that I won in South Africa so it will be nice to be the defending champion. I hope that going back there can have the same effect as last year because I have not been playing great recently – perhaps Portugal can kick-start me again.”

Teams Announced for Vivendi Trophy

Captains Thomas Björn and Paul McGinley have announced strong teams for the Vivendi Trophy with Seve Ballesteros, with 12 players from the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking competing at Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche Golf Club in Paris from September 24-27. World Number Five Henrik Stenson, the highest ranked player in the field, will head Björn’sContinental Europe Team against McGinley’s Great Britain and Ireland Team, which includes two of the brightest young prospects on The European Tour in Rory McIlroy and Chris Wood. Joining Swede Stenson will be compatriots Robert Karlsson and Peter Hanson, Danish trio Anders Hansen, Søren Hansen and Søren Kjeldsen and Spaniards Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Alvaro Quiros, while there is a debut for Italian Francesco Molinari.
Björn said: “I have a good bunch of guys and I can sense that they want to go to Paris next week and do a good job. It’s important everyone on the team stands together and gets right behind each other with heart and soul. When you get ten guys together they will not all necessarily be playing great golf, but it’s a question of getting everybody believing and dreaming the same dream and I am confident we can do that.” Facing Continental Europe will be Irish pair Graeme McDowell and McIlroy alongside eight Englishmen; Nick Dougherty, Simon Dyson, Ross Fisher, Robert Rock, Anthony Wall, Steve Webster, Oliver Wilson and Wood. McGinley said: “I am going to be captaining some of the most exciting talent in world golf at the moment and that is a challenge in itself. I am looking forward immensely to working with quality players and see where we go. I am very much going into it with an open mind because I have things to learn and I’ve never done it before.” In total six of Europe’s 2008 Ryder Cup Team will be part of the contest: Søren Hansen, Jiménez, Karlsson, McDowell, Stenson and Wilson. The Vivendi Trophy with Seve Ballesteros pits Europe’s leading golfers in a team competition format similar to the one seen at The Ryder Cup. Ten players represent both Continental Europe and Great Britain and Ireland over four days. There will be five fourballs on both Thursday and Friday, four greensomes on Saturday morning, four foursomes on Saturday afternoon and ten singles matches on Sunday. In total 28 points are available with 14 ½ points required to win. In 2007 Continental Europe led 9 ½ - 8 ½ going into the last day, but Great Britain and Ireland won the singles 8-2 for a decisive 16 ½ - 11 ½ victory. Continental Europe won the inaugural event in 2000 but Great Britain and Ireland have won each of the four subsequent matches in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Smith Brothers in Arms

Boxing brothers Paul, Liam and Stephen Smith are aiming for triple world title glory. The trio will appear on the same card on October 30 at the Liverpool Echo Arena, one of the few times that three brothers have all featured on a professional boxing show. Paul, the oldest, will challenge Tony Quigley for the British super-middleweight crown in a mouth-watering all-Liverpool showdown. Steven, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, and Liam will box in under-card fights. But the brothers are already dreaming about bigger things - and say their long term aim is to all win world title fights at the Echo Arena on the same night. "We're proud scousers and to all fight on the same bill in our home city for world titles would be unbelievable," said Paul. "It's a dream at the moment but we've definitely got the ability to pull it off. "Having my brothers boxing as professionals is a great motivation, and there's always some good-hearted rivalry about who's going to go the furthest. "I usually win the arguments because I'm the eldest - and the biggest!" The Smith brothers won a raft of amateur accolades as youngsters, but it's on the professional side of things that they could really shine. Stephen, unbeaten in seven fights, is being tipped as one of Frank Warren's brightest prospects, while Liam has also looked good in racking up two wins. And the production line hasn't quite finished yet - the youngest Smith brother Callum is a decorated amateur with designs on going pro. "Paul has been an inspiration, and we've all wanted to follow in his footsteps," said Stephen. "We've had a pretty good idea of what we've needed to do when we've turned professional, and he's always been on hand to give me, Liam and Callum good advice. "He's going to beat Quigley hands down, and then the sky really is the limit." Tickets priced at £30 (Tier), £40 (Tier), £50 (Tier), £100 (Floor), £150 (Floor) and £200 (Ringside) are available from: Liverpool Echo Arena 0844 8000 400 0844 847 2500 Frank Warren Promotions 01992 550 888

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Westwood a Winner in August

England’s Lee Westwood has been named The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month for August after two outstanding performances on golf’s grandest stage. Westwood, who will receive a jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne along with an engraved alms dish in recognition of his achievement, followed up an excellent ninth place finish at the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational with another superb performance in a Major as he finished tied third alongside Rory McIlroy at the US PGA Championship behind Y E Yang and Tiger Woods. Those performances lifted the 36 year old to fourth place in The Race to Dubai and to ninth on the Official World Golf Ranking. Westwood said: “I nearly won the US Open last year and finished third in two Majors this year, so I feel I am getting closer all the time. I seem to be getting more opportunities to win Majors to it would be nice to have another couple of chances in 2010 and try to win one after coming so close this season.” The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month voting panel, which comprised members of the Association of Golf Writers in addition to commentators from radio and television, also gave great consideration to the achievements of Yang, England’s Simon Dyson, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Sweden’s Peter Hedblom. Hedblom lost out in a play-off to Dyson at the KLM Open just seven days before lifting the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, while Harrington continued his return to top form with a second place finish at the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational, and a tie for ninth at the US PGA Championship. But Westwood’s continued consistency at the very highest level was the deciding factor, with the Observer newspaper’s golf correspondent, Bill Elliott, commenting: “In an outstanding month for European Tour Members it may seem harsh ultimately to overlook Y E Yang’s US PGA Championship victory or Peter Hedblom’s stellar performances, but we felt that Lee Westwood’s consistency at the game’s sharpest edges deserved recognition.” Westwood joins McIlroy (January), Geoff Ogilvy (February), Søren Kjeldsen (March), Angel Cabrera (April), Shane Lowry (May), Nick Dougherty (June) and Martin Kaymer (July) as a winner of The 2009 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month Award.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Rogan vs Sexton Postponed

Martin Rogan's rematch against Sam Sexton has been postponed until Friday 6th November because the Irishman has a back injury, but Sexton believes it is only delaying the inevitable.
The Belfast heavyweight was due to meet Commonwealth Champion Sexton on October 6th at the Odyssey, but Rogan injured his back in a training session and requires rest and physiotherapy before resuming training again. Sexton, 25, scored a controversial eighth round stoppage at the Odyssey in May when Rogan was unable to continue because of a badly swollen eye. Norwich puncher Sexton says he's ready to do the same again to Rogan. He said, "What Rogan is doing is only delaying the inevitable which is another victory for me." "As the champion I have gone beyond the call of duty to accommodate Rogan to the point of going back to the challenger's back yard for him to try and get his old title back," "I've also heard him make certain allegations against me that were unjust and uncalled for at the press conference which I would ask he rectify," "It's common knowledge that he has had a change of camp and trainer which I can't understand. If he was so sure he won the last fight then why change what was not wrong?" "He has four weeks to mend his injured back and then face me again on a level platform and we both have the chance to put right any wrongs," "I am in prime condition and I need to keep active so he needs to make sure this four weeks are used wisely." Tickets purchased for the original date of October 9th will be vaild for the new date. The October 9th date will now go to the rising star of British boxing, Nathan Cleverly, who defends his British and Commonwealth Heavyweight titles against Liverpool's Courtney Fry. Welshman Cleverly, was due to meet Fry on the Odyssey Arena undercard, but now headlines the York Hall at Bethnal Green with the first defence of his British title that he won in July against Danny McIntosh and the fourth defence of his Commonwealth belt. The 23-year-old is a hot favourite to land the prestigious Boxing Writers' Best Young Boxer of the Year award and is in the running with fellow hot prospect Kell Brook.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Yang seeks World Cup Glory

Y.E. Yang, who made history by becoming the first Asian Major winner at this year’s US PGA Championship, will hope to cap a superb year when he represents South Korea alongside Charlie Wi at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup. Yang held off world number one Tiger Woods at Hazeltine National Golf Club and will attempt to create another landmark in China from November 26 to 29, 2009. Only one Asian nation since 1972 has won the coveted title – Japan in 2002 – but with his first Major under his belt Yang is well equipped to spearhead Korea’s challenge to usurp Sweden as world champions. “It is a great honour and also a privilege to join a group of esteemed golfers and compete for my country,” said Yang. “It is also a pleasure to play side by side with my best buddy in the PGA Tour, Charlie Wi. It’s a really fun feeling to debut the World Cup during one of my best golf seasons, and I am looking forward to not just making an impression on the course, but also connecting with the people of China and all the golf fans in Asia as well as the world. “I hope that together with Charlie, who has been playing some exceptional golf this year, we will try hard to make our fellow Koreans and Asians proud. It will be fun and exciting for us golfers as well as the fans, since the format is set to be more challenging and nail-biting, and you won't be able to take your eyes off of the play.” Sweden’s hopes of defending the title at Mission Hills Golf Club have been boosted by the news that Robert Karlsson is on the brink of a return to competitive action after a lengthy injury lay-off and will be fit to partner Henrik Stenson. Karlsson has not played a tournament since the European Open in May because of vision and balance problems but has confirmed his participation. The 39 year old is the current holder of the Harry Vardon Trophy as Europe’s Number One in 2008 and capped a stunning year when he and Stenson produced a scintillating performance in the final round foursomes in China, carding a nine under par 63 to finish three shots ahead of Spanish pair Miguel Angel Jiménez and Pablo Larrazabal. Karlsson said: “It was a great experience to partner Henrik at the World Cup. It turned out to be a special day for us and for Sweden.” Stenson added: “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. 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.” However, after playing eight events of the 2009 European Tour season, Karlsson discovered a problem with his left eye during the week before the US Open, from which he had to withdraw. He had no depth perception and at one stage it was feared he would not play again for the rest of the year. The 6ft 5in Swede has allayed those fears, though, after confirming his intention to defend Sweden’s title. All 19 exempt nations have confirmed which players will represent them, and a further nine countries - three from each of the qualifiers in Asia (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), South America (Caracas, Venezuela) and Europe (Estonia) - will make it into the 28-country event in China. From the Asian qualifier, Singapore (Lam Chih Bing and Mardan Mamat), Philippines (Mars Pucay and Angelo Que) and Pakistan (Muhammad Shabbir and Muhammad Munir) have already booked their places. Sergio Garcia has accepted the opportunity to represent Spain and will play in his fourth World Cup alongside Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño while Ian Poulter will represent England for the third consecutive year and has selected Ross Fisher as his partner. Northern Ireland will be represented by Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, Japan has Ryuji Imada and Hiroyuki Fujita and the United States will have Nick Watney and John Merrick competing. Rory Sabbatini and Richard Sterne are in for South Africa, Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby will represent Australia and Denmark’s Søren Kjeldsen and Søren Hansen will play. Current Race to Dubai leader Martin Kaymer, who recently underwent surgery in the United States following a karting accident, will be back in action in time to join Alex Cejka as Germany’s representatives.India has Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa, Thailand has Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marksaeng, Italy has the Molinari brothers, Francesco and Edoardo, France has Thomas Levet and Christian Céväer, New Zealand has David Smail and Danny Lee and Chinese Taipei has Lin Wen-tang and Lu Wei-chih. Argentina will have Tano Goya and Rafäel Echenique taking part, while host nation China will be represented by Liang Wen-chong Liang and Zhang Lian-wei. The field was selected through each nation’s leading player on the Official World Golf Ranking, who chose any player 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 was the next highest ranked available player from the same country outside the top 100 as of August 17. If there was no other available player from that country within the top 500 on the OWGR as at August 17, the exempt player could select a professional of his choosing from the same country, without regard to the chosen player’s World Ranking.

McIlroy and Westwood in Alfred Dunhill Links

England’s Lee Westwood and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who finished tied third together in last month’s US PGA Championship at Hazeltine, will be challenging for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title at St Andrews next month against a strong international field. It was the second time during the year that Westwood has been third in a Major Championship, also finishing behind Stewart Cink and Tom Watson in The Open Championship at Turnberry. Westwood says he has happy memories of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, winning by a stroke from Ernie Els in 2003, a year when he shot a course record 62 at Kingsbarns, which famously included an albatross two when he holed his four iron second shot on the 558 yard par five ninth. Westwood said: "I feel I have had a good year and played well, without quite managing to win a big tournament. To finish third in The Open and the US PGA showed some consistency in Major Championships which is important, even though it was a little disappointing not to win. I have happy memories of the Dunhill in 2003, especially the 62 at Kingsbarns and the final round 67 on the Old Course to beat Ernie. Hopefully I may be able to repeat that. I'm looking forward to it." Rory McIlroy, still just 20, has also enjoyed playing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. He shot a final round 68 on the Old Course in 2007 – a round which included eight birdies – to finish third behind Nick Dougherty, in his second event as a professional. McIlroy said: "St Andrews is always a course where I have played well and I could have won in 2007, but the par fives cost me on that final round. I really enjoy links golf so I am definitely looking forward to the Dunhill. Hopefully this year I can do even better." Also in the field will be defending champion Robert Karlsson of Sweden and England’s Ross Fisher who he beat in a sudden death play-off last year, plus three-time Major Champion and double Alfred Dunhill Links Championship winner Padraig Harrington, who will be joined by all the other former winners - Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, Colin Montgomerie and Stephen Gallacher, and England’s Nick Dougherty. In addition to a strong British line-up, which includes World Number Three Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, the championship as usual will have a unique international flavour, with South Africa’s Ernie Els, the 2002 Open Champion and twice winner of the US Open Championship, heading the overseas challenge. The championship was conceived as a celebration of links golf and will be played over three of the world’s best known and respected links courses – the Old Course at St Andrews, the Championship Course at Carnoustie, and the highly regarded Kingsbarns Golf Links. The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship has a unique format. With a prize fund of US$5 million, it incorporates two separate competitions - an individual professional tournament for the world's leading golfers and a team event in which they are paired with some of the most celebrated amateur golfers. Among the amateurs who played last year were film and television stars Hugh Grant, Samuel L.Jackson, Dougray Scott and Luke Wilson, and music legends Don Felder from the Eagles, Ronan Keating, Huey Lewis and Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres. Many of the world’s great sports stars also took part including football’s Sir Bobby Charlton, Johan Cruyff, Ruud Gullit and Jamie Redknapp, world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, Olympic rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave, British tennis hero Tim Henman, American Football running back Marcus Allen, downhill ski star Franz Klammer, and former rugby players Sean Fitzpatrick, Gavin Hastings and Morné du Plessis. Cricket was represented by India’s Kapil Dev, England’s Sir Ian Botham, Mark Nicholas and Michael Vaughan, South Africa’s Shaun Pollock and Australian spin legend Shane Warne. Entrance to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship will be FREE at all three courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A ticket price of £15 (concessionary £10) will be charged for the final day’s play over the Old Course on Sunday, October 4. Entry for under 16s and students is free. Tickets are available through the ticket hotline on 0870 010 9021 or at the entrance gates. There is free parking for spectators and a free shuttle bus service will be in operation between the courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Moore and Rhodes in Bolton Bout

THE domestic match-up of 2009 between Jamie Moore and Ryan Rhodes will take place at Bolton Arena. Moore (32-3) will be defending his European light-middleweight when he faces his Sheffield rival on Friday October 23rd. An application has also been made for WBC eliminator status which would add even more prestige to this match-up. Salford's Moore is ranked second and Rhodes (42-4) is seventh in the latest rankings for WBC champion 154lb Sergio Martinez's crown. The southpaw rivals have 51 KOs between them and there is hope that the respected WBC may even make the winner their next mandatory challenger. The Frank Maloney promoted show will be one of the biggest boxing shows staged in Britain this year with FIVE title fights at the 4000 capacity arena. In the chief support the bill a battle of little big men sees St Helens Gary Davies (9-2-1) risks his British bantamweight champinship against Ian Napa (18-7). The pair were due to clash this week, but Davies who won the crown against Matthew Edmonds in April sustained a calf injury forcing a delay to his first defence. A third title sees Burnley star Stuart McFadyen (12-1-1) challenge Doncaster's Jamie McDonnell (11-2-1) for the vacant English super-flyweight title.

Munroe's mission with Maludrottu

RENDALL MUNROE will have home advantage when he defends his European super-bantamweight title against Simone Maludrottu later this year. The Leicester binman's promoter Frank Maloney won the purse bids yesterday and plans to stage the contest in the Midlands in late November. Maloney has also applied for the fight to be given eliminator status for the WBC 122lb held by Toshiaki Nishioka. Munroe (19-1) is ranked second by the governing body for the Japanese star's crown, while the Italian is eighth in the latest published ratings. Maludrottu (29-2) is one of the most experienced campaigners on the continent having previously held the European bantamweight title and fought for the WBC crown in the same weight class. The Sardinian won the European 118lb crown in September 2004 and made eight unbeaten defences before relinquishing three years later. Maludrottu is familiar to British fans having made seen off challenges from Damaen Kelly and Ian Napa while European champion. In April 2006 he was considered lucky to get a points verdict over Kelly in Belfast, but when they fought a rematch in Maludrottu's hometown Olbia seven months later, the Irishman was stopped in three rounds. Napa was next up in March 2007, but was no match for the accomplished champion going down clearly on points. In January 2008 Maludrottu was handed his world title chance, but like so many before him found winning in Japan a bridge too far, losing on points to brilliant Hozumi Hasegawa. Since then he has won three non-title fights and promises to be Munroe's toughest challenger to date. Southpaw Munroe, 29, has moved into world title contention since shocking Kiko Martinez to win his European belt in March 2008. He had made four defences including a repeat win over the Spaniard in February. He last boxed in May when he unanimously outpointed Ghana's Issac Nettey to claim the Commonwealth crown.

Heavyweight Countdown Fury vs McDermott

BRAGGING rights in the travelling community will be at stake when John McDermott risks his English heavyweight crown against Tyson Fury. The feuding fighters meet in the grudge fight of 2009 at Brentwood Centre on Friday with the venue close to a 2000 sell-out. Manchester's Fury (7-0) hails from a famous bare-knuckle fighting gypsy family, while McDermott who lost his last two fights in British championship wars against Danny Williams also comes from a travelling background. Promoter Frank Maloney: "I am told there have been some massive bets among different factions in the travelling community. "That doesn't surprise me because travellers are pretty fearless when it comes to putting their money where their mouth is. "There is even a suggestion that someone in Essex has taken a £50,000 bet on Fury winning the fight which is nuts. "There is going to be so much pride at stake between the fighters and fans that the atmosphere will be like a bear-pit and it makes for a wildly exciting match-up. "It is a fascinating fight where McDermott is in the last chance saloon and Fury has to live up to his boasts. He'll look daft if he doesn't." Essex boxer McDermott (25-5) has been upset at criticism over his 18 stone frame, but insists Fury will be silenced in their big fight which is televised live by Sky Sports. McDermott who wants a third clash with Williams if he defeats Fury says: "People don't realise I can box. I have a good left hand and my boxing is one of my best attributes. "Look at Martin Rogan. He has a fantastic body, but I am not born like that. I run at a good pace for an hour some mornings and keep up with boxers of 11 stone. I train hard three times a day." The last few remaining tickets for the show priced £90 and £35 are available from and 0871 226 1508.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Warren quashes Quigley Rumours

Promoter Frank Warren has quashed the recent rumours circulating that Tony Quigley has withdrawn from his British Super-Middleweight title defence against Paul Smith on October 30th at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. Warren, who won the purse bids last month to stage the highly-anticipated Merseyside derby, has said that the fight is definitely on. On Wednesday (2 September), Quigley's promoter Frank Maloney tried to create doubt as to whether the fight would take place by issuing a press release stating that Quigley had asked for a two-week postponement of his title defence against Smith because of a shoulder injury. Quotes attributed to Quigley said, "I'm certainly not avoiding Smith, but I won't be as prepared as I'd like for the fight if it is staged at the end of the month, which is a gutter." Yet on the same day, in an interview by Nick Peet that appeared in The Liverpool Echo, Quigley laughed off the talk of him pulling out and said that nothing would keep him from the fight. He also added that he had been running up and down mountains in Wales for two weeks already - hardly the preparation of a boxer with a shoulder injury looking for a postponement. To further dispel the rumours created by his own promoter and Steve Wood, his manager, Quigley did a radio interview with presenter Craig Lowe on BBC Merseyside - on Wednesday evening - saying that the rumour was "rubbish" and that the fight is on. He added that he and his father said that they did not need an extra two weeks. Warren, who has delivered Quigley's best ever payday by winning the pursebid for the fight, is obviously annoyed with Maloney and Wood's interference in his promotion. He said, "Maloney should be more concerned about his own shows instead of putting his nose into other promoters' events," "This is a fight that the whole of Liverpool want to see and he is trying to create confusion by saying that the fight is postponed - which he has no right to do - and this could have affected our ticket sales," "He is simply meddling and trying to get involved when he should have dug a little deeper into his pockets if he wanted to promote the fight," "I will be sending a complaint to the British Boxing Board of Control over this matter." Warren added, "When the rumour that Quigley was injured came out, Steve Wood assured us that he was fine and would box on October 30th. Then he and Maloney are stated in the release saying that they are looking for a postponement," "At least Tony Quigley and his father have set the record straight and are being honest."

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Gonzalez's Shot of the Month

Ricardo Gonzalez’s magical approach to the 18th green on the final day of the SAS Masters has been awarded The European Tour Shot of the Month for July. The Argentine stood on the final tee at Bärseback Golf and Country Club with a one-shot lead, but pulled his drive into the trees lining the left-hand side of the fairway. Gonzalez looked to have his path to the green blocked, but somehow managed to conjure up a remarkable recovery shot which narrowly avoided the trees before finishing within six feet of the pin. He duly rolled in the putt for his third consecutive birdie to claim his fourth European Tour title in some style. Speaking afterwards, the charismatic Argentine said: “I don’t know whether the shot on the last was just luck, or just brilliant!” Gonzalez also won second place for his bunker shot in the same event at the par three 17th hole where, despite a plugged lie which would have made just finding the green tricky enough, he managed to chip in for a superb birdie. England’s Lee Westwood claimed third place for another bunker shot, this time to the 18th hole on the final day at Turnberry, where he came within one shot of joining the American duo of Stewart Cink and Tom Watson in a play-off to determine the winner of The 138th Open Championship. Gonzalez becomes the second successive Argentine to win the Shot of the Month Award, following his compatriot Rafael Echenique’s victory in June. The other winners of the Shot of the Month award this year 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.

Singapore Swing for Harrington and Els

Major champions Padraig Harrington from Ireland and South African Ernie Els will return to play in this year’s Barclays Singapore Open, where they both finished runner-up last season. The Barclays Singapore Open will be played on The Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club from October 29 to November 1 and will boast prize money of US$5million - once again making it the richest national Open in Asia. Korea’s K.J Choi and Darren Clarke from Northern Ireland will add further star appeal to the tournament, which for the first time is being joint-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour. Harrington and Els are ranked ninth and 20th in the world, respectively, and finished tied for second place last weekend at The Barclays tournament in New York. They both missed makeable birdie putts on the final hole of the 2008 Barclays Singapore Open that would have forced a play-off with champion Jeev Milkha Singh from India. The duo, who have both claimed three Majors Championships during their illustrious careers, will be looking to finish one place better this year. Els also finished second in the 2006 Barclays Singapore Open when Australian Adam Scott beat him in a gripping three-hole play-off. More marquee names will be announced in the coming weeks with players from all over the world eager to tee it up in the 46th edition of the event. "The co-sanctioning of the Barclays Singapore Open will further enhance what has already become the flagship tournament in Asia. We look forward to an even more successful championship, both for the players and the spectators," said Robert Morrice, Chairman and Chief Executive of Barclays Asia. As a full field event of 156 players, the Barclays Singapore Open will comprise 65 players from each Tour with a further 10 places available through a local qualifying event on the Sunday and Monday before the tournament starts. There will be nine invitations, four amateurs and three Singaporean professionals. “The Barclays Singapore Open has not only put Singapore on the golfing map, it has announced Sentosa’s arrival on the world stage as a premier lifestyle destination and a playground for all leisure activities and sporting events.” said Low Teo Ping, Board Member, Sentosa Development Corporation and Vice Captain, Sentosa Golf Club. Singapore’s national Open was not played between 2002 and 2004, but returned to the Asian Tour schedule in 2005 thanks to the support of Sentosa and efforts of the event promoter World Sport Group. Scott triumphed in 2005 and 2006 before Angel Cabrera of Argentina claimed the spoils in 2007. This year’s Barclays Singapore Open will once again be broadcast live for all four days on the ESPN Star Sports network. “The Barclays Singapore Open is the highlight of the year on the Asian golf calendar and World Sport Group are proud to promote the tournament for the fifth year in a row. We have over 10 years of experience in running golf tournaments in Asia and we have been able to use successfully use this knowledge to make the Barclays Singapore Open an event that is second to none in the region,” said Chris Jordan, Senior Vice President – Golf, World Sport Group.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Ward at the Watford Colosseum

Bobby “Boogaloo” Ward admits that sibling rivalry is driving him to succeed in the pro ranks. Ward is the oldest of three boxing brothers and the first of them to turn professional. The 22-year-old from Romford will have his third pro fight at the Watford Colosseum on Saturday night when he meets Steve Gethin, a veteran of 62 pro fights who himself comes from a family of boxing brothers. Their super featherweight contest features on the undercard of a Hennessy Sports event which is headlined by the clash between Commonwealth welterweight champ John O’Donnell and upset specialist Tom Glover. The card is live on ITV4’s Big Fight Live from 7.35pm on Saturday and Ward will be looking to extend his unbeaten run in the pro ranks. The former Repton club man enjoyed a successful amateur career which included a win over Amir Khan in an English Schoolboy final. However he drifted from the sport for several years before returning to the gym late last year after being inspired by the successes of his younger brothers in the amateur ranks. “I was out of boxing for 5 years and during that time I got married and had a couple of kids so I had to put supporting my family ahead of my boxing,” explained Ward.“We’re a big boxing family and my younger brother Martin and John have been doing exceptionally well. Martin’s only just turned 18 and he won Gold at the European Youths Championships in Poland last month. He’s targeting the London Olympics and I think he can go all the way. John is doing really well too and he’s another big prospect for the future so seeing them come up through the ranks really got me hungry for the sport again. “I didn’t see any point in going back to the amateurs so I decided to turn pro and I’m really enjoying it right now. I’m training with Tony Sims at his gym in Hainault and physically the training is very demanding but I’m enjoying it and you have to put the work in to get the results out.” Should Ward get past Gethin unscathed there is a strong possibility that his next outing could come in Ireland later this month on a massive night of boxing in Dublin. Irish hero Bernard Dunne will defend his WBA World title at The O2 on September 26th and Ward is being lined up for a slot on the undercard.Ward’s promoter Mick Hennessy revealed, “I know that Bobby actually won a couple of Irish titles at underage level as an amateur when he lived over there. I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen of him so far as a pro and I think the Irish fans would love his style so it would be great opportunity for him to fight over there on a big World title bill. “Bobby’s eligible to fight for the Irish title as well as the British title so that’s something we can look at for him when his career is a little further down the road.” John O’Donnell’s clash with Tom Glover tops the bill at the Watford Colosseum with the undercard also featuring unbeaten prospects Steve O’Meara and Ward’s gym mate Bradley Evans. Sheffield prospects Richard Towers and Kid Galahad (subject to board approval) are also in action alongside exciting puncher Yassine “The Showman” El Maachi also features. Tickets priced £35, £40 and £75 are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via

Purdy and McDonagh in Rematch

Lee “Lights Out” Purdy is planning to live up to his name this weekend and avenge the sole defeat of his career by knocking out Peter McDonagh. The two men clash at the Watford Colosseum on Saturday night with the vacant Southern Area Welterweight title on the line in a rematch of their thrilling encounter from last December. On that occasion McDonagh emerged victorious on a narrow points decision but Purdy is confident that there will be a different result second time around. The bout features on a Hennessy Sport event which is headlined by the clash between Commonwealth Welterweight champ John O’Donnell and upset specialist Tom Glover. The card is live on ITV4’s Big Fight Live from 7.35pm on Saturday but Purdy believes viewers expecting a repeat of his thrilling first fight with McDonagh will be disappointed. “It won’t be anything like the last fight,” predicted the 22-year-old Colchester fighter. “It won’t be exciting this time around because it will be too one sided. I’m going to be too good for him and I’ll be looking to get him out of there early this time.” Purdy was unbeaten in ten pro fights going into his first clash with McDonagh and despite the blemish on his record Purdy feels he’s a better fighter for the experience. “He beat me fair and square last time but that was a different me back then,” said Purdy. “In a way I’m glad it actually happened because otherwise I would have kept doing the same things in terms of my preparations. I approach things completely different now and I feel one hundred times better for it. I’ve changed my whole approach to the sport and people are going to see a completely different fighter on Saturday night. I believe I can stop him in the mid to late rounds.” John O’Donnell’s clash with Tom Glover tops the bill at the Watford Colosseum with the undercard also featuring unbeaten prospects Steve O’Meara, Bradley Evans and Bobby “Boogaloo” Ward alongside the latest prospects to role off the famous Brendan Ingle production line in Sheffield - heavyweight giant Richard Towers and the pro debut of Kid Galahad (subject to board approval). Exciting puncher Yassine “The Showman” El Maachi also features. Tickets priced £35, £40 and £75 are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via

Quigley asks for Fight Delay

TONY QUIGLEY has asked for a short postponement to his British super-middleweight title defence against Paul Smith. Quigley is lined up to face his fellow Scouser at Liverpool's Echo Arena on Friday October 30th, but has requested a two week delay. He is suffering from a shoulder injury which means he is unable to spar until mid-October. He said: "I'm certainly not avoiding Smith, but I won't be as prepared as I'd like for the fight if it is staged at the end of next month, which is a gutter. "It looks like our request to move the fight may be turned down and therefore I will have to fight Smith with two weeks sparring instead of the normal four weeks .
"It is not ideal but an 80 per-cent Tony Quigley beats Paul Smith so I'll have to get on with it. It would just have been a bit easier with the full preparation that I believe a champion should get.
"My manager Steve Wood has been contacted by the office of the fight's promoter Frank Warren saying they will try and get me stripped if I don't fight on October 30." Wood added: "Tony was not 100 per-cent when he boxed Tony Dodson but we took the chance as it was a great opportunity to become British champion . "That gamble paid off and now we are the champion. I do not understand why the board would consider stripping us over a two week delay request. "It does not seem fair to me and I am willing to take the matter further." Quigley's promoter Frank Maloney is more upbeat about a postponement after speaking with Board general secretary Robert Smith and expects an answer next week. Maloney added: "I have every confidence in the BBB of C and I don't envisage any sort of problem getting a minimal delay. "I was looking at a list last night of British champions who have postponed defences for a longer period and not been stripped so I don't think there should be anything to worry about. "I do apologise to Frank Warren, Paul Smith, the Board and most of all those who have bought tickets, but I'm sure the fans understand. They want both men on top form for what is a potential Fight of the Year.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Jeffries Jets Off to Portugal

TONY JEFFRIES will whip himself into shape for his next fight in the sunnier climbs of Portugal. The Olympic bronze medallist jets off to the Algarve today with fellow Sunderland fighter Dave Ferguson and Blackpool's unbeaten light-middleweight Brian Rose. Jeffries, 24, and his FTM stablemates will spend a week working on his fitness where his programme will include gruelling mountain runs. The trio will be accompanied by Maloney who has taken several fighters in the past for fitness training including former British champions Tony Oakey and Carl Johanneson
Maloney explained: "This is a strategy I picked up when I managed Lennox Lewis. "For many of his big fights, Lennox would go to camp two weeks before most of his team and work on fitness and do very little boxing training. "It is based on getting to the right fitness levels before you start the serious training and sparring in the gym. "The running the boys will be doing is high up in the mountains and they will all benefit from this before returning home. "It is hard work and I reckon they will hate me at the end of it. It worked for Carl and Tony, as they won big title clashes soon after." 'The Might Mackem' who last month trained alongside Floyd Mayweather Jnr in Las Vegas last month bids for his fourth straight win when he boxes in his home city at the Seaburn Centre on October 16. Heavyweight Ferguson (9-2) who recently signed a promotional deal with Maloney appears on the same bill. Rose, 24, (13-0-1) bids to extend his excellent record at Bolton Arena on October 23 on the undercard of Jamie Moore's European light-middleweight title defence against Ryan Rhodes. Tickets for both shows are available from and 0871 226 1508. Tickets for Sunderland only can also be purchased from Phil Jeffries on 0191 564 0202.

Smith's Super Middleweight Clash

Paul Smith says moving to super-middleweight has been the best decision he's ever made - and is promising the best performance of his career on October 30. Smith will challenge Tony Quigley at the Liverpool Echo Arena for the British title in a mouth-watering all-Merseyside affair. Joint top of the bill will see Kell Brook defend his British welterweight title against Michael Jennings in a another cracking domestic showdown. Smith, 26, has built up a 27-1 (15) record as a professional, and believes a victory against Quigley will show more of the potential which swept him to a silver medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. But he says switching to 12 stone has worked wonders, and he's now ready to deliver in style against his red rival. "I feel really sharp at the weight after struggling for so long at middleweight, and my power is coming through because I'm much stronger" said Smith. "I've always said that given the right opponent and the right fight, then it will bring out the best in me and this fight is right up my street," "Believe me, Quigley is just that kind of opponent, and everyone is going to see just what I can do on October 30 because this is easily the biggest fight of my career. "Not only is the British title on the line, local pride is at stake, and that's a huge motivation going into this one. "I feel like the loser won't be able to show his face in Liverpool, and that makes me even more determined that it won't be me. "The whole city is buzzing about this one, and it's a very exciting fight for Liverpool. "Ever since I turned professional, people have been saying that they will come out in force when I fight for a big title at the Echo Arena, and now that moment has come."Tickets priced at £30 (Tier), £40 (Tier), £50 (Tier), £100 (Floor), £150 (Floor) and £200 (Ringside) are available from: Liverpool Echo Arena 0844 8000 40 Ticketmaster 0844 847 2500 Frank Warren Promotions 01992 550 888

The Ingle Stable Back in Action

Brendan Ingle may be one of boxing’s most feted trainers but for many of the young boxers he’s put through his hands the Sheffield based Dubliner has played a dual role of social worker and boxing trainer. Despite an involvement in the sport that stretches back almost 60 years and has included guiding the likes of Naseem Hamed, Junior Witter, Johnny Nelson and Herol Graham to the top of the sport the veteran trainer is still producing feel good stories from the famous Wincobank gym in the Steel City. The latest two prospects to roll off the production line will feature at the Watford Colosseum on September 5th when they take to the ring on the undercard of Commonwealth Welterweight champ John O’Donnell’s clash with upset specialist Tom Glover. The Hennessy Sports event is live on ITV4 and Ingle’s latest protégé’s will be looking to make their presence felt on the undercard. 6 foot 8 inch heavyweight giant Richard Towers and Yemeni bantamweight Abdul Barry Awad (AKA Kid Galahad) are at opposite ends of the scale in terms of size but they both owe Ingle a huge debt for the part he has played in turning their lives around. Towers and Awad were troubled youths who both ended up on the wrong side of the tracks. Towers activities outside the gym would eventually see him behind bars for over 6 years while Awad freely admits that boxing and the intervention of Ingle has saved him from the same fate. Towers first came to the Ingle gym as a teenager and showed plenty of promise before suddenly disappearing without trace. Ingle picks up the story, “Richard came into the gym as a kid and I was very impressed with him but after a few months he disappeared. “He just vanished all of a sudden. I made some enquiries but nobody seemed to know where he had gone. That was the last I heard of him until he walked into the gym a year and a half ago and told me that he had just served a 6 and a half year prison sentence. “He asked if he could come back and I had no problem with that. I believe that everyone deserves a second chance in life. He just got in with the wrong crowd and that can happen to people. He’s done the crime but now he’s done the time. He’s sorted himself out now and he wants to make something of his life and we’re there to help him get on with that.” Despite limited amateur experience Towers turned professional in June and has already notched up two straight wins. Ingle sees enough potential in Towers to believe that he can become a major force on the heavyweight scene. “He’s a rough diamond but I think he can go all the way,” said Ingle. “He’s a big, big man but he can move as well as guys half his size. He’s a very accurate puncher but above all his attitude is right. For my money there’s nothing to stop him becoming British, European and Commonwealth Champion.” Towers says he has put his dark past behind him and he now wants to get his name in the papers for all the right reasons. “When I was sentenced I knew that I had to face up and take responsibility for what I had done and accept the consequences of my actions,” revealed Towers. “I’ve put that life behind me now and I want to concentrate on having a successful boxing career. "I have done some bad things to some bad people in my life but I have turned away from all that. I want to help young kids realise that the life I got involved in is a painful and empty one and it all starts with disrespect at school and at home. "This might sound odd to some people but even when I was involved in all that I never felt good about it. I always thought that it wasn't the right thing to be doing but once you are on that slope it becomes a way of life that's hard to get out of. Now that's all behind me, I have paid my debt and I want to help other kids stay away from that kind of life." These days Towers is happy to dish his punishment out between the ropes and he says his time at the Ingle gym has taught him that even as a 6 foot 8 inch heavyweight boxing is not all about brute force. “Brendan has taught me that boxing is not all about raw power,” said Towers. “Movement and footwork is really a huge part of boxing and that’s something that’s been instilled into me from day one.” While Towers has already sampled life as a pro boxer September 5th will be a whole new experience for Abdul Barry Awad as he makes his pro debut. The self styled “Kid Galahad” shares more than a Yemeni background and small stature with Sheffield boxing legend “Prince” Nasem Hamed. “I’m a better boxer than Naz and I’m better looking too!,” boasted Awad. “Naz used to be my hero in a boxing sense but I know I’m going to end up better than him. I want to become a three weight World Champ. That was his plan originally but he spoiled it for himself and wasted his talent. “I think the money went to his head and he got distracted by his own fame. People were telling him that he was invincible and he forgot the basics and the hard work that got him there in the first place. I won’t fall into the same trap.” Like Towers Kid Galahad had his own problems outside the ring but he credits Brendan Ingle’s intervention with keeping him out of jail. "I used to get in fights all the time at school,” admitted Awad. “I ended up getting a reputation as a trouble maker and I was banned from pretty much everywhere in Sheffield. I started boxing at 14 and everything changed for me then. Some of the kids that I used to hang around with are in prison now so I’m glad I turned things around because who knows where I would have ended up.” Ingle believes his latest protégé will have boxing fans sitting up and taking notice right from his pro debut. “He’s very clever and impossible to hit. He can make good fighters look ordinary. I think he is going to be outstanding, he could finish up winning everything. Getting him to change his attitude was the biggest thing. Now he can be what he wants to be.” John O’Donnell’s clash with Tom Glover tops the bill at the Watford Colosseum while the chief support bout sees Lee Purdy and Peter McDonagh clash for the vacant Southern Area Welterweight title in a repeat of their first thrilling encounter last December. On that occasion McDonagh emerged victorious on a narrow points decision but Purdy will be determined to even the score this time around. The undercard also features unbeaten prospects Steve O’Meara, Bradley Evans and Bobby “Boogaloo” Ward alongside exciting puncher Yassine “The Showman” El Maachi. Tickets priced £35, £40 and £75 are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via