Monday, December 14, 2009

Local Boxers Clash in Liverpool

British Super-Middleweight Champion Paul Smith enters into another Merseyside derby when he make the first defence of his title against Tony Dodson on Friday, March 12 at the Echo Arena. Smith won the title in October with a rugged points win over rival Tony Quigley and now takes on the Garston Warrior who previously held the title in 2003. It's the first Merseyside derby of the new decade and Smith believes it will be another glorious night in Liverpool. He said, "The city has been starved of big-time boxing in recent years, mainly due to the lack of a big arena, but now with the fabulous Echo Arena firmly established and with my promoter Frank Warren putting on the big shows it's going to herald a new era for boxing in Liverpool," "We have the talent coming through from the city now like my brother Stephen and Liam, plus Tony Bellew who is fantastic prospect, and lot's of kids in the amateurs," "The arena was packed out with 9,000 fans for my fight against Quigley and it was fantastic to walk into the ring in front of my own fans in my home city with such an electric atmosphere," "It's going to be a hard fight against Dodson, he's got plenty of experience against the top names in the domestic division so I'm not going to underestimate him," The card will also feature the best in Liverpool talent from the Warren's stable including hot-prospect Tony 'Bomber' Bellew in his first championship title contest, plus Paul's younger brothers Stephen and Liam Smith, and Joe Selkirk. Oldham hot-shot Ronnie 'The Razor' Heffron, this year's ABA light-welterweight champion, made his debut in Newcastle earlier this month with a second round TKO and will feature in a four-round contest.Completing the card will be Tobias Webb, nephew of former WBO World Crusierweight Champion Enzo Maccarinelli, from Swansea. Tickets are available from the Echo Arena Box Office on 0844 8000 400 or

Boxing returns to London in 2010

Promoter Frank Warren will start the new decade with a blockbuster show on Saturday 13th February in London. The venue will be announced shortly, but the main event will be the big heavyweight clash between British champion Danny Williams and Commonwealth king Sam Sexton. Chief support is the long awaited British Welterweight Championship showdown between reigning champion and outright winner of the Lonsdale belt Kell Brook and the former champion Michael Jennings. They were due to meet in Liverpool in October, but Brook withdrew from the fight after he picked up a virus. Unbeaten heavyweight prospect Derek Chisora will also get his first title opportunity on the card, further details will be announced on this shortly. The Olympians James DeGale, Frankie Gavin and Billy Joe Saunders, who all won last Saturday night in Newcastle, will open their 2010 campaign that could see them challenge for titles before the year is out. Also on the card will be Vinny Mitchell, the undefeated younger brother of Kevin, and the Walsh brothers Liam, Michael and Ryan. Hall of Fame promoter Warren, now entering his fourth decade as a licensed promoter, said, "I'm delighted to bring such a fantastic show to the capital for my first show of the year," "The card is packed with quality fighters and their are some intriguing title fights on there," "I promoted Williams for many years and the one thing he can do is produce an upset, but he faces the rising young star of the domestic scene in Sexton who recently defeated Martin Rogan for the second time," "Brook versus Jennings is mouthwatering fight that the public have been waiting for for a long time and I'm delighted that it will happen on this show," "Our unbeaten Olympian's DeGale, Gavin and Saunders have had a great first year in the professional ranks and next year is going to be a big one for all of them," "British boxing is on a high at the moment and this card is an example of that and we will be announcing more big shows for 2010."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Simpson seals role in Coronation Street

Despite his disappointment last Saturday night in Newcastle when he lost to Commonwealth Featherweight Champion John Simpson, Manchester star Stephen Bell has been lifted with a guest role in Coronation Street. The Ashton-under-Lyne fighter, who has also appeared in Shameless and was a gay bare knuckle boxer in a film, will play the part of soldier in the hit soap. Bell, 34, started filming on Monday in Manchester, only a couple of days after his loss to Scotsman Simpson on Amir Khan's world title undercard at the Metro Radio Arena. In Corrie, Bell will feature in a new Army storyline involving Gary Windass (Mikey North) and it is expected to be screened in February. He said, "I got a few funny looks turning up on set with a big shiner for the first day of filming and the make up artist had to do a bit of work on me but it's all been great fun," "Obviously it was a gutter losing to Simpson in my first big title challenge, but I'm really into the acting and this is a perfect role for me," "I'll have a rest from the boxing over Christmas and see what happens in the New Year, but for now I'm concentrating on Corrie."

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Westwood caps Year on the Fairways

Lee Westwood has been named The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year following a momentous season which culminated in him being crowned Europe’s Number One golfer for the second time in his career. The award comes at the end of a year in which he won twice – in the Portugal Masters and Dubai World Championship presented by: DP World – and became the inaugural winner of The Race to Dubai with record earnings of €4,237,762. In the process, he climbed to Number Four on the Official World Golf Ranking. The 36 year old Englishman has been named The European Tour Golfer of the Year on two previous occasions, in 1998 and 2000, and joins Severiano Ballesteros, Ernie Els and Sir Nick Faldo as a three-time winner. European Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie is the only player to have won the award four times. Westwood’s performance in the Dubai World Championship in particular was breathtaking in its brilliance. Westwood was trailing Rory McIlroy in The Race to Dubai heading into the final week of the season but knew that victory in the Dubai World Championship would make him unbeatable in the quest to be crowned European Tour Number One and once again hold the Harry Vardon Trophy. For four days he put on a masterclass and his final round of eight under par 64 over the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates will stand alongside some of the greatest performances ever witnessed on The European Tour as he hit every fairway, every green and holed every putt of consequence for a six-stroke victory, thus securing his 20th European Tour title. His level of consistency, particularly over the second half of the season, was also something to behold as he recorded 11 top ten finishes from his 13 events after the US Open. His victory in the Portugal Masters, his first win in more than two years, was his 30th title worldwide and took him past Mark James and second only to Sir Nick Faldo in the list of England’s most prolific champions. In addition to his two victories, Westwood also finished joint third in The Open Championship at Turnberry, where he was within a putt of making the play-off with Stewart Cink and Tom Watson, and finished in the same position in the US PGA Championship at Hazeltine National GC. Westwood said: “It is a fantastic honour to win The European Tour Golfer of the Year and cap a wonderful season for me and all those who have helped me get to this position. “I have won this award twice before but this probably means more to me in recognising how I have fought my way back to the top. When I last finished Number One in 2000 it was special as I won six events and the World Match Play that year. But to then drop completely into obscurity and come back from that, get back into the World’s top five and crown it all by winning the Dubai World Championship and the first Race to Dubai means a lot. “It says a lot about my mental strength and about the team around me, and all the hard work and dedication they have put in, and the belief they have shown in me. It certainly helps having Billy Foster on the bag, a man I consider the best caddie in Europe, if not the world, while Steve McGregor, who I have worked with on my fitness for the past three years, and my coach, Pete Cowen, have all played a huge part on the course. And I’d also like to thank my manager Chubby Chandler, who I have been with for 16 years, and my family at home, who have been supportive through the good times and the bad times, and back through the good times. This award is as much for them as it is for me.” European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady said: “We congratulate Lee on a marvellous season and deservedly winning The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year award. He has demonstrated a tremendous level of consistency this season, coupled with brilliant performances in the Portugal Masters and the Dubai World Championship. He is also an outstanding ambassador for The European Tour on the global stage.” Westwood was voted The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year by a panel comprising members of the Association of Golf Writers in addition to commentators from television and radio following a lively discussion during which a number of candidates were considered. Angel Cabrera was singled out for special mention for his victory in the Masters Tournament in May while the performances of Rory McIlroy, second to Westwood in The Race to Dubai and only the second 20 year old in history to break into the world’s top ten, Martin Kaymer, with his back-to-back victories in the Open de France ALSTOM and The Barclays Scottish Open, and Ross Fisher, fourth in The Race to Dubai after victory in the Volvo World Match Play Championship, were also highly commended. Paul Casey, who won two European Tour titles including the flagship BMW PGA Championship and made his breakthrough in the US but missed the second half of the season through injury, was also given particular praise. The panel also spoke highly of the strength in depth of The European Tour with players such as Chris Wood, The Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year, making wonderful progress. Iain Carter, Golf Correspondent of BBC Radio Five Live, said: “Many players had outstanding claims including Angel Cabrera for his superb win in the Masters Tournament, but one man stood apart from the others. Lee Westwood was the standout European Tour Golfer of the Year. I’m sure that Lee would be the first to say that the supporting cast was fantastic – led by the youthful flair and brilliance of Rory McIlroy. You could say that between them Rory, Martin Kaymer, Ross Fisher and, in fairness, Paul Casey took it to the 18th – but when it came to the conclusion of The Race to Dubai, then the finish by Lee was overwhelming. Lee stepped up his game when he needed to and his golf over four rounds on the new Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates was absolutely sublime. He is a fantastic golfer and a fantastic man for The European Tour. A true character and personality; a wonderful role model for the game of golf. “The panel also wanted to place on record the part that Billy Foster as caddie played in Lee Westwood’s outstanding season for which he was deservedly elected The European Tour Golfer of the Year.”

Froch to face Kessler in Denmark

Reigning WBC World Super Middleweight Champion and Super Six stalwart Carl Froch’s achievements have been recognised following an incredible 12 months for the Nottingham man. Froch is celebrating having won a hat trick of awards over the past week but “The Cobra” insists that 2010 will be even bigger promising fans that, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”. Froch has been feted by the British Boxing Board of Control as their Boxer of the Year while the sports governing body in Britain also honoured Froch for his part in their Fight of Year (his thrilling win over Jean Pascal last December to win the WBC title). There was further good news for the unbeaten 32-year-old last week when he was voted as the BBC East Midlands Sports Personality of the Year for 2009 having been chosen as the winner by viewers and listeners to the BBC in the East Midlands. “Last year was great, this year’s been fantastic and next year’s going to be even better,” said Froch who also received confirmation over the weekend that his next Super Six outing against Danish superstar Mikkel Kessler will take place in April. Froch’s promoter Mick Hennessy revealed, “We’ve confirmed a date of April 17th for the Kessler fight. It will take place in Denmark and will be on at around 10pm in the evening U.K. time which is great news for British fight fans. It’s going to be an absolutely massive event and it should attract a huge audience. “It’s an incredible fight between two of the World’s best and most exciting fighters. Carl proved with that sensational KO over Jermain Taylor that he can go into the lions den and beat the very best in the World and I’ve no doubt he’ll prove that again against Kessler. “Carl’s been outstanding over the last 12 months. He’s had three massive fights in a row against Jean Pascal to win the title, a sensational knockout against Jermain Taylor in the U.S. to retain it and then opening his Super Six account by handing Andre Dirrell his first defeat. He’s shown the kind of mental and physical toughness in those fights that I don’t think any other British fighter in recent times has possessed.” Froch’s thrilling WBC title win over Canadian star Pascal kept fans at the Trent FM Arena in Nottingham and the millions watching live on ITV1 on the edge of their seats as the two men put their undefeated records on the line in a toe to toe classic. Froch ultimately prevailed to celebrate a magnificent points victory that will live long in the memory of all those who saw it. Clearly it impressed the voting panel on the BBB of C with the bout earning their Fight of the Year award. The Nottingham man also received the Boxer of the Year award having followed up his thriller with Pascal with a stunning final round win over former Undisputed Middleweight champ and marquee U.S. name Jermain Taylor. The dramatic win was made all the more impressive by the fact that Froch’s dramatic win came on the road at the Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut as he showed American fight fans just why he has a growing reputation as one of the most exciting fighters in the sport. Froch’s win over Taylor secured his place in the Super Six World Boxing Classic, a ground breaking new tournament that is revolutionising the sport. In his opening bout in the Super Six in October Froch was back home in Nottingham to hand touted American Olympic medallist Andre Dirrell the first defeat of his pro career in another successful WBC title defence. This years BBB of C’s awards ceremony in London last week also celebrated the centenary of the prestigious Lonsdale belt, the prize awarded to all British title holders and a belt which Froch won outright himself back in 2006 following his third successful defence of the British Super Middleweight title.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Westwood wins in November

Lee Westwood has been named The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month for November following his winning performance in the inaugural Dubai World Championship presented by: DP World, a victory which also saw him claim the 2009 Race to Dubai. The 36 year old Englishman, who will receive a jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne along with an engraved alms dish in recognition of his achievement, was in imperious form on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates, his 23 under par total of 265 giving him a six shot winning margin in the end. The victory saw Westwood – who also won the August award – not only overtake Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy at the head of The Race to Dubai in a thrilling end to the 2009 season, but also saw him end the campaign with €4,237,762, the highest single season earnings in European Tour history. Westwood, who moved up to fourth on the Official World Golf Ranking after the victory, was the unanimous choice of the voting panel which comprised members of the Association of Golf Writers in addition to commentators from television and radio. However, other players were commended for their performances over the month, most notably Frenchman Grégory Bourdy, who became the first Frenchman to win tournaments in three consecutive years on Tour when he won the UBS Hong Kong Open on the day of his mother Martine’s 57th birthday; and Italians Edoardo and Francesco Molinari. The Molinari brothers created history in China by securing Italy’s first victory in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup, just one week after Edoardo followed up his record breaking season on the European Challenge Tour by beating Robert Karlsson in a play-off for the Dunlop Phoenix title in Japan. Also praised by the panel were McIlroy, who finished second behind Bourdy in Hong Kong and third in the Dubai World Championship on his way to finishing second in The Race to Dubai; and Englishman Ross McGowan who finished runner-up in Dubai, a performance which helped him jump from 29th to 12th on the final Race to Dubai standings. The full list of monthly winners: Rory McIlroy (January), Geoff Ogilvy (February), Søren Kjeldsen (March), Angel Cabrera (April), Shane Lowry (May), Nick Dougherty (June), Martin Kaymer (July), Lee Westwood (August and November), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (September) and Ross Fisher (October) will now go forward for consideration for The 2009 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year Award, the winner of which will be announced in due course.