Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blood blood spills over between DeGale & Groves

James DeGale says that his sparring partners will be taking the full force of his anger until he can get to George Groves on fight night. DeGale and Groves will meet at The O2, London, on May 21 and their British and Commonwealth super-middleweight showdown is one of the most eagerly anticipated for years. Last Thursday, at a press conference to announce the fight, the pair swapped insults. And the bad blood between the two shows no sign of easing. "I've been sorting out my sparring partners for the next few weeks, and they are going to be in for a rough time until I Groves in the ring on May 21," Said DeGale. "I want to smash Groves up now, but by fight night I will be ready to explode and he won't have a chance," "I don't need to say anymore that our dislike of each other is real and it won't change after the fight,""I want to knock him out real quick when we fight because I don't want to have to be looking at his face a second longer than I need to be. "If he fights against me like he did against Kenny Anderson, this fight won't last more than a couple of rounds. "My trainer Jimmy McDonnell told Groves he should pull out last week because he's going to get a beating. "But he told the world that he will be there on May 21.There's nowhere for him to hide now, and I can't wait to shut him up once and for all."

Quiros gets February's top Shot

Alvaro Quiros’ sensational hole in one en route to victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic has deservedly earned the Spaniard the European Tour Shot of the Month Award for February. Quiros’ ace, which he described as “the perfect shot”, was undoubtedly the highlight of an eventful final day at the Emirates Golf Club which culminated in the big-hitting 28 year old keeping the title in Spanish hands, following Miguel Angel Jiménez’s victory last year. Having relinquished the lead with a triple bogey seven at the eighth hole, Quiros promptly regained the initiative with a “three quarter wedge” at the 161-yard 11th for an eagle which ultimately helped him seal victory by a single stroke. He said: “The most memorable moment of the week, without doubt, was the hole in one. It’s always special to make a hole in one, but to do it in a final round when you’re in contention was even more special. It was the perfect shot.” Quiros joins England’s Paul Casey, who took the prize in January, in winning the award this year. Second place went to Englishman Robert Coles for his holed approach for an eagle at the seventh hole on the final day of the Avantha Masters, while his compatriot Luke Donald took third place for his deft chip to the 15th hole to close out victory at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Chosen by fans of www.europeantour.com, the Shot of the Month is awarded to the Tour Member for the stroke judged to be the best played each month on The European Tour International Schedule. The winners of each Shot of the Month Award will then be put forward for the European Tour Shot of the Year, won last season by Graeme McDowell for his unforgettable birdie putt on the 16th green of The Celtic Manor Resort which helped Europe regain The Ryder Cup.

Monday, March 21, 2011

City do the trick for Murray

John Murray has been training at the home of his heroes ahead of his big European lightweight title defence on April 2. The 26-year-old has been training at Manchester City's Eastlands stadium to prepare for his York Hall clash with tough Spaniard Karim El Ouazghari, live on Sky Sports 1HD. The Mancunian, ranked number two in the world by the WBC and six by Ring Magazine, has been hitting the sprint track for strength and conditioning along with trainer Joe Gallagher to get ready for a hard battle with the Spanish champion. "The training that Joe puts me through on the track at Man City is an absolute killer so I don't really get to enjoy the surroundings too much while I'm there!" said Murray. "I love the club and I'm a big fan, but I enjoy the ground more on a match day when I can sit back, relax and watch the game," "Joe has really put me through the paces for this title defence as it's probably the most important fight of my career," "It's a crucial must win fight for me with a world title shot so close so I've really got to look good and do a job on Ouazghari," Murray has enjoyed his best-ever training camp ahead of what could be a key clash. Victory could see the 30-fight unbeaten star finally cement a world title opportunity this summer. He has been sparring with the likes of British super-featherweight champion Anthony Crolla, and Commonwealth featherweight king Stephen Smith. "I must have done 100 plus rounds in the gym," said Murray. "Joe has pushed me really hard, but I'm going to be in the best shape of my life come fight night," "All the hard work will be done by Wednesday, and then I will slowly wind down ahead of the fight,""Everything has gone great so far and I'm ready to go on April 2 with a top performance."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lehmann back at Arsenal

Jens Lehmann has today rejoined Arsenal on a monthly rolling contract until the end of the season. After negotiations with Arsène Wenger, Lehmann, who has made a combined total of over 650 club appearances during his career, has decided to come out of retirement to help the Club on a short-term basis during the time in which Arsenal keepers Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone are out through injury. Manager Arsène Wenger said: “Jens Lehmann is a great short-term signing for us and will be a valuable asset during a crucial time of the season. Jens has kept himself very fit during this season and will provide quality back-up to Manuel Almunia. Jens knows the Club very well, is vastly experienced and will also be an extremely positive influence in the dressing room during his time with us.” German international Lehmann originally signed for Arsenal from Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund in July 2003 and went on to make 199 first team appearances for the Gunners.
During his first spell with Arsenal, Lehmann (41), played in every match of the Club’s unbeaten league campaign in 2003/04, when he was awarded the Premier League Golden Glove Award for his integral part in the ‘Invincibles’ season. As well as winning the Premier League title in 2003/04, Lehmann won the Community Shield in 2004and also an FA Cup winner’s medal in 2005, when he famously saved from Paul Scholes in the victorious penalty shoot-out. Prior to joining Arsenal in 2003, Lehmann was a Bundesliga title winner with Borussia Dortmund in 2002, and UEFA Cup winner with Schalke in 1997. He also had a brief spell with AC Milan in 1998. Lehmann was a regular fixture for the Germany national team for a decade, making 61 appearances for his country. Before retiring from international football in 2008, Jens was a member of the Germany World Cup squads in 1998, 2002 and 2006, in addition to their squads for the European Championship Finals in 2000, 2004 and 2008. After leaving Arsenal at the end of the 2007/08 season, Jens moved to German club Stuttgart, where he spent two years before announcing his retirement from football at the end of last season. After completing his short-term move to the Gunners, Lehmann said: “I’m very excited to be rejoining Arsenal. I have kept myself fit since the end of last season and I’m ready to contribute at any time for the team. I have many great memories from my previous time at the Club and Arsenal has always had a place in my heart. It’s special to be coming back. I can’t wait to start working with the team again and I look forward to contributing as much as I can, both on and off the pitch during this time.” Lehmann has already been training with the first team squad this week and is available for selection for the Premier League match at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Groves and DeGale hit London's O2

James DeGale will take on bitter rival George Groves on the same night Nathan Cleverly challenges for the WBO World Light-Heavyweight title against Juergen Braehmer. The mouth-watering double bill - which will rival the biggest nights in British boxing history - takes place on May 21 at The O2, London. Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren confirmed the huge show, which will be screened by live and exclusive on Sky Box Office, at a press conference in London today. Tickets will go on sale on Friday, and it's certain to be the hottest ticket in town. Speaking at the press conference Warren hailed DeGale and Groves' British and Commonwealth super-middleweight title clash as a throw back to the showdowns between Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank and Michael Watson in the 1980s and 1990s. Warren has spent weeks negotiating for the fight to go ahead after purse bids last month. And he has agreed a deal that delivers a showdown every fight fan wants to see. DeGale and Groves fought as amateurs - the latter won - and DeGale went on to win gold at the Beijing Olympics. They have been bitter enemies ever since. Recently they have swapped insults, with DeGale insisting he will take revenge by knocking out his fellow west Londoner. British champion DeGale lifted the British title with a superb ninth-round stoppage of Paul Smith, while Groves - also unbeaten - holds the Commonwealth champion. Main on the show features Cleverly's eagerly anticipated world title clash with Braehmer finally getting the go ahead. The unbeaten Welshman is aiming to become one of the UK's youngest-ever world champions, and is already the interim WBO holder. Hard-hitting Braehmer comes to the UK as a world class talent and bona fide world champion. "This will be one of the best shows that I have ever put together," said Warren. "The super-middleweight division has always had a special place in the hearts of the British public. "I promoted some great champions in Joe Calzaghe, Chris Eubank, Steve Collins and Nigel Benn, but I believe DeGale can be better than all of them. "This fight against Groves will be an absolute war though, and it's a massive test. "Not only are the British and Commonwealth titles on the line, but pride is as well, and that makes this is a very special occasion. "Cleverly and Braehmer is one hell of a fight too. "Cleverly is one of our best prospects and this is his chance to make a massive statement. "And who knows, one day he might end up fighting James DeGale or George Groves up at light-heavy." Warren has previously promoted two blockbuster cards at the O2, when Enzo Maccarinelli and David Haye fought for three world cruiserweight titles. He also staged Amir Khan's Commonwealth lightweight title thriller with Willie Limond at London's biggest indoor venue.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Donald's delight in February

Englishman Luke Donald has been named European Tour Golfer of the Month for February following his convincing victory in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at Ritz Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain, Arizona, Tucson. Donald, 33, who was never behind in any of his six matches, displayed a showcase of fine match play golf, a format in which he has excelled since his amateur years. The 33-year-old from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, receives an engraved alms dish and a jeroboam of Moët and Chandon champagne in recognition of his achievement.Donald did not play the 18th hole once as he saw off American Charley Hoffman, Italians Edoardo Molinari and Matteo Manassero, Ryan Moore and Matt Kuchar, both of the United States, to set up a mouth-watering final against 2010 Ryder Cup team-mate Martin Kaymer. Despite it being only his second event of the year, Donald’s impressively accurate short game and exquisite touch around the greens were in evidence as he beat the German, who the day before had officially become the new World Number One. It was Donald’s fourth victory on The European Tour International Schedule – and first in a World Golf Championship event – and it propelled him from ninth to a career-high third in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind Kaymer and Lee Westwood and one ahead of Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell. “I’m very pleased and proud to have won this award, especially considering the incredible talent competing for the honour,” said Donald. “I was delighted with my recent win at the WGC-Accenture World Match Play and I look forward to building on that early-season victory for a strong season.” Donald’s record in match play is magnificent and in Arizona he showed just why he is one of the world’s most feared opponents in the format. Last October he won three points from four in The 2010 Ryder Cup, continuing his 100% record in the contest, having won in 2004 and 2006. In total, he has played 11 Ryder Cup matches, won eight, halved one and lost two.It was another fine month of performances on The European Tour for the judges to consider, and the panel commended Thomas Björn, winner of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy, Alvaro Quiros, who won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and SSP Chowrasia, who triumphed on home soil to clinch the Avantha Masters, in addition to Hennie Otto (Dimension Data Pro-Am) and George Coetzee (Telkom PGA Championship) who both won on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa. Kaymer, the European Tour Golfer of the Month for January, was also highly praised for becoming World Number One for the first time in his career on reaching the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play. All the monthly winners will be considered for The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year, which was won jointly by Kaymer and McDowell in 2010.

Haye agrees terms with Wladimir Klitschko

WBA heavyweight champion David Haye has agreed terms to fight IBF/WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko on either June 25 or July 2 at a venue in Germany. The consensus top two heavyweights in the world finally struck a deal and signed contracts on Friday evening, setting the wheels in motion on the biggest boxing event of 2011. After years of negotiating and posturing, Haye and Klitschko are now set to officially collide in the most important heavyweight showdown for nearly a decade and, in doing so, will unify three of the recognised world heavyweight belts.Speaking of the latest twist in the saga, Haye said: “I always believed we'd one day fight and I'm glad we've cut through the nonsense and put together the most important fight in the heavyweight division.“This is the match the boxing world has been calling for since I first decided to step into the heavyweight division, and I feel it is my destiny to fight and beat Wladimir Klitschko. We are the best two heavyweights in the world and it would have been a travesty for us to have never fought.“This is an inevitable fight with an inevitable conclusion. Wladimir Klitschko is getting violently knocked out.” The 30-year-old Haye is the current WBA heavyweight champion of the world and a former WBA, WBC and WBO world cruiserweight king. London born and bred, Haye ventured to the heavyweight division in 2008 and would eventually defeat and dethrone seven-feet-two-inch former champion Nikolay Valuev in November '09. Haye has since defended his belt twice, with stunning knockouts of mandatory challenger John Ruiz and British rival Audley Harrison, and has altogether crushed 23 of 25 beaten opponents inside schedule. A mainstay of the heavyweight division, 34-year-old Wladimir Klitschko is the reigning IBF and WBO world champion. He is a two-time WBO champion and has defended that particular belt nine times throughout the course of his fourteen-year professional career. Nicknamed 'Dr. Steelhammer', Ukrainian Klitschko has stopped 49 of 55 beaten foes inside the scheduled distance.“I have been chasing this fight since day one, because I know boxing styles and I know which styles I have success against,” said Haye. “Klitschko is ready-made for me. I eat tall, chinny Eastern European heavyweights for breakfast. Wladimir is a fighter that doesn't like to fight, and he has admitted that fact in the past. Unfortunately for him, I am a fighter that loves nothing more than fighting. “I have the heart of lion, whereas Wladimir has the heart of a hyena. He cries and squeals and slips into the wilderness at the first sign of danger. Wladimir has proven this over the years, and I'm certain he will want no part of this lion when it finally comes time to go to war.”