Calzaghe Salutes Blair

11.05.07 - With Tony Blair stepping down from power after 10 years as Prime Minister; record-breaking World Champion Joe Calzaghe has promised that he will not be relinquishing his position as the world's number one super-middleweight in the near future. Blair flattened rival John Major when he swept to power in May 1997 and Calzaghe followed five months later with an emphatic points victory over British great Chris Eubank at the Sheffield Arena to begin his reign as WBO Champion..

Unbeaten Welshman Calzaghe, the longest reigning world champion in boxing, said, "Blair might be bringing down the curtains on his Premiership but I'm still at the top of my game and I don't see anyone toppling me either so I'm going to be around for a few good years yet,"

"I salute him for the 10 years he has served as Prime Minister because to rule for a decade in any career, be it politics or sport, is a great achievement and he showed real leadership, courage and drive in his time in power,"

"Gordon Brown might be lined up to succeed him but I don't see anyone in Britain who is ready to step into my shoes. One things for sure I'm not going to surrender my title; whoever wants it is going to have to knock me out to tear it from me. I train as a challenger and the fear of losing makes me keep hold of the title to remain undefeated and with that mindset I can rule for as long as I want to,"

Calzaghe set new records last month when he faced American star Peter Manfredo at the Millennium Stadium. The successful 20th defence of his title meant he became the most successful British fighter ever and tied with heavyweight legend Larry Holmes and middleweight great Hopkins for all-time record title defences. A record 35,000 fans flocked into the Millennium Stadium to create the largest ever attendance at an indoor boxing event in Europe.

He continued, "I've still got a lot of things to do in my career and over the next few years you will see the best of me to achieve them. I want Jermain Taylor because I love taking on and beating the top American's. They bring the best out in me - just ask Jeff Lacy. Mikkel Kessler is in my sights because he's claiming to be the best in the division and I will happily relieve him from his two titles. Plus a burning ambition is to become a two-weight world champion and I want Bernard Hopkins at light-heavyweight,"

After his sensational victory over IBF World Champion Jeff Lacy last year, described as the best performance ever by a British boxer, Calzaghe catapulted into the the top 10 pound-for-pound ratings and was awarded the prestigious Ring Magazine Belt.

He added, "It's great to create a legacy but that will be recognised when I have retired. I believe I'm getting the recognition I deserve now from the public and media but I'm just going to get on with my career and face the best out there and let history decide where I stand."

Article posted on 11.05.2007

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