Boxing


UK Boxing: Paul Smith; Kell Brook; Barking ABC

British Super-Middleweight Champion Paul Smith likes to spend his spare time with birds! No, it's not another example of a prominent sportsman caught up in a sex scandal - family man Smith confines himself to the feathered variety. The Liverpool ace is a pigeon breeder and racer, and has already won a number of trophies. He follows in the footsteps of the boxing greats Mike Tyson and Marvin Hagler, both of whom bred racing pigeons, and says the sport is a welcome distraction from the rigours of the ring. "It's good to have something to take my mind off boxing," said Smith, who is gearing-up to make the first defence of his British super-middleweight title against rival Tony Dodson on March 12 at the Liverpool Echo Arena - live on Sky Sports 1..

"Pigeon racing is often associated with pensioners, but it's actually very exciting and a lot of young lads are involved round here.

"Footballer Duncan Ferguson was really into it when he lived in Liverpool, and the guy he raced with has been a big help to me.

"I've won three races so far, a good achievement for someone who is just starting out, and I've got about 200 birds.

"They get taken to different parts of the country, often down to the south coast, and then they are released and race back home to Liverpool.

"Boxing trainer Bobby Rimer got me interested, and now I've got a shed in my back garden where I keep my pigeons.

"The prize money isn't great, but ultimately I have got my sights set on the world's biggest competition, which takes place in South Africa.

"If you win that, you get $1m. I could enter that tournament if I wanted to, but you need to breed a really good pigeon to win it.

"When I'm a world champion and get paid hundreds of thousands of pounds I might invest some of the money in pigeons and try and come out on top!

"To be a world champion in both sports would be something pretty special - but first I've got to give Dodson the bird on March 12."

'The Pride of Merseyside' is headlined by Paul Smith's first defence of his British Super-Middleweight title against former champion Tony Dodson. Chief support is Kell Brook's challenge for the WBO Intercontinental title and Eliminator for the WBO World Welterweight title against Krzystof Bienias, and Tony Bellew's challenge for the Vacant Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight title against unbeaten Atoli Moore. An action packed undercard includes former WBO World Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Maccarinelli, plus the best in young British talent: Stephen and Liam Smith, Ronnie Heffron, Thomas Costello, Tobias Webb, Joe Selkirk and the pro-debut of John Thain.

Tickets for 'The Pride of Merseyside' are priced at 40, 50, 100, 150 and 200 and are available from:

Liverpool Echo Arena Box Office
0844 8000 400
www.echoarena.com

See Tickets
0871 2200 260
www.seetickets.com


Kell Brook: Ill Be A Pole Vaulter

Kell Brook says he'll KO Krzystof Bienias on his way to becoming the best British welterweight since greats John H Stracey and Lloyd Honeyghan. Sheffield hotshot Brook takes on the Pole in a challenge for the WBO Intercontinental title in Liverpool on March 12. The fight, to be televised by live on Sky Sports 1, will double as an eliminator for the WBO World title. And Brook has his sights set on world level in a division where Britain hasn't enjoyed much glory since the 1970s and 1980s. Ricky Hatton briefly held a version of the welterweight crown, but at 147 pounds Brits have tended to play the role of bridesmaid.

"Stracey and Honeyghan were big heroes of mine when I was growing up," said Sheffield star Brook.

"I used to watch their fights, and to be honest I don't think we've had welterweights as good as them ever since.

"Fair play to Hatton for winning a title at welterweight, but he'll always be remembered as a light-welterweight.

"I can make the welterweight division come alive again in Britain. Beating Bienias will be start, but I've got a long way to go yet."

And Brook has vowed to match the achievements of Stracey and Honeyghan by winning a title abroad if he has to.

Famously, Honeyghan caused a huge upset by beating Don Curry in Atlantic City to lift the unified welterweight world title, while Stracey did something similar in Mexico City against Jose Napoles.

"Welterweight is pretty action-packed at the moment and most of the guys to beat are based in the States," said Brook.

"The top 10 is pretty formidable with the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto and Zab Judah.

"I need a few more fights before I start taking them on, but people didn't give Honeyghan or Stracey much of a chance when they fought for world titles overseas and look what happened when they did."

'The Pride of Merseyside' is headlined by Paul Smith's first defence of his British Super-Middleweight title against former champion Tony Dodson. Chief support is Kell Brook's challenge for the WBO Intercontinental title and Eliminator for the WBO World Welterweight title against Krzystof Bienias, and Tony Bellew's challenge for the Vacant Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight title against unbeaten Atoli Moore. An action packed undercard includes former WBO World Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Maccarinelli, plus the best in young British talent: Stephen and Liam Smith, Ronnie Heffron, Thomas Costello, Tobias Webb, Joe Selkirk and the pro-debut of John Thain.

Tickets for 'The Pride of Merseyside' are priced at 40, 50, 100, 150 and 200 and are available from:

Liverpool Echo Arena Box Office
0844 8000 400
www.echoarena.com

See Tickets
0871 2200 260
www.seetickets.com


MALONEY PROMISES TO BRING BARKING HOME

BARKING ABC has been left without a home after plans to re-house the club have been shelved meaning dozens of potential boxing stars have been left high and dry by the local council.

The club has been moved from pillar to post and has been out of Barking since 1992.

The famed club is temporarily housed in Dagenham, but was initially told by the council that it would be re-housed into a new development in the Barking Park area. Barking ABC have now been informed that the development plans have been scrapped and they will have to remain in Dagenham.

Dave Sadler has represented the club since childhood and coached hundreds of young boxers since 1984. With over 60 members, the gym is bustling but without a permanent home the club is left in limbo and with no identity or support from the local authority.

"We feel that we have been shunted out of the way and forgotten about really. The club has always been based in Barking and we were promised a lot of things would happen if we moved temporarily but these have just not materialised," explained Sadler.

Crime in Barking has been steadily rising over the past decade and latest figures show that it is double the national average. More and more kids have been involved in anti-social behaviour, muggings, violent crimes and burglaries.

At the other end of the spectrum one of the area's favourite sons, Kevin Mitchell is delivering at the highest level in the ring and is on the brink of world lightweight title glory.

With this in mind, one would think that amateur boxing in Barking would be highly thought of by councillors, but obviously not.

Boxing has often been seen as a way of harnessing aggression and installing disciple and pride amongst young people. This is not an opinion that has been shared by the former head of Barking council, Charles Fairbrass (who is now the current Mayor)

Sadler explained that the council had been in touch, but not with the answers they were hoping for:

He added: "Mr Fairbrass explained that he was anti-boxing and he even sent letters to me explaining as much. We exchanged a few letters and in his final letter he was quite clear in the fact that he was against us encouraging kids to box each other."

The office of Barking UKIP candidate Frank Maloney gave Mr Fairbrass an opportunity to respond to these matters but received no reply.

This club has seen many young fighters move into the pro ranks of boxing when work has been hard to find. It also produced one of Britain's most stylish boxers in former WBO world champion in Colin McMillan. Colin is still attached to the club and helps to raise funds and keep the profile of the club high.

The area has always had a great affiliation with both amateur and professional boxing and today the borough of Barking proudly boasts one of Britain's most exciting undefeated young fighters in Mitchell who will challenge for the world lightweight title this summer.

Sadler said: "Colin McMillan and Kevin Mitchell are a great advert for the borough and we have had a few great fighters in the past. The two are perfect role models for any young person."

Maloney has said that if he is elected as Barking's MP, one of his first priorities would be to work at getting the club a new permanent home. He would also develop boxing programs throughout the borough as he himself, like Sadler, believes that the club should have a place in the community.

Amongst all sporting stars, boxers are the most down to earth and accessible even when they are truly successful.

This is another sign of Labour's failure to serve it's community properly.

UKIP BARKING PPC

Frank Maloney, Britain's leading boxing promoter and UKIP candidate for Barking today slammed the EU rules which mean that it will be illegal to give Londoners - or anyone from the UK preferential tickets for the 2012 Olympics.

Frank said, "I am amazed that our public have been paying through the nose with their taxes for the Olympics and cannot even get to the front of the queue. Whose does Brussels think is paying for the Olympics?".

"We always knew that Olympics would cost, but we were led to believe that it would be good for Britain, good for London and especially good for the East End. Now we hear that becuse of EU rules local workers are passed over in favour of continental workers and we cannot even get preferential tickets. We should have a system that British taxpayers get reductions, not haveing to fight with any European for the privilage of seeing the games".

"This didn't happen when the Olympics were held in Greece, it didn't happen when they were held in Australia or South Korea, so why is happening here? he said.

"It is like being a member of the England supporters club, and then finding out half the tickets for Wembly are reserved for Italians - when we are playing France".

Frank Maloney
Fighting for Barking - Fighting for Britain

Article posted on 03.03.2010



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