Tag Archives: amateur

Luke Campbell signs for Eddie Hearn Matchroom

First Hull, then the world! Campbell sets sights on titles after turning professional

, beating Ireland's John Joe Nevin in the final to win the gold medal.

He was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List and will make his debut in his home city of Hull in July, possibly at the KC Stadium.

Sign on the dotted line: Luke Campbell has tuned professional with Eddie Hearn at Matchroom

Sign on the dotted line: Luke Campbell has tuned professional with Eddie Hearn at Matchroom

Sign on the dotted line: Luke Campbell has tuned professional with Eddie Hearn at Matchroom

'I've been an amateur boxer for 13 years and won medals at every elite tournament,' Campbell said.

'I've had time out after the Olympics to rest my body and mind and the passion burns inside me for this new journey.

'I've got the best team around me and I'm confident we an go all the way together.'

Campbell, who will fight at super featherweight or lightweight, is excited to be making his debut in his home city.

'I've never stopped training; I had five weeks off after the Games then I was back in the gym ticking over. It's a sport i thrive to be the best at; champions never rest.

'I'm training in different gyms. I'm still learning; I might be Olympic champion but I've got lots to learn.

Hidden talents: Campbell starred on Dancing on Ice following his Olympic success

Hidden talents: Campbell starred on Dancing on Ice following his Olympic success

Hidden talents: Campbell starred on Dancing on Ice following his Olympic success

'There is going to be a massive show in the first or second week of July and it is going to be an outdoor stadium event.

'This is going to be huge. I'm doing it for the people of Hull, and hope I can make them proud again.

'I love to entertain the fans and put
on a good show. I think the fans will bring an electric atmosphere and
it will be a night to remember.

'I am the most successful amateur
boxer in British history and now it is time to turn the page and move
into the pro game. The aim is to be world champion'.

Promoter Hearn, who revealed Kell Brook could make his return on the Hull show, was delighted to have secured Campbell's signature.

'We've finally got a real chance to have a crossover star in Luke Campbel,' he said.

'He's impressed me not just with his ability but also his determination and popularity in Hull.'

Main man: Campbell (right) in the final at the London Olympics and with his gold medal (below)

Main man: Campbell (right) in the final at the London Olympics and with his gold medal (below)

Golden boy: Luke Campbell celebrates his Olympic success last year

British Amateur Boxing Association
performance director Rob McCracken said: 'Luke has been a great servant
to the World Class Performance Programme for a number of years and an
excellent role-model to other members of the squad in both his
medal-winning performances and the way he conducts himself inside and
outside of the gym.

'It is a disappointment for us that
Luke has decided his future lies away from the GB Boxing squad but he
departs with our best regards and we wish him every success in his
future career.

'As we enter the Rio cycle, the majority of the boxers that competed in London remain part of our squad and we have some excellent talents coming through so the programme has a strong nucleus to work with and a good opportunity to add to the success we have enjoyed in recent years.'

Campbell, who joined the GB Boxing squad in 2007, will join Anthony Ogogo and Tom Stalker from Britain's 2012 squad in the paid ranks.

Jane Mangan unseated by Oscar Delta yards from victory at Cheltenham Festival

Misery for Mangan as Oscar Delta unseats teenage rider… just yards from winning post at Cheltenham Festival

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

16:55 GMT, 15 March 2013

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UPDATED:

17:53 GMT, 15 March 2013

Teenage jockey Jane Mangan had victory snatched from her grasp in the Foxhunter Chase as Oscar Delta unseated her as they powered towards the finish.

In the amateur version of the Gold Cup, Oscar Delta jinked to the left, hitting
the rope where there was no permanent rail and the daughter of trainer
Jimmy Mangan was unshipped, leaving favourite Salsify to take advantage.

So far so good: Oscar Delta looked unbeatable approaching the line...

So far so good: Oscar Delta looked unbeatable approaching the line…

... but after jinking to the left he collided with the rail and there was no way back for Jane Mangan....

… but after jinking to the left he collided with the rail and there was no way back for Jane Mangan….

... but he jinked to the left and collided with the rail and there was no way back for Jane Mangan....

...and it was left to Salsify to claim the honours

…and it was left to Salsify to claim the honours

It was a cruel blow for punters who had backed Oscar Delta, 20-1 at the off, and Irish firm Paddy Power are refunding bets on the Mangan runner.

Creevytennant set the pace but continually jumped out to the right and he was still in front until the fourth-last where Oscar Delta took it up.

The 10-year-old pulled away from Salsify after the third-last fence and jumped the last with a handy lead.

He looked set for victory until it turned into defeat and agony for connections.

Colman Sweeney was able to coast his mount, trained by his father Rodger, over the line 20 lengths ahead of Divine Intavention with Cottage Oak a neck away in third.

Head in hands: Jane Mangan can't believe her bad luck after crashing off Oscar Delta in the Foxhunter Chase

Head in hands: Jane Mangan can't believe her bad luck after crashing off Oscar Delta in the Foxhunter Chase

Just her pride that's hurt: Mangan just seconds after the fall that cost her victory in the Foxhunter Chase

There, there: Mangan is consoled after bowing out of the Foxhunter Chase with victory in sight

Just her pride that's hurt: Mangan after the fall that cost her victory in the Foxhunter Chase

Just her pride that's hurt: Mangan after the fall that cost her victory in the Foxhunter Chase

Salsify is the first back-to-back winner of the amateur riders' Gold cup since Double Silk in 193-94.

Sweeney jnr said: 'God was on my side, I feel sorry for Jane, though. I did feel he was going to rally but I probably wouldn't have got there.

'This horse is a different horse on decent ground, he didn't feel the same at all on soft.

'He can be very keen so I dropped him right out until I got settled and then he jumped into it.

'He does rally and stay on but I think Jane would have won.

'I'd like to dedicate this to John Thomas (McNamara) as everything we do we do for love. He was one of the senior boys when I first started and he still is. We're all thinking of him.'

Sweeney snr said: 'It was very lucky and I'm gutted for Jane who is a good friend of ours and a very polished rider.

'Our fellow didn't like the ground but he kept trying his best but Jimmy Mangan should have been the winner.'

Tom Stalker becomes second London 2012 British boxer to turn pro after signing with Matchroom

Stalker becomes second London 2012 British boxer to turn pro after signing with Matchroom

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

13:17 GMT, 9 January 2013

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UPDATED:

15:35 GMT, 9 January 2013

Thomas Stalker has become the second British Olympic boxer to turn professional.

The 28-year-old has signed with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom outfit and follows London team-mate Anthony Ogogo into the paid ranks.

The Sportsmail columnist will make his debut in February and will also be on the undercard of Tony Bellew's world title eliminator against Isaac Chilemba at Liverpool's Echo Arena on March 30.

Turning pro: Stalker has signed with Matchroom

Turning pro: Stalker has signed with Matchroom

Stalker is a former European and
Commonwealth gold medalist and was controversially beaten in the
quarter-finals at the London Games.

'I feel I am going to be exciting to
watch as a professional boxer,' Stalker said. 'I felt it was time for me
to turn professional now and see how far I can go. I have done
everything I could possibly do as an amateur, bar winning an Olympic
medal.

'Even though I didn’t medal myself,
as a team I have captained the most successful amateur boxing team we
have ever had and that was a big thing for me.

Leader: Tom StalLeader: Tom Stalker (second right) was Team GB's captainker was Team GB's captain

Leader: Tom Stalker (second right) was Team GB's captain

Stalker is a former European and
Commonwealth gold medalist and was controversially beaten in the
quarter-finals at the London Games.

'I feel I am going to be exciting to
watch as a professional boxer,' Stalker said. 'I felt it was time for me
to turn professional now and see how far I can go. I have done
everything I could possibly do as an amateur, bar winning an Olympic
medal.

'Even though I didn’t medal myself,
as a team I have captained the most successful amateur boxing team we
have ever had and that was a big thing for me.

Dedicated: Stalker hard at work

Dedicated: Stalker hard at work

'It wasn’t just a three-week
tournament it had been four years of trying to qualify to win those
medals so to see all the lads and women do so well and win medals was
amazing and I am very honoured to have captained that team.

'Winning the Commonwealth Games gold
medal was obviously a highlight for me in the amateurs but I would say
qualifying for the Olympics was a big moment after all the hard work it
took to qualify.

'Since the Olympics I haven’t had a
goal and I have been a bit depressed, especially seeing the other lads
doing all sorts of stuff but now I have that hunger back and to get in
that ring and fight is going to be amazing. The one for me is going to
be March, boxing a homecoming in Liverpool. It is going to be amazing
for me to be boxing in front of all my friends and family in Liverpool
and that is when I will really feel like a professional.

First: Anthony Ogogo had already turned pro

First: Anthony Ogogo had already turned pro

'I think a lot of Eddie Hearn and I
think a lot of the fighters he has; Carl Froch, Kell Brook and of course
the Liverpool fighters he has got, Tony Bellew, Rocky Fielding and
Callum Smith. I thought it made sense to go with Matchroom because Eddie
is doing really well for his fighters at the moment.

'Kal Yafai, Scotty Cardle and Martin
J. Ward were all really good friends in the GB squad and I see them
doing really well now with Matchroom. When I was watching Scott Cardle’s
last fight I was picturing myself against the opponent he was fighting
because he is about the same weight as me.'

Stalker will be trained by Paul and
Mick Stevenson at Everton Red Triangle boxing club alongside British
flyweight champion Kevin Satchell.

Guide: Eddie Hearn will promote Stalker

Guide: Eddie Hearn will promote Stalker

Rob McCracken, GB Boxing performance
director, said: 'It has been very good working with Tom over the last
three years, when he has shown himself to be a fine boxer with the
ability to win medals at major tournaments.

'It is disappointing for us that Tom
has decided his future lies away from the GB Boxing squad but he departs
with our best regards and we wish him every success in his future
career.'

Alex Ferguson should know about another "wee club" called Bishop Auckland after Newcastle jibe

Newcastle are not the only 'wee club in the North East' – as Ferguson should know

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UPDATED:

00:39 GMT, 31 December 2012

There’s another wee club in the North East: they are called Bishop Auckland and they play in the Northern League. You may have heard of them — they won the Amateur Cup 10 times, the last in 1957.

Those were the days when the Wembley final would attract 100,000. Bob Paisley played for ‘Bishops’ in the 1937 final.

Bishop Auckland are known for another reason: their relationship with Manchester United. After the Munich air crash in February 1958 United were short of players. They were allowed to borrow some on a short-term arrangement.

Helping hands: Bishop Auckland stars Lewin (second left) and Bob Hardisty (centre)

Helping hands: Bishop Auckland stars Lewin (second left) and Bob Hardisty (centre)

Bishop Auckland’s greatest ever
player, Bob Hardisty, knew Matt Busby — when Busby managed the Great
Britain side at the 1948 Olympics, Hardisty was his captain.

In North East folklore it is said
that when Jimmy Murphy, Busby’s assistant at United, visited him in a
Munich hospital in the days after the crash, Busby told him to ‘get Bob
Hardisty’.

Murphy did so, and Bishop Auckland
agreed to loan three players to Old Trafford — forward Hardisty, right
winger Warren Bradley and wing half Derek Lewin.

Proud: Hardisty clings to the Amateur Cup trophy after the 1955 final. He was one of the first players Matt Busby turned to after the Munich air disaster

Proud: Hardisty clings to the Amateur Cup trophy after the 1955 final. He was one of the first players Matt Busby turned to after the Munich air disaster

Recalling those desperate days,
Murphy is quoted in John Roberts’s The Team That Wouldn’t Die as saying:
‘People wanted to help but they could not give me the help I wanted. I
didn’t need people to open letters and help in ways like that. I needed
players. Liverpool and Nottingham Forest offered to do what they could
but I was left trying to sort out what I had, what I needed and what I
could get. Then the coffins started to arrive at the ground.’

Forced to fulfil fixtures, United’s
first reserve game post-Munich was at Old Trafford. There were an
estimated 25,000 there and all three from Bishops played. Bradley went
on to sign permanently for United and was then selected for England.
Busby and Murphy knew the quality of Bishop Auckland players.

Sir Alex Ferguson knows all this
because he knows his history. He sent a United XI to Bishop Auckland in
1996 as a fund-raiser in hard times.
A wee club in the North East Ferguson helped out in ’96 because he
knew that in their hour of need, big Manchester United were once
grateful for such a wee club.

Rant: Sir Alex Ferguson labelled Newcastle a 'wee club'

Rant: Sir Alex Ferguson labelled Newcastle a 'wee club'

Funeral of Dutch linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen

Funeral of Dutch linesman beaten to death by three teens during amateur football match takes place

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UPDATED:

15:01 GMT, 10 December 2012

Members of Dutch soccer club SC Buitenboys, dressed in the club’s blue and white strip, paid their respects to linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen, who was allegedly beaten to death by players of SV Nieuw Sloten earlier this month.

The club lay roses on the hearse as it arrived at the crematory in Almere, Holland.

Three teenaged males have been charged with manslaughter, assault and public violence after the atrocious attack that shocked the country.

Last respects: Players of SC Buitenboys, dressed in the club's colors blue and white, pay their respects to Nieuwenhuizen

Last respects: Players of SC Buitenboys, dressed in the club's colors blue and white, pay their respects to Nieuwenhuizen

Mr Nieuwenhuizen's team, Buitenboys, have not announced the exact cause of his death, but Dutch TV station RTL said he had brain damage.

The linesman left after Sunday’s match and was not aware anything was wrong. He returned to his club later that night and collapsed.

After the incident, the Dutch Football Association, the KNVB, cancelled all amateur games after the incident, while professional matches were preceded by a minute's silence with all players and referees wearing black armbands.

Shock: Nieuwenhuizen died after being attacked by three young males

Shock: Nieuwenhuizen died after being attacked by three young males

Shock: Nieuwenhuizen died after being attacked by three young males

At the time KNVB director of professional football Bert van Oostveen said: 'It is inconceivable that anything like this occurs on a football field.

'These are the volunteers that we build our sport on, that we cannot do without. Without respect, no football.

'That is why we in professional football want to show our support in this terrible situation.

'Our thoughts go out to the family of Richard Nieuwenhuizen.'

Respects: All amatuer game swere cancelled in Holland after the tragedy

Respects: All amatuer game swere cancelled in Holland after the tragedy

Andrew Flintoff to fight Richard Dawson

EXCLUSIVE: Flintoff opponent 'signs deal' with unbeaten American Dawson

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UPDATED:

01:36 GMT, 13 November 2012

Unbeaten American boxer Richard Dawson has signed a contract to fight Andrew Flintoff in Manchester on November 30.

Sportsmail revealed last week that the 23-year-old from Oklahoma had been approached to be Flintoff's first opponent and he will now undergo a stringent medical in the next few days.

His team are confident that those tests will prove a formality and Dawson will take on the former England cricket captain over four two-minute rounds at the Manchester Arena, as stipulated by Flintoff's camp.

Debut bout: Flintoff will face Richard Dawson

Debut bout: Flintoff will face Richard Dawson

The 34-year-old has been training with former world champion Barry McGuigan and his son Shane and has lost over three stone during a gruelling regime.

He was granted a licence by the British Boxing Board of Control despite protestations from several leading figures in the sport, including promoter Frank Maloney.

Heavyweight Dawson is a two-fight novice and his professional record consists of just five rounds of action following a limited amateur career. His first bout lasted just three minutes when Jimmy Lane retired on his stool before Jamell Williams was outpointed over four.

An agreement was finally reached with Flintoff last week but Dawson has been in training awaiting his next bout after a fight with Kevin 'Kimbo Slice' Ferguson fell through.

Career change: Flintoff is a former England cricket captain

Career change: Flintoff is a former England cricket captain

'It will be a wonderful experience,' a spokesperson for Dawson told Sportsmail. 'We respect Mr Flintoff as an athlete and from everything we've read he appears to be a well-conditioned athlete.

'However, he does not appear to have any fight experience and even though we know he has been training with some of the best in the business, that is not the same as being in a prize fight taking punches.

'We think this is a good opportunity to give Richard some experience and exposure.

'Richard has been in training, we just didn't have his next fight lined up. This fits in well with what we want to do.

'We respect him [Flintoff]. We don't fear him but we do respect him.'

Sir Alex Ferguson warns Wayne Rooney over penalty flop

Fergie's spot of advice for Rooney: Don't miss another penalty!

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UPDATED:

22:59 GMT, 9 November 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has warned Wayne Rooney that his success rate from the penalty spot must improve.

The England striker’s failure against Arsenal meant that United had missed four of six attempts this season, with Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Nani also flopping from 12 yards.

Rooney made amends when United were awarded another penalty against Braga in midweek, but even assistant manager Mike Phelan admitted that the coaching staff were surprised he took it.

Spot the difference: Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney missed against Arsenal (right) but scored in the Champions League (left) from 12 yards

Spot the difference: Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney missed against Arsenal (right) but scored in the Champions League (left) from 12 yards

Spot the difference: Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney missed against Arsenal (right) but scored in the Champions League (left) from 12 yards

Now Ferguson has told Rooney he cannot afford any more slip-ups.

‘Wayne has to accept he has to have a better strike rate with penalties,’ said the United boss. ‘He has to produce better, but he’s capable.

‘His penalty the other night, even though he slipped, hit the target and that’s important.

‘You need to make sure the keeper has to make a great save. If he does, full marks to him. The one thing about Rooney is that it wouldn’t matter if it was a World Cup final or a League Cup first round game against an amateur team, he would still want to score.

‘And his temperament is that, if he misses, it won’t affect him. That’s important for a penalty taker.’

Asked if Rooney would ever ask to hand over the penalty-taking duties to someone else, Ferguson replied ominously: ‘No chance. But he will not want to miss another one.’

Rooney has converted 74 per cent of his penalties in the League and Champions League in the last nine years, missing six out of 23.

Van Persie’s success rate with Arsenal
and United is slightly better at 80 per cent — four misses from 20 —
and Ryan Giggs’s perfect record from three attempts does not include
two he missed in other competitions.

‘I think our best penalty taker is
probably Giggs,’ added Ferguson. ‘But Ryan doesn’t play every week, so I
would have to bring him on like in those American Football games!’

Warning: Sir Alex Ferguson wants improvement from 12 yards

Warning: Sir Alex Ferguson wants improvement from 12 yards

Hot shots: Van Persie and Rooney

Hot shots: Van Persie and Rooney

Rooney’s strike in Braga took his total for United this season to three — a disappointing return by his standards, but he has often played in a deeper role to accommodate Van Persie.

And Ferguson is confident Rooney will hit the 20-goal mark and that a spread of 15 different scorers already means United can score 100 Premier League goals for the first time.

‘Last season we lost the title on goal difference and I don’t expect us to do that again,’ he said. ‘Robin may make that difference. Wazza will get there too. He will get to 20 goals plus this season.

‘It would be nice to think we could reach 100. In 2000 we were three short and the last game was at Villa Park, but we didn’t quite make it.’

United have not lost at Villa since August 1995 and return there today looking to extend their advantage at the top of the table over Chelsea and Manchester City, who play on Sunday.

They will be without Nani, ruled out for 10 days with a hamstring strain, and Jonny Evans is a doubt with a groin injury.

Freddie Flintoff boxing debut is TV stunt, blasts Frank Maloney

Maloney accuses Flintoff of TV stunt saying bout will 'shame fight game'

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UPDATED:

10:27 GMT, 6 November 2012

Andrew Flintoff posed for photos with a real heavyweight on Monday but then left the media conference when he learned that his attempt to become a boxer was about to be ridiculed.

The former England cricket captain was pictured with David Price, the British champion and world-title contender, as part of his build-up for a professional debut in the ring.

But Price’s promoter, Frank Maloney, poured scorn on what he described as a ‘stunt which should never be allowed to happen’.

Not boxing clever: Flintoff will just be a punch bag, says Frank Maloney

Not boxing clever: Flintoff will just be a punch bag, says Frank Maloney

Maloney went on: ‘Giving Flintoff a professional licence with no experience of boxing is a joke. It gives our sport a bad name.’

Price and Flintoff appear on separate bills in the north of England on the same night, November 30. Price defends his British and Commonwealth titles against Matt Skelton at Aintree. Flintoff makes his bow in Manchester as the climax of a TV reality show.

Flintoff is being trained by Irish legend Barry McGuigan, who insists it is a serious exercise but Maloney says: ‘They asked if we could be on the same bill but I would never be involved in promoting something like this. This is nonsense but in our sport it’s dangerous nonsense.

Behind the ropes: Flintoff has been training to be a professional boxer

Behind the ropes: Flintoff has been training to be a professional boxer

‘Olympic rower James Cracknell did something similar, went into a pro heavyweight fight and was knocked out in seconds. They haven’t named an opponent for Flintoff yet but even if they find some guy who’s lost his first four pro fights, he will still be in against someone with amateur experience. It will be a terrible shock when he gets hit on the chin by a heavyweight.’

Both the November 30 bouts are to be screened live on BoxNation but Maloney is insisting that Price goes on air first, saying: ‘If the evening starts with Flintoff’s fiasco the viewers would be switching off.’

The real deal: Frank Maloney (centre) promotes the David Price and Matt Skelton fight which is on the same night as Flintoff's debut

The real deal: Frank Maloney (centre) promotes the David Price and Matt Skelton fight which is on the same night as Flintoff's debut

Flintoff was due to share the media podium with Price and Maloney but left quickly with McGuigan when he sensed the mood.

Maloney was also deeply critical of the British Boxing Board of Control, saying: ‘It is a disgrace they have given Flintoff a licence. I told the chairman, Charles Giles, that he should be sacked for approving this scandal.’

Price expects to come through a tough physical test against the aging fitness-fanatic Skelton and move closer to a world heavyweight title shot against one of the Klitschko brothers in autumn next year.

Frank Maloney dismisses Andrew Flintoff"s boxing debut as a "stunt"

Maloney accuses Flintoff of TV stunt saying bout will 'shame fight game'

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UPDATED:

23:21 GMT, 5 November 2012

Andrew Flintoff posed for photos with a real heavyweight on Monday but then left the media conference when he learned that his attempt to become a boxer was about to be ridiculed.

The former England cricket captain was pictured with David Price, the British champion and world-title contender, as part of his build-up for a professional debut in the ring.

But Price’s promoter, Frank Maloney, poured scorn on what he described as a ‘stunt which should never be allowed to happen’.

Not boxing clever: Flintoff will just be a punch bag, says Frank Maloney

Not boxing clever: Flintoff will just be a punch bag, says Frank Maloney

Maloney went on: ‘Giving Flintoff a professional licence with no experience of boxing is a joke. It gives our sport a bad name.’

Price and Flintoff appear on separate bills in the north of England on the same night, November 30. Price defends his British and Commonwealth titles against Matt Skelton at Aintree. Flintoff makes his bow in Manchester as the climax of a TV reality show.

Flintoff is being trained by Irish legend Barry McGuigan, who insists it is a serious exercise but Maloney says: ‘They asked if we could be on the same bill but I would never be involved in promoting something like this. This is nonsense but in our sport it’s dangerous nonsense.

Behind the ropes: Flintoff has been training to be a professional boxer

Behind the ropes: Flintoff has been training to be a professional boxer

‘Olympic rower James Cracknell did something similar, went into a pro heavyweight fight and was knocked out in seconds. They haven’t named an opponent for Flintoff yet but even if they find some guy who’s lost his first four pro fights, he will still be in against someone with amateur experience. It will be a terrible shock when he gets hit on the chin by a heavyweight.’

Both the November 30 bouts are to be screened live on BoxNation but Maloney is insisting that Price goes on air first, saying: ‘If the evening starts with Flintoff’s fiasco the viewers would be switching off.’

The real deal: Frank Maloney (centre) promotes the David Price and Matt Skelton fight which is on the same night as Flintoff's debut

The real deal: Frank Maloney (centre) promotes the David Price and Matt Skelton fight which is on the same night as Flintoff's debut

Flintoff was due to share the media podium with Price and Maloney but left quickly with McGuigan when he sensed the mood.

Maloney was also deeply critical of the British Boxing Board of Control, saying: ‘It is a disgrace they have given Flintoff a licence. I told the chairman, Charles Giles, that he should be sacked for approving this scandal.’

Price expects to come through a tough physical test against the aging fitness-fanatic Skelton and move closer to a world heavyweight title shot against one of the Klitschko brothers in autumn next year.

Chinese prodigy Guan Tianlong in line to win place at the Masters

Fourteen-year-old Chinese prodigy in line to win place at the Masters next year

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UPDATED:

14:45 GMT, 2 November 2012

Could a 14-year-old be playing in the Masters next year That amazing possibility has moved firmly into view after Chinese prodigy Guan Tianlang opened up a five stroke lead at the halfway stage of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand.

The event is backed by Augusta National Golf Club and draws the best amateurs from all over Asia and beyond, drawn by the irresistible lure of a place in the field at the Masters that goes to the winner.

After opening with a wonderful 66, everyone wondered whether the slightly built Guan, who only turned 14 last week, would succumb to stage fright in Friday's second round. He certainly answered that one with a stunning 64 to spread eagle the field.

Unmistakable: The beautiful Augusta National Golf Club, host of The Masters, which was won by American Bubba Watson (below) this year

Unmistakable: The beautiful Augusta National Golf Club, host of The
Masters, which was won by Bubba Watson (below) in an emotional triumph this year

Unmistakable: The beautiful Augusta National Golf Club, host of The Masters, which was won by American Bubba Watson (below) this year

'My goal was to come here and win and go to the Masters but I know there is a long way to go and it will be far from easy,' said Guan. 'I'm not thinking that far ahead because I know there are so many good players here.'

An indication of the prestige of the event is illustrated by the fact 36 different nations are represented among the 120 player field.

Guan first came to public attention last April when he made European Tour history by becoming the youngest player to play in a full-field event when he competed in the Volvo China Open. The way he is going, he will be making headlines all around the world next April as well.

At present the youngest player to compete in the game's youngest major is Matteo Manassero who, just for good measure, went on to make the halfway cut as well at the 2010 Masters aged 16.

At the United States Open last year, 14 year old Andy Zhang came through qualifying to become the youngest player to compete in a major since Young Tom Morris – a month younger than Zhang – strode on to the Prestwick links as one of 13 competitors in the 1865 Open.

If Guan manages to hold on and win this weekend, he will be younger than Zhang but older than Morris.

Teen dream: Andy Zhang at the US Open

Teen dream: Andy Zhang at the US Open

The teenagers are taking over!

Andy Zhang, another 14-year-old, became the youngest player to compete in a major championship since 1865 when he teed up at the US Open at Olympic Club in San Francisco in June.

Zhang was born in China, but made in America. A golf coach spotted him on a scouting mission in China and, at the age of 10, Zhang and his family moved to Florida and David Leadbetter’s academy.

Sadly, Zhang missed the cut at the Olympic Club after rounds of 79 and 78.

But he'll be back…