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George Groves beats Glen Johnson on points

No KO but Groves shows class as he overcomes veteran Johnson to defend title

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UPDATED:

02:30 GMT, 16 December 2012

George Groves came through the toughest test of his career to retain his Commonwealth super-middleweight title with a unanimous points win over veteran Glen Johnson.

Groves, 24, was stepping up to world class level for the first time as a professional and showed his class from the opening bell.

Florida-based Jamaican Johnson, 43, displayed his renowned toughness but was comprehensively beaten on the scorecards by margins of 120-107 twice and 119-109.

Champion: George Groves celebrates his victory over Glen Johnson with David Haye (left)

Champion: George Groves celebrates his victory over Glen Johnson with David Haye (left)

Groves has endured a frustrating year, fighting just once before tonight due to a succession of injuries.

The Londoner twice saw a rematch with Scot Kenny Anderson cancelled while a world title challenge against then WBO champion Robert Stieglitz was also called off.

Groves' inactivity saw him stripped of his British belt which was belatedly won by Anderson when he stopped Robin Reid in October.

His only previous fight this year was a sixth-round stoppage of Francisco Sierra in California in July but a cut suffered in the third session kept him out of action until tonight.

Johnson on the other hand announced his retirement after losing a unanimous 10-round decision to Andrzej Fonfara in July, only to reverse his decision and travel to England for the fifth time in his 71-fight career.

A former world champion at light heavyweight, Johnson is best known on these shores for his trilogy with Clinton Woods but more recently he showed his stubborn resistance against Carl Froch and Lucian Bute in unsuccessfully challenging for their respective world titles.

After winning his first 32 contests as
a professional, Johnson was beaten for the first time, and stopped for
the only time, by Bernard Hopkins in 1997.

Resilient: Johnson (left) withstood the pressure and lost on a points decision

Resilient: Johnson (left) withstood the pressure and lost on a points decision

The defeat took its toll as Johnson lost eight of his subsequent 14 bouts before winning the IBF title from Woods.

Sensational wins over Roy Jones Jnr and Antonio Tarver followed although the latter would go on to exact revenge six months later.

Since then, Johnson has been unable to win another world title but along with his battles with Froch and Bute, he has also pushed Chad Dawson and Tavoris Cloud to the final bell.

And despite losing for the 18th time, he did the same to Groves.

After a tentative opening to the first round, Groves rocked Johnson with a powerful right hand and the visitor spent the remainder of the round tucked up on the ropes as the champion launched assault after assault.

Groves had said in the build-up that he intended to make a statement by stopping Johnson and he drew his adversary into a war in the second session.

But any suggestion that the challenger
would slink off quietly into the night were quickly rubbished as he
began to turn the tide with some punishing body shots.

It
was more of the same in the third round but Groves gradually began to
pick his punches more effectively thanks to his superior footwork. He
did so again in the next session and looked to have Johnson in trouble
with a right hook downstairs.

Punishing: Johnson scored some body shots which were tricky for Groves to deal with

Punishing: Johnson scored some body shots which were tricky for Groves to deal with

The frenetic pace relented in the fifth stanza, although caution was again thrown to the wind in the final thirty seconds as the pair planted their feet and traded.

It was Johnson who served up a reminder of his power as the fight reached the halfway point, momentarily stopping Groves in his tracks.

But the favourite responded brilliantly, rocking the veteran with a left to the body and a right to the head before laying siege until the bell sounded.

Groves sensed blood at the start of
the seventh but Johnson never stopped coming forward, removing any
lingering doubt over his motivation for extending his long career.

Rounds
eight and nine were tight affairs but Groves landed the more eye
catching blows as his right hand induced a slight swelling under his
opponent's left eye.

As the
fight entered the final quarter, the inevitability of it going the
distance grew. Groves was ahead by an unassailable margin and knowing
Johnson needed a knockout to win, he worked efficiently in the
penultimate round, refusing to be drawn in as he had been earlier.

Onwards and upwards: Groves expects to be back in action in February in London

Onwards and upwards: Groves expects to be back in action in February in London

But it was Groves who finished with a flourish, rocking Johnson with a left hook before a right hand sent him to the canvas after a sustained barrage on the ropes.

Johnson was up quickly and the bell sounded immediately after the restart.

Groves, who will be back in action in London in February, admitted he had thrown everything at the durable Johnson in what was his finest performance to date.

'I'm delighted with that performance. Glen Johnson is without doubt the toughest opponent I've faced,' he said.

'I've never hit someone so hard, so often and so clean yet seen them keep coming. I learnt a lot from that fight.

'I made a few mistakes but I believe I showed composure and class to correct them and change the fight.

'I shot my bolt a few times and emptied the tank. I landed flush shots and it looked like he was completely gone, but he survived.

'The bell saved him on one or two occasions. It was about recovering and picking my openings.'

British Grand Prix 2012: Chaos for drivers and fans despite 40m facelift

Silver storm! Chaos for F1 drivers and fans at British Grand Prix despite 40m facelift

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UPDATED:

20:57 GMT, 6 July 2012

It was fine for the British Racing
Drivers’ Club man under his plastic canopy. He was steering a buggy that
took the blazers, their wives and families, friends and other assorted
liggers from a sodden car park to the sanctuary of the club house.

Stop to ask the driver — waiting and
empty at the front of his articulated carriage — if he would kindly give
you a lift and he would decline. You may have paid 155 for the
privilege of getting soaked to the bone but a helping hand from the
hosts was beyond his generosity.

Wet and wild: Romain Grosjean struggles to keep his Lotus on the track

Wet and wild: Romain Grosjean struggles to keep his Lotus on the track

Wet and wild: Romain Grosjean struggles to keep his Lotus on the track

Welcome to Silverstone in 2012. They spend 40million on a facelift but not everything has changed.
As was the case 12 years ago, the failings of drainage rendered the old airfield a quagmire. Cars queued for six hours on the A43 and some of those who reached the gates were turned away or redirected. Even fans with parking passes were rejected.

The helicopter that was due to bring in Mark Webber, the Red Bull driver who lives in nearby Aston Clinton, could not take off, so a scooter was sent out to enable him to weave through the queues. He arrived in his race overalls, ready for action.

Meanwhile, in Silverstone’s mission control with its myriad televisions, you could watch Wimbledon. Federer was breaking Djokovic in the fourth set on one screen and the punters were bumper to bumper on another. Strawberries and cream, anyone

Home favourites: Hamilton (above) and Button below kick up spray on the Silverstone track

Home favourites: Hamilton (above) and Button below kick up spray on the Silverstone track

Home favourites: Hamilton (above) and Button below kick up spray on the Silverstone track

Katie Tyler, the unlucky communications
lady left to explain the squelchy farrago, was astonishingly candid.
‘It’s a nightmare,’ she admitted. ‘We know we’ve got a problem. We know
it’s serious.
‘We need to look into all the factors and what we can do to minimise
something like this happening again — probably move abroad.’

It is a rotten summer, admittedly, and some fans bizarrely showed up
without tickets, but still nothing that Silverstone’s management or the
circuit’s owners, the BRDC, tried yesterday did much to dismiss Bernie
Ecclestone’s acerbic description of the place as ‘a country fair
masquerading as a world-class event.’ That was in 2000 when the place
was last a mud bath on this gigantic scale.

Silverstone spent 1million on its traffic management scheme this year
and have laid down an extra mile of drains. It hardly seems money well
spent. ‘That is what’s so frustrating, that we’d almost got over the
hangover of 2000,’ added Tyler.

The compensatory spectacle for the soaked masses — 125,000 are expected
tomorrow — is the prospect of a wet race. Thrills and spills await. And
even better, our two principal British drivers, Lewis Hamilton and
Jenson Button, are proven and accomplished winners in slippery
conditions.

Saturated: Stewards work to sweep water of the track

Saturated: Stewards work to sweep water of the track

Record crowd: The weather did not prevent fans from flocking to Northamptonshire

Record crowd: The weather did not prevent fans from flocking to Northamptonshire

Record crowd: The weather did not prevent fans from flocking to Northamptonshire

Yesterday there was marginally more action on the track during practice
than on the surrounding roads, even if it was deplorably sporadic and
shower-dodging. Button, the McLaren driver who is staying in a camper
van that sank into the ground up to its axle, is perhaps the man with
most to prove here this weekend.

He has never won the British Grand Prix and is in the biggest slump of
the mature phase of his career. However, he appeared relaxed. In fact,
his manner and bearing in front of us press men was charming after the
truculence shown by his team-mate Hamilton in the same seat a few
minutes earlier.

The question has been asked whether, at 32 with a world championships
title at home, Button is settling back into happy contentment, the drive
gone. I doubt that. That is not in his nature.

It is a view shared by the respected Sky pundit Martin Brundle. ‘I think
Jenson is hurting like mad,’ he said. ‘I have seen him a couple of
times where he has been really grumpy and unhappy. You don’t want to
show your competitors that. Jenson is smart enough not to do that but
this is painful, big time.’

Tough test: Rain is forecast throughout the weekend

Tough test: Rain is forecast throughout the weekend

Tough test: Rain is forecast throughout the weekend

Technically, Button struggles to get the Pirelli tyres at the right
operating temperature, with Brundle adding: ‘It is clear that a more
aggressive driver might have an advantage this year when it comes to
getting the tyres into that temperature window. Jenson has a very, very
distinctive, economical and precise style of driving.

‘That is one of his greatest strengths but at times it becomes one of
his greatest weaknesses. Whereas I think Fernando Alonso and Hamilton
can drive around the problem, you very rarely see Jenson slinging the
car around like his team-mate. These tyres will continue to hurt him.’

Hamilton is the McLaren driver in form. He was fastest in practice
yesterday, for what it is worth. Button was sixth quickest in the
afternoon session, having been 17th in the morning.

A rule should be introduced compelling cars to run for most of the
three scheduled hours on Fridays, unless the weather is so horrendous
that serious danger is probable. Otherwise nobody is going to take the
risk of running when so little technical information can be garnered.
The fans suffer.

For all the gloom, this is the seesaw season that has saved itself at
every turn. My one, slightly counterintuitive wish for the next few
months is that the egalitarian spread of seven winners from eight races
ends, only because epic stories are ultimately shaped by head-to-head
rivalries.

We think in excelsis of Prost v Senna. Button v Hamilton would do nicely.

Wings for Life: Webber sits in his the charity-sponsored Red Bull car

Wings for Life: Webber sits in the charity-sponsored Red Bull car

Wings for Life: Webber sits in his the charity-sponsored Red Bull car

Joey Barton becomes father to Cassius

Cassius Joseph Barton… QPR star Joey becomes father for the first time

You”ve heard plenty about Joey Barton – but what about Cassius Joseph Barton

Well, that might not be the last time you hear that name after the QPR midfielder became a father.

After helping his side to a 1-1 draw at Swansea in the Barclays Premier League, Barton rushed to hospital as his pregnant girlfriend Georgia McNeil went into labour.

New arrival: Joey Barton with Georgia McNeil in October

New arrival: Joey Barton with Georgia McNeil in October

All smiles: Barton at Swansea

All smiles: Barton at Swansea

And he emerged a proud father overnight to post an update to his 950,000 followers on Twitter.

He wrote: “He’s here Cassius Joseph Barton. 7 pound 3 oz. Mother and baby are fine. Wow what a blessing that is……. #quivereringwreck”

The messages of congratulations came in thick and fast from his friends and foes in the game.

QPR owner Tony Fernandes tweeted: “Congrats joey. Very happy to welcome the new ranger. Congrats. Great news.” Barton replied: “Thanks mate”.

Rangers team-mate Clinton Hill posted “Congratulations pal”, while Everton midfielder Phil Neville said “congratulations!!!”.

Itis not yet known why the name Cassius has been chose, although Barton is a boxing fan so it could be in reference to former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, who was born Cassius Clay.

Influence Muhammad Ali was born by the name Cassius Clay

Influence Muhammad Ali was born by the name Cassius Clay

The name has Latin origins and the meaning is often described as “empty, vain, hollow, poor, or robbed”.

Barton is expected to be back in QPR”s line-up for their London derby against Arsenal on Saturday.