Tag Archives: joe

Joe Allen wants shoulder surgery out of the way to return fully fit for Liverpool next season

No more stalling! Allen wants shoulder operation out of the way to help drive Liverpool forward next season

By
Simon Stone, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

18:42 GMT, 12 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:17 GMT, 12 March 2013

Joe Allen is keen to get his shoulder operation done with so he can be fully fit for the start of next season.

The midfielder will be in Chris Coleman's Wales squad for the World Cup qualifiers with Scotland and Croatia when it is unveiled tomorrow.

However, the Liverpool man is facing an extended period on the sidelines at some point after discovering a recurrence of an old shoulder injury had deteriorated to the point where further surgery is required.

Open door: Liverpool's Joe Allen, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season, at the Astra production line today

Open door: Liverpool's Joe Allen,who is already looking forward the new season, at the Astra production line today

Speaking on a tour of the Ellesmere Port car plant of Wales team sponsors Vauxhall, Allen said: “It is something that needs sorting out.

'I had an operation a few years ago and unfortunately it is a recurrence.

'It has slowly deteriorated to the point where an operation is the only thing that can solve it.'

Liverpool will decide when Allen has surgery, which the 22-year-old estimates will keep him out for three months.

'I can play on, but it is all about the timing because I will be out for three months,” he said.

'Obviously, I don't want to miss the start of next season if I can but we will see what the club have planned because it is a reasonably long lay-off.'

With the Reds back in the running for a European place following Sunday's victory over Tottenham, Brendan Rodgers might be loath to lose Allen at this stage.

Injury: Brendan Rodgers confirmed that midfielder Joe Allen will undergo surgery

Injury: Brendan Rodgers today confirmed that midfielder Joe Allen will undergo surgery

Equally, the former Swansea man would benefit from a full pre-season at Anfield, given he did not join the Merseyside giants until after his Olympic commitments with Team GB.

And next week he will be fully focused on Wales anyway, as they look to build on an encouraging win over Austria last month by completing a World Cup double over Scotland on Friday.

That initial victory over the Scots in October effectively signalled the end of Craig Levein's reign.

It also marked the climax of a tortuous period for new Wales boss Chris Coleman, who had struggled to maintain the improvements made under Gary Speed.'These things take time,' said Allen.

'It was a difficult period for everyone in Welsh football but recent performances and results show we are moving in the right direction.

Shoulder-to-shoulder: Joe Allen came on as a sub against Tottenham on Sunday, where he came up against Wales international colleague Gareth Bale

Shoulder-to-shoulder: Joe Allen came up against Wales international colleague Gareth Bale on Saturday

'We have always had the talent and ability that's for sure.

'Now we are getting to the stage where we are benefiting from past experiences and we are ready to take it to the next level.'

Joe Allen was speaking on a tour of the Ellesmere Port car plant of Wales team sponsors Vauxhall. For more information go to www.vauxhall.co.uk

Muhammad Ali latest: Picture of legend watching Super Bowl as family deny "death" reports

Legend Ali pictured enjoying Super Bowl after his family deny he is 'close to death'

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Ali, pictured with wife Lonnie, was very frail during his appearance at the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony

Warning signs: Ali, pictured with wife Lonnie, left, was very frail during his appearance at the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, pictured right with Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti

Danger: Former world champion Ali last had a public health scare after the funeral of boxing great Joe Frazier

Danger: Former world champion Ali last had a public health scare after the funeral of boxing great Joe Frazier

Joe Allen believes Liverpool can improve in the Premier League if they can replicate QPR masterclass

Allen believes Liverpool can bring back success to Anfield if they can replicate QPR masterclass

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UPDATED:

16:11 GMT, 31 December 2012

Joe Allen believes there are 'exciting times ahead' for Liverpool if they can start producing performances like yesterday's at QPR on a regular basis.

The Reds dominated at Loftus Road, impressing from start to finish as they romped to a 3-0 victory despite manager Brendan Rodgers' enforced absence.

Luis Suarez struck twice in the opening 16 minutes, before Daniel Agger netted in a first half in which Liverpool completely outplayed the hosts.

Engine: Allen was instrumental in Liverpool comfortable victory at Loftus road

Engine: Allen was instrumental in Liverpool comfortable victory at Loftus road

They tapered off after the break but their level of speed and skill in the opening 45 minutes is something summer signing Allen believes bodes well for the Anfield club.

'That is what we're aiming to do in every game.'

'If we can get that level of performance as consistently as possible then we have some exciting times ahead.

'I am extremely pleased. We had a disappointing result, as everyone knows, away to Stoke so it is always important to bounce back first and foremost with a good performance.

'To score three goals and keep a clean sheet is a massive bonus.

'It was a good team performance but when you've got a player like Luis Suarez that can create and score goals out of nothing, it is a pretty big help.'

As impressive as Liverpool were, there is no doubt QPR let themselves down yesterday.

That, though, is not something Allen is keen to focus on, instead pointing to the performance he and his team-mates produced.

'We like to focus on ourselves,' he said.

'When you come away and get a victory like this, it is obviously a massive boost to our confidence.

'I think we like to take credit maybe for the way we played and making it hard for them.'

The victory was made all the more impressive by the fact they did it without manager Rodgers.

The Reds boss was sent home from London ill, so assistant manager Colin Pascoe and coach Mike Marsh were on the sidelines instead.

Talisman: Suarez tore QPR apart in the first-half on Sunday

Talisman: Suarez tore QPR apart in the first-half on Sunday

'I think when things like this happen it is a bit of a shock,' Allen added.

'It sets you back a little bit but we've got great staff here and people that can step in.

'They can obviously do a great job and as players we are professional enough to get on with things.'

The win moved Liverpool up to ninth in the standings, while QPR's predicament gets worse by the game.

The bottom-place side have now won just one of their 20 Premier League outings this season, leaving them eight points adrift of safety.

Redknapp was quick to talk up QPR's chances of survival after the game, but admits he had to bring on defensive midfielder Shaun Derry for Djibril Cisse at half-time in a bid to protect his side's goal difference.

Subsitute: Colin Pascoe took charge of the team after Brendan Rodgers was sidelined through illness

Subsitute: Colin Pascoe took charge of the team after Brendan Rodgers was sidelined through illness

'In the second half it became a case of damage limitation,' he said.

'You can't be stupid about it.

'What can you do Open up and say you're going to score four goals in the second half against a side like that

'Sometimes you've got to be realistic. No one wants to attack more than I do but when you're up against a team that can cut through you like we were, you have to be realistic.

Reinforcements: Redknapp is targeting new players in the January transfer window including West Ham's Mohamed Diame

Reinforcements: Redknapp is targeting new players in the January transfer window including West Ham's Mohamed Diame

'I thought we had some good movement in the second half and created a couple of good opportunities, played some decent stuff, but it's not easy.'

It is clear that QPR need fresh faces if they are to beat the drop, with Redknapp recently admitting an interest in bringing former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka back to west London.

Reports have also suggested the Rs boss wants to be reunited with Joe Cole, a player he managed at West Ham, although last week he insisted there had been no contact with the Liverpool player.

Today has also seen QPR linked to West Ham's Mohamed Diame, Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila and Marseille's Loic Remy, although persuading them to join the league's bottom-place side may prove a tough task.

Football League: The top 10 players to buy in January

Looking for a bargain Here are the top 10 players that can be picked up in the Football League's January sale

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UPDATED:

12:59 GMT, 24 December 2012

The Football League plays host to a number of players who could help most Premier League squads in need of a boost in the January transfer window – Sportsmail's Joe Ridge takes a look at who the top ten signings would be.

Wilfried Zaha, winger, Crystal Palace, 15m

Has gone off the boil somewhat in recent weeks since being given a surprise England debut in Sweden last month, but Zaha’s maverick ability is there for all to see.

This season he has aligned a work rate and a decision-making prowess with his outrageous skill set and blinding pace and is rightly rated at 15m-plus.

Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City have all been keeping tabs on the 20-year-old, and should one make a move in January it could well spark a bidding war.

Wanted man: Wilfried Zaha has been targeted by the Premier League's elite clubs

Wanted man: Wilfried Zaha has been targeted by the Premier League's elite clubs

Will Hughes, midfielder, Derby, 5m

The Championship’s answer to Jack Wilshere, Hughes has got a bit of
everything, and at just 17 he is one of the hottest prospects in English
football, let alone the Football League.

The combination of a natural swagger on the ball and a willingness to
run himself into the ground suggest that Hughes would not look out of
place at a top six side, let alone at strugglers needing someone to
dictate proceedings from the middle of the park.

It would have to take a bid in the region of 5million to tempt Derby
though, as the England Under 21 international – not 18 until April – is
dragging Nigel Clough’s side into play-off contention and is clearly
loving playing week in, week out.

Harry Maguire, defender, Sheffield United, 3m

An imperious yet serene presence at
the heart of the Blades’ defence, Maguire may be playing in League One
but there are far worse centre backs starting regularly in the top
flight.

At just 19, Maguire – another England
Under 21 international – would be happy to sit tight and see out another
promotion bid for the Blades rather than gamble on a move to the
Championship.

However, if a Premier League club come calling with a bid in
the 3m-region that saw fellow academy graduate Matthew Lowton join
Aston Villa in the summer, it may be too good for him and his club to
refuse.

Will Hughes

Harry Maguire

Jack Butland, goalkeeper, Birmingham, 6m

Like Zaha, Butland was exposed to international football very early
in his career after competing at the London 2012 Olympics for Team GB
this summer and for England against Italy in August – all this before he
had even made his Birmingham debut.

After a couple of early season blunders Butland has been showing his
class in recent weeks and he has an aura about him that only the best
goalkeepers have. Liverpool and Southampton are expected to tempt the
financially-stricken Blues with an 6m bid for the 19-year-old.

Top stopper: Jack Butland competed at the Olympics for Team GB

Top stopper: Jack Butland competed at the Olympics for Team GB

Charlie Austin, striker, Burnley, 5m

Austin lost his place at the top of
the Championship’s goalscoring charts to Crystal Palace striker Glenn
Murray at the weekend, but the pair’s respective ages – 23 and 29 – make
the former a more attractive prospect to any prospective buyer.

An instinctive finisher with a strong
physical presence, Austin has been nothing short of lethal with both
feet and in the air this campaign for a stuttering Burnley side.

The ex-Swindon man was working as a
bricklayer just three years ago, and he has the potential to cement
safety for a Premier League side in need of goals.

Paul Robinson, goalkeeper, Blackburn, 1m

Rovers boss Henning Berg insisted he
had not fallen out with the former England No 1 Robinson after defeat at Blackpool despite dropping him to the bench in
favour of rookie Jake Kean.

The Norwegian cited footballing
reasons for the decision to leave the ex-Tottenham and Leeds man on the
bench, but in truth the 33-year-old has been a standout performer in a
dismal season so far for the club.

Robinson looks certain to leave Ewood
Park in January and would represent good value for money for the likes
of Southampton, Fulham and Reading.

Charlie Austin

Paul Robinson

Chris Wood, striker, Millwall (on loan from West Brom), 1m

Strictly speaking the 21-year-old New
Zealander is a Premier League player, but he has made just three top
flight appearances for the Baggies since joining the club in 2009,
compared to 96 games in four separate loans to Football League clubs in
the same period.

Wood, who’s loan deal the Den expires
in January, netted twice in the Lions’ 2-2 draw at Brighton on Tuesday
night, taking his season tally to 10 goals in 18 games.

With a plethora of striking options
available to manager Steve Clarke, West Brom are looking to cash in on
the pacy and powerful frontman and a whole host of Championship clubs
are preparing 1m bids, but Norwich boss Chris Hughton could gazump the
lot of them with a move for the man he brought to Birmingham on a
five-month loan last season.

Lethal: Chris Wood has performed well for Millwall while on loan from West Brom

Lethal: Chris Wood has performed well for Millwall while on loan from West Brom

Thomas Ince, winger, Blackpool, 6m

Released by Liverpool less than 18
month ago after failing to make a single appearance at Anfield, the Reds
are ironically leading the chase for the son of former England
midfielder Paul.

Thanks to an exposure to regular
first–team football at Bloomfield Road last season, 20-year-old Ince has
shot to stardom in 2012. He nearly fired play-off runners-up Blackpool
to promotion with a blistering run of form that he has continued into
this campaign.

Capable of playing on either flank or
behind a main striker, Ince is blessed with a sweet left foot, a turn of
pace, a bag of tricks and a goalscoring record any striker would be
proud of.

Ince is likely to cost around 6m, but on current form he could walk into most top flight sides.

Tom Pope, striker, Port Vale, 500k

No doubt a left-field selection, but
late bloomer Pope is finally living up to his potential under Micky
Adams at Port Vale having flattered to deceive at both Crewe an
Rotherham.

The powerfully built Pope, 27, has
always show flashes of brilliance to suggest he could play at a higher
level, but this season he has added consistency and, more importantly,
goals to his game, putting off-field problems including a six-month
suspended prison sentence for affray in 2009 behind him.

Pope is not going to be the first
name on any top flight shopping list, but if any Premier League manager
is looking to pick up a bargain from the lower leagues they could do a
lot worse than taking a punt on the 6ft3in striker, who tops the League
Two goalscoring charts with 19 goals.

Thomas Ince

Tom Pope

Harry Forrester, midfielder, Brentford, 500k

Released by Aston Villa in the summer
of 2011, Forrester is starting to live up to his undoubted potential at
League One Brentford.

The 21-year-old former England youth
international has put in a string of impressive displays as the Bees
have forced themselves into automatic promotion contention with a
nine-game unbeaten run.

Forrester, who has bagged eight goals
from midfield this season, has been linked with a return to Villa Park
with Paul Lambert reportedly preparing a bid.

Growth: Harry Forrester (right) is starting to live up to his potential

Growth: Harry Forrester (right) is starting to live up to his potential

James Anderson and Jonathan Trott rested as England call up Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler to ODI squad

Anderson and Trott to sit out one-day series in India as England call up Woakes and Buttler

PUBLISHED:

06:30 GMT, 18 December 2012

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UPDATED:

06:30 GMT, 18 December 2012

James Anderson and Jonathan Trott have been replaced in England's one-day squad to face India by Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler.

Woakes and Buttler get their chance
as two of the stars of England's Test series victory are given a rest,
the ECB confirmed this morning, while another man who impressed in
Nagpur, Joe Root, has been added to the Twenty20 squad.

Called up: Chris Woakes

Called up: Chris Woakes

Root, more known for his prowess in the longer form of the game, helps to pad out a threadbare squad which will be captained by Eoin Morgan in the absence of the injured Stuart Broad for this week's two T20 games.

The decision to rest in particular Anderson, who was only due to play in the first two of five one-day internationals scheduled for January, was perhaps no great surprise given his heavy workload in sapping conditions in the Test series.

An ECB statement read: 'Woakes and Buttler replace Anderson and Trott in [the] India ODI squad as [the] selectors look to manage workloads.'

Buttler, already a member of the T20 squad, has one ODI cap to his name, while Woakes memorably took six wickets against Australia in Brisbane in 2011.

Rested: James Anderson

Rested: James Anderson

Harry Redknapp chasing Nicolas Anelka and Joe Cole

Redknapp to meet QPR owner Fernandes over January transfer targets Anelka and Cole

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 17 December 2012

Harry Redknapp will meet Queens Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes this week to discuss the club's transfer window plans.

Redknapp will have 10million to spend in January but is expected to rely largely on loan deals.

Liverpool's Joe Cole and former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka are targets.

Target man: Joe Cole could be offered an escape route from Liverpool by QPR

Target man: Joe Cole could be offered an escape route from Liverpool by QPR

Anelka is also being targeted by east Londoners West Ham.

Cole has struggled to force his way back into the Liverpool team since he returned from a season-long loan at French side Lille.

The 31-year-old made 32 appearances for the Ligue 1 club and scored four goals.

Should Cole choose to link up with Redknapp it would not be for the first time. The former England international played under Redknapp during his time at West Ham.

The midfielder scored his first goal of the season against the Hammers last week, but doesn't appear to be in Brendan Rodgers' plans.

Meanwhile, QPR are preparing an official approach for Tottenham coach Les Ferdinand.

They are also keen on adding Clive Allen to their set-up.

Striking options: Nicolas Anelka (right) is also being tracked by Harry Redknapp

Striking options: Nicolas Anelka (right) is also being tracked by Harry Redknapp

Glorious: Adel Taraabt scored a remarkable goal against Fulham on Saturday

Glorious: Adel Taraabt scored a remarkable goal against Fulham on Saturday

Joe Allen and Raheem Sterling need to be rested – Brendan Rodgers

Allen and Sterling are exhausted but I can't afford to rest them, admits Rodgers

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UPDATED:

08:52 GMT, 17 December 2012

Brendan Rodgers has admitted a lack of options in his squad is preventing Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen being given the rest they need to recapture top form.

Sterling, 18, and Allen, 22, had their least ineffective games of the season during Saturday’s 3-1 defeat against Aston Villa at Anfield and the Liverpool manager accepted the pair’s level of play has started to taper off.

Since making his full debut against Manchester City in August, Sterling has played 1,411 minutes in the Barclays Premier League, while Allen has been on the pitch for all bar 25 minutes of Liverpool’s 17 games. Both men have also had varying international commitments through the campaign.

Breaking point: Liverpool's Joe Allen (left) is in need of a rest

Breaking point: Liverpool's Joe Allen (left) is in need of a rest

The dilemma facing Rodgers, though, is difficult to solve. He does not have another player with Sterling’s speed and skill to make a like-for-like change, while Rodgers feels Allen fulfils a crucial in helping Liverpool retain possession. Ideally, however, both would currently be on the bench.

‘I think there is an element of (fatigue) but not with (someone like) Luis (Suarez),’ said Rodgers. ‘He’s at his best when he is playing regular. He will tell you himself, if he was playing one game a week he would lose his rhythm – he likes to play lots of games.

‘But I think there are others we need to give a break. There is no doubt Raheem is one who does need that breather. I've thought about it over the past couple of weeks. In order to do that you need to have that depth to take him out and put somebody else in.

Young gun: Raheem Sterling has been a regular for the Anfield side

Young gun: Raheem Sterling has been a regular for the Anfield side

‘That's something I'm thinking about – who to put in. He's a naturally very, very fit boy but he needs that mental rest as well. For the kid as well, it's about efficiency as well, tactically he's still very young. That time will come and he will get the breather soon enough.

‘There is no doubt after working with Joe (before at Swansea) and seeing him (now), he’s another one. If we're honest, there are a few who could do with that breather, especially mentally. It's something for sure I need to have a wee look at.

‘This was a game where we had to get an early goal and make Villa come out. We had a wee bit of lethargy. I don't know why because it's one of the first weeks we've had without a midweek game, and we couldn't have had a better week.’

Main man: Christian Benteke secured Aston Villa's win over Liverpool

Main man: Christian Benteke secured Aston Villa's win over Liverpool

Liverpool’s charge towards the top six was unceremoniously checked by a vibrant Aston Villa side and they had no answer to the power and presence of Christian Benteke, who scored two goals and set up the other for Andreas Weimann.

Steven Gerrard’s consolation at least spared Rodgers the ignominy of being on the end of Liverpool’s worst Anfield defeat since October 2005 but it was scant consolation for Rodgers, who said he had never felt more disappointed during the six months he has been in charge.

‘I find it hard to know where that performance came from to be honest,’ said Rodgers. ‘In some ways it was the most disappointing game we've had since I came here. We couldn't have arrived in the game on a better moment.

‘But we must learn from this that no matter which team you play against, you have to be right on it. We weren't we were careless in our play. In the opening period if we take a couple of them chances it's a different game. We didn't we were punished. We must learn.’

Billy Joe Saunders beats Nick Blackwell to keep Commonwealth middleweight title and win British belt

Classy Saunders beats Blackwell to add British belt to Commonwealth title

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UPDATED:

02:54 GMT, 16 December 2012

Billy Joe Saunders retained his Commonwealth middleweight title and added the vacant British belt to his growing collection with a unanimous points win over Nick Blackwell.

The former Olympian, who remains undefeated after 16 professional contests, was forced to dig deep during the middle rounds but his class was reflected by scores of 117-112, 116-113 and 115-114 on the judges' cards.

Blackwell, who was fighting for the British strap for the second time, provided a stern test for the 23-year-old, but faded in the second half of the fight.

Champion: Billy Joe Saunders celebrates with his belts after victory over Nick Blackwell

Champion: Billy Joe Saunders celebrates with his belts after victory over Nick Blackwell

Saunders, 22, was fighting for the fourth time in a busy 2012 but only once had he been pushed, when winning a unanimous decision over Bradley Pryce in June.

In winning the vacant Commonwealth strap in April, Tony Hill was brutally dispatched in just 30 seconds at the Royal Albert Hall.

Unbeaten Australian Jarrod Fletcher last slightly longer when he made the trip to London but only until the second round when he too was stopped.

Blackwell's only previous defeat meanwhile came against world title challenger Martin Murray who faces WBC champion Sergio Martinez in Argentina next spring.

The 22-year-old emerged via the unlicensed circuit, winning all 18 of his fights before turning professional in 2009.

Since losing to Murray last summer, Blackwell had stopped his four subsequent opponents, most recently Mikheil Khutsishvili in May.

After a tense opening to the first round, Saunders began to exert control, landing with several flurries while Blackwell struggled to manoeuvre himself into position with his jab.

Saunders' pressure punching looked to be
taking its toll but Blackwell began to find his range towards the end of
the third stanza as he took advantage of Saunders' low right hand to
land several effective jabs.

Growing in confidence, the Trowbridge fighter began to move downstairs with his left hand and by the fourth round, an evenly-matched contest had developed.

And as a thrilling fight reached the
halfway stage, Blackwell was producing the more eye-catching
combinations as Saunders was forced on to the ropes and his right eye
began to redden.

Resistance: Blackwell put up a strong defence but Saunders deserved to take the fight on points

Resistance: Blackwell put up a strong defence but Saunders deserved to take the fight on points

Saunders' rod-like right jab proved effective in keeping Blackwell at bay in the seventh but the challenger was intent on stalking his opponent around the ring and had no hesitation in trading toe-to-toe.

Having boxed just one round since March, Blackwell began to tire in the eighth session as Saunders regained control of the bout. Although the ninth round was punctuated by solid jabs from Blackwell, it was the champion who stretched his lead on the scorecards with ever-more punishing combinations.

Aside from sporadic attacks to the body, Blackwell was also second best in the tenth round and was repeatedly beaten to the punch in round 10 while missing with shots of his own. Saunders took his foot off the gas in the penultimate round, perhaps aware that hearing the final bell would assure him of victory.

But Blackwell threatened to spoil the party in the last round as a punishing body shot momentarily stopped Saunders in his tracks but a barnstorming final two minutes failed to deliver a knockout blow.

Saunders was pleased to have been taken 12 rounds.

'Nick was very, very game and those rounds will hold me in good stead for the future. I've moved on to the next level,' he said.

Earlier in the evening, Liam Smith and Steve O'Meara both played their part in an enthralling contest for the vacant Commonwealth light-middleweight title, with Liverpudlian Smith winning by unanimous decision.

One of four boxing brothers, the 24-year-old looked set for an early finish when a left hook to the body had O'Meara, 28, on the canvas as the bell went for the end of the opening session.

The home favourite beat the count and showed no ill-effects but Smith's superior work rate and punishing blows saw him open up a commanding lead.

Despite trailing by large margins, O'Meara was far from outclassed and had plenty in reserve to contribute to a thrilling final round in which both boxers went toe-to-toe.

But having been unable to land the knockout blow, O'Meara lost for the third time in his career by scores of 112-116, 110-118 and 112-116.

Tough test: Blackwell impressed in defeat as he took Saunders to the final bell

Tough test: Blackwell impressed in defeat as he took Saunders to the final bell

Tony Conquest lost his unbeaten record, and his WBO International cruiserweight belt, when he was knocked out in less than two minutes by Neil Dawson.

Conquest started brightly but just as the contest was warming up, he was floored by a sharp left-right combination to the head and failed to beat the referee's count.

Bradley Skeete delivered the best performance of his career to win the Southern Area welterweight title with a fourth-round stoppage of Chas Symonds.

Skeete struggled to a laboured points victory over journeyman Peter McDonagh in September but produced a vastly-improved showing against Symonds.

Boxing behind the jab, the 25-year-old floored his opponent in the second round courtesy of a vicious left hook to the body.

Symonds, 30, had no trouble beating the count but Skeete began to land his right hand with alarming regularity and by the fourth round, Symonds' left eye was almost closed shut.

The doctor cleared him to continue but yet another right hand delivered Symonds to the canvas for a second time and although he again rose quickly, the contest was waved off.

Crowd favourite Frank Buglioni enjoyed yet another early night when Ciaran Healy retired on his stool with an injured back at the end of the second round.

The rising star from Enfield enjoyed his fifth stoppage from seven fights – a left hook to the body doing the damage, sending the Irishman to the floor before his corner called it a day.

Finally, Mitchell Smith needed less than four rounds to stop Estonian Igor Chuev in his fifth super-featherweight contest.

Smith, 20, had his opponent on the canvas in the third session but Chuev beat the count and although his corner threw in the towel seconds later, the referee opted to continue the contest.

But he did wave it off towards the end of the next round as Smith extended his unbeaten record.

England batsman Joe Root: I was quite relaxed in the middle

I was quite relaxed in the middle, claims England new boy Root

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UPDATED:

20:43 GMT, 14 December 2012

Joe Root admitted his selection for a
Test debut in one of England's most important games of the year had come
as a surprise after he held India at bay for almost five hours at
Nagpur.

Root, who turns 22 this month, was
only told by captain Alastair Cook that he had replaced Samit Patel at
No 6 – as well as leapfrogged both Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan – the
day before the game.

Relaxed: England's Joe Root (file image)

Relaxed: England's Joe Root (file image)

'It was a little bit of a surprise,' he admitted after making 73 to help England reach 330 in their first innings. 'But I got myself into a good frame of mind once I found out and tried to get my head round it as quickly as I could.'

His selection completed a remarkable rise to prominence for the Sheffield-born batsman, who in his debut season of 2009 was presented with his chestguard – part of a Yorkshire dressing-room tradition – by former England captain Michael Vaughan, who played alongside Root's father Matt at Sheffield Collegiate CC .

Root added: 'I was delighted to get the opportunity, and to score a few runs at the same time was a real good feeling. It would be wrong to say there are no nerves when you're waiting to bat in Test cricket for the first time, but I've got a great team around me who were very encouraging and helpful.

'Once I got in the middle I was quite relaxed.'

Timely response: The 289-minute innings by Joe Root was the eighth longest on debut by an England Test batsman

Timely response: The 289-minute innings by Joe Root was the eighth longest on debut by an England Test batsman

Asked what advice he had been given as he walked out to bat with England struggling at 119 for four – soon to become 139 for five – Root replied: 'More than anything, it was just to keep your foot movements very precise and very quick and just grind it out. The guys who had gone in before said it was tough out there and it was quite a defensive field, so it wasn't fast scoring. It was about getting your bearings and being patient. You just try to adapt to the conditions and the situation.'

Was he disappointed to miss out on a debut hundred

'Thinking about it now, that's what you dream of as a kid going through your career. It just makes you more determined if you get another opportunity to make the most of it.'

Jose Maria Olazabal still loves being captain at Royal Trophy

Olazabal still loves being captain as Ryder Cup hero tees it up at Royal Trophy

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UPDATED:

10:20 GMT, 14 December 2012

Jose Maria Olazabal is captain of Europe again this week, and it feels good.

The mention of September's Miracle of Medinah still brings a beaming smile to the face of the great Spaniard, and why not

Not many men can say they inspired arguably the most impossible sporting comeback of all time.

Head to head: Jose Maria Olazabal (right) and Asia captain Joe Ozaki were all smiles ahead of the event

Head to head: Jose Maria Olazabal (right) and Asia captain Joe Ozaki were all smiles ahead of the event

Royal Trophy

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Olazabal is once more in charge of his continent for the sixth edition of the Royal Trophy in Brunei, where he and fellow Ryder Cup heroes Nicolas Colsaerts and Francesco Molinari are taking on the might of Asia, including Japanese superstar Ryo Ishikawa, over three days of matchplay amid the tropical rainforest at the Empire Hotel and Country Club.

Olazabal has had time to reflect on Medinah since Europe's scarcely believable comeback and, speaking to Sportsmail Online in Brunei, sums up the experience as 'an extraordinary moment. Unforgettable. Unique.'

Victory in the Windy City whipped up a whirlwind of publicity for Olazabal and even led to an audience with the King of Spain.

What with getting his feel back for playing ahead of this tournament with trips to the Far East, he has only recently been able to snatch moments of peace to let it all sink in.

'It's true that for a few weeks after it was over I didn't have the chance to reflect on what happened that week. I'm really looking forward to this winter, having more time on my own with a DVD and a nice glass of wine, and just enjoying it.

Nice work if you can get it: European skipper Olazabal lines up a putt as Miguel Angel Jimenez looks on

Nice work if you can get it: European skipper Olazabal lines up a putt as Miguel Angel Jimenez looks on

'Last week I had enough time to go shooting with my father. We go for partridge, quail, duck. We had a couple of nice days. It's nice to go with the dogs, just on your own, that's the beauty of it. You feel like you're the only man in the world. That sense of peace… that's what I really look forward to.'

And did he bring any dinner home for the family

'Yes, both of us did!' he laughs.

Here in Brunei, things are a little different to those incredible few days in Chicago: less hair-pulling, gut-wrenching and tear-shedding, more back-slapping, belly-laughing and mickey-taking.

During the opening ceremony we were even treated to a slapstick comedy sketch from Laurel and Hardy, otherwise known as Olazabal and Joe Osaki, the Asian captain.

When Osaki rubbed Olazabal's nose in the fact he had triumphed the last time the pair led their continents in this format, the Spaniard ran from his seat across the stage to deliver a few playful whacks to his friend's head.

Thankfully, no golfers were harmed in the making of this gag.

Two of his five a day: Our man Chris got a bit fruity with the fans in Brunei

Two of his five a day: Our man Chris got a bit fruity with the fans in Brunei

'Obviously it's not the same intensity as the Ryder Cup, it's a more relaxed atmosphere,' says Olazabal.

'But don't get me wrong, things are going to get serious. We're facing a serious challenge. The Asian team is strong. We're going to have to be on our toes.'

Olazabal's tears for his great friend Seve Ballesteros, who devised the Royal Trophy in 2006, regularly punctuated the Ryder Cup and gave viewers an insight into both the man's genuinely warm nature and his appreciation for life away from the golf course.

Ollie is emotional, and he doesn't care who knows it. He is no relentless golfing machine, focused purely on victory.

'You have to be hard in competition when you're on the course. But outside we cannot forget that this is a game. I've known Joe for many years, since the late 80s playing in Japan. You cannot forget that we're all human beings.

'There are other things in the world more important than what we do today here and you have to be able to separate those things. You have to have the right, friendly atmosphere off the golf course. On the golf course we shake hands on the first tee but that's it. We're going to try to beat each other.'

Glorious: The sun was shining on day one of the Royal Trophy in Brunei

Glorious: The sun was shining on day one of the Royal Trophy in Brunei

Unlike at Medinah, Olazabal will be teeing it up as well as leading his team as a player-captain.

On Friday he partnered compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez in the foursomes against YE Yang and KT Kim.

The mere mention of Jimenez brings a smile to Olazabal's face, although he jokes that the 'old boys' might need to use a buggy or play off the forward tees to compete with the whippersnappers.

Alongside Jimenez and the Ryder Cup stars, Henrik Stenson, Edoardo Molinari, Marcel Siem and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano complete the European team.

Olazabal, a two-time Masters champion, admits he is not as sharp as he once was but now that the Ryder Cup is behind him, he has his sights firmly set on finding form on the course again.

'My game is on and off,' he says. 'I can play a bunch of great holes but all of a sudden I can hit that crooked shot that spoils everything. My goal now that the Ryder Cup is over is to concentrate on my game. I've always worked hard but (I need) to have my frame of mind on practicing and playing.'

Olazabal speaks glowingly of Tom Watson, who was confirmed as United States captain for Gleneagles in 2014.

But is he not tempted to give the captaincy another shot, on home soil The answer is a categorical no.

'The Ryder Cup is over, for sure. If Ivan Ballesteros (Seve's nephew and Royal Trophy organiser) asks me to captain again, I might do it. Most probably I would do it. For Seve, for Ivan, for the family. But the Ryder Cup – that's over.'

It may be over, but it will never be forgotten. Just ask the Princess of Sharjah – her highness herself has made the journey here to speak with Olazabal.

Like his late, great friend, Olly too is now golfing royalty.