Tag Archives: knocks

Paul Lambert defends Aston Villa youngsters

The kids are alright! Lambert defends Aston Villa youngsters despite recent hammerings

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UPDATED:

12:27 GMT, 28 December 2012

Paul Lambert has refused to blame Aston Villa's youngest-ever side for the club's recent beatings, saying the club's experienced players have done no better.

Villa have conceded 12 goals in their past two games and are in desperate need of a return to winning ways against Wigan on Saturday.

Lambert makes no apologies for looking up the Premier League table, rather than down it, despite the fact that Villa have let in more goals than anyone else and are the joint lowest scorers.

Standing firm: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has the crowd behind him

Standing firm: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has the crowd behind him

But he remains committed to the policy of blooding youngsters – the current average age of Villa's team is 23 – and he is remaining true to his recruitment policy.

'Over the last few years this club has had loads of experienced players and the situation hasn't really changed,' said Lambert.

'Experienced players won't always take you where you want to go. I know that from my own experience.

'I have a belief in the way we are doing it. In the long term this club will be great.

'There's no point me saying we are down there because of inexperience. This club was battling against relegation last season.'

Hard knocks: Villa were hammered by Chelsea and Spurs in their last two games

Hard knocks: Villa were hammered by Chelsea and Spurs in their last two games

Villa's eight-goal thumping at Stamford Bridge was the worst defeat in the club's history.

Conceding four without replay at Villa Park against Spurs on Boxing Day was a marginal improvement.

Yet the Holte End remained steadfast in their support of the team, staying behind to chant Lambert's name.

Villa are in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup but their backing did not go un-noticed in the home dugout.

'It's the first time in years that I've seen that reaction from a crowd,' added Lambert.

No answer: Spurs winger Gareth Bale ripped Villa apart with a hat-trick

No answer: Spurs winger Gareth Bale ripped Villa apart with a hat-trick

'I think they see the bigger picture. Normally, when you are three down at home there is an evacuation. I think they can see the big picture.

'The fans have been fantastic and one thing you can say about this club is that the crowd have never not been behind it.

'My job is to rectify it, the fans I can't thank enough. For anyone who was there…well I've not seen that.'

Lambert is again short of options due to a lengthy injury list.

Ron Vlaar, Gabby Agbonlahor, Andreas Weimann, Nathan Baker, Charles N'Zogbia and Darren Bent are all sidelined for Wigan's visit.

Tyson Fury on track if Vitali Klitschko disappoints David Haye – Jeff Powell

Fury on the campaign trail for a world title if Klitschko's political move disappoints Haye

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UPDATED:

00:10 GMT, 6 November 2012

While one British heavyweight is begging Vitali Klitshcko not to retire, another could find himself fighting for a world heavyweight title if the elder of the giant Ukrainian brothers goes into politics full-time.

It will be famine for David Haye but most probably feast for Tyson Fury should Vitali hang up the gloves so as to put his hat into the ring of government.

Former world champion Haye, who is set to star in the new series of I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, keeps repeating that he will only box again if it is against a Klitschko……which in effect means Vitali since Wladimir thrashed him last year and sees no point in going through the same process once more.

Opportunity knocks: Fury (left)

Opportunity knocks: Fury (left)

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Fury, the young traveller journeying towards his title shot, will find the path less steep if Vitali abdicates the WBC crown.

Fury has been focused on fighting himself into position to challenge either of the Klitschkos, who hold all the heavyweight alpha-belts between them.

The next stage in that campaign comes on December 8 in Belfast when he takes on Russia's unbeaten contender Denis Boytson.

That event, to be televised live on Channel 5, is being billed as a final eliminator. But at the moment WBC president Jose Sulaiman is saying: 'It is a semi-final.'

That organisation has declared that the winner of a December 15 fight in Venezuela between Chris Arreola and Bermaine Stiverne will become Vitali's mandatory challenger, with the victor of that bout ordered to meet Fury or Stiverne next.

However, if Klitschko calls it a day then Arreola or Stiverne will be instructed to meet the winner of Fury and Boytsov for the vacant title.

On that basis, Fury could find himself a world champion as early as next spring.

Boytsov will come to Northern Ireland boasting an unbeaten record of 31 wins, 25 by knockout. But Fury is also undefeated and he, too, has a high KO percentage.

Most significantly Fury is significantly the taller man, as he is in the majority of his fights. While that would not be the case against either of the Klitschkos, both Arreola, the favourite, and Stiverne are also smaller.

Boytsov, with his pale imitation of Mike Tyson, is a crowd-pleasing slugger with the power to test Fury's questionable chin…..if he can connect cleanly.

The greater probability is that Fury will land first on the Russian. The incentive for him to do so could not be greater.

A week later his promoter Mick Hennessy will be hoping that Arreola prevails, even though the American is the more highly-rated protagonist in his eliminator.

If not, he could find himself plunged into negotiations with the most Machiavellian of all boxing promoters.

Political move: Vitali Klitschko is the leader of the Ukrainian opposition party UDAR

Political move: Vitali Klitschko is the leader of the Ukrainian opposition party UDAR

Reports of Don Knig's demise as a figure in boxing have been, as Mark Twain would say, exaggerated.

As Stiverne's promoter he won the rights to stage the Arreola fight with a massive $1.1million purse bid.

It is not only Fury who is one step away from a world title. Just as Haye is not alone in hanging on Vitali Klitschko's decision, which is vaguely expected next month but may not come until next year.

King, the extravagant showman who brought us the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thrilla' in Manila among many of the ring's most famous fights, is on the brink of a sensational come-back of his own.

Froch will know to go for KO

Carl Froch was almost spared the obligation of an away re-match with Lucian Bute as the Canada-based Romanian flirted with defeat in Montreal on Saturday night.

Bute, from whom the Nottingham Cobra took the IBF world super-middleweight title in thunderous style earlier this year, needed a huge final round to be sure of a points victory over Russia's unheralded Denis Gratchev.

Two of the judges – and most observers – had it very close going into the 12th at the Bell Arena, where Froch will honour his promise of a return bout with Bute on March 30.

Bute, who had been rocked two or
three times in the earlier exchanges, dug deep for a blazing finish
which carried him to a unanimous decision.

However
the risible 118-110 margin logged by the third hometown judge in front
of a partisan crowd suggests it would be safer for Froch to repeat his
stunning KO victory over Bute rather than rely on the scoring.

The Cobra: Carl Froch will face Lucian Bute once more

The Cobra: Carl Froch will face Lucian Bute once more

Had Bute been beaten by Grachev the re-match clause with Froch would have been invalidated.

The Cobra's plans for two further re-matches in 2013 against the only two men to have beaten him have been complicated by the WBA nominating the winner of Mikkel Kessler's December clash with Brian Magee as the mandatory challenger to Andre Ward.

Froch is in negotiations for a midsummer spectacular against Kessler at Nottingham Forest's City Ground then a return bout with Ward, probably in America.

The WBA have acceded to Kessler's request that he be given a second shot at Ward if he beats Magee.

However, the Viking Warrior was much more soundly beaten by the self-styled Son Of God than was Froch, who will now petition the WBA to amend that decision in favour of sanctioning a fight between him and Ward as the real final eliminator.

Constantino update:

Readers intrigued by the item in a previous column about the one-handed boxer will be interested to know that he won his professional debut fight in New York.

Michael Constantino, who was born without a right hand but wears a glove on the end of that arm, knocked out Nathan Ortiz with a wicked left hook and thereby, at 33, realised his life-long dream.

Now he says: 'From here on I'm taking it one fight – and one hand – at a time.'

Good for him.