Tag Archives: minor

Zak Hardaker out of World Club Challenge with injury

Leeds face challenge after injury rules full back Hardaker out of Melbourne clash

By
Ian Laybourn, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

21:08 GMT, 18 February 2013

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UPDATED:

21:08 GMT, 18 February 2013

Leeds will have to find a new full-back for Friday's World Club Challenge against Melbourne Storm after ruling out England international Zak Hardaker with a broken thumb.

The 21-year-old is expected to be sidelined for a month with the injury he sustained in last Friday's 42-14 Super League win over Salford.

Rhinos coach Brian McDermott also confirmed at a press conference at Headingley that prop Ryan Bailey will be out after undergoing minor knee surgery, but that second rower Brett Delaney and prop Jamie Peacock will return after missing the Salford game through injury.

Crocked: Hardaker (centre) has a broken thumb

Crocked: Hardaker (centre) has a broken thumb

Centre Kallum Watkins, who switched to full-back against the City Reds, and Australian recruit Joe Vickery are among the list of possible alternatives for the full-back role.

Vickery, 23, who was born in Exeter but raised in Australia, earned a 12-month contract with the champions after impressing in pre-season trials but damaged ankle ligaments on his debut in the opening game.

'We've a few options,' McDermott said. 'Kallum Watkins is one of them and Joe Vickery is in the mix after making a remarkable recovery.'

Ederson strips off to celebrate Lazio win

Well that's one way to celebrate! Lazio player marks victory by taking his clothes off

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UPDATED:

14:42 GMT, 7 December 2012

If taking your shirt off after scoring a goal is worthy of a yellow card these days, then surely this victory strip deserves red!

Lazio’s Ederson entertained supporters by undressing on the side of the pitch and throwing his jersey and pants into the stands after beating NK Maribor 4-1 in Lazio’s final Europa League match on Thursday night.

Celebration strip: Lazio's Ederson marks his side's win by braving the cold and stripping off to his underwear

Celebration strip: Lazio's Ederson marks his side's win by braving the cold and stripping off to his underwear

Unwrapped: Ederson then hands his sweaty clothes to adoring Lazio fans

Unwrapped: Ederson then hands his sweaty clothes to adoring Lazio fans

Two goals from Sergio Floccari helped Lazio secure top spot in Group J and join the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle in the knockout stages of Europe’s second-tier tournament.

Libor Kozak and Stefan Radu also scored for the visitors before Marcos Tavares hit a late consolation.

But it was Ederson who provided the highlight of the evening and grabbed the headlines with this late strip show in front of supporters.

Wrapped up: Ederson (left) in action during the 4-1 Europa League victory and still with his clothes on

Wrapped up: Ederson (left) in action during the 4-1 Europa League victory and still with his clothes on

The Brazilian is playing his first season in Italy, having previously played in France for Nice and Lyon. He joined Lazio this summer on a five-year contract but a few minor injuries have disrupted the start of his season.

He has only played for the Brazilian senior team once but won the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in 2003.

Chest the ticket: the Brazilian snubbed France in order to play for the Samba boys

Chest the ticket: the Brazilian snubbed France in order to play for the Samba boys

Cold snap: Ederson takes off his shorts after Lazio progress to the knockout stages of the Europa League

Cold snap: Ederson takes off his shorts after Lazio progress to the knockout stages of the Europa League

He could have played for France on residency rules, but chose to represent the Samba boys.

And judging by these pictures, he’s a born entertainer.

Becher"s Brook on trial after Grand National fatalities prompt safety review

Becher's Brook on trial after Grand National fatalities prompt safety changes

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UPDATED:

20:05 GMT, 20 September 2012

The RSPCA have issued a thinly-veiled threat to the British Horseracing
Authority by saying the future of Becher's Brook will be on trial in
next year's Grand National.

Britain's most important animal welfare group was reacting to the
announcement of only minor changes to the most iconic fence in jump
racing following the safety review prompted by two fatalities in last
year's race.

Carnage: Several runners fall at Bechers Brook last year

Carnage: Several runners fall at Bechers Brook last year

It was the second year running two horses have died in the most-watched steeplechase of the year.

As expected, the most significant move announced by Aintree and BHA
concentrated on the start which will be 90 yards nearer the first fence,
reducing the four mile four furlong race by nearly half a furlong.

Other changes include:

Doubling the size of the' no-go' zone between horses and a more visible starting tape to 30 yards

Trialling prototype fences with a more forgiving 'core' at the Becher Chase meeting in December:

Spending an additional 100,000 of improving watering capacity

Additional efforts to catch riderless horses.

But there will be no reduction in the 40-runner field.

Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised fell at Becher's last year
before galloping on riderless and breaking a leg while the second 2012
fatality of According To Pete occurred when he was brought down at
Becher's on the second circuit.

The RSPCA issued a statement saying: 'While the proposed improvement at
Becher's by the additional levelling of the adverse slope on the landing
zone can only be beneficial, we belief that the remaining many
complexities of this fence mean that it continues to pose a serious and
unacceptable threat to horse welfare.

Changes: The 2012 Grand National brought more chaotic scenes

Changes: The 2012 Grand National brought more chaotic scenes

'We will watch carefully the impact of this change at Becher's at the
2013 Grand National. This is the BHA's last chance to show that this
fence can pose a fair and safe challenge to horse and jockey.'

The BHA and Aintree hope that by moving the start 90 yards away from the
buzz of the grandstands, it will create a more 'controlled atmosphere'
for a starting procedure that has been intermittently chaotic since the
1993 void race. Last year there were two false starts.

Director of Raceday Operations Jamie Stier added: 'It could have the
effect of reducing the early speed of the race. If this were to be the
case, it would be an added benefit.'

Stier repeated the findings of the preliminary investigations that the
two 2012 deaths were neither 'foreseeable or predictable'.

The BHA had introduced a number of changes for the race in April, which
included reducing the height of the fourth fence, reducing the
magnititude of the drop on the landing side of Becher's and beefing up
the entry qualification for runners.

He added: 'There has only been one Grand National since these changes
were made and there has to be time to assess the effect of them.

'Following this year's race, our priorities were to establish the facts
surrounding the incidents that occurred during the running of the race
and, secondly, to review the events which led to what was an
unsatisfactory start to the race.

'We have worked closely with Aintree and consulted widely with jockeys,
trainers and legitimate welfare organisations – the RSPCA and World
Horse Welfare – on a range of elements related to the race.'

John Baker, the newly installed supremo at Aintree, added: 'Balancing
the Grand National's enduring appeal whilst working to reduce risk in
the race is a delicate but important balance to strike.

'In recent years, we have made significant investments in safety and
believe today's announcement demonstrates we will continue to do so
whilst preserving the unique character and appeal of the nation's
favourite race.'

Former champion jockey and Racemail columnist Peter Scudamore, welcoming
the changes, said: 'Animal welfare has always got to be the priority. I
think the vast majority of the public accept there is a risk with the
race that is acceptable as long as the people in charge strive and are
seen to be striving to make the National as safe as possible.'

The truth is that for all their work, Aintree and the BHA could be undone by a few moments bad luck, just as they were in April.

The future of the Grand National has become as hot an annual topic as who wins the race.

US Open 2012: Andy Murray wins, beating Novak Djokovic

Major Murray! Grand slam glory for Andy after one of history's greatest matches

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UPDATED:

02:23 GMT, 11 September 2012

It was a celestial wind that blew Andy Murray to a magnificent victory in the US Open last night, perhaps blown from Fred Perry somewhere on high down on the country he ended up calling home.

From some source – who knows what – Murray found the momentum to take a dramatic deciding set with a monumental display of guts when it had looked like his legs were going to buckle.

Just champion: Andy Murray has made history with victory in the US Open final over Novak Djokovic

Just champion: Andy Murray has made history with victory in the US Open final over Novak Djokovic

Epic: Murray sealed his glory with a kiss after a match which fell a minute short of the longest ever US Open final

Epic: Murray sealed his glory with a kiss after a match which fell a minute short of the longest ever US Open fina

Epic: Murray sealed glory with a kiss after a match which fell a minute short of the longest ever US Open final

Epic: Murray sealed his glory with a kiss after a match which fell a minute short of the longest ever US Open final

This time he was too tired to cry, he could barely walk. History will record it as a minor detail that the 25-year-old Scot, like Perry something of an outsider, just about handled the prevailing gusts better than his old rival Novak Djokovic to win his first Grand Slam title.

Far more important is the fact that Perry’s ghost may have exhaled its last breath in its haunting of British tennis, with the 76-year wait to find his successor as a major winner finally at an end.

That finally came to pass as New York was brought to its feet when Djokovic blasted a final return long, the two men embracing at the net. It concluded a wildly undulating, gripping 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 victory that took four hours and 54 minutes.

Disbelieving: Murray's reaction was one of wonder and amazement as he dropped to his haunches

Disbelieving: Murray's reaction was one of wonder and amazement as he dropped to his haunches

Welcome to the club, pal: Djokovic was gracious in defeat and hailed his old friend's achievement

Welcome to the club, pal: Djokovic was gracious in defeat and hailed his old friend's achievement

Murray said: ‘It was incredibly tough
conditions. After the third and fourth set it was tough mentally. Novak
is so strong, he fights until the end in every math. I don’t know how I
came through in the end.

‘Ivan Lendl has been one of the
greatest players that ever played, it has been great to have him helping
me in the tense moments, not just him but everyone who has been here
from the start .’

In front of Scottish knights Sir Alex
Ferguson and Sir Sean Connery, Murray met with the destiny that had
been denied him four times before, and there will be those who believe
the younger man now deserves the same prefix.

Stunning: Both players had to contest with high winds early on, but Flushing Meadows still looked beautiful

Stunning: Both players had to contest with high winds early on, but Flushing Meadows still looked beautiful

Stunning: Both players had to contest with high winds early on, but Flushing Meadows still looked beautiful

Stunning: Both players had to contest with high winds early on, but Flushing Meadows still looked beautiful

The biggest set of Murray’s life, the
fifth, began with the momentum in the defending champion’s favour, but
Murray, who in sets three and four had drifted into the back court,
showed new purpose and secured the break.

The Djokovic fightback further had
its sting drawn when Murray consolidated the break for 2-0, the
athleticism of the two players belying the the four-and-a-quarter hours
they had played.

Suddenly the Serb started to miss again and, when a forehand was sent limply into the net, Murray was two breaks to the good.

Reaching for the top: At times Djokovic seemed out on his feet but he kept on fighting for each point

Reaching for the top: At times Djokovic seemed out on his feet but he kept on fighting for each point

Eyes on the prize: Murray, too, wobbled when seemingly comfortable, but regained his full focus

Eyes on the prize: Murray, too, wobbled when seemingly comfortable, but regained his full focus

But then that jaw-jutting, proud
Djokovic pout returned, skidding around the court to pull back to 3-2
down. When the Scot easily held for 4-2 to deafening acclaim, we started
to see the Serb crack physically, his legs going into cramp.

Djokovic called the trainer on for a
rub of his thighs while the crowd booed and Murray waited to serve. The
legs went again, though, and Murray’s path to glory was cleared, serving
it out superbly, courageously to 15.

Anyone who saw the opening-set
tiebreak would have been glad they did, not that the passages before it
were shabby in view of the conditions.

Famous faces: There was no shortage of interest from the usual, and not so usual, suspects

Famous faces: There was no shortage of interest from the usual, and not so usual, suspects

Famous faces: There was no shortage of interest from the usual, and not so usual, suspects

Famous faces: There was no shortage of interest from the usual, and not so usual, suspects

Famous faces: There was no shortage of interest from the usual, and not so usual, suspects

With the wind cascading down the
steep banks of the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Murray’s gale force win against
Berdych was proving perfect preparation, but even when he wriggled ahead
to 4-2 Djokovic kept snapping away.

With risk management to the fore, one
rally took a staggering 54 strokes to complete before Murray
capitulated. /09/10/article-2201319-14F2D442000005DC-19_306x423.jpg” width=”306″ height=”423″ alt=”Tit for tat: There were occasions when both players seemed to let the occasion get to them” class=”blkBorder” />

Tit for tat: There were occasions when both players seemed to let the occasion get to them

Tit for tat: There were occasions when both players seemed to let the occasion get to them

But another groundstroke from the
world No 2 went long and this time Murray, steadying himself as the
breeze ruffled his shirt, pulled out a first serve which Djokovic sent
beyond the baseline.

Tellingly the Scot had stepped up the power and cut his margin for error in the last few points.

Though he would never show it, old
stoneface Lendl will have been doing cartwheels inside. The tiebreak’s
duration would have taken you much of the way to half-time in a football
match, the whole first set had taken 87 minutes and the points tally in
it was 46-44.

Tricky times: Murray and Djokovic had to find that little bit extra as they teetered on the brink of despair

Tricky times: Murray and Djokovic had to find that little bit extra as they teetered on the brink of despair

Tricky times: Murray and Djokovic had to find that little bit extra as they teetered on the brink of despair

There was going be a psychological
backdraft from it, and this time Murray was able drive on, as we have
only seen him do in the Olympic final among the biggest matches of his
career.

With Djokovic starting to wear a
rueful grin the first four games were won, and even after ceding a break
it was 5-3. A horrible, error-strewn bid to close it down came to
nothing and the Serb was believing again with the purpose that has seen
him win five Grand Slams.

Murray was now intermittently
grabbing his thigh, signalling tension-induced cramp. With the two and
half hour mark looming after less than two sets that was an ominous
warning with the threat of an attritional war coming on.

Court coverage: The athleticism of both men was awesome, with rallies lasting more than 30 shots

Court coverage: The athleticism of both men was awesome, with rallies lasting more than 30 shots

Drama to the last: With one game to go, Djokovic, who had seized up, called for a medical time out

Drama to the last: With one game to go, Djokovic, who had seized up, called for a medical time out

But a difference between this year
and last for Djokovic is his shifting focus and at 6-5 he pulled out a
hideous wide smash, which was followed by a dragged forehand to give
Murray the biggest break of his career.

What he has not forgotten is how to
fight and, cutting his error count to virtually nothing and serving
better, came back ferociously to take the third and fourth sets, before
the strain of pulling level led to a sensational conclusion.

WHY MURRAY'S WIN WAS NEVER IN DOUBT

The omens were good. Fred Perry (below) was the last British man to win a major, the 1936 US Open, and three years earlier broke his Grand Slam duck at the tournament… on September 10.

The only other British winner of the US Open was Laurence Doherty in 1903 – after winning Olympic gold at the 1900 Paris Games, just as Murray did in London.

Fred J. Perry

Mario Balotelli ordered to see shrink to quit smoking

See a shrink, Mario! City boss Mancini wants Balotelli to quit smoking habit

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UPDATED:

06:48 GMT, 5 September 2012

Mario Balotelli’s five-a-day smoking habit is concerning Manchester City enough for manager Roberto Mancini to have reputedly asked his Italian striker to undergo hypnosis or counselling.

City believe his habit has not helped Balotelli’s eye problem for which he is undergoing minor surgery during the international break.

Mancini, who made an unsuccessful plea for Balotelli to quit smoking last season, thought the player had at least cut down his cigarette reliance.

Smoking: Mario Balotelli was spotted last week

Smoking: Mario Balotelli was spotted last week

So he was not pleased to see pictures of Balotelli smoking in the early hours last week after leaving a Manchester nightclub when he was due to be resting ahead of his eye operation in Italy. This followed photographs in July of the striker smoking a shisha pipe on holiday.

Sporting background

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Robert Richardson, captain of the ParalympicsGB sitting volleyball team who play world champions Iran in the quarter-finals on Wednesday, had a foot amputated as a 15-year-old while at Malvern College. Robert is the youngest son of former Coventry chairman Bryan Richardson, whose brothers Peter and Dick both played cricket for England.

Strauss signs new deal

Retired England cricket captain Andrew Strauss signed a renewed bat endorsement deal with financial services group MetLife in May which runs to 2015. But Strauss, 35, will continue as a brand ambassador despite ending his playing career. Meanwhile, the most likely media opening for Strauss will be with BBC radio’s Test Match Special.

BOA accounts

The British Olympic Association have posted a recruitment advertisement for the vacant chairman’s position on their website as part of a transparent selection process. Headhunters Odgers are hardly required with Lord Coe expected to be the stand-out candidate.

But anyone taking over will want to know the full extent of the BOA’s financial shortfall which won’t be fully revealed until next summer following an extravagant Olympic spend coupled with the failed sale of scarves and medallions. The delayed BOA accounts to be published in October cover 2011.

Ellie to be parade star

The Our Greatest Team parade, taking place in London on Monday, will feature 21 floats of GB’s Olympians and Paralympians mixed together but divided into sports and appearing in alphabetical order.

Parade queen: Ellie Simmonds will feature

Parade queen: Ellie Simmonds will feature

Golden girl Paralympian Ellie Simmonds will be the star attraction from either Games on board the swimming truck as well as a top three candidate for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, such is her popularity.

Clean Games'

The Olympics and Paralympics have been similar in the lack of positive drugs tests. Just a handful of athletes were caught during the Olympics and the International Paralympic Committee report not a single positive so far from the 1,250 tests being carried out. IPC won’t reveal the current numbers so as not to alert competitors.

Cameron doesn't care

Prime Minister David Cameron’s obvious disinterest in sport can be shown by his appointment on Tuesday of Maria Miller to succeed Jeremy Hunt as Culture Secretary. Miller has no background or known interest in sport apart from being at the Paralympic athletics with her children the night before her promotion.

Reshuffle: David Cameron showed he does not really care about sport

Reshuffle: David Cameron showed he does not really care about sport

And it’s a crying shame that LOCOG’s brilliant CEO Paul Deighton has been lost to the sports world with his elevation to the Lords as an unpaid Treasury minister responsible for economic delivery.

Old boy's exit

Yorkshire, a county cricket club where infighting is part of the natural order, are summarily dispensing with public address announcer Tony Loffill, who hasn’t missed a match during 15 years at Headingley. Loffill was told there had been ‘one or two complaints’ over his understated style from Yorkshire’s hard-to-please membership. The club’s operations director David Ryder said they wanted to ‘ramp up’ match announcements.

Watching the pennies in Hull

The cost-cutting at Championship club Hull City by Egyptian owners Assem and Ehab Allam includes withdrawing match passes for a number of staff including the Rev Allen Bagshawe, club chaplain for over 30 years. No divine intervention for Steve Bruce’s team this season then.

Bradford Bulls to be paid within 24 hours

Bulls players to be paid in next 24 hours as administrator defends delay

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UPDATED:

11:33 GMT, 14 August 2012

Bradford's players are to receive their wages for this month on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to administrator Brendan Guilfoyle.

Stories on Tuesday morning suggested that the cash-strapped Stobart Super League club were not able to meet their commitments to paying their players as they continue to look for a buyer.

But while Guilfoyle does admit to a minor delay in the transferring of funds, he expects the players to receive their wages over the course of the next 24 hours.

Dark days: Bradford continue to fight against a rank financial situation

Dark days: Bradford continue to fight against a rank financial situation

He said: 'We alerted the players to the fact that their wages might not be paid on time last night, because our funding at the moment is coming from Super League (Europe).

'However, the players will be getting their wages today or tomorrow. While there was a delay, we told the players of this but also told them they would still be paid. Reports of non-payment are not true.

'I am disappointed that a confidential note to the staff of the club has been made public.'

The professional players association, 1eagu3, are unhappy at the lack of communication between Guilfoyle and the Bradford squad.

The organisation's chairman Ernie Benbow is particularly upset about the fact the players found out about a non-payment issue late last night, when they could have been told some time ago.

'The players are incensed,' he said. 'They had communication late last night about late payment. I understand now that it has been resolved, but where is the communication

'The administrator went public about this over two weeks ago, saying that the wages might not be paid in August. Two weeks later the players hear about it.

'You can't go around telling the press but not the players. They have a right, whether or not they are sportsmen or they do a normal job. Nobody seems to want to talk to the players.

'The matter may well be resolved now but if they don't work with us, what can we do It's an utter disgrace.'

Guilfoyle is continuing to work with the Rugby Football League as he looks to find a buyer for the club, and is due to meet with them on Wednesday afternoon to present the latest offers.

Stoke"s Ryan Shotton charged with assault after alleged nightclub brawl

Stoke defender Shotton hit with assault charge over alleged nightclub brawl

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UPDATED:

08:46 GMT, 23 July 2012

Stoke defender Ryan Shotton has been charged with assault after an alleged nightclub brawl that left a man needing stitches in his head.

Shotton, 23, the Potters’ young player of the year last season, is alleged to have thrown a punch in a fight outside the Pink nightclub in Hanley, Staffordshire.

He is due to appear in court on Friday.

Young player of the year: Stoke fans handed Ryan Shotton a gong last season

Young player of the year: Stoke fans handed Ryan Shotton a gong last season

Vinny Bolina, of the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said: ‘Ryan Shotton has been charged with assault by beating and will appear at Stoke Magistrates’ Court on July 27.’

A police spokesman said: ‘A 23-year-old man has been charged after an altercation at 2.30am on Sunday June 24.

‘Three men were involved, one of whom sustained a minor head injury and was treated at the scene by paramedics.

‘The third man was released without charge.’

Shotton, born in Stoke, came through the club’s youth ranks and made 37 appearances in all competitions last season, scoring two goals.

Tyson Fury fighting fit for dream Klitschko bout – Jeff Powell boxing column

Mistaken identity Fury's fighting fit for dream shot at Klitschkos

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UPDATED:

22:26 GMT, 2 July 2012

For Tyson Fury, the case of the disappearing poundage is of far weightier concern than being falsely arrested and strip-searched on suspicion of armed robbery and murder.

Last week’s dramatic story of mistaken identity and hours of interrogation by armed Dutch police after a hold-up near his training camp proved but a minor distraction.

Fury simply went back to work in preparation for this Saturday’s fight against Vinny Maddalone.

Fighting fit: Trimline Tyson Fury is looking in great shape as he trains in Essen, Belgium

Fighting fit: Trimline Tyson Fury is looking in great shape as he trains in Essen

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In order to re-focus, he only had to remind himself that he would have given up the struggle to earn a world heavyweight title shot against one of the Klitschko brothers next year had he not been able to shed the surplus flab from his massive, 6ft 9in frame.

‘I looked in the mirror one day and was disgusted by what I saw,’ says Fury.

‘I didn’t resemble anything like the athlete I was supposed to be. It no longer mattered to me that I could win fights even when so out of condition.

‘I couldn’t stand looking fat as a pig whenever I stripped down to train or spar. I gave it one last chance to prove to myself that I could become dedicated to boxing and present myself as an athlete in the ring. If I’d failed to do so I was going to quit out of embarrassment.’

In a few short months Fury has banished the layers of fat around his belly and waist and, remarkably, reduced his body fat to less than 10 per cent.That has required a supreme effort of will, to abide by the strict diet imposed by his new trainer.

Peter Fury. his uncle and former boxer, has isolated his nephew at his wooden house buried deep in a forest on the Holland-Belgium border.

Weight off his shoulders: Fury has shed the pounds

Weight off his shoulders: Fury has shed the pounds

‘My problem was not even junk food,’ says Tyson. ‘I love sweets and even when driving I couldn’t resist pulling into a petrol station, loading up with carrier bags full of chocolates and candies and eating most of it at one go.

‘It was madness. I couldn’t stop even though I felt sluggish and terrible. It was more compulsive because my baby son had been really sick in hospital. Thank God, his recovery helped me turn the corner. I feel so much better now, Stronger even tough I’m lighter and punching with greater power.’

Mick Hennessy, Fury’s promoter, is as delighted as he is amazed by the change in life-style of his 24-year-old giant prodigy.

He says: ‘I’ve always believed Tyson will become a world champion but I thought it would have to be as one of those tubby heavyweights relying on his knock-out power.

'Now he looks like the Klitschkos, his movement is so much improved and I’m even more confident he can beat Wladimir or Vitali in the fight we are negotiating for 2013.’

Fury has been criticised for vacating the British and Commonwealth titles rather than face the mandatory challenge from Liverpool’s David Price, now the new champion.

But he denies that worries about his fitness prompted that decision, saying: ‘I just felt Price wasn’t ready for me since has faced nothing like the quality of opposition I have been in against. A five-fight blitz starting with Maddalone gives me a better chance of building up to challenge one of the Klitschkos.’

Fury found deeper religion as he overcame the depression triggered by his son’s illness and he prays daily.

Looking ahead: Fury wants to fight one of the Klitschko brothers in 2013

Looking ahead: Fury wants to fight one of the Klitschko brothers in 2013

He has also integrated even more fully into the family life which is fundamental to the travelling community into which he was born.

At his uncle’s remote chalet, with many relatives around him, he has been living the open-air country life in which he feels most comfortable. His wife Paris and their two children spend their time in those woods sleeping in the caravan which Fury towed over from their home in Lancaster.

He returned from that idyll on Friday in readiness for Saturday’s engagement with Maddalone, the New York slugger, and even that fight is taking place in a rural setting in which he will feel at ease.

The Hand Arena, in the Somerset resort of Clevedon, is an equestrian centre which is being transformed into a 2,500 seat boxing venue for the evening. Fury may even make his entrance on horse-back or in a horse-drawn caravan.

This should be a routine win for Fury, given his own physical improvement and the limitations of his opponent.

Fury-Maddalone is live on Channel 5 from 10 pm Saturday.

Brook out to punish rival Jones

Sheffield's Kell Brook faces a somewhat higher test of his future world championship credentials when he meets American Carson Jones in his home town’s Motorpoint Arena this Saturday night.

The pair have been trading insults in the build up to this eliminator for the IBF welterweight title, with Jones threatening to de-rail Brook and the Englishman saying: 'I don’t like him and I’m going to punish him.'

Brook should win but British fans will be looking more fluency and variety in his boxing.

Brook-Jones is live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 8 pm Saturday.

Amir out to bring his belt back

Incentive: Amir Khan can reclaim his title

Incentive: Amir Khan can reclaim his title

Amir Khan will be reunited with the WBA belt stolen from him by Lamont Peterson if he beats another American, Danny Garcia, in Las Vegas on July 14.

The WBA have promised Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer that they will reinstate Khan as their world light-welterweight champion following Peterson’s positive drugs test.

With Garcia coming into the fight at the Mandalay Bay as the defending WBC champion, Khan has the incentive of becoming a unified champion once again.

Make that undisputed if the IBF follow the WBA’s example in time.

That they should but their delay in so doing until all medical submissions have been examined suggests they will stay loyal to the Peterson camp for as long as possible.

Disgracefully so, since both Peterson’s A and B tests confirmed testosterone abuse and his team have admitted the implanting of a pellet full of drugs in his hip prior to the fight against Khan, which was also mired in refereeing and judging controversies.

Khan-Garcia will be live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 2 am Sunday July 15.

Chisora-Charles bust-up… who cares

Dereck Chisora is reported to have been attacked by his own trainer, Don Charles, during a bust-up in training for his post-Munich-brawl fight with fellow London heavyweight David Haye at West Ham football ground on July 14.

Subsequently the incident has been variously denied, played down or dismissed as a publicity stunt.

Did it happen Do we care

Haye-Chisora will be live on BoxNation (Sky Ch 456 or Virgin Ch 546) on Saturday July 14

Working it out: Chisora and his trainer Don Charles were said to have clashed

Working it out: Chisora and his trainer Don Charles were said to have clashed

Tiger Woods enjoys strong third round at Congressional

Woods back in business at Congressional but storm strewn course meant no crowd

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UPDATED:

10:38 GMT, 1 July 2012

Tiger Woods eased into contention on day three of the AT&T National at Congressional – but there was nobody there to see it.

The storms that have battered the mid-Atlantic left the Maryland course unsafe for spectators, so Woods was not accompanied by his usual whoops and cheers as he carded a four-under 67 to sit six under overall, one behind leader Brendon de Jonge.

Woods' round was matched by playing partner Bo Van Pelt who also finished on six under for a share of second, as did South Korea's Noh Seung-yul after a two-under 69.

No crowd: Tiger Woods is accustomed to huge audiences

No crowd: Tiger Woods is accustomed to huge audiences

Overnight leader Hunter Mahan could only manage a two-over 73 to finish the day five under in joint fifth, alongside Billy Hurley III who carded a best-of-the-day 66.

Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela was on his own on four under.

Woods was bogey-free for his round, which included birdies at the first, third, sixth and 10th, and he used only five putts over the first six holes.

The unusual conditions did not seem to adversely affect Woods, but Van Pelt joked: 'I told Tiger that was a Bo Van Pelt crowd, so I was used to that. I was very comfortable with 10 or 15 people watching me play golf.'

Joke: Bo Van Pelt told Woods he was used to no crowd

Joke: Bo Van Pelt told Woods he was used to no crowd

Van Pelt also did not drop a shot, carding four birdies all on the front nine.

'It was nice to just get it in,' Van Pelt said on www.pgatour.com. 'I think we're all fortunate that nobody got hurt out here last night.

'It's a credit to the ground staff that they got this golf course ready. I'm sure if you saw pictures of what it looked like at midnight the fact that we played golf today is a minor miracle.'

Zimbabwean De Jonge, who birdied the second, sixth and 12th, could have had a two-stroke lead but for a bogey on 14.

Good show: Woods is back in contention

Good show: Woods is back in contention

Defending champion Nick Watney was two under to sit five off the pace, one ahead of England's Greg Owen who went round in 67 today.

Scotland's Martin Laird finished the day one over, one stroke ahead of Englishman Brian Davis.

Joachim Loew looking for stability for Germany ahead of final warm-up against Israel

Ready or not Stuttering Germany looking for stability ahead of final warm-up clash against Israel

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UPDATED:

12:38 GMT, 30 May 2012

Going against tradition, Germany are encountering some serious concerns with their preparation ahead of a major tournament.

The Germans were comprehensively beaten 5-3 by Switzerland on Saturday, and manager Joachim Loew hopes his side will be a little less hospitable at the European Championships in Ukraine and Poland.

High spirits German players must pick themselves up after a demoralising defeat to Switzerland on Saturday

High spirits German players must pick themselves up after a demoralising defeat to Switzerland on Saturday

The eight Bayern Munich players, who lost the Champions League final to Chelsea, only joined the squad on Sunday, and should plug a few holes in a leaky back four for Germany's final test against Israel on Thursday.

Switzerland are not the only team to have beaten Loew's side in Germany this year, they also lost 2-1 at home to France in February.

The last time Germany started the year with back-to-back defeats was 31 years ago.

Set for glory Joachim Loew (centre) will be hoping to lift the Euro 2012 trophy in July

Set for glory Joachim Loew (centre) will be hoping to lift the Euro 2012 trophy in July

Tweaking: Loew says his side are working well together

Tweaking: Loew says his side are working well together

The morale may still be low for the trophyless Bayern players. Not only did they miss out on the Champions League, but they were runners up in the Bundesliga and the DFP-Pokal cup to Boroussia Dortmund.

Loew has put on a brave face, saying the preparations have been 'right on target' and that he is happy to have 'such classy players' in defence.

Injury woes: Bastian Schweinsteiger (left) and Miroslav Klose (left) are both struggling with knocks

Injury woes: Bastian Schweinsteiger (left) and Miroslav Klose (left) are both struggling with knocks

Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker, who recently recovered from an ankle injury, and Mats Hummels looked all at sea against Switzerland, but Loew says he only has some minor changes to make.

'We just have to tweak a few things,' he said. 'Basically, everyone can play with everyone else. We're working on it.'

Captain Philipp Lahm will return to left-back, although he's been playing at his prefered right-back for Bayern all season.

'That has nothing to do with how we'll play against Portugal,' Loew said with a view to Germany's first game of the tournament on June 9.

Humiliated: Mats Hummels (centre) and co looked out of sorts when they were beaten by Switzerland

Humiliated: Mats Hummels (centre) and co looked out of sorts when they were beaten by Switzerland

If bad form and disrupted preparations weren't enough, Loew also has a number of injury concerns ahead of the finals.

Midfield talisman Bastian Schweinsteiger is a doubt with a calf injury for the Israel game, and has not participated fully in training at the German camp in southern France this week.

'The question is if he can handle the pain,' Loew said. 'It (the injury) is a bit more difficult than we've thought.'

Striker Miroslav Klose is also struggling to come back after tearing a thigh muscle in March.

Waiting to pounce: Cristiano Ronaldo (centre) and Portugal face Germany in their opening game

Waiting to pounce: Cristiano Ronaldo (centre) and Portugal face Germany in their opening game

Mario Gomez, the only other striker in the final 23-man squad, has lost his tremendous early season form in recent weeks.

Germany's last match against Israel was a 7-1 win in 2002.

Germany have been lumbered with the toughest draw in the tournament. As well as Portugal, they face the Netherlands on June 13 and Denmark on June 17.