Tag Archives: redemption

Lennox Lewis to train with David Price for Tony Thompson rematch

Price calls on heavyweight legend Lewis to join him on road to redemption

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

09:01 GMT, 26 April 2013

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UPDATED:

09:17 GMT, 26 April 2013

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David Price has teamed up with former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis as he bids to get his career back on track following defeat to Tony Thompson.

Price, 29, was stunned by the veteran American in Liverpool in February, suffering his first professional defeat by way of a second-round knockout.

And he has sought the advice of Lewis who rebuilt his own career following defeats to first Oliver McCall and then Hasim Rahman.

Blow: David Price lost to Tony Thompson in February but has the chance for revenge in July

Blow: David Price lost to Tony Thompson in February but has the chance for revenge in July

Price starts out on the road to redemption in Canada next week when he will train under the watchful eye of Lewis ahead of his rematch with Thompson at the Liverpool Echo Arena on July 6.

'This is a fantastic opportunity to be able to work with one of the
greatest heavyweights of all time and I'm sure his knowledge will prove
to be invaluable,' Price said.

Comeback: Lennox Lewis was knocked out by Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman but avenged both losses

Comeback: Lennox Lewis was knocked out by Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman but avenged both losses

Lennox Lewis (R) is counted out after being knocked out by little-known challenger Hasim Rahman

Lewis has been retired for almost 10 years, bowing out on a high with victory over Vitali Klitschko.

He avenged both defeats on his record and was also successful against the likes of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.

'David is a dedicated fighter,; he said. 'He takes his training seriously and is single minded in wanting to avenge that defeat and as a fighter I understand that and want to help him towards his goal.'

Lennox Lewis

Lennox Lewis

Main man: Lewis was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, winning 41 of his 44 contests

Katherine Grainger: Sports Personality of the Year nominee

Homicide PhD and SPOTY nomination end London 2012 heroine Grainger's year to die for…

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UPDATED:

23:41 GMT, 11 December 2012

Not once in 15 years had she merited so much as a sideways glance from a passing fan. Somehow, Katherine Grainger imagined that she would retain her blessed anonymity for ever. And she’s supposed to be the brains of the outfit…

In fairness, it's easy to see why the phenomenal rower with the equally impressive intellect – she has a Masters degree, with a PhD almost completed – should be stumped about nationwide fame and its potential hysteria.

After all, if an astonishing six world titles and three successive Olympic silvers hadn’t piqued much interest beyond her own sport, why should she expect the wider public to be swept up in her summer tale of sweet redemption and long-awaited reward

Gold standard: Grainger (right) was one of Team GB's heroes in the summer

Gold standard: Grainger (right) was one of Team GB's heroes in the summer

Protected in the bubble around so many elite athletes, she genuinely had no idea that finally landing an Olympic gold would stir emotions throughout the land.

Grainger, whose success with Anna Watkins in the double sculls provided one of the great moments of London 2012, told Sportsmail: 'I didn't realise until afterwards how much that gold medal meant to everyone. It’s probably a good thing, in hindsight.

'It was an incredible moment, with what it meant to Anna and me, as well as Paul Thompson, our coach. We were aware of what it meant to us and those close to us.

'The room Anna and I shared in the village was full of cards from people saying lovely things. But we had no idea the nation was following us, not until we went out in the Olympic Park a few days later.

'I've been doing this for 15 years and have never been recognised, ever. And I never expected to. Could I walk down a High Street Of course, I could. Nobody knows who I am. But we went into the Olympic Park, just excited to be finished and be out watching other sport.

'We got maybe 50 yards and got mobbed. People were hugging us, crying, wanting photos and autographs. We just couldn’t move.

Magic moment: Grainger's life changed after winning double sculls at Eton Dorney

Magic moment: Grainger's life changed after winning double sculls at Eton Dorney

'I stood there thinking, “Hang on a minute, how do you know who I am Are you sure you’re not mistaking me for someone else” That is when I got it. That is when I realise it wasn't just our story. It told me everything about the scale of the Games – that we would never see anything like this again.'

If the glory of London 2012 may never be repeated, the prospect of winning another Olympic gold shouldn’t be ruled out. At 37, Grainger is in no rush to decide.

Her life since the summer has been a whirlwind of events, ceremonies and appointments. She has delivered inspirational talks, including delivering the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Christmas Lecture, and chatted with schoolchildren.

If it has all felt like one extended celebration of a glorious Olympic summer, Glasgow-born Grainger knows she cannot avoid returning to her other great love, and a much darker subject, much longer – her homicide PhD, to be completed by the end of March.

'The original deadline was July 2012, which wasn’t great planning,’ she laughs. 'The university are hugely supportive, but they weren’t going to just stop for anything.

'So yes, I did expect an extension to take in the Olympics but I don’t expect them to give me anything beyond that.

'I thought I would give myself two or
three months to enjoy the post-Olympic experience, then imagined I’d be
back in the library hard at it by now. It hasn’t quite worked out like
that.

All smiles: Grainger with team-mate Anna Watkins

All smiles: Grainger with team-mate Anna Watkins

'So I've got until after Christmas to enjoy this, as it's a unique experience, then the new year will be all about getting the PhD done. It is homicide I’m studying and it is a dark subject but fascinating. It questions things politically, socially, morally, ethically. It shows where cracks start forming in our society.

'It's an emotional subject and it's fascinating to see how we've got to where we are now. It's a shame it has come at the same time as the Olympics as it has taken a back seat for the last year but it is time for it to come back to the fore.'

Long term, law may be where Grainger's future lies, but she says it is no more than ‘an option’. The girl who took up rowing at Edinburgh University almost 20 years ago strikes you as someone capable of succeeding in any field.

She’s enjoying staying indoors on freezing mornings, instead of doing double sessions on the water. She claims to look back on those with some fondness – 'That's how we achieved what we did' – but doesn't miss them.

Life has been more chaotic without the routine. Grainger says: 'The invitations come in. It’s a crazy mix of the incredibly formal, with heads of state, monarchs, you name it, to speaking to kids at the school where my sister teaches. I did that on Skype, so I could sit at home in my pyjamas!'

Next up for Grainger is Sunday night's BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, as one of 12 contenders of unprecedented quality.

'You don't always get invited, so the invitation just to attend SPOTY is wonderful,’ she says with typical self-effacement. ‘Then I got the call that I’m on the list. It has never happened for a female rower.

'It's odd to be nominated when Anna isn’t. But she knows how great it is for the sport and is hugely supportive.

'Any one of those athletes, looking at what they’ve achieved, there are iconic names, incredible results, multiple medallists. How do you narrow it down How do you even choose a top three

'To be in the top 12 in this year, of all years, the biggest year in British sport, is such an honour. Just being on the list is a prize in itself.

'I've got everything I ever wanted, I got it all in the summer. It’s been enough. More than enough.'

New Zealand coach Ian Foster criticises Chris Robshaw for his decision making

He'd have been shot! That's what All Blacks would have done to 'calamity captain' Chris

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UPDATED:

12:19 GMT, 27 November 2012

England’s under-fire captain Chris Robshaw found sympathy in short supply when New Zealand indicated their disapproval of his decision making.

Robshaw has been heavily criticised for directing Owen Farrell to kick for goal when England trailed 16-12 to South Africa with two minutes remaining of Saturday’s clash at Twickenham.

New Zealand assistant coach Ian Foster showed his disdain for Robshaw’s decision when asked how he would react if an All Blacks’ captain made the same call.

Scroll down for video

Not impressed: New Zealand assistant coach Ian Foster had little sympathy for Chris Robshaw

Not impressed: New Zealand assistant coach Ian Foster had little sympathy for Chris Robshaw

Foster pointed an imaginary gun to his head and pulled the trigger while veteran centre Conrad Smith, who was sat beside him, grinned.

Farrell’s attempt was successful but there was no time left to secure victory as the Springboks held out for a 16-15 triumph.

Successive defeats to Australia and South Africa have left England facing a whitewash in their QBE internationals against the southern hemisphere heavyweights.

But Foster refuses to underestimate their
challenge at Twickenham on Saturday as New Zealand attempt to stretch
their unbeaten run to 21 Tests.

Mocked: Robshaw's decision making was being mocked on Twitter with a picture of him competing on Who wants to be a Millionaire

Mocked: Robshaw's decision making was being mocked on Twitter with a picture of him competing on Who wants to be a Millionaire

'It’s a dangerous time to be playing England. We saw that a little bit when we played Wales on Saturday,” Foster said.

'They will have targeted us and there’s no better way for redemption when you’ve had a couple of defeats than to knock over a top team.

'Between that and the youth they have, a little sense of adventure could come into their game.

Getting it wrong: Robshaw tells Owen Farrell to kick for goal rather than kick for the corner

Getting it wrong: Robshaw tells Owen Farrell to kick for goal rather than kick for the corner

'They’ve come off two big games so the energy levels will be pretty even and it will just be about who executes the best.

'They showed during their summer series in South Africa that they can play with a bit of width. They proved they have the ability to do that.

'It’s going to be at least as tough as the Wales match from what we’ve seen.

'That was a very physical game and we were fortunate to execute really well in some moments and pile on a lot of pressure.'

Video courtesy of Sky Sports News

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England versus New Zealand is live on Sky Sports 1 from 2pm this Saturday.

Ireland 12 South Africa 16: match report

Ireland 12 South Africa 16: Sexton's points not enough to hold off powerful Sprinkboks

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UPDATED:

21:03 GMT, 10 November 2012

Ireland's hopes of humbling South Africa were picked apart in a one-sided second half of tonight's Guinness Series opener at Aviva Stadium.

Jonathan Sexton kicked four penalties as the Irish seized the 12-3 interval lead their dominance deserved, only for the Springboks to then ignite their power game.

Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar crossed for the night's only try in the 45th minute and Pat Lambie kicked 11 points as South Africa, who started as strong favourites, took control.

Turning it on: Ruan Pienaar (centre) scored the only try of the match against Ireland

Turning it on: Ruan Pienaar (centre) scored the only try of the match against Ireland

The result condemned Ireland to a fifth successive Test defeat, which is their worst losing run for 14 years as they failed to claim redemption for a painful 60-0 drubbing by New Zealand in June.

Missing the highly-influential Brian O'Driscoll, Paul O'Connell, Rory Best, Stephen Ferris, Sean O'Brien and Rob Kearney to injury, they entered the match unburdened by high expectations.

But despite the absence of six key personnel, they will be disappointed by their inability to dispatch opposition that was lethargic and pedestrian in the first half.

Ireland have won three of their last four meetings with South Africa and tonight was a missed opportunity to improve that sequence.

The absence of Lions captains O'Driscoll and O'Connell saw Jamie Heaslip lead the team for the first time and while he sought to inspire his side, he was sin-binned in the second half.

Full-back Simon Zebo, winning his second cap, passed an early test under the high ball and moments later Gordon D'Arcy launched an intelligent counter-attack that ended with a poor chip kick from Keith Earls.

Just 10 minutes into the game and South Africa had conceded four cheap penalties, two of which were sent between the uprights by Sexton.

It was an encouraging start by muscular Ireland, who were having few problems dealing with the Springboks' route one approach.

All in black: Ireland donned a full black strip so not to clash with the Sprinkboks' green

All in black: Ireland donned a full black strip so not to clash with the Sprinkboks' green

All in black: Ireland donned a full black strip so not to clash with the Sprinkboks' green

Earls knocked on just as he was sent through a gap by Sexton and the fly-half then took time to climb to his feet after halting a bulldozing run by JP Pietersen.

Lambie and Sexton exchanged penalties but Ireland were still playing most of the rugby, showing invention as they worked their way downfield.

D'Arcy was thriving in the absence of O'Driscoll as he welcomed the responsibility of being the senior figure in Ireland's midfield.

Repeatedly tested under the high ball, Tommy Bowe had impressed while man of the match Mike McCarthy and the Irish back row of Heaslip, Peter O'Mahony and Chris Henry were making their presence felt.

South Africa's composure crumbled as first Willem Alberts kneed Sexton in the ribs and then Pietersen was sent to the sin bin for using the shoulder while tackling Henry early.

Another three points from Sexton punished the Springboks' indiscipline as Ireland opened a 12-3 lead they fully merited.

The home side's superiority in broken play and out wide was evident, but they also looked happy to mix it with the bigger South African pack.

Sexton missed his first penalty of the evening and the half finished with Springbok scrum-half Pienaar falling short from long range.

McCarthy cut Eben Etzebeth in half with a bone-jarring hit just moments after Cian Healy had wobbled off to be assessed by a specialist in the concussion bin.

Point scoring: Jonathan Sexton kicked four penalties

Point scoring: Jonathan Sexton kicked four penalties

But South Africa were finally coming alive and almost crossed through hooker Adriaan Strauss at a line-out drive in a passage of play that saw Heaslip sin-binned for standing offside.

Scenting blood, the Springboks went for the jugular and were rewarded when Pienaar darted over from close range with Lambie converting.

The landscape of the match now look radically different with rejuvenated South Africa just two points behind.

Captain Jean de Villiers bulldozed through D'Arcy and Earls as referee Wayne Barnes offered Lambie another shot at goal which he took.

Ireland responded with a fiery passage of play that ended when Healy, who had passed his concussion test, was penalised for failing to release the ball.

Sexton and Lambie both fell short with a long-range kicks in a pressure-cooker final quarter of the match.
South Africa were now gaining a foothold at the scrum, winning two penalties in quick succession, the second of which Lambie steered between the uprights.

Ireland desperately chased the late score that would nudge them back into the lead, but were strangled out of the game by the canny Springboks.

Kevin Pietersen to be reintegrated back into England squad

Long road to redemption: Pietersen wins over ECB… now for the players

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UPDATED:

21:52 GMT, 3 October 2012

There were times during a surreal 10 minutes in a Colombo hotel when it seemed the subject of discussion was a mass murderer released from prison on parole rather than a cricketer who had fallen out with his team-mates.

Giles Clarke sounded more like a High Court judge than the ECB chairman when he declared: ‘In our society we believe that when an individual transgresses and then apologises it is important that they should be given a real opportunity to be reintegrated into our society.’ In other words, Kevin Pietersen should be back playing cricket for England again soon.

It was expected that Clarke would announce Pietersen had signed a new central contract and would be added to the Test squad for the tour of India after saying sorry for the dispute that has cast a cloud over England.

On the defensive: Kevin Pietersen announces his peace deal with ECB chairman Giles Clarke

On the defensive: Kevin Pietersen announces his peace deal with ECB chairman Giles Clarke

It turned out to be more complicated than that. The contract is initially for four months, effectively putting him on trial, while Pietersen will be expected to undertake a series of dashes to and from South Africa over the next three weeks to thrash out his differences before he is allowed back into the team. An independent disputes conciliator may even be involved.

Pietersen will still probably be back around the start of that India tour, or even the training camp in Dubai that precedes it, but it seems that the ECB will make him jump through a few more hoops first. They may be prepared to forgive but they are not going to forget his indiscretions just yet.

Statement of intent: Pietersen reads a statement during a press conference

Statement of intent: Pietersen reads a statement during a press conference

The full extent of those indiscretions remains a mystery as neither Clarke nor Pietersen, unlikely bedfellows thrown together for the final throes of this bitter saga, were prepared to say just how it came to this in a gathering at which just three questions were allowed. ‘We are not going to discuss archeology,’ said Clarke enigmatically when asked to talk about the past.

This was the conclusion, for now, to two months of rancour and intrigue sparked by the ‘provocative’ BlackBerry messenger texts Pietersen sent to South Africa players during the Headingley Test, the tipping point of his disengagement from the England team.

Back in the spotlight: Pietersen is expected to re-join the England team in the coming weeks

Back in the spotlight: Pietersen is expected to re-join the England team in the coming weeks

Talks have been going on almost ever since but it was not until Clarke and Pietersen spent two-and-a-half hours together on Wednesday that we found ourselves listening to Pietersen’s apology and his insistence he wants to be an England player again in all formats for the next three years. He also wants to see his son Dylan play for England.

If it was all about a ‘reintegration process’ it was also about pragmatism. Andy Flower, we were told, not only supported the moves to get Pietersen back but instigated them. The senior players who have privately given the impression they would rather have a mass murderer in their ranks than Pietersen are now apparently happy, or at least resigned, to having him back and want that sooner rather than later.

Back in the squad: England coach Andy Flower and senior members of the England team have apparently supported the 'reintegration process' for Pietersen

Back in the squad: England coach Andy Flower and senior members of the England team have apparently supported the 'reintegration process' for Pietersen

They are a better team with him and would improve their chances of winning in India if he were rushed back. The players do not want to lose without Pietersen while hearing all the while from his chums such as Piers Morgan that things would be so different if KP were there.

WHAT THEY SAID…

SIR IAN BOTHAM 'I think he's a world-class player but this should have been sorted out at the very beginning. The more it drags on, the more half-truths become truths. It needed to be nipped in the bud. It will be difficult now.'

Former England captain Botham thinks Pietersen's proposed return to the national side is unlikely to be a smooth one.

JONATHAN AGNEW 'In 35 years in cricket I have never heard of the need for a “reintegration process”.'

BBC commentator Agnew expresses his confusion.

BOB WILLIS 'I find it flabbergasting that Pietersen can convince the ECB that he didn't say anything derogatory about the England captain. These texts were called “provocative” by the ECB. If they're provocative there must have been criticism. He's upset every dressing room he's been in so he needs to change his ways.'

Former England fast bowler Willis shows his astonishment that the ECB had accepted Pietersen's version of events.

BRIAN CLOSE 'If I had been his captain I would have sorted him out. I played in a totally different time when there was a lot more loyalty within the team.'

The former England and Yorkshire star bemoans how times have changed.

ANGUS FRASER 'People that are usually “reintegrated” are criminals after rulings by the courts. It seems like some social experiment: we'll see you for two hours on a Tuesday and four hours on Thursday. The language doesn't suggest a lot of warmth. It's almost like people are doing this because they feel they have to.'

Former England seamer Fraser is sceptical about the announcement.

SHANE WARNE 'We have to get on with it, it's good to have him back. It is good to see common sense prevail.'

The great Australian legspinner, a close friend of Pietersen, believes this is a positive outcome.

RICHARD GIBSON

So there is every chance now that he will line up in Ahmedabad on November 15 rather than delaying his entrance until the much more winnable tour of New Zealand in February. That way the ‘big man’ will not be perceived to be riding to England’s rescue after another setback. If England are going to be beaten in India they want it to be with Pietersen, not without him. Cynical, maybe, but understandable.

Before that happens Pietersen must ensure he does not put his foot in it when he flies from the Champions League in South Africa, where he will be playing for Delhi, to meet those players and management he has upset most. If a fly has to choose a wall to visit while those talks take place, it would be advised to make it Graeme Swann’s.

It will be a fragile peace but it is worth all the effort if it truly means Pietersen is committed in all formats and does not want to have his Indian Premier League cake while eating all the goodies that come from a lucrative central contract.

He has behaved poorly and erratically but he is too good to abandon and England are not good enough to turn their backs on him. They need each other whether they like it or not. Can things be the same ‘Definitely,’ insisted Pietersen even though, in truth, things have never been quite the same for him with England since he was effectively sacked as captain by the man who sat to his right yesterday.

The body language between Clarke and Pietersen was fascinating, the chairman in one of his best silk suits brimming with defiance and the outcast not quite dressed in sackcloth but looking a little uncomfortable.

There was the odd half-smile towards the press — or the ECB toadies as his supporters call us — from Pietersen and he stumbled over some of his statement.

It is not clear whether Pietersen accepts he has erred — remember, he said it was not easy being him in the England dressing room — but he was indignant over suggestions he offered tactical advice to South Africa. Even so, he will drop legal action against two newspapers which suggested he did so.

Those missives have not been seen by the ECB and never will be now as they have disappeared into the ether, but Clarke says that he has a ‘binding assurance’ from Pietersen that, while they may have been provocative, they were not derogatory.

That was enough to secure yesterday’s deal. Only time will tell whether everyone concerned truly can put the ‘archeology’ behind them and dig themselves out of a rather large hole. This is far from the end of the search for a satisfactory solution.

London 2012 Olympics: Adam Gemili narrowly missed out on a place in the 100m final

What a Gem! Teen Brit Adam just misses out on final flourish

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UPDATED:

22:54 GMT, 5 August 2012

Three Britons reached the men’s 100m semi-finals and Dwain Chambers, Adam Gemili and James Dasaolu all went out.

But while Chambers will look back, not for the first time, at what might have been, and Dasaolu can be satisfied with his performance, 18-year-old Gemili can dream of what the future could hold.

It came down to three one-hundredths of a second in the end for Chambers. That was all that separated the former drugs cheat from reaching his second Olympic final, 12 years after he finished fourth in Sydney.

Just missing out: Adam Gemili came third in his semi-final but was not quick enough to make the final

Just missing out: Adam Gemili came third in his semi-final but was not quick enough to make the final

But the thing that will gall him most The knowledge his first-round time, 10.02 seconds, could just have seen him pip the silver medallist from Beijing, Richard Thompson, to a place in the most eagerly awaited 100m final in history.

It was not to be. Drawn in a lane next to Usain Bolt, Chambers drove out of the blocks well but visibly tensed up when he sensed the Jamaican begin to ease past him.

As the world record-holder floated away, the 34-year-old’s neck muscles became tauter and he slipped back to fourth, his knee lift looking more and more strained. ‘I ran out of petrol,’ he said.

There was not quite redemption for Chambers on the track after serving a two-year drugs ban and getting a second chance to savour the Olympic experience through the courts.

Going close: Gemili finished behinds Yohan Blake

Going close: Gemili finished behinds Yohan Blake

OH SO CLOSE…

There may have been no British representative in last night’s 100 metres final — but our sprinters came mighty close.

Dwain Chambers and Adam Gemili were two of the three fastest not to make the final. Sprint sensation Gemili, 18, ran 10.06sec, just outside his personal best.

Chambers — running next to Usain Bolt in the second semi-final — clocked 10.05sec and just missed out to Trinidad and Tobago’s Keston Bledman.

But there was a moment he will cherish, as, before his heat, he was warmly cheered by the British crowd.

‘I’m gutted that I didn’t make the final, but we can’t have it all,’ he said. ‘It was worth it to soak up the atmosphere. I loved every moment.’

Gemili, too, came close to a place in the final, clocking 10.06 as he powered to third place in his semi-final. But his whole demeanour could not have been more different to that of Chambers, the experienced campaigner.

This is all new to the teenager from Dartford, Kent, the world junior 100m champion.

Gemili started training full-time only
in January and probably thought he would be running up hills as part of
Dagenham and Redbridge’s pre-season programme instead of lining up in
the Olympic Stadium.

End of the dream: Dwain Chambers missed out on a place in the final

End of the dream: Dwain Chambers missed out on a place in the final

Perhaps it was no coincidence that the best phase of his race was the last 20 metres or so.

As the athletes prepared to walk on to the track, Gemili had the disorientated look of someone asking for directions. When the camera panned to him on the start line, in a race boasting Yohan Blake and Tyson Gay, he smiled and looked embarrassed.

There was nothing wrong with that. The bravado and showboating of a 100m sprinter will come, if Gemili wants it. His promise is in the natural, unguarded way he runs.

Disappointment: James Dasaolu missed out on a place in the final

Disappointment: James Dasaolu missed out on a place in the final

His style isn’t complicated or over-thought. He just does it. This experience will only help him build the consistency needed to perform over three rounds in a major championship.

‘It is an amazing experience to make the semi-finals,’ he said. ‘I am disappointed to come third but I lost to two of the best athletes in the world.’ There is no shame in that.

No shame, either, for Dasaolu, the 25-year-old from Croydon who has suffered hamstring, calf and groin injuries over the past Olympic cycle.

He was in the same race as Asafa Powell, whom he has called his ‘hero’ in the past, and finished seventh, tying up a little at the end to clock 10.18.

It was, however, the fastest Olympic semi-final of all time. There is still plenty of time for Dasaolu too.

Kevin Mitchell eyes world title win over Ricky Burns at Upton Park on July 14

EXCLUSIVE: Mitchell eyes redemption as he prepares for title bout with Burns

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UPDATED:

18:43 GMT, 10 May 2012

Kevin Mitchell has warned Ricky Burns to be prepared for the toughest fight of his life after the pair were added to the David Haye-Dereck Chisora undercard on July 14.

The world lightweight championship announcement signals a return to Upton Park for Mitchell – home of the 27-year-old challenger's beloved West Ham United football club and scene of his only defeat from 34 bouts to date.

The Dagenham Destroyer admits he struggled to overcome some inner demons that night in May two years ago. But with a renewed sense of optimism, following two magnificent comeback wins over John Murray and, more recently in February, against Felix Lora, Mitchell is certain that there will be no repeat of his stoppage to Michael Katsidis.

Old stomping ground: Kevin Mitchell is returning to Upton Park for the first time since he was defeated by Australian Michael Katsidis two years ago

Old stomping ground: Kevin Mitchell is returning to Upton Park for the first time since he was defeated by Australian Michael Katsidis two years ago

'I can't wait to get back in the ring at Upton Park,' he told Sportsmail. 'There's definitely unfinished business but it's the chance for me to win the world title.

'I don't care what anyone says. Yes, I got beat last time but I'll be on form for my fans. I fancy it to be a hard gutsy fight… a tough 12 rounds. So, I'll prepare my body black and blue like I did for the John Murray fight and keep my mind straight.'

Despite his road to redemption, the decision to join the controversial 'Licensed to Thrill' bill in the East End was not one Mitchell took lightly following the British Boxing Board of Control's stern warning on Wednesday.

Got my eye on you: Ricky Burns

Got my eye on you: Ricky Burns

The commission issued a statement to say that anyone involved in the Luxembourg Boxing Federation sanctioned event would have their licence revoked.

But Mitchell, promoted by Frank Warren since he turned professional as a teenager in 2003, feels their stance is slightly harsh.

'It does concern me because I like the board of control and the people who run it,' he admitted. 'But it's only boxing. They [Haye and Chisora] both made a mistake outside the ring and have apologised for it. Now they should let them put their gloves on and sort it out inside the ring.

'It's making money, it's a big interest fight. The ticket sales are proof of that. Apparently, they've sold 18,000 tickets already and I reckon there will be 40,000 there on the night.

'If people didn't want to see this fight, then it wouldn't have sold that many tickets. It's going to be a massive event so I'm happy to be a part of it.

'Obviously there were doubts about it taking place because of everything that happened between them [in Munich]. But it's stupid. They made a mistake – they had a punch-up and had a tiff. They hate each other. End of.'

Mitchell won't allow himself to be distracted ahead of a world title fight against Scotland's Burns, however, which he concedes is 'all or nothing'.

He recently returned from a two-week training break in the Rocky Montains of Montana in the USA and has since returned to his gruelling body combat sessions at the TKO Gym in Canning Town under the guidance of renowned trainer Mark Tibbs.

Main attraction: Mitchell will appear on David Haye v Derek Chisora's undercard

Main attraction: Mitchell will appear on David Haye v Derek Chisora's undercard

He has fought just once since his 2011 Fight of the Year win in Liverpool against Manchester's then-unbeaten Murray, winning a points verdict at York Hall against tricky Spaniard Felix Lora.

Any fears of ring rust are promptly played down, with Mitchell insisting a long break from the ring is just what he needs to win his first-ever world championship this summer.

'I took a long time out before the Murray fight,' he explained. 'I took a longer time out before the [Breidis] Prescott fight. I'm not one of these guys who always needs to be in the ring,

'I've been doing it this way for a long time now so I know my game. I've been training very, very hard and I'll be all set for the fight.

'My training's started. I've been out in Montana where everybody there looked after me so well for two weeks, keeping my weight down. Now I've come back and I'm ready to step it up.

'I do a lot of body combat so I'll be
prepared for any big body shots he can throw at me. I've got to
approach this full on at 100 per cent and I can tell you, it ain't going
to be easy. They'll be some hard times for me in the gym.'

Going way back: Mitchell has been supported by promoter Frank Warren ever since turning professional as a teenager from Dagenham

Going way back: Mitchell has been supported by promoter Frank Warren ever since turning professional as a teenager from Dagenham

Should Mitchell beat his 29-year-old rival for the WBO crown in his east London back garden, he has already promised Murray a first shot at his title.

'Whatever I have to do in there that night, I will win,' he vowed. 'And I think they know that because that's why, at first, they didn't want the fight.

'They tried to duck me, for which I don't blame them. It's not the sort of fight I'd want to take if I was world champion.

'It's going to be hard and they probably wanted a few fights with guys they could just walk round and beat, knowing they're definitely going to win. But against me they know they've got a good chance of getting beat.

'He's no idiot. He's a brave man, a very nice man. But I've said that when I win the title I'm going to give John Murray the first shot at it.

'I promise you, I'm not going there to get beat.'

Beware, Burns. Mitchell's certainly not playing games this time.

Jonathan McEvoy: Dwain Chambers, spare us the tears

Jonathan McEvoy: Spare us the tears, Chambers, you set out to rob your fellow sprinters

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UPDATED:

23:21 GMT, 7 May 2012

Let's just remind ourselves of the word peddled so liberally by the mercy-gone-mad apologists for Dwain Chambers. Redemption, they cried.

They said you would not

treat a fraudster responsible for big-time theft as badly as poor Dwain. The culprit would serve his time in jail and then, hopefully reformed and certainly punished, be released into a life of freedom. Chambers, they said, was being punished for ever.

Well, let's look into Chambers’s world as he awaited the news that he could run at this summer’s Olympics.

Pride of Britain I don't think so, Dwain

Pride of Britain I don't think so, Dwain

Pride of Britain I don't think so, Dwain

DWAIN CHAMBERS INTERVIEW

Neil Wilson speaks to the sprinter: 'You can do all the training in the world, but if the crowd isn't cheering it's curtains'

He tells us he was in the scorching Caribbean heat – approximately 20oC warmer than in Belmarsh yard – training with some of the finest sprinters in the world. He could pay his fare and for his Kingston flat.

On learning of his Olympic reprieve, he hopped from one island to another.

What our hard-working nurses would give for such hardship. It’s hardly a case of slamming the door and throwing away the keys, is it

His circumstances render the word redemption virtually irrelevant. He was competing widely, pursuing his sport.

It simply ought to be the right of the BOA to pick the GB team as they see fit. It is their club. It should be their rules. If fellow British athletes don’t want a drug cheat in their midst – as every poll has suggested, no matter what Chambers might say — then so be it.

What is more, he was a potential big-time thief. He set out to rob clean sprinters of medals and the millions of pounds they could make from success in the most lucrative track discipline.

That is why there is a case for lifetime bans, extending beyond the Olympics, even if lawyers have a heart attack at the idea.

Djibril Cisse can atone for red cards

Cisse has chance to atone for red mist by firing Rangers to safety

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UPDATED:

22:29 GMT, 15 April 2012

Had Djibril Cisse been able to control his temper or his tackling, it is possible Queens Park Rangers would have been on the fringe of safety by now.

While Cisse, three goals and two red cards in five appearances, sat out the final game of his four-match ban, his team-mates failed to find the cutting edge to match their second-half display.

Red mist: Cisse has been sent off twice in his five-game Rangers career

Red mist: Cisse has been sent off twice in his five-game Rangers career

For manager Mark Hughes it is one step forward, one step back. For Cisse, available for the run-in, it is the chance of redemption.

‘He will be itching to get back and prove people wrong who have been having a go at him,’ predicted QPR defender Clint Hill.

Graham Dorrans’s fabulous strike put West Bromwich Albion into the 40-plus points comfort zone and manager Roy Hodgson is aware of what Hughes is going through after twice mounting successful survival operations.

‘I was lucky enough to do it last year and at Fulham. I’m sure Mark will be thinking he did not have a lot of luck today.’

Dereck Chisora loses to Vitali Klitschko

Before 'The Brawl in the Halle', Chisora put up a proper fight against Klitschko

Lest we forget, a fight did break out here before the roof of the Olympiahalle fell in on boxing.

If it is possible to find redemption for behaving like a lout in the street by fighting like a lion in the ring, then Dereck Chisora was on his way to doing himself a measure of good until he and David Haye went berserk in the bar.

Not that taking the venerable Vitali Klitschko the full 12-round world heavyweight championship distance was ever going to spare Del Boy the loss of much of his painfully earned $300,000-plus purse.

Front foot: Dereck Chisora attempted to take the fight to Vitali Klitschko

Front foot: Dereck Chisora attempted to take the fight to Vitali Klitschko

He had already been warned by the WBC to expect a $50,000 fine for slapping Klitschko’s face at the weigh-in. The spectre of further sanctions loomed as he spat a stream of water at Vitali and his brother Wladimir during the pre-fight rituals in the ring. Make that $100,000.

Then, as we are all aware to our patriotic embarrassment, came The Brawl in the Halle. /02/19/article-2103459-11CDD344000005DC-207_468x286.jpg” width=”468″ height=”286″ alt=”Hitting back: Klitschko won the fight by a unanimous decision” class=”blkBorder” />

Hitting back: Klitschko won the fight by a unanimous decision

It is tempting to say that he’s asked for it, on other red-mist occasions as well as here. Yet you can’t shake off the feeling he does deserve some reward for his sterling efforts in an environment made all the more hostile by his antics.

The senior Klitschko is renowned not only for his iron fist but his granite jaw. Chisora not only put that to the test but proved the resilience of his own chin as he absorbed the giant Ukrainian’s right-handers.

Curiously, the fight was closer than the scoring, even though the judges got their round-by-round calculations just about right. My card tallied with the two who saw it 118-110, while the third official came to the same eight-point margin via 119-111.

Hype: The fighters produced their own dramatic entrance before the bout

Hype: The fighters produced their own dramatic entrance before the bout

Hype: The fighters produced their own dramatic entrance before the bout

Yet, Chisora was competitive and dangerous in most of the rounds, even if his 17-fight inexperience held him back from throwing enough punches.
That was damaging in the first three rounds, during which he was finding his feet, as well as getting hurt by body shots.

Still, his booming left and right swings won the fourth, which ended with Klitschko needing attention to a weal beside his right eye.

Thundering: Klitschko catches Chisora with a big right hand on his way to victory

Thundering: Klitschko catches Chisora with a big right hand on his way to victory

The champion then damaged his left hand, which made the rounds even tighter. Klitschko also blamed the injury for preventing him applying a knockout, saying: ‘I hardly used my left in the second half of the fight and the jab is key to setting up the KO.’

Maybe so. But at 40 he found the pace and pressure brought by Chisora tough to handle. The great Vitali was looking his age and you sense retirement is no more than two fights away now. He was still gasping for air during his immediate post-victory interview. Not that every challenger will bring Chisora’s level of intensity. And that is a comparison which does not flatter Haye following his toe-curling inaction against Wladimir last summer.

Champ: Klitschko celebrates retaining his WBC heavyweight title in Munich

Champ: Klitschko celebrates retaining his WBC heavyweight title in Munich

Chisora came to fight, not evade. The open scoring system employed by the WBC let him know that he was too far behind after the fourth and eighth rounds. Still he kept slugging away in the hope of a KO. So much so that he won the last round.

No matter what he says about being ready now to dedicate himself to winning a world title, who knows which Del Boy will turn up next time Whenever that may be, with the threat of suspension hanging over him.

What a pity he found such a grotesque way of overshadowing his own performance.

Dereck Chisora and Vitali Klitschko