Tag Archives: rumble

Lennon and Conte come to blows Celtic Juventus

And tonight's main event…Wrestlemania II! After first leg farce, Celtic and Juve get set for another royal rumble in Turin

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Mick McManus (right)

Fight night: Dwayne ''The Rock'' Johnson and John Cena in action (left) during WrestleMania XXVIII at Sun Life Stadium in April, 2012 and Seventies British TV hero Mick McManus (right)

WHo's the Daddy Wrestler Big Daddy (Shirley Crabtree) poses up with some fans in the 1970s

WHo's the Daddy Wrestler Big Daddy (Shirley Crabtree) poses up with some fans in the 1970s

'Before the ball’s kicked, he’s not doing anything. He’s entitled to stand where he likes. So he’s talking nonsense.

'We were getting hauled back and the referee is looking straight at it.

'Are the rules different in Spain and Italy to what they are in Britain On that showing they must be.'

Striker Georgios Samaras echoed Lennon's words, saying he hopes the referee in the second leg can deal with the antics better.

'It wasn't fair, I think everybody saw that,' said Samaras, who missed the first leg. 'It is how they defend set-pieces, like most Italian teams.

'Hopefully, the referee will have his eyes more open tomorrow and see clearly what's going on and it can be a fair game.'

With his side being three goals ahead in the tie, Juventus boss Conte is likely to leave out defender Giorgio Chiellini who made his return from injury in the 1-1 draw with Napoli on Friday night after for nearly three months.

Ring star: Hulk Hogan would have felt right at home in the Parkhead penalty box during the first leg visit of Juve

Ring star: Hulk Hogan would have felt right at home in the Parkhead penalty box during the first leg visit of Juve

Celtic manager Neil Lennon gestures during the UEFA Champions League, Round of Sixteen match at Celtic Park, Glasgow.

Juventus coach Antonio Conte argues during the match against Genoa in their Serie A match in Turin

Verbals: Both Lennon and Conte have locked horns in the last few weeks, with different perceptions on events in the first leg at Celtic Park, which Juventus won 3-0

Pride of Leeds: WWF Wrestler The British Bulldog

Pride of Leeds: WWF Wrestler The British Bulldog

Martin Caceres and Nicolas Anelka (both back) are also a doubt, while Paolo De Ceglie, Nicklas Bendtner and Simone Pepe (all thigh) are all long-term injuries.

Celtic need a miracle, and were boosted by Georgios Samaras returning during the 2-1 defeat away to Motherwell in the SPL last Wednesday.

However, Scott Brown's ongoing abductor problems will force him to miss the trip. Swedish fullback Mikael Lustig (thigh) also looks set to sit the game out. Lennon hopes Charlie Mulgrew can feature at some stage after injury.

‘Charlie’s all right,’ said Lennon. ‘He trained yesterday but that was his first proper training session, so it might be a bit much to stick him in straight away. We’ll see how he is.’

VIDEO: Big Daddy's big entrance on World Of Sport…

VIDEO: Wrestlemania VII featuring the British Bulldog…

Matthew Macklin set to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr in Spring 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Macklin set for Chavez Jnr clash next Spring ahead of Martinez re-match

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UPDATED:

17:15 GMT, 14 December 2012

Matthew Macklin is closing in on a mouthwatering middleweight clash with Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr – which he hopes will propel him into a rematch with Sergio Martinez.

The Birmingham-born Irishman is recovering from surgery to his nose and expects to face Chavez in America in April or May.

Macklin, 30, impressively knocked out former world champion Joachim Alcine inside the first round in Las Vegas in September while Chavez was comprehensively out-pointed by Martinez on the same night.

Ready to rumble: Matthew Macklin is confident he can strike a deal to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr next Spring

Ready to rumble: Matthew Macklin is confident he can strike a deal to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr next Spring

Martinez faces Martin Murray in Argentina on April 27 with a view to taking on Chavez again in September but Macklin, who himself was stopped by Martinez in March, plans to crash the party.

Macklin has spoken briefly to Chavez's promoter Bob Arum and expects negotiations to be completed in the new year although an exact date and venue for the bout are yet to be agreed.

'I'd say the fight is 80 per cent likely,' he told Sportsmail.

'Even though I lost the Martinez fight, I took a lot of confidence from it. From a stylistic point of view, Martinez is a nightmare but with Chavez, what you see is what you get.

'He's strong, he works the body well and puts a lot of pressure on but I certainly won't have to go looking for him. I don't think I'll find it too hard to get my own shots off. I carry a lot of power so I'd be very confident going into the fight.'

Macklin also revealed the build-up to his clash with Martinez was plagued by injury.

On the cards: Macklin believes boxing fans would love to watch him take on Chavez Jr

On the cards: Macklin believes boxing fans would love to watch him take on Chavez Jr

'Things looked great in the training camp but three weeks out, I bruised my rib in sparring so I didn't spar for the rest of the week,' he added.

'Then two weeks out, I did 12 rounds on the pads and ended up skinning my knuckle really badly on my left hand so for the last two weeks, all I did was shadow box and run.

'After round eight or nine I was ahead, in fact going into the 11th, I was three rounds up on one of the judge's card. I thought it was closer and that I needed the last two rounds to win the fight. I probably got a bit more reckless in the 11th and I got caught with some big shots.

'I felt fine to continue but [trainer] Buddy [McGirt] wouldn't let me out for the 12th and I could see his reasons. At the time I wanted to continue but there was no fallout or anything.

'Martinez hasn't had a more competitive fight since he won the belt from Kelly Pavlik. Aside from the last round, in which he was looking to survive, it was a domination of Chavez. I don't think at any stage in the fight did he dominate me.'

Re-match: Macklin wants another crack at Sergio Martinez after losing to the Argentine back in March

Re-match: Macklin wants another crack at Sergio Martinez after losing to the Argentine back in March

Macklin is confident that victory over Chavez would land him a second tilt at a world title, assuming Martinez comes through his test against Murray.

'I gave Martinez a better run than Chavez did, bar the last round [when Martinez was knocked down],' he said. 'If the last round hadn't happened, I don't think there would be any talk of a rematch but because it did, it's a very sellable fight.

'A big win against Chavez on HBO in the States would certainly set up a rematch with Sergio Martinez.'

Macklin, who admitted he was glad to see British rival Darren Barker return to action with a convincing victory over Kerry Hope last Saturday, believes the triumvirate of himself, Barker and Murray could yet clash.

'It would definitely be better when one of us has a world title,' he said. 'If I beat Chavez and then have another good win in the States, I'm not going to leave HBO and fighting for world titles in America to come back for a non-title fight.

'But a world title is not an absolute must, it comes down to timing. Everyone has their own career and it comes down to when it suits both guys that a fight will be made.'

I"m a Celebrity 2012: David Haye set to rumble in the jungle

Look who's ready to rumble in the jungle! Haye and Bristow set for I'm a Celebrity bow

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UPDATED:

16:37 GMT, 7 November 2012

Fans of the old fight game might find these pictures hard to believe, but then some have often accused David Haye of being more showman than boxer.

The former WBA world heavyweight champion boxer has been confirmed as one of this year's contestants on the hit reality TV show I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

And joining Haye in the Australian jungle will be five-time darts world champion Eric Bristow, 55.

Fighter's chance: Former heavyweight champion David Haye is ready to make a fist of it in the I'm a Celebrity jungle

Fighter's chance: Former heavyweight champion David Haye is ready to make a fist of it in the I'm a Celebrity jungle

Fighter's chance: Former heavyweight champion David Haye is ready to make a fist of it in the jungle

At the day job: British heavyweight Haye (left) in action against Dereck Chisora in July

At the day job: British heavyweight Haye (left) in action against Dereck Chisora in July

Former Coronation Street star Helen
Flanagan, who is the girlfriend of Manchester City winger Scott
Sinclair, will also her part in the show, which starts on Sunday
November 11 on ITV.

Controversial Tory MP Nadine Dorries,
former Doctor Who Colin Baker, Pussycat Dolls singer Ashley Roberts,
actor Brian Conley, EastEnders star Charlie Brooks, reality TV star Hugo
Taylor and actress Linda Robson complete the line-up.

Haye, 32, remains in training in the hope of fighting Vitali Klitschko next year.

All smiles: Darts legend Eric Bristow

All smiles: Darts legend Eric Bristow

Welcome to the jungle: Darts legend Eric Bristow is joining the rest of the I'm a Celebrity gang in Australia

At the day job: Eric Bristow in action

Once in Australia, Haye and his
fellow celebrities will be offered the chance to stay in an
eight-bedroom hotel which will have rats, scorpions, spiders and snakes
lurking behind the doors.

Producers are said to have lined up
their most gruesome Bushtucker trials to date, with stars set to dine on
kangaroo testicles and raw shark brains.

But Haye is sure to be ready for any
creature in the jungle, no matter how big or hairy. He has already shared a
ring with Nikolai 'The Beast' Valuev after all.

Jungle-bound: Helen Flanagan, girlfriend of Manchester City winger Scott Sinclair, is also on the show

Jungle-bound: Helen Flanagan, girlfriend of Manchester City winger Scott Sinclair, is also on the show

Jungle-bound: Helen Flanagan, girlfriend of Manchester City winger Scott Sinclair, is also on the show

Kevin Mitchell sober and ready to face Ricky Burns

Sober Mitchell ready for Burns night as he faces old friend in Glasgow bout

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 21 September 2012

Where better for a good old-fashioned brawl than Glasgow on a Saturday night Mix in some traditional Anglo-Scottish rivalry and the punch-up should be even feistier.

Although Ricky Burns is from Coatbridge and Kevin Mitchell an East Londoner they are pals in normal life, but for an hour or so this evening they will be Auld Enemies.

Had they been forced into this scrap a few months ago strong drink would have inflamed the situation.

Ready for action: Kevin Mitchell has kicked the drink

Ready for action: Kevin Mitchell has kicked the drink

Mitchell, however, has renounced alcohol in the knowledge that he is entering, ironically, the Last Chance Saloon.

While his mate Ricky was slipping soberly under the radar to win his world championship, Mitchell knew he had to drag himself out of the bar if he were ever to realise his life-long title ambition.

So now their differing paths cross in the ring amid anticipation that this could be as explosive as the night 22 years ago when Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn produced an British world title classic.

If it is to live up to that exalted billing, the challenger for the WBO lightweight crown must be Mitchell the committed fighting man who pounded tough John Murray into submission, not Kev the matey lad from the local who blew a gasket against Michael Katsidis.

Mitchell swears we will see the best of him, going so far as to threaten to retire at 27 if he loses to his bruising buddy.

Friends: Mitchell and Ricky Burns are buddies outside of the ring

Friends: Mitchell and Ricky Burns are buddies outside of the ring

Since we can be sure that the dedicated Burns will turn up in prime condition let’s get ready to rumble, as American announcer Michael Buffer will excite all those in attendance at the SECC and the thousands watching on BoxNation television.

The contrasting styles are equally promising.

Mitchell at his best is an all-action fighting machine ready to go to war. Burns is the more complex technical boxer. Yet the challenger can box a bit, too, while the champion is willing to mix it when the going gets tough.

Both insist they will refuse to back down so much as an inch when it comes to the crunch.

Thus we are promised as fight as furious as it should be close. Burns has home advantage and the raucous atmosphere may give him a slight edge with the judges in the event of a close decision.

Tough to beat: Burns will have home support

Tough to beat: Burns will have home support

Mitchell is burning up inside with the desire to become a world champion and he will not be intimidated by the patriotic Scottish crowd.

The extent of each man’s appetite for battle is likely to be decisive.

Burns will not want to disappoint his fans, let alone forfeit his hard-won title, and he is hungry to become recognised alongside such greats as Ken Buchanan and Jim Watt in the legend of the Scottish ring.

Mitchell, however, is ravenous for that belt. If his preparations have been as good as his word he is capable of putting a slightly early end to a wild night in Glasgow.

Burns-Mitchell is live on BoxNation via Sky Ch 437 and Virgin Ch 546

Kevin Mitchell v Ricky Burns: Dagenham Destroyer confident of victory in Glasgow

After I've knocked Burns out, the Scots will love me! Mitchell confident ahead of title fight

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UPDATED:

11:08 GMT, 19 September 2012

Kevin Mitchell insists he can't wait to enter the 'Lion's Den' in Glasgow this weekend as the Dagenham Destroyer looks to snatch the WBO World Lightweight title from home hero Ricky Burns.

In what is one of the most-eagerly anticipated domestic contests in years, Mitchell headed north of the border on Wednesday ahead of Saturday's 'Battle of Britain'.

Over 10,000 fans are expected at the SECC Arena in the Scottish city, with the majority rooting for Coatbridge fighter Burns to retain his crown.

Ready to rumble: Ricky Burns (R) will defend his WBO World Lightweight title against Kevin Mitchell in Glasgow

Ready to rumble: Ricky Burns (R) will defend his WBO World Lightweight title against Kevin Mitchell in Glasgow

Mitchell, 27, insists he is unfazed by the prospect of a hostile atmosphere and is confident he can fulfill his self-proclaimed destiny of walking away as the new world champion… with a few new followers in tow.

'I guarantee the Jocks won’t be any more naughty than the Russians I faced when I went over there as a young teenager in the amateurs,' he said, speaking to BoxNation.

'I’ve travelled all around the world with the boxing.

'I bashed up John Murray in the north-west before his crowd so fighting in Scotland won’t be an issue at all.

'After I’ve knocked him out, all the Jocks will be loving me. Just you watch 'em!'

Mitchell is under no illusions at the size of the task that awaits him though.

'Don’t get me wrong, I’m expecting a very, very hard fight,' he added.

'Ricky’s quality all the way round. He’s quick, has a hard accurate jab, can box and he also punches plenty hard enough to the body.'

Showtime: Mitchell is determined to beat Burns (pictured) in front of the Scottish fans

Showtime: Mitchell is determined to beat Burns (pictured) in front of the Scottish fans

But despite going into the bout as the underdog, Mitchell is confident he carve out the beginnings to his dream of becoming a boxing superstar and land his first ever world championship.

'I’ve got faster hands, more power and better agility,' said Mitchell.

'We know Burns can be hurt. Unlike me, he’s been put on the floor several times.

'Also, there’s my determination to become a world champion. That’s something I’ve really wanted since I was a little nine year old baby. Ricky’s already experienced that, I haven’t. My hunger is greater than his.

'This is probably my last chance. To still achieve all the things that I intend to achieve in boxing, it has to happen for me in Glasgow on Saturday night.

'I’m finally ready to become a superstar that everyone remembers, like my heroes, Barry McGuigan, Chris Eubank and Naseem (Hamed).'

Mitchell, meanwhile, is even more determined to win in Scotland as he vowed to dedicate his fight to his brave seven-year-old cousin Mitchell Huth, who sadly lost his battle with cancer last month.

Burns v Mitchell is live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546). Join at: www.boxnation.com

Cheick Tiote returns ten times better – Alan Pardew

Pardew warns Premier League Tiote has returned 'ten times better' than last summer

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UPDATED:

15:03 GMT, 6 August 2012

Ready to rumble: Cheick Tiote has come back strong

Ready to rumble: Cheick Tiote has come back strong

Cheick Tiote is looking fomidable after the summer break according to Newcastle manager Alan Pardew.

The destructive Ivorian midfielder was superb last season and the Toon's opponents need to watch out as Pardew has confirmed Tiote means business from the start.

He played well as Newcastle drew 0-0 with Dutch side ADO Den Haag on Saturday.

‘Cheick looks ten times better than he did last year, and I absolutely mean that,' Pardew told the Shields Gazette.

‘He did not come back well last summer, if I am honest. However, he has summered well this time and is in great physical shape.

‘It is going to be a big season for Cheick. All my, what I would call big players, are important if we are to progress as a team, and Cheick fails into that category. He is in a good place.’

Tiote had been linked with a big money move away from Newcastle but the rumours died down after the player announced he was looking forward to tackling the Europa League with his current side.

David Haye lighter than Dereck Chisora at Upton Park fight weigh-in

Haye 37lbs lighter than Chisora as rivals exchange final stare down at weigh-in

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UPDATED:

17:15 GMT, 12 July 2012

David Haye will be conceding 37lbs to Dereck Chisora when the British heavyweight rivals meet at Upton Park on Saturday night.

Haye scaled 210lbs at a feisty weigh-in at the Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square, the lightest he has been for any of his six heavyweight fights.

Chisora, the underdog, will enter the ring with a two and a half stones advantage after totaling 247lbs.

Scroll down for video

Ready to rumble: David Haye and Dereck Chisora are divided by a steel fence at the weigh-in

Ready to rumble: David Haye and Dereck Chisora are divided by a steel fence at the weigh-in

HAYE v CHISORA: TALE OF THE TAPE

None TITLES None
31 AGE 28
Hayemaker NICKNAME Del Boy
26 FIGHTS 18
24 (23) WINS (KO) 15 (9)
2 (1) DEFEATS (KO) 3 (0)
British NATIONALITY British
Bermondsey BIRTHPLACE Zimbabwe
Orthodox STANCE Orthodox
2002 TURNED PRO 2007
2011 LAST DEFEAT 2012
6ft 3ins HEIGHT 6ft 1.5ins
210lbs WEIGHT 247lbs
78inches REACH 74inches

Both fighters arrived with large entourages that crept within five metres of each other as Haye and Chisora weighed in, cheered on by their supporters in a packed room.

It was the fourth time Haye and Chisora have met since their infamous brawl in Munich five months ago, an incident that created the demand for Saturday's showdown.

As usual a steel fence was in place to separate them and they weighed in either side of the barrier.

When they came face to face through the mesh, Chisora and his trainer Don Charles taunted Haye.

'We drive the same cars and we're going to have the same records,' Chisora said.

Through the wire: Chisora goads rival Haye as the rivals exchange their final stare down ahead of Saturday's fight

Through the wire: Chisora goads rival Haye as the rivals exchange their final stare down ahead of Saturday's fight

'I've had three losses and after the fight he'll have had three losses. We'll be even. I'm coming for you.

'I'm feeling good, I'm excited and I can't wait. It's going to be a great fight, the fans will love it.'

Haye highlighted Chisora's lengthy criminal record and conduct within boxing as the reason for his hatred of the 28-year-old.

And he branded his opponents' supporters 'idiots'.

'Chisora's not a nice guy, the fact
he bites people in the ring, spits water in peoples' faces, slaps people
at weigh-ins, kisses people at weigh-ins. What's to like' he said.

'I don't know how anyone in their right man could support Dereck Chisora, a convicted woman beater.

'Who would support someone like that Someone who says and does the things he does What is there to support

'What type of sane human being supports someone like that Maybe another idiot would, someone like himself.

'There were a handful of idiots here who supported him, they were probably his mates.'

Making a fist of it: Haye poses for the cameras

Making a fist of it: Haye poses for the cameras

On the scales: Chisora weighed in a 37lbs heavier than rival Haye

On the scales: Chisora weighed in a 37lbs heavier than rival Haye

Haye insisted Puerto Rican referee Luis Pabon is equipped to deal with any erratic behaviour from Chisora.

'We've got a good referee who won't stand for any foolishness and I'm confident he will handle anything,' he said.

Charles also faced-off with Haye at the fence and later explained the anger he directed at the 31-year-old.

'I try my best in all the fights Dereck has had in the past to not get emotionally involved,' he said.

'But I can't stand David Haye. The arrogance he shows is beyond belief. He's delusional and lives in a dream world.

'He's a guy who plays a lot of
Playstation games and he gets caught up in that mindset, he thinks it's
all a game, but this is real.'

Frank Warren, meanwhile, has denied Upton Park could be turned into a battleground for warring West Ham and Millwall fans.

Adding a sinister backdrop to the
occasion is the potential for crowd trouble given that Bermondsey-born
Haye is a Millwall supporter.

War of words: Haye and Chisora will finally get the chance to go at eachother in the ring on Saturday

War of words: Haye and Chisora will finally get the chance to go at eachother in the ring on Saturday

The
concern is that the presence of Lions fans at Upton Park could provoke
any Hammers attending the fight, but Warren stresses the Metropolitan
Police Service are satisfied with the security arrangements in place.

'These fears that have been raised are a load of ********,' said Warren, Chisora's manager.

'I don't know how many Millwall games David Haye has been to but there hasn't been any problems at his other fights.

'Dereck supports Manchester United, so what's the issue

'The
game's at Upton Park but we're not selling tickets on the basis of West
Ham v Millwall and anybody who suggests that is irresponsible.

'The Met Police have said there is no problem with this show. They're happy with the stewarding.'

The
staging of the fight – which has been sanctioned by the Luxembourg
Boxing Federation as neither Haye nor Chisora are currently licensed by
the BBBC – has been condemned for a multitude of reasons.

Chief
among them is that the rivals are profiting from the disgraceful scenes
in Munich, where they traded blows at a press conference in the
aftermath of Chisora's loss to Vitali Klitschko.

Yet the public interest in a contest that sees Haye start as a strong favourite in undeniable with 30,000 tickets already sold.

Enlarge

Haye v Chisora

Haye vs Chisora is live on BoxNation (Sky Ch 437, Virgin Ch 546)

VIDEO: David Haye and Dereck Chisora come face to face as they weigh-in…

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Euro 2012: Wayne Rooney returns, but which England will turn up?

Now the new Rooney simply has to deliver! The big man is back, but which England will turn up

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UPDATED:

21:02 GMT, 16 June 2012

He might have been any regular fan, with his short-cropped hair, pale, freckly face and the dark blue England tracksuit top as he jumped from his seat and embraced his neighbour to acknowledge Danny Welbeck's exquisite winning goal.

But the man celebrating with England masseur Rod Thornley – with the Football Association's head of security Ray Whitworth predictably close by – was, of course, the talisman for whom a football nation has been waiting.

Ready to roar: Wayne Rooney is back to face Ukraine in a crunch clash

Ready to roar: Wayne Rooney is back to face Ukraine in a crunch clash

Euro 2012 email button

Wayne Rooney returns to an England team on Tuesday night, starting for his country for the first time since that fateful night in Podgorica, when he was shown a red card for kicking out at Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic.

The self-indulgent folly had led to his suspension for the opening two games of Euro 2012.

While it is to be hoped that England have progressed beyond the stage where the success or otherwise of a tournament is predicated on the return to the team of one individual – see David Beckham in 2002, Rooney in 2006 for previous examples – there is no denying that with the Manchester United striker, England are a different proposition.

World class: Rooney ready to rumble

World class: Rooney ready to rumble

'I would suggest he's a world-class player,' said manager Roy Hodgson.

'I'm always wary of giving players
epithets but I think his ability is a bit special. You are lucky as a
manager of a national team to have players of his quality for selection.

'I have been unlucky, I think, not
to have him available, just as I have been unlucky not to have Frank
Lampard available. At least I'm getting one of those two players back
and, hopefully, that makes life a little bit easier for us going into
our next game, where we need another result.'

Unlike his predecessor Fabio Capello, Hodgson has found Rooney to be a happy tourist.

'There is a myth about him,' said Hodgson.

'He's not like a caged animal. He
has been a very, very good professional. His training performances have
been first class and he's been first class around the place.'

Indeed, Rooney has seemed an
altogether happier and much more engaged member of the squad. Even in
the non-football activities, Rooney has shown leadership, asking to be
part of the official party that visited Auschwitz and undoubtedly doing
valuable work for the Holocaust Educational Trust in recording his
thoughts for DVDs that will distributed to schools.

However, as Hodgson acknowledges, he
now has to show that leadership on the pitch. Rooney's record in major
tournaments, since he burst into the world's consciousness at Euro 2004
aged 18 with four goals against Switzerland and Croatia, is lamentable.

He
unluckily broke his metatarsal in the next Euro 2004 game, the
quarter-final against Portugal – which, incidentally, is the only time
England have reached that stage of the European Championship on foreign
soil in a summer tournament format – and since then has played eight
World Cup final games, scoring no goals.

He
managed to get himself sent off at the crucial stage of the quarter-
final in Germany, missed Euro 2008 because his team were not good enough
and was abysmal in South Africa two years ago.

The danger is the expectation for something special on Tuesday becomes
disproportionate, although if he needs inspiration, he need only look
across to his striking counterpart in Andriy Shevchenko.

At 35, the Ukrainian has thrived in carrying the burden of responsibility for his nation. 'This is part of being a top, top player in an important national team,' said Hodgson.

Talisman: Andriy Shevchenko inspires his Ukrainian teammates

Talisman: Andriy Shevchenko inspires his Ukrainian teammates

'If you're Sweden it's Ibrahimovic, if you're Ukraine, I'm sure it's Shevchenko, if you're England it's about Rooney and Gerrard, if you're France it's about Ribery and Nasri.

'You just get on with it and you trust that these players, who've been putting up with this type of pressure in their lives for a long time, know how to deal with it.'

As it happens, England have had results without him but in a side who struggle to retain the ball, adding another player who can do that should improve England's composure.

Even against the profligate Swedes, England could only manage to obtain 52 per cent of the possession.

Rooney will also offer an intelligence and an ability to rotate his position.

Cheerleader: Rooney was forced to watch from the sidelines against France

Cheerleader: Rooney was forced to watch from the sidelines against France

Ashley Young did do that, coming in behind Danny Welbeck and Andy Carroll on Friday night with Ashley Cole pushing up on the left wing in the first half, which allowed the three attacking players to vary their positions.

Rooney will do it better and offer more.

Not that his return will suddenly transform England into title contenders. He is not Diego Maradona, surely the closest thing to a one-man team that football has witnessed.

But Rooney's ability to spark the unexpected, to deliver a goal from out of the ordinary, will give England added confidence.

As it happens, Welbeck, Walcott and Carroll all did as much against Sweden, leaving Hodgson with a pleasant selection decision to make.

All Hodgson's public comments point to Carroll making way, so Rooney can drop into the deeper lying position and resume his club partnership with Welbeck.

And holding the ball, which Welbeck does better, will be more important against Ukraine.

While Rooney's discipline has improved – he saw just two yellow cards this season with United – it was the combination of his father being arrested over betting scam allegations (he was later cleared), a combustible atmosphere in Montenegro and his frustration with England's inability to keep the ball that led to him being sent off in the first place.

Donetsk is likely to contain the latter two ingredients. It must be hoped that the new, relaxed and positive Rooney has learned his lesson.

Rooney's back: England expects

Which England will turn up

England v Ukraine, Tuesday, 7.45pm, Donetsk, ITV1

Queen"s 2012: Jamie Baker beats Oliver Golding

Baker prepares to take on Tsonga after dispatching Golding with ease

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UPDATED:

14:36 GMT, 12 June 2012

Scotland's Jamie Baker set up a second-round clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after beating England's Oliver Golding in straight sets at the AEGON Championships on Tuesday.

Resuming after a rain delay on day two at Queen's, world no. 482 Golding defied the odds to keep pace with Baker in the first set.

British number three Baker came in to his own during the tie-break, however, which he won 7-1.

Level up: Jamie Baker has a tough test

Level up: Jamie Baker has a tough test

Ready to rumble: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Ready to rumble: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Golding then had an argument with the umpire following a dubious line call at the start of the second set and went on to trail 0-4.

He rallied momentarily, but Baker eased home to record a 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 win.

Baker, ranked 203 in the world, has played Tsonga once before in Lanzarote five years ago when the world number five won easily in straight sets.

Andre Ward warns Carl Froch he will beat him again – Jeff Powell boxing column

EXCLUSIVE: Credit to Froch but I WILL beat him again, warns unbeaten rival Ward

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UPDATED:

23:01 GMT, 11 June 2012

Andre Ward believes Carl Froch has re-established himself as the second best super-middleweight in the world with his stunning destruction of Lucian Bute.

However, the American prodigy insists that if and when they meet in a re-match the fight will go the same way as his December victory over the Nottingham Cobra.

Ward is full of praise for the way Froch came back from that defeat to KO Bute, who was highly rated as the holder of the IBF version of the world title in the 12-stone division.

Ready to rumble: Carl Froch, fresh from his victory over Lucian Bute, wants to avenge his defeat to Andre Ward

Ready to rumble: Carl Froch, fresh from his victory over Lucian Bute, wants to avenge his defeat to Andre Ward

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But he was not as surprised as many by the beating Froch inflicted on the Canada-based Romanian.

Ward says: ‘Bute’s reputation had been protected by taking carefully selected opponents instead of joining us in the big Super Six tournament in which I beat Carl in the final.

‘He has punching power but he is much more easily hit than I am. Carl has a great chin and big heart and I expected him to walk through Bute’s big left hand to land his own shots.

‘All credit to Froch. He fought a great fight. He is clearly back as No 2 to me, above Kessler and Bute and the rest of the 168lb pack.

‘But that performance would not change anything if we fight each other again.

‘When I beat him, Carl conceded he had lost to the better man. But since then he has been excusing the defeat by saying he was much more fully focused and on his game against Bute.

‘I don’t buy into that. What I do believe is what he said at the time, that he was in the best shape of his life for our fight.

Victorious: Ward claimed the Super Six and world titles after defeating Froch last December

Victorious: Ward claimed the Super Six and world titles after defeating Froch last December

‘Why wouldn’t he have been As the Super Six final and a title unifier it was the biggest fight of his life. The fact is that I had a lot to do with his problems that night. He couldn’t get to me and there will be nothing different if we meet again.’

Froch is lining up another re-match against the only other man to have beaten him, Mikkel Kessler, in Nottingham in September.

Ward beat Kessler, also, in the Super Six, and says: ‘We hear a lot from Mikkel and Carl about wanting to fight me again but to be honest I’m not sure that either of them really want the re-match. None of us are all-time greats yet. We still have work to do. But I think they know that I am improving all the time.

‘I get accused of not being exciting. That’s odd. Sometimes I seem to get more appreciation of my skills from genuine boxing fans in the United Kingdom than I do at home.

‘But I am beating everyone and now I am working on being a more ruthless finisher, going for the KOs.

Target man: Froch is also eager to meet Denmark's Mikkel Kessler

Target man: Froch is also eager to meet Denmark's Mikkel Kessler

‘I’m not the same type of character as Floyd Mayweather but inside the ring I see some parallels with my career. It took a long time for Floyd to get recognition for his boxing but it came in the end and I believe the same thing will happen for me.’

Ward makes a home-town defence of his WBC and WBA titles in Oakland, California on September 8 against Chad Dawson.

His fellow American beat legendary veteran Bernard Hopkins to become world light-heavyweight champion. He says he is happy to come down half a stone and surrender home advantage to Ward in a 19,000 seat arena.

In return, Ward anticipates moving up to light-heavy himself with a re-match with Dawson for that world title a possibility.

When that happens, assuming he gains revenge over Kessler, the way would be clear for Froch to reassert his dominance at super-middleweight.

Ward was talking in Las Vegas, where he joined in the world-wide condemnation of the decision which robbed Manny Pacquiao of his world welterweight title and probably his chance of a $200million mega-fight against Floyd Mayweather.

He said: ‘Ridiculous. I had Manny winning ten of the 12 rounds against Tim Bradley.

‘Judging like this is very bad for boxing.’

Quigg and Monroe: be careful what you wish for…

Two fine ambassadors for British boxing put their futures on the line this Saturday but the real loser will be Sky Sports following their decision to pull the plug on their long-time poster boy Ricky Hatton.

If any Hatton promotion since the Hitman’s retirement deserved major television exposure it is this one at the Manchester Velodrome.

Scott Quigg, who looks every ounce a world champion in the making, and Rendall Munroe, the former dustman who went close to that distinction with an heroic performance in Japan, come together in a classic British match-up.

Packing a punch: Scott Quigg (R) has a promising future ahead of him in the ring

Packing a punch: Scott Quigg (R) has a promising future ahead of him in the ring

The belt up for grabs this time is for the WBA interim super-bantamwieight title but the winner will be in pole position for a shot at the world championship proper. Mind you, they should be careful which belt they wish for.

The WBA champion, Guillermo Rigondeaux, lived up to his billing as the best amateur to come out of Cuba since fabled heavyweight Teofilo Stevenson with a stunning defence of his title on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao controversy.

Rigondeaux, a late-starting professional following his defection to Miami after winning two Olympic gold medals, destroyed his American challenger.

Teon Kennedy had been off his feet only once in a one-loss, 20-fight career but Rigondeaux’s pinpoint punching floored him five times on the way to a fifth round stoppage.

Quigg or Munroe might be advised to review the other belt holders.

Tough: Randall Monroe will look to impress his world title contender credentials

Tough: Randall Monroe will look to impress his world title contender credentials

Quigg, the British champion, has prepared with tough sparring in America and although only 23 he admits: ‘The time has come for me to make a statement. I’ve not got to step up or shut up.’

Munroe knows he needs to win to get his career fully back on track.
Both men come to fight and have solid chins so their encounter promises to be explosive and likely to come down to a test of will and stamina.

Quigg is the favourite to come through the sternest examination yet of his glittering potential and assuming he does so a new star of the British ring will be in the ascendancy.

He and Munroe top an action-packed championship bill.

The popular Ryan Rhodes takes on Sergey Rabchenko for the vacant European light-middleweight title. Reformed convict Richard Towers intends putting himself in the heavyweight mix with David Price and Tyson Fury by beating Frenchman Gregory Tony for the also-vacant European championship.

Forget television, this is a show worth travelling to see. All the prime ringside seats have been sold but cheaper tickets are available via the Hatton hotline, 01925755222 or online from Tickemaster, Ticketline or HMV.

Manny's plea to Obama

Manny Pacquiao’s first thought the morning after Saturday night’s bank robbery by Tim Bradley was not for himself but for a fellow countryman.
Hermie Rivera, a close friend who lives in America, is fighting to prevent his son’s deportation to the Philippines.

Gerardo, now married with children and a long-time US resident, was caught up in a government sweep of immigrants because of minor drug offences when a teenager.

The PacMan, in his role as a congressman in his own country, delayed his return home by a day so he could petition president Barack Obama, who he has met and dined with on several occasions, on behalf of the Riveras.

Sad end for tainted Margarito

Tainted: Antonio Margarito

Tainted: Antonio Margarito

Three former world champions have been lost to boxing in less than a week. Shane Mosley, Winky Wright and then Antonio Margarito have hung up the gloves.

For Mosley and Wright, at 40, the time is right.

The saddest figure is Margarito, His legacy is tainted by his gloves being ‘loaded’ for his fight against Mosley and who is being forced to quit by a serious eye injury inflicted during a beating by Manny Pacquiao and aggravated in defeat by Miguel Cotto.

Roach's private jet dash to New York

Freddie Roach flew hurriedly out of Las Vegas on Saturday night but not in disgust at the dodgy decision against Manny Pacquiao.

At a cost of $20,000, the master trainer hired a private jet to take himself and ten of his family and friends to his richly deserved induction into the Hall of Fame in up-state New York.