Boxing: Benn cheered by McClellan

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The Independent Online
Boxing

Nigel Benn has received a boost two days before his World Council super-middleweight title clash with Vincenzo Nardiello at the London Arena.

The American fight publication, Update, reports that Gerald McClellan is expected to leave a Milwaukee hospital this weekend to return to his home in Freeport, Illinois.

McClellan was critically injured during February's ferocious fight with Benn at the same Docklands arena, which the defending champion won dramatically in the 10th round.

"I'm delighted, that's great news," Benn said. "It's tremendous that he will be able to go home and be with his kids and family. Hopefully, this means that I can go to see him soon."

The publication says McClellan is able to move his arms, walk with assistance and now talks with his family, but unfortunately states that his eyesight and hearing are impaired.

The McClellan fight was Benn's last, after which the American spent many weeks at the London Hospital in Whitechapel before returning for continued treatment in the States.

Benn had to do a double take at yesterday's head-to-head with Nardiello. Firstly, he shook hands and embraced a Nardiello in the foyer of an east London hotel, only to find that it was Vincenzo's brother, Giovanni, also a professional boxer.

"I just hope they don't do six rounds each against me," joked Benn, who is making the eighth defence of his WBC crown. "The title is not going to leave England. I'll do absolutely anything to keep the championship,'' Benn added on a more serious note.

Nardiello, a 29-year-old southpaw, was born in Germany when his father was working at the Porsche car plant, but moved to Italy when he was a year old.

The Italian, a former European champion, has had the word "ice" cut into the back of his hair especially for the fight. It is an appropriate piece of hairdressing with the London temperatures soaring into the 80s.

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