Boxing: Brodie given stamp of approval

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MICHAEL BRODIE has received a glowing endorsement from the former world feather-weight champion, Barry Mc-Guigan, after his European title triumph on Saturday night.

The 24-year-old Mancunian, who played football for both United and City boys' teams until a scrap on the pitch persuaded him to take up boxing, produced a near-perfect display of controlled fighting to knock the European Boxing Union's super-bantamweight crown off the head of Sergei Devakov.

Brodie's last two title outings had been disappointing - against Brian Carr in a British defence and Simon Ramoni for the Commonwealth belt - but whatever he did wrong on those nights the new champion certainly put right in this crucial fight. "Michael was better than ever. He has the potential to win a world title," enthused McGuigan, the former World Boxing Association featherweight champion, following Brodie's emphatic 118-112, 117-112, 117-112 points victory over the Ukrainian.

"We thought he'd levelled out; that happened to me. But I faced a similar situation and I was able to raise my game like Brodie did. He boxed brilliantly, showed a new dimension and was patient for the 12 rounds. The super-bantamweight division is in a transition at the moment and the only `live' champion is the WBC's [World Boxing Council] Erik Morales."

Frank Maloney, the promoter, marvelled at Brodie's support at the Bowlers club, which is near Old Trafford. United's 5-1 beating of Wimbledon in the afternoon had clearly invigorated spirits and vocal chords. Maloney pledged: "I intend to keep Michael fighting in Manchester. That support was as good as a three-round start."

Maloney is campaigning for Brodie to be elevated to the mandatory contender's spot at the forthcoming WBC congress. "I'm not looking for anything less," he insisted.