Boxing: Calzaghe's father fired as trainer

ENZO CALZAGHE launched a furious counter-attack last night after being dropped as trainer to his son, the world super-middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe.

A statement from Joe Calzaghe's manager, Frank Warren, said that the Welsh fighter's father had taken him "as far as he can and someone else should take over". But Calzaghe Snr argued: "That's a load of rubbish. How much further could I take Joe? He is unbeaten as a professional and is world champion."

And the Italian-born trainer, whose seven professionals at his stable in Newbridge, South Wales, have never been beaten, added: "The bottom line is that he is fighting like a champion and not a challenger. He's not hungry anymore."

Enzo guided Joe to three Amateur Boxing Association titles at three different weights and has been training him for the past 17 years. He would not say how the change was likely to affect his relationship with his son. Despite Warren's statement claiming "there is no rift between the two men," that is unlikely to be the case.

Enzo was fuming yesterday, adding: "To me, this makes me out to be incapable in my job. When I first took on training boxers at Newbridge, I was asked how far could he go. I said I would not have taken the job on if I could not take him to the top. Also, I've said if I was not capable of doing this job, I would be the person to get out. Why this has happened, I don't know. This stuff about being too close because we are father and son is a joke. I'm a very realistic guy and a positive guy but he has hurt me. If I was asked if this has been instigated by someone else, then I would say `yes'... although it's not Frank Warren."

Calzaghe Jnr was accused of being lacklustre during his last fight against the Australian Rick Thornberry. He won on points but blamed a hand injury for his poor performance. He makes his United States debut next month and could have veteran trainer George Francis in his corner.

Warren's statement added: "Enzo is a sensible man and he only wants what is best for his son. It will be a terrible wrench for Enzo to leave after almost 20 years in his corner."