Boxing: Rhodes to defend his title in `Steel City'

RYAN RHODES will defend his World Boxing Organisation Inter-Continental middleweight title at in his home town of Sheffield at the Hillsborough Leisure Centre on 28 November.

A challenger is yet to be named but the promoter, Frank Warren, says victory would secure Rhodes the No 1 spot in the WBO ratings and a second bout with Canada's Otis Grant, who is due to fight the World Boxing Council light-heavyweight champion, Roy Jones, in Connecticut on 14 November.

Rhodes, 21, came back from his first career loss to Grant last December by stopping the Hungarian Lorent Szabo in the eighth round to win the Inter-Continental title in July.

"I'm more hungry than ever for success," Rhodes said. "I learned a lot from the Grant fight. I was only 20 and ultimately, getting beaten did me a lot of good.

"Against Szabo I proved my stamina was good. Now I feel confident of winning a world title when given the chance."

Warren's Sports Network said that plans were under way to line up an opponent for Rhodes. The company hopes to finalise the match by next week.

Another boxing promoter, Frank Maloney, has had second thoughts about abandoning Peterborough as a fight venue despite the town's first professional tournament for 10 years ending in a riot on Saturday night.

Skirmishes outside the ring at the Werrington Sports Centre erupted before the sixth and final bout, with drunk fans throwing chairs and bottles, injuring several of the 900 people in attendance.

Maloney declared afterwards that he would not promote in Peterborough again but changed his mind after speaking to the town council.

"There is a future for boxing in Peterborough, but not the hooligan element," Maloney said yesterday. "We will continue to promote for the sake of the public and fighters like Neil Linford, who is one of the best prospects I have ever seen in the super-middleweight division."

"Thankfully there was no live television at the event to broadcast the behaviour of certain people. We are determined to stamp it out and are handing pictures of the thugs to the police with a request that they are charged as soon as they have been identified."

In the future, names and addresses will be taken of all ticket buyers. Pictures of last week's troublemakers are to be displayed at the entrances to all Maloney tournaments and published in programmes.

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