Outside the Box: Now it's McKenzie Jr's turn to learn the ropes


After Curtis Woodhouse, the former Sheffield United captain, comes another footballing pugilist in Leon McKenzie, once of Crystal Palace, Peterborough, Norwich and others.

As the son of the former British and European light-welterweight champion Clinton McKenzie and nephew of Duke McKenzie, who was a world champion at three weights, he has the genes and is about to be given the opportunity.

After an interview and gym test, which the British Boxing Board of Control say he passed "with very favourable reports", he hopes to announce details soon of a first bout as a light-heavyweight. McKenzie has suffered from serious depression in the past, admitting in his autobiography that he once tried to commit suicide towards the end of his playing days.

Running into traffic

In Fifa's apparently never-ending search for new competitions, perhaps someone should suggest a tournament for six-a-side club teams made up of staff members as opposed to active players.

Bayern Munich, with Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeness, Jupp Heynckes, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Matthias Sammer and Paul Breitner, would take some beating; but listening to Edwin van der Sar at the Soccerex conference in Manchester last week suggested their old rivals Ajax might be the (younger) side to do it.

As well as the former Manchester United and Fulham goalkeeper, they could field Frank de Boer, Dennis Bergkamp, Wim Jonk and Marc Overmars, with Jaap Stam joining next season as an assistant coach. Van der Sar is employed as a marketing director, reflecting: "As a football player you had it tough, but it's nothing compared to working in an office doing a proper job and being in the traffic in the morning and the evening when you leave."

Rugby league double vision

Since Brian McDermott was appointed manager of Leeds United on Friday, the club's press office has been inundated with requests for a joint interview with his exact namesake at the Leeds Rhinos rugby league club. Should it happen, the Rhinos' head coach could make it clear that as well as being nine years younger and having more hair, he has also won more games at Old Trafford.

The respective clubs' wingers who are both named Ryan Hall can also expect rather more attention; the round-ball version is a Londoner signed in the January transfer window after being on loan from Southend.

Protest is questioned

Still in Yorkshire, West Riding Football Association have been frustrated in their attempts to clear up what may be the first case in this country of a player walking off the field after believing he was the victim of racial abuse.

The Eccleshill forward Marcus Edwards did so four weeks ago in an away game at Selby Town in the Northern Counties East Division One, leaving his team with only 10 men. But because counter-allegations have been made and the matter is now in the hands of West Yorkshire police, the county FA are still waiting for anything to be put in writing.

Pope stokes fires

It has been a good week for Port Vale's striker Tommy Pope. It not only put him back in front of Crystal Palace's Glenn Murray as the country's leading scorer but gave Vale fans a new song with which to taunt their unloved neighbours: "Tommy Pope, he's scored more than Stoke." Latest score (League games only): Pope 31, Stoke 28.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk; twitter.com/@stevetongue

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