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Hold The Back Page: 16/07/2011

Khan proves a hit with the ladies

Boxing has never had much of a female fan base, and even its popularity with chaps is diminishing after recent aberrations, but step forward Amir Khan – on a one-man mission to get more ladies to the bouts.

"Reports 60% of tickets were bought by women in my last fight and we sold just under 20,000. Get girls to love boxing, Yes" he triumphantly tweeted.

Speaking of sportsmen who are a hit with the ladies – it's a clash of two former Manchester United No 7s-turned-Armani underwear models tomorrow. David Beckham's LA Galaxy face Cristiano Ronaldo's Real Madrid in Los Angleles, but will the game attract more girls than Khan's fight against Zab Judah next weekend? Khan hopes not.

Barton applauds fellow cigar fan

So, when your Newcastle team-mates are thousands of miles away across the pond in the States, how does lonely Joey Barton entertain himself? Watching the Open of course, and showing much admiration for a certain Spanish golfer – Miguel Angel Jimenez. "Jimenez is the biggest legend in sport. He is the one man I'd like to be for a day, so chilled out it's untrue," he tweeted, before later adding more praise for everyone's favourite rogue of the fairway. "Come on Miguel Angel Jimenez ........ stretching with a cigar in his mouth!!!! What an athlete." Cigar in mouth Joey, and not,say, near a young team-mate, exactly where it should be.

New all-black strip riles the All Blacks

With just nine weeks to go before the start of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, the mind games have already started, with England hoping to summon the power and might of the hosts, and clear favourites, by wearing an all-black strip in their opening fixture against Argentina in Dunedin on 10 September. Unsurprisingly, this decision has not gone down warmly with the media in the home of the All Blacks. "Of all the colours in the rainbow, why would they choose the colour of the host nation?" top Kiwi broadcaster Keith Quinn said. "They are thumbing their noses at a New Zealand tradition." Quinn may have been annoyed, but the New Zealand Rugby Union have said they are fine with it. They are probably thankful we are all saved from the eye-sore of England's purple shirt.