Heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury, engaged in combat for the British title at Wembley last night, faces disciplinary action by the Board of Control following threats to "kill" his opponent, Dereck Chisora, in the ring.
He also uttered a string of obscenities at a press conference, forcing the Board to act to curb the traditional pre-fight badmouthing which, they say, has brought the sport into disrepute. "We have had enough," says their general secretary, Robert Smith. "This sort of trash-talking has got to stop. In retrospect we may have treated this too softly, but now we will take a much stronger line." Smith, himself a former professional boxer and the son of the renowned trainer Andy Smith, who managed Joe Bugner, revealed that warnings have also been issued to James DeGale and David Haye. Both were guilty of foul-mouthed attacks on respective opponents George Groves and Wladimir Klitschko. The Board were especially angered by Haye's "gang rape" comments. "We have spoken to DeGale, and Haye was called before the Board with his legal representative and told this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated in future," says Smith. However, after listening to a tape of Fury's outburst, the Board have now ordered a bonfire of the profanities, with Fury facing a fine or even suspension.
Coe backs van ban
Stroppy triple jump champ Phillips Idowu and his GB coach, Charles van Commenee, are not exactly tweethearts, but at least the Dutch-man has a friend in high places who backs his judgement on disciplinary matters. Van Commenee's decree that British track-and-field athletes will not take part in the 2012 opening ceremony (and I hear that swimmers will also give it a miss) caused raised eyebrows, but Games chief Sebastian Coe is unfazed. "I am a fully paid-up member of the Charles van Commenee fan club," he tells me. "I know where he is coming from on this and I agree with him." Coe points out that he did not take part in his two Olympic Games opening ceremonies. "I chose not to be in the opening ceremony in Los Angeles because I was coming to the twilight years of my career and faced seven races in nine days after a year off with injury and illness, so there wasn't a massive amount of petrol in the tank. And in Moscow in 1980 Margaret Thatcher rather made the decision for me as the BOA had only token representation in the parade. I can understand why Charles would take that view but I also recognise that the athletes will make their own judgement on it. I am a great believer in the autonomy of athletes." Coe was instrumental in the hiring of Van Commenee after Britain's athletes flopped in Beijing, and he is with him in Estonia this weekend sizing up future stars at the European junior championships.
Final chapter at the FA
The News of the World is not the only publishing casualty of late. The FA Yearbook, once beloved of anoraks and aficionados, will not be on the shelves next season for the first time in 63 years. Nothing to do with hackers, of course, but many hacks will be disappointed, as it contained a wealth of invaluable stats, including the result of every FA competition and line-up of England teams in post-war years. Alas, sales have plummeted from 20,000 in its heyday to less than 200. Editor David Barber, the FA historian, says: "The FA have had to reduce costs and unfortunately the axe has fallen. It seems most are now getting their information from the internet."
Sky clouds over
Has the Sky fallen in on Box Office boxing? Less than happy with the quality of the last two Haye fights, Sky have put pay-per-view screenings on hold for the foreseeable future. This will hit promoters and boxers where it hurts most, in the pocket. But the good news is the emergence of rivals Primetime, who have screened Amir Khan's past two bouts, ESPN and a new boxing station backed by a number of entrepreneurs, to be launched in the autumn.