Inside Lines: Charlie Fitch gets round hitch that threatened big showdown

 

The wrangle over the referee for next Saturday's prodigious punch-up at Wembley seems to have been sorted. Both fighters have finally agreed on 43-year-old New Yorker Charlie Fitch, whose appointment, together with three scoring judges from continental Europe, should be formally ratified by the International Boxing Federation and British Boxing Board of Control this weekend. The Board reluctantly bowed to the demand of Londoner George Groves, who insisted on neutral officials following his bitterly disputed stoppage by Carl Froch when British referee Howard Foster controversially put him in a headlock as he briefly staggered when leading in the ninth round. However, finding the right officials has proved a vexing task. As revealed here last week, Froch's camp vetoed ultra- strict Californian Jack Reiss, claiming he was "too fussy", while the boxing politics ruled out America's top middle man Tony Weeks. He is from Nevada, which does not have a reciprocal arrangement with the Board to use each other's officials. It is also believed Groves refused to accept a judge from Poland because of Froch's Polish ancestry. Fitch seems a sound choice to handle what could be another ill-tempered fight. An athletic former light-welterweight boxer he likes to keep his distance from the action and is known as firm but fair. He has overseen five previous world title fights. Another American in mid-ring will be the renowned Michael Buffer, imported for his usual six-figure fee to announce an event that is engrossing an audience beyond fight fans. "When you get it right, boxing can be one of the biggest sports out there," says promoter Eddie Hearn, a view underscored by a post-war record crowd of 80,000 who will fill the national stadium facing a rapid overnight transition after the England-Peru football international 24 hours before. As Buffer will inimitably declare: "Let's get ready to rumble..."

McKenzie takes a KO

Nigel Farage saw Ukip's lone sporting connection – and a rare black party member – counted out when ex-boxer Winston McKenzie bucked the national trend by finishing bottom of the poll in Croydon in last week's local council elections. The flamboyant 60-year-old elder brother of Duke McKenzie, Britain's only three-weight world champion, former British and European champion Clinton and uncle of footballer–turned-boxer Leon, he hardly enhanced his campaign by labelling Croydon as "unsafe and a dump". Jamaican-born Winston, a national amateur champion lost nine of his 16 fights as a pro light-middleweight before retiring with eye injuries. He vows he'll be back on a political scene he has traversed from Veritas to Ukip via Lib Dem and Tory. He stood as an Independent in the 2008 London mayoral election under the slogan "I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee; I've got the policies they can't see." He'd certainly liven up BBC's Question Time.

Back in business

Political opposites they may have been, but Labour's Dame Tessa Jowell and Tory peer Lord Sebastian Coe were always united in their aim to make London 2012 a success. So much so that the duo have been brought together again by the International Olympic Committee to be part of a key working group to help re-shape the future of the Olympic movement. They will investigate bidding procedure, arguably one of the most crucial areas that the IOC needs to reform. Under the new-broom presidency of German Thomas Bach, the IOC is seeking to freshen up its image and Jowell and Coe are among a number of international figures invited to examine all aspects of the Games in 14 working groups. Others include Glaswegian Sir Craig Reedie, the new head of the World Anti-Doping Agency; Eric Schmidt, Google's billionaire executive chairman; and Vanessa Mae, the Singapore-born British violinist, who will advise on the cultural aspects of the Olympics. No strings attached, presumably.

a.hubbard@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee