Inside Lines: Coe’s foe Bubka is over here and aiming to scale Olympian heights


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Vitali Klitschko is not the only giant of Ukrainian sport about to do battle with a Brit. While the world heavyweight champion eyes his title defence against Dereck Chisora in Munich on Saturday week, his compatriot and one-time fellow politician Sergei Bubka will be electioneering in London tomorrow.

Bubka wants to become the next president of athletics' world governing body, the IAAF, a post which Sebastian Coe also covets. Ostensibly Bubka, 48, acknowledged as the greatest-ever field athlete for pole-vaulting exploits which included Olympic gold, six world championships and breaking his own world record 35 times, is here to attend the Laureus Sports Awards. But the highly ambitious former Ukraine MP will take the opportunity to woo the sporting media, insisting there is no animosity between him and Lord Coe, like him a an IAAF vice-president, despite recent suggestions they had fallen out big-time over their respective desire to succeed the Senagalese judge Lamine Diack. However, I understand Bubka has even loftier aspirations – a challenge for the ultimate prize, the presidency of the International Olympic Committee, of which, unlike Coe, he is also a member, when Jacques Rogge steps down next year.

Going for his hat-trick

Guess who was casting an eye over Klitschko's impressively assiduous fight preparations at his luxury spa camp in the Tyrolean mountain village of Going last week? Who else but boxing's mysterious but suddenly ubiquitous Man in the Hat, Mustafa Ameen, who has found fame following his ringside presence "assisting" the official fight supervisor when Amir Khan lost his world title in Washington in December. Ameen was in Austria attending to the gloves and gumshield of USA Olympic heavyweight prospect Michael Hunter. As we revealed last week, Ameen plans an Olympics trip to London this summer with Hunter, whom he says he "looks after", should the 23-year-old from Las Vegas make the American team. But he now tells us he will be here later this month for an appointment with a British law firm as he plans to sue Khan, his Golden Boy promoters and trainer Freddie Roach for what for what he claims were "slanderous" allegations following Khan's controversial loss to Lamont Peterson. "What Mr Khan and others said about me was preposterous and disgusting" he says. "I am demanding an apology and damages."

Dundee, also The Greatest

If Muhammad Ali was The Greatest then so was Angelo Dundee, the greatest coach and cornerman boxing has ever known. His death last week from a heart attack just a few months after his 90th birthday will be mourned by millions of fight fans, but especially by Ali, whose own 70th birthday celebration he had left balmy Florida for the wintry chill of Louisville to attend just three weeks ago. "Angie" was in a wheelchair but still very much the life and soul of that poignant party, though one suspected he had acually come to say goodbye to the increasingly ailing Ali, who he always called "my kid". The irony is that is has turned out to be the other way around. Dundee's name will be forever bracketed with the legend whose career he uniquely nurtured and whose friendship he cherished. When I interviewed him for The Independent on Sunday on the eve of his birthday in August his last words to me were: "With Muhammad every time we did something it was excitement. It is unfair to try and compare anybody with him 'cos he's a once in a lifetime guy. There'll never be another Muhammad Ali." Nor another Angelo Dundee.