Inside Lines: Fury-ous Maloney calls for ban on ref

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The Independent Online

Football managers are not alone in questioning the competence of the men in the middle. Boxing promoter Frank Maloney is fighting mad over the decision that saw his heavyweight John McDermott lose his English title to the young giant Tyson Fury in Brentwood on Friday night. Yesterday he called for the referee who made it, Terry O'Connor, to be banned. He claimed not only was O'Connor "incompetent" but also suggested his judgement could have been influenced because as a boxer he had himself been knocked out in a fight with McDemott's father, Stan, a one-time heavyweight contender, 32 years ago. "I think when he saw Stan in John's corner he got flashbacks to the night he was beaten by him," he said. It did seem an outrageously bad decision – the portly O'Connor, from Birmingham, awarded McDermott only two rounds (98-92) to the disbelief of ringsiders and Sky pundits. I made McDermott a clear winner by four rounds. Fury's own corner even told him before the last round that he needed a KO to win. "No wonder people who do not follow boxing ask me if it is fixed," said Maloney, "It isn't, but decisions like this will turn people away from the sport." Maloney is wrong to infer skulduggery – at worst it was poor judgement by a referee whose officiating has been called into question before. The promoter expects to be hauled before the Board of Control (who are likely to order a re-match) over his comments but they must also seek an explanation from O'Connor for his scorecard.

Edwards hits back

Verbal fists have been flying in the amateur ring. Following the GB squad's return from the world championships without a medal the new head coach, Kevin Travis, has had a dig at predecessor Terry Edwards, suggesting no legacy was left behind after the defection of most of the Beijing squad. "Absolute rubbish," says Edwards, whose teams won medals, including world and Olympic gold, at every major championship in his 18-year tenure. "He is looking for excuses. The brilliant development coach, Jim Davison, I worked with is still there and we brought on several of the team that went to Milan. By any standards this was failure and I don't say that with any relish."

Edwina's curried beefcake

Edwina Currie reveals that she once engaged in a bit of leg-over with an Olympic athlete, There is, you might say, mounting speculation about his identity. The former junior health minister, now 63, who also famously claimed to have canoodled in the bath with her old boss John Major, coquettishly gives us a clue: "He had an almost perfect body, superb thighs, a noble head... he resembled Michelangelo's statue of David. I wanted to find out what he could do that other men couldn't". Not very much apparently, as she adds that the relationship waned as he kept admiring his physique in the mirror and that his biggest attribute was his ego. Will anyone own up?