Inside Lines: How 'Nasty Nick' boxed clever to land his political punches

Surprise, surprise. Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, is actually a leftie – and a fan of Amir Khan. So he told us last week when we discussed his own boxing career, which included winning a Blue for Cambridge (light, not dark, of course).

The University's honours board reveals that one N J Griffin boxed three times against Oxford in the annual Varsity match, in 1978, '79 and '80, winning twice and losing once. He was a lightweight then, and says he converted from orthodox to southpaw (leading with his left).

"I wasn't bad. I had 12 bouts in all and won seven but had to give it up because of a hand injury." Apparently he first took up fisticuffs at nine, then got serious after a brawl with an anti-fascist demonstrator in south London. Contemporaries say he had nifty footwork – though this didn't help him avoid the eggs thrown at him last week. He's a regular ringsider at Varsity punch-ups and while he admits he's not a great sports buff, he says he follows boxing and is a particular fan of Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe.

So what about Amir Khan? Didn't he once suggest that the Bolton-born Olympic hero should be "sent home to Pakistan"? "That's bollocks," he countered. "Never said it. I do think some of the ethnic minority fighters are overhyped but I like Amir. He's very skilful and a good role model for kids – particularly Muslim kids." Seems "Nasty Nick" is still boxing clever.

Lewis finds fame at last

Wonder what Griffin makes of Lennox Claudius Lewis, born in West Ham of Jamaican parents, an Olympic gold medallist for Canada and now resident in Miami (that bit he'd like).

Never as popular here as he should have been, Lewis today becomes only the 10th British boxer to be inducted into the sport's Hall of Fame. Now 43, Lewis sensibly keeps resisting mega-bucks offers to make a comeback and try to break the eastern bloc grip on the heavyweight championship. Congratulations, too, to my old colleague Hugh McIlvanney, also inducted, a wordsmith who shows the pen can be as mighty as the fist.

Will Jowell go for gold?

No wonder Tessa Jowell is looking distinctly happier than most ex-Blair Babes these days. Not only has she survived as Olympics Minister in the latest cabinet reshuffle, but Gordon Brown, who demoted her from Culture Secretary when he took over as Prime Minister, has now brought her back into his inner circle as Cabinet Office Minister – no doubt as a reward for speaking up for him while others were putting unladylike boots in.

However, her joy could be short-lived if Labour are kicked out at the next election. She could even lose her MP's seat in Dulwich if the current swing is maintained. In this case the Westminter rumour mill suggests she would not be averse to accepting a role with 2012, perhaps as ambassador.

Jowell, 61, has become an Olympics aficionado and is well-liked by many IOC and Locog members who appreciate how instrumental she was in persuading Blair to sanction a bid for the Games. But while Tory peer Lord Coe might welcome her on board, Boris Johnson, whom she so vigorously attacked during his mayoral campaign, may not be quite so keen. And to stave off objections from a future Tory government she may need to play more of a non-political game during the coming months.

insidelines@independent.co.uk

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's most starring part
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
News
We are phenomenally good at recognising faces; the study showed that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognisable
science

Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'

Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Portfolio Analyst - Prince2

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client, a glob...

Project Co-ordinator - Birmingham - Permanant

£20000 - £25000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Head of Maths

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Head of Maths position at a prestigious ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week