Inside Lines: No baloney! Maloney says his X-factor will KO Griffin

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The Independent Online

Some will tell you that Frank Maloney is barking mad if he thinks he is going to have MP after his name following the 6 May election, But the pint-sized promoter insists he is simply mad about Barking, where he is standing as a UKIP candidate in a six-strong field which includes the BNP leader Nick Griffin. He tells us his great desire remains to give Griffin, a Cambridge boxing blue, a black eye, so to speak, both in the ring and the ballot box. "I asked him why he didn't take up my challenge for a three-rounds charity bout between us and he said: 'Well, I've got a glass eye.' So I said: 'I've had a heart attack, so that should level it up, and anyway you're a good bit heavier than me.' The one-time amateur flyweight, never one to miss a self-promotional trick, says the offer still stands. Maloney, 55, is unfazed by Griffin's protective posse of muscle men, not least as several boxers from his stable have been supporting him on the campaign trail. And should Rendall Munroe win his world super-bantamweight title eliminator against Mexican Victor Terraza in Coventry's Skydome on Friday, he promises to bring some of his fellow binmen down from Leicester to cheerlead Maloney at the hustings. Maloney, who is in Barking from 6-11am every day and back in the evening knocking on doors, reckons he has enough of the X-factor to KO both Griffin and Barking's Labour MP Margaret Hodge, deeply unpopular over the expenses scandal. "People I've spoken to seem to think I'm more honest and in touch with their problems than the other candidates. I don't know how politicians can moan that they're overworked. If they had to do what I do, campaign and run a business, they'd die. I've got five shows to put together before the end of June." One of these is in Barking, a week after the election. It features the British flyweight champion Shinny Bayaar, an immigrant from Mongolia. "Maybe I should invite Nick along to give him a cheer," muses Maloney.

Martina joins East Enders

Game, set and match to Martina Navratilova, now battling breast cancer, for keeping her promise to visit a bunch of kids in London's East End where she even climbed into a boxing ring to take part in an impromptu sparring session. The tennis legend was in great form at the Fight for Peace community sports project in Woolwich, backed by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. She says: "I was determined to make the visit as I wanted to encourage these kids not to let anything stop them either." Navratilova, who starts radiation treatment next month, also plans to lead a Laureus team up Kilimanjaro in December, though she knows that first she has another mountain to climb.

Blue is her colour

Here's something to cheer up David Cameron after his (and Gordon Brown's) clogging by Clegg. Karren Brady says the Tory leader "has more empathy with the country and some of the issues we are facing". The West Ham vice-chair and soon-to-be 'Apprentice' inquisitor reveals that politically she is more blue than claret and is supporting the Conservatives. Seems Aston Villa fan Cameron could do with some coaching in getting the message across from the feisty first lady of football.

insidelines@independent.co.uk

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