The boxing promoter Frank Warren has been brought in to help England win their World Cup bid. But hang on a mo. Before the Russians start reaching for their Kalashnikovs they should know this is hockey, not footy.
Warren, soon to celebrate 30 years in boxing with a bumper bill in Liverpool on 11 December, is putting his muscle and "a bit of money" behind the England Hockey Board's attempt to bring the 2014 event to London. And if successful he will use his promotional expertise to assist in the organisation. Warren, who numbers boxing fan Seb Coe among his close sporting buddies, admits he doesn't know a penalty corner from a left hook. So why hockey? "Why not?" he counters. "It's a bit of fun and I'm delighted to try and help out another sport. I've a long association with London's East End and I'm thrilled to think I may be able to make a contribution towards the Olympic legacy and the local community as I am a great supporter of 2012." The Hockey World Cup would be the firstinternational event to be heldat a legacy facility – Eton Manor – following the Games. So on Tuesday, Warren will be sharing a promotional platform with London's mayor, Boris Johnson (now there's a match-up we'd pay good money to see), to launch the bid at the Olympic Park. He hints that Frank Warren Promotions may now diversify into other sports too: "I'd like to think we are sports promoters, not just boxing promoters." Meanwhile, after the job he's done in getting the little-known British heavyweight champion Derek Chisora a world title fight, we can't wait to see him hype up hockey. Bully for him.
A site for sore eyes
Can't afford a ticket for the London Olympics? Well, here's how you can watch the Games and taste the Olympic atmosphere in 2012 – for free. We discovered this when taking the family on a tour of the burgeoning Olympic site last week. Outside the stadium there will be the equivalent of Wimbledon's Henman Hill – now Murray Mount – where fans can picnic, watch the Olympic world go by and take in the events on a big screen. Apparently it was Lord Coe's idea – so should the area by named after him? Coe's Clump, maybe? Other contenders could be Boris's Bump or Usain's Bolt Hole. Suggestions welcome. As indeed, are visitors for the hour-long free bus tour which includes a map of the venues and a wonderfully informative running commentary by guides such as Victoria, whose grasp of Olympic history seems better than that of many IOC members. You also learn illuminating titbits, for instance that the chap who has designed the lighting for the Aquatic Centre does the same for Lady Gaga's gigs. As you'd expect, these free tours are heavily booked, but for available dates call 0300 2012 001.
England's ring of truth
Britain's boxing coach, Rob McCracken, says the medal haul in Delhi was the best ever in a Commonwealth Games. True, though England's wasn't. His English boxers won two golds and four silvers, finishing behind Northern Ireland and India. Four years ago, his predecessor Terry Edwards's team returned from Melbourne with five golds, a silver and two bronze. As the pugilistic pecking order is decided on gold, Edwards comes out on top. But overall GB boxers are shaping up nicely under McCracken for 2012 and there is a bright new heavyweight hope in the reformed ex-delinquent Simon Vallily, who at 25 looks the best big man since Audley Harrison. So what of the axed Edwards? The good news is he is still involved in boxing, teaching schoolkids and coaching young prospects at Rooney's Gym near Tower Bridge. London 2012 is advertising for a technical operations manager to help organise the Olympic boxing tournament. Edwards seems ideally equipped for the job.
Going loco in Acapulco
Members of the IOC's executive board will get the latest update on London's East End regeneration Games at their meeting next weekend. Guess where? The five-star Princess Hotel in Acapulco. Presumably the Premier Inn, Wapping, was fully booked.