Sport
 

Seven days before the first Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler fight in 2010 the trouble started when the fight was postponed, Froch gained 7lb at a barbecue, his elbow was injured and his eardrum was damaged.

Boxing: Froch lurks in shadows

Unsung champion is happy to mix it with amateurs and show them the ropes

Inside Lines: Game on as sport braces itself for post-election shake-up

Whoever wins the election, sport can expect some fundamental changes in the way it is governed. The two main parties have plans to "shake up" the system, notably in football where the possible appointment of a regulator to oversee the game is likely to be included in both Labour and Conservative manifestoes. Any appointee – Tory peer Lord Mahwinney, until last week the Football League's chairman, is said to be favourite – could be given the US-style title of Football Commissioner. Government-backed organisations such as UK Sport, Sport England and the Youth Sports Trust can also expect some serious revision, as can their overlords, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, particularly if the Tories gain power. A strong Labour influence in these bodies has been of some concern to the shadow sports minister, Hugh Robertson, who also pledges to restore Lottery funding for sport to its original level of 20 per cent. This has fallen from £460 million to £217m. The election will pose fresh questions about the role of the sports ministry. Labour undoubtedly would retain Tessa Jowell as Olympics minister but some feel that Gerry Sutcliffe will have to raise not so much his game but his profile to keep her company as sports minister. Any Lib-Lab pact in a coalition government might see Liberal spokesman Don Foster given the job. Should Labour win, Jowell is likely to be offered a strictly non-political role by Seb Coe as a 2012 ambassador. The increasingly impressive Robertson, who has twice turned down offers from David Cameron of promotion to a front-bench shadow ministry, hopes to combine the jobs of Olympics and sports minister. Politically overseeing the delivery of the 2012 Games should make this a Cabinet position.

Sport in brief: 13/02/2010

Cleverly ready to step up with win over Brancalion

Boxing: Nathan Cleverly is the latest in a long line of British boxers to arrive at the very edge of world-class a virtual unknown, but all that is likely to change after tonight's vacant European light-heavyweight title fight at Wembley.

Inside Lines: It's home for James, and others who have chosen to box cleverly

Boxing's return to Wembley next Saturday night will have a special significance for the future of the sport and for one of its main attractions, the Olympic middleweight champion James DeGale. It will be the first time he has fought in London since winning gold, and Frank Warren's first major promotion since the defection of flagship fighter Amir Khan to the United States. Warren intends to demonstrate with his parade of young stars that British boxing still has talent, and the loyalty card is not to be discarded like a used ticket stub. DeGale, who meets fellow southpaw Matthew Barr in his sixth pro fight, agrees: "I see this as my homecoming. Wembley is a stone's throw away from me and I've sold heaps of tickets. I'm determined to put on a performance to show just how good the game is right now." Like others in Warren's stable, DeGale, 25, is critical of Khan's move. "I respect Amir, he's a mate, but he could have shown more loyalty after what Frank did for him, especially after he was knocked out and Frank brought him right back to win the world title." Headliner Nathan Cleverly, who will challenge Italian Antonio Brancalion for the vacant European title, reveals that he, too, could have split with Warren when his then stablemate Joe Calzaghe walked away. But the brainy Welsh maths student did his sums and found it didn't add up. "If I was going to do it, it would have been then but we stuck together and the rewards are coming in," he said. The similarly unbeaten lightweight Kevin Mitchell, fresh from outsmarting Khan's nemesis Breidis Prescott, has signed a new deal with Warren and is on the brink of a world-title fight. First he has to dispose of the leading WBO contender, Ignacio Mendoza.

Boxing: Giving Warren the kiss-off

Promoter 'gutted and badly let down' by Khan's defection to United States

New boxing champion third favourite for BBC award

In the wake of David Haye's victory over Nikolai Valuev on Saturday, the new WBA heavyweight champion has been made third favourite to be be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year next month.

Sport on TV: Patriot fervour lacking as little Britain lacks spirit of Nelson

When the giants of American sport come to town, you might think the British broadcasters would go to town too. But the BBC's highlights package of the American Football game between the Patriots and the Buccaneers (BBC2, Sunday) featured the perennially under- whelming Jake Humphreys and Mike Carlson, poached off Five, who once played college football at some place called Wesleyan University.

Give Alesha Dixon a chance, says Revel Horwood

Angry Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood rallied round Alesha Dixon today and blasted the "horrendous" backlash directed at her.

Sport on TV: Calzaghe's tangled tango more 'It's a Knockout' than 'Strictly'

It's the hardest game in the world, that ballroom dancing. Joe Calzaghe may yet become the next sportsman to dazzle us on Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1, Friday and Saturday). After all, he is used to wearing sequins and he's nimble on his feet from years of skipping rope.

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).

James Lawton: Hatton falls short of greatness, but for him there is no shame in defeat

Yes, twice he failed, both occasions with humiliation, but he did so at the highest level

Memories run deep for Giggs after winning PFA award

Ten years on, his hair a little greyer, Ryan Giggs recalled the most famous moment of an illustrious career: when he scored the winner in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal at Villa Park and whipped off his shirt in celebration. "I used to say I would never do it again but you never know," he said. "If you score an important winning goal again in the last minute you might just do it."

Boxing: Froch shows his appeal in stunning fightback

Briton stops Taylor in final seconds to pave way for big-money fights in States

Boxing: Froch struggles to make name for himself

The up-marketing of Carl Froch, the thinking fans' fighter, began in earnest last week when the new World Boxing Council super-middleweight champion, for so long second fiddle to Joe Calzaghe, was given the big-time treatment in the build-up to his first defence, against Jermain Taylor in the United States next month.

Bullied Calzaghe an 'introverted wreck'

The recently retired world boxing champion Joe Calzaghe had been turned into an "introverted wreck" by school bullies when he was 13, he said yesterday.

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