Monday 24 September 2018

Carrzone: McMahon lifts WBC Gold belt in "Battle of the Ages"

Christina McMahon
Christina McMahon
Barry Hearn

In Zambia, they called it the Battle of the Ages, with most pundits expecting local unbeaten 24-year old Catherine Phiri (10-0) to beat Christina McMahon (40) on Saturday for the WBC Interim Bantamweight World title.

The Carrickmacross boxer had taken the fight at short notice. Phiri had knocked out five of her opponents. Higher temperatures, high humidity and fighting 13,000 feet above sea level in Lusaka put the Irish challenger at a disadvantage. But former kickboxing champion McMahon prepared well for the biggest fight of her career.

Christina McMahon

At Declan Brennan's gym in Castleshane, she trained with an Everest Series Hypoxic Generator which simulated the testing high altitude conditions she'd face in Lusaka. Local pundits might have believed Christina was ready to hang up her gloves, but 'Lightning' showed her class and won a majority decision over ten gruelling rounds.

With the WBC Gold belt to her credit, McMahon is now mandatory challenger for tough Mexican Yazmin Rivas' (32-8, 9KOs) title.

Hearn to pump more prizemoney into snooker

Winning his first World Championship on Monday night, snooker ace Stuart Bingham picked up a cheque for £300K (€407.8K). That his prize money was the same amount that Mark Selby earned last year, probably didn't bother him. "Twenty years as a professional, blood, sweat and tears on the road.. It's unbelievable," he said after his win.

Barry Hearn

Barry Hearn

Bingham's cheque was £50k more than winner Ronnie O'Sullivan in 2013. And the good news ahead of next year's tournament is that Barry Hearn, who took control of snooker in 2010, promises bigger prize money in World Snooker from next season. Total prize money will increase by half a million to £8.5m for 2015-2016 and jumps to £10m in 2016-2017. The winner of the World Championship in 2017-2018 will receive £500k from a £2m total. This year's total prize money was £1,364,000 (€1,854,110). Growing the sport worldwide, Hearn, who plans to stage an Irish Open in Belfast in 2016, says: "We're miles away from peaking. We're not halfway up the mountain."

Ed Joyce in squad as new Ireland coach arrives for ODI

Following Jonathan Trott's retirement from international cricket, the man most likely to replace him in England's batting line-up is Yorkshire's Adam Lyth who was top Division One scorer in County Championship 2014 with 1,489 runs.

Lyth was on the bench for England's disappointing drawn three-match series in the West Indies. The player who presented the toughest challenge to Lyth's total last season was Ed Joyce (Sussex) with 1,398 runs.

Joyce is a member of the Ireland squad who play England in a one day international in Malahide on Friday.

The side's coaching team will be lead by formidable assistant coach and performance analyst Peter Johnston with newly appointed Head Coach John Bracewell as observer. Bracewell, an experienced former Test player, has also coached New Zealand.


A traditional sport is back

Situated not far from Hunky Dory Park and Drogheda's Gaelic Grounds, I knew Mother Hughes pub in Drogheda was popular with sports fans. When I popped in last week, I discovered an exciting tournament in action. Rings. This traditional Irish sport seems to have been making a comeback since the formation of the All Ireland Rings Association in 1980.

In Louth, they're happy Joe Sheridan doesn't play.

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