Tuesday 12 December 2017

Martinez says title 'on loan'

BOXING: Spain's Kiko Martinez has warned Ireland's Willie Casey and Paul Hyland that whoever wins the European super-bantamweight title in Limerick next month will only have the continental strap on loan.

Martinez, who first claimed the European crown with a sensational win over Bernard Dunne in 2007, was slated to defend the belt against Limerick's Casey at the University of Limerick on November 6.

But a rib injury has forced the Spaniard to vacate the title, meaning that Dubliner Hyland, the current EU and Irish champion, will now meet Casey in the first ever all-Irish European title fight.

However, Martinez will be given a shot at the winner, and the Alicante-born knockout artist says he will be returning to Ireland to reclaim the belt.

"It was only fair that I vacate the belt," he said. "(But) they need to remember that it will only be on loan, I will definitely be coming to Ireland to take it back."

Flower faith in Ashes

Cricket: Andy Flower believes the upcoming Ashes series can help cricket restore some of the credibility lost during this summer's spot-fixing scandal.

Pakistan's recent tour of England was tarnished by allegations three of their players conspired to ensure no balls were deliberately bowled during the Lord's Test match, something the trio deny.

"The second half of the summer was bad for the game, there's no doubt about that," said Flower. "With the inevitable scrutiny on an Ashes series, it should be a great spectacle for people."

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