UK Boxing: Amir Khan; Martin Ward; Erick Ochieng

British boxing hero Amir Khan will be meeting members of the Bolton Lads and Girls Club today ahead of carrying the Olympic Torch through his home town of Bolton. The two-time world champion was named as an official Olympic torchbearer for London 2012 and is set to meet members of the Club, which is now one of the biggest youth centres in the UK..

Khan, who is a former member of the Club, will be there from 5.15pm today (Thursday 31 May) until 6.15pm where he will meet and greet members and will also be available for media interviews.

The 25-year-old has previously experienced the highs of the Olympic Games having captured the imagination of the British public when he won silver in Athens in 2004 at the tender age of just 17.

Speaking ahead of today’s run, Khan said: “It’s really special for me to take part in the Olympic Torch Relay, especially as it’s in my hometown of Bolton. I remember seeing my idol Muhammad Ali carrying the torch in Atlanta in 1996 and to follow in his footsteps is a real privilege.

“I want to try and give something back to the local community here in Bolton and when I was asked to visit the Bolton Lads and Girls Club before the run I was more than happy to do so,” he said.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone there and being a former member of the Club it will be great to go back there and see some familiar faces,” said Khan.

After visiting the Club, Khan will take part in the final leg of the run at 6.46pm from Spa Road to Queens Park.

Bolton Lads and Girls Club is located on 18 Spa Road, Bolton, BL1 4AG. Amir will be at the Club from 5.15pm-6.15pm today. For media interviews please call Asif Vali on 07901 916 636 or Rachel Burke on 07736 275 907/01204 540 100.

Team GB star to make debut in September

Martin Ward has signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Sport.

The exciting Team GB podium star will make his debut in September and is expected to begin life in the paid ranks at lightweight before moving up through the divisions.

“I’m really happy to be teaming up with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport,” said Ward. “I’m going to be working incredibly hard to impress and I know that Eddie wants me to fight seven times in my first year so I’m really excited.”

Decorated as an amateur, Ward, 20, will be trained by Tony Sims alongside fellow Matchroom Sport stars Darren Barker, Lee Purdy and John Ryder.

“It’s a fantastic place to begin your career,” said Ward. “Darren has fought for a World title and is a class act, Lee is as tough and tenacious as they come and John has clearly learnt from being in the gym so I can’t wait to get going.”

Ward joins fellow GB teammates Scotty Cardle and Kal Yafai in Eddie Hearn’s burgeoning squad of hot young British talent, and the promoter is delighted to have secured his signature.

“I’ve known Martin for a few years now and every time I’ve seen him in the gym he has left me mesmerised,” said Hearn. “At 20 years of age, Martin already had bags of experience and is in my opinion one of the most exceptional talents this country has ever produced. Martin will be out a minimum of seven times a year and we will be putting all our resources into ensuring he reaches his full potential.”

Victorious English Champ Ochieng Eyes British Or Commonwealth Title Next

On Saturday night Stoke Newington’s Erick ‘The Eagle’ Ochieng retained his English Light Middleweight title in emphatic style, on the undercard of Carl Froch versus Lucian Bute IBF World Super Middleweight title clash in Nottingham.

Erick’s first defense of the title he won back in January, via a ninth round retirement by then opponent Nick Quigley, was against local ‘Masters’ title holder AA Lowe.

Erick took a laid back approach to the bout, preferring to box of the back foot and pick his punches, and boy did he pick them in style on his way to securing a virtual shut out points victory.

Judge Terry O’Connor clearly felt that Erick reigned supreme, scoring every round in Erick’s favour (100-90), judge Steve Gray didn’t see it much different, only scoring one round in favour of AA Lowe (99-91) and judge Howard Foster scored only two rounds in favour of Erick’s challenger (98-92).

Last night Erick returned victorious to his ‘home’ gym, the TRAD TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town, where he spoke about the excellent victory and his future aspirations. “First of all I want to give thanks to Jesus Christ for the victory.

Yeah, the fight, I came out quick, nice and relaxed. I was using my jab, most of my punches were one-two, one-two-three, but mostly using the jab and catching him all the time and I was making him miss.

The thing is I could have changed gear, my speed, and finished things early but I was relaxed.

Around round seven or eight I caught him with a right hook, straight right hand, left hook combination and rocked him a bit, but I took my foot of the gas and used my jab.

Yeah it was a comfortable win, one of the judges gave me all the rounds and two of the judges gave me all but two rounds.

I think one of them was the last round, I was just taking my time and enjoying myself. It was a big venue, it was incredible.

A big thanks to my supporters, all I could hear was Eagle, Eagle, Eagle all through the fight, yeah it was an awesome night.”

Erick then turned his attention to the headlining bout, in which fellow Matchroom Sport promoted Carl Froch comprehensively beat former Champion Lucian Bute to become a three time World Champion. “ It was an awesome fight. Carl Froch took the fight to Bute, Bute didn’t know what hit him and before he knew the fight was over.

Carl’s now a three time World Champion, without doubt making him our most successful boxer.

The whole night was electrifying, every punch Carl threw had the crowd cheering. He was incredible, it was an awesome night.”

Before returning to his fight and his future aspirations. “Fighting on such a big event in front of such a huge crowd made me so excited, I liked the environment, the big crowd and everyone chanting my name.

It’s just a matter of time, because this is where I see myself in the future. I had a photo taken of me with Carl Froch and the IBF belt, it looked good on me, I was wearing my red jacket and his IBF belt is red, so it’s yeah I’m going for the IBF.

Obviously my aim is to become World Champion and one of the titles will be the IBF, that or the WBC.

Hopefully I’ll be defending my title next on the undercard of ‘Special K’, Kell Brook’s, fight on the 7th July, obviously we’re still waiting for confirmation.

Then, God willing, by the end of the year I’ll be fighting for the British or Commonwealth title – It’s onwards and upwards.

I want to give a big thanks to all my fans, you’re fabulous. I want to give thanks to my sponsors, King Apparel, BoxFit, Glenn Insurance and Addison Lee, thank you guys for your support which I really appreciate and thank you Rio at the TRAD TKO.”

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