Boxing News Fri, 29 Nov 2002

James Armah Fails to show up

Promoters Matchroom have confirmed that challenger James Armah has failed to board a plane from Ghana, leaving English southpaw David Burke without an opponent for Saturday's Sky Sports show at Everton Park.

John Wischhusen, a spokesman for Match-room, said: "We are furious with the situation but David will not box in Liverpool on Saturday night.

"We have no idea why Armah has not boarded his plane. At this point all we have is rumours that he is overweight, has a bad hand and even that he has sold his plane ticket, but nothing is concrete."

This is the third time Armah has pulled out of a bout with Burke, and the Liverpudlian is furious with the promoters for not lining up an alternative opponent.

But a defence against the former undefeated champion was obligatory, as Wischhusen explained: "We can totally understand David's frustrations. We are desperately disappointed also, but this fight was part of a deal made when David won the title.

"After Armah pulled out last time, he was stripped of the belt so David could face an alternative opponent. But the Commonwealth Committee made the condition that the winner had to defend against Armah within 90 days. We had to make this fight.

"I have been in contact with Armah's new training team in Ghana non stop for the past two weeks because of his history and they insisted every time that he was ready."

Dunne, Liverpool's WBU lightweight world champion, tops the bill down in Essex next weekend and is himself without a challenger.

And Burke, has in the past, spoken about his desire to challenge "The Dynamo" for his world title.

It would, however, make more financial sense to the promoters to build up such a lucrative all-Liverpool world title match - which would sell-out five times over if staged in the city.

Indeed Matchroom revealed this morning that should Armah fail to show in time for next weekend, their first choice of challenger for Burke is South African Martin Jacobs, the same Springbok who lost out on a heavily contested points decision to Dunne earlier this year.

Should that match be made in time for next weekend, Burke would be handed the ideal opportunity to win a psychological battle with a convincingly win over Jacobs.

Then Liverpool could be set to stage its biggest title fight since Shea Neary fought Andy Holligan in Stanley Park four years ago. l Fans who have bought tickets, but no longer want to go to the show can get a full refund from the point of purchase.

BURKE could thus be in line for a mouth-watering shot at Liverpool's own world champion Colin Dunne after the unthinkable happened last night and his Commonwealth title defence hit the canvas.

Dewsbury welterweight James Hare will now top the bill defending his Commonwealth title, with plans afoot for Burke to feature on next Saturday's card at the Brentwood Leisure Centre in Essex.


Source: Liverpool Echo