Millennium Stadium Wants Joe Calzaghe To Come 'home'
30 June 2003 13:10pm
Millennium Stadium manager Paul Sergeant is to seek urgent talks with fight promotor Frank Warren to see if the home of Welsh sport can host a special 10th anniversary fight for world champion Joe Calzaghe.
Hot on the heels of the Welsh warrior's sensational second round knock-out of American Byron Mitchell in Cardiff last weekend, all the talk is of the 31-year-old Newbridge super-middleweight facing another American, the hard hitting Bernard Hopkins, at the Millennium Stadium in September.
"It was another remarkable performance by Joe Calzaghe last weekend which marks him out as one of the greatest Welsh sportsmen of all-time," said Sergeant.
"I've read a lot of headlines linking Joe with a unification fight against Bernard Hopkins at the Millennium Stadium later in the year and, from our point of view, we would love to try to arrange such a prestigious event.
"It will be 10 years on 1 October this year that Joe made his professional debut at the old Cardiff Arms Park on the undercard of the Lennox Lewis v Frank Bruno World heavyweight title fight bill. He started as he meant to go on with a first round knock-out of Paul Hanlon.
"Wouldn't it be great if he came home to the Millennium Stadium to be roared on by a huge Welsh crowd in his biggest fight to date.
"Since 1993, the Arms Park has been replaced by the Millennium Stadium and we can now guarantee a dry arena thanks to the closing roof. The 20,000 fans who turned up to watch Lewis beat Bruno got very wet as the heavens opened 10 years ago, but times have changed over the years.
"Now the Millennium Stadium is a world renowned, multi-sport venue that would be the natural choice for Joe, his promoters and American TV. We could easily double the numbers that turned out in 1993 and even look to top the record 40,000+ crowd that turned out to see Mexico's Vincente Saldivar
outpoint Howard Winstone over 15 rounds at Ninian Park in June,1967."
For the record, the first title fight to be staged at the Arms Park was a British Lightweight battle between Eric Boon and Swansea's Ronnie James on 12 August, 1944. James took the title away from Boon when the referee stopped the contest in the 10th round. Having won the title James promptly retired.
The Lewis-Bruno showdown is generated more than Â£5m in trade to the various outlets surrounding the city centre venue in addition to the near Â£1m gate receipts. That fight was televised to an audience of 18 million views in the United States and went live to 180 countries around the world.
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.