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On this Day in the Irish News: January 6 1998

Darren Corbett holds his son Darren Jnr after retaining his Commonwealth cruiserweight title at Maysfield leisure centre in Belfast in December 1997

COMMONWEALTH cruiserweight champion Darren Corbett is being lined up to fight Alexander Gurov for the vacant European belt after the European Boxing Union controversially stripped Johnny Nelson of the title last night.

The Belfast boxer, who sparred with Gurov before his last Commonwealth defence against southpaw Rob Norton in December, last night said he was delighted with the development, but didn’t know if or when the fight would come off.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” he said.

“This has all come as something of a surprise, and I don’t know if the fight will come off. Gurov is a good fighter but I think I could take him in about seven or eight rounds.”

Corbett said he wasn’t surprised Nelson had been stripped of his European crown by the EBU after pulling out of his defence with the Ukranian Gurov last month.

“He (Nelson) hasn’t been defending his title and this sort of thing was always likely to happen,” he said. Sheffield-based Nelson last night said he was “disgusted” by the EBU’s decision to strip him of the cruiserweight title.

Nelson also attacked the British Boxing Board of Control for not backing him against the decision. “I only found out by turning on Teletext that I had lost my title – it’s a disgrace,” fumed Nelson.

“But I understand I was going to get fined by the Board if I had not provided sufficient evidence and a letter from my doctor to prove I was injured when I pulled out of the Gurov fight.

“But even though I did provide sufficient evidence and informed promoter Frank Maloney of everything that was happening I have still been stripped – I am disgusted.”

FA Cup third round: Tottenham 3 Fulham 1

FULHAM goalkeeper Maik Taylor literally handed Spurs a way out of a potential Cup nightmare at White Hart Lane last night as Mohamed Al Fayed and Kevin Keegan learned once again that whatever else you buy, you cannot buy luck.

Struggling Tottenham were living on the edge after former Spur Neil Smith beat Ramon Vega to convert Matthew Lawrence’s 56th-minute cross.

Smith’s strike halved the lead Christian Gross’s men had carved out before the break through fortunate goals from Steve Clemence and Colin Calderwood, and the Premiership giants were starting to stare humiliation in the face.

Then in the 62nd minute Jose Domingues got away down the left to send in a swirling cross met by debut-making Garry Brady.

Taylor was beaten by Brady’s header, only for the ball to rebound back towards the former Barnet and Southampton goalkeeper.

But as Taylor reached out his right hand to gather the loose ball in, he only succeeded in knocking it back towards goal, and a desperate lunge with his left hand could only paw it over the line.

Perhaps, after so many problems, the tide has turned for Spurs. It was certainly a horror moment for Taylor, as Tottenham, despite more anxious moments than Gross would have expected, claimed their fourth-round date at home to Barnsley.

With Jurgen Klinsmann still struggling to reclaim the form of his first spell at the club, it was far from convincing, even if it was the sort of result that might have been taken for granted only three months ago.

THE replay of Saturday’s abandoned match between Cliftonville and Glenavon could take place on Wednesday January 28 - providing neither side is involved in a Bass Irish Cup replay.

Cliftonville chairman Jim Boyce confirmed last night that the Reds have suggested the midweek date to Glenavon and the Irish League and are awaiting a response.

“It would seem like the next best available date, providing neither team are involved in cup replays,” said Boyce.

Tomorrow’s scheduled game between Cliftonville and Crusaders, postponed from Boxing Day because of a waterlogged pitch, will only go ahead if there is no further rainfall.

A club spokesman said it was “doubtful” the game would go ahead if there was any more rain, but added: “if it stays dry we should be okay.”

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