Boxing

In the Irish News on June 28 1997: Derry tipped to dethrone two-time champs Tyrone

Derry forward Joe Cassidy (right) was tipped to trouble the Tyrone defence in the 1997 Ulster SFC semi-final.

DAYS of cold sweats, hot flushes, nerve-jangling tension, a media exclusion zone, and a switch-blade shuffle of options. Tyson against Holyfield it's not; Tyrone versus Derry in Clones it is.

After the WBA world heavyweight title fight is determined in the gamblers' paradise of Vegas, the real drama of the Ulster Senior Football series will unfold.

And, to deploy the ring-master parlance of boxing's master of ceremonies Jimmy Lennon Jnr, two of the provincial giants are about to get ready to rumble tomorrow afternoon from 3.30 onwards.

It is anticipated that this trial of big occasion character, physical attributes, tactical ploys, and psychological steel can produce a barn-storming semi-final battle.

And after the unforgettable fireworks of 1995, and last year's tanking delivered by Tyrone, it's a titanic draw which has attracted joint live TV rights for UTV and RTE and up to the minute radio coverage.

Derry's cautious, anxious approach to the contest was marked this week by the team management decision to forbid players to be interviewed by the media.

Derry do appear to have the front three to cause damage. Seamus Downey, Joe Brolly and impressive newcomer Joe Cassidy can put it up to Tyrone if the quality of supply is forthcoming from elsewhere. As with last week's semi-final, it's all about chances taken. Tomorrow, a closer call is brewing. It's in the lap of the Gods, this one. The pennywise, arguably pound-foolish wager is on the silent few to make it through. Derry to edge it, just.

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Mike Tyson yesterday gained the upper hand as he aims to take revenge on Evander Holyfield in tonight's 'rematch of the decade'. Referee Mitch Halpern yesterday voluntarily withdrew from the contest after protests from Tyson's camp.

Despite these protests being rejected by Nevada boxing commissioners, Halpern stepped down and Mills Lane will now referee the fight in Las Vegas. Halpern, who had refereed the first fight when Holyfield stopped Tyson in the 11th round, said he did not want to be the focal point of the contest.

Tyson's manager John Horne had said: "Mike Tyson is totally, totally convinced that this man cannot be fair with him in the fight."

Holyfield may have accepted the switch, and Lane – who refereed the Tyson v Frank Bruno fight – is no pushover, but psychologically it is round one to Tyson.

Tyson, 30, whose 45 victories include 39 inside the distance, says he made some mistakes in the first fight which he will correct in order to win. But he said revenge is not an issue.

"I'm not emotional. I'm a professional," he said. "I don't get involved emotionally. I'm just handling my business here Saturday night."

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Teddy Sheringham completed a £3.5million move to Manchester United yesterday and then insisted he is ready to take on the challenge of filling Eric Cantona's boots, if not the shirt worn by Old Trafford's departed 'Magnificent Seven'.

The 31-year-old England striker arrived back from a family holiday in Florida last night to be told Tottenham had agreed a fee with the Premiership champions just weeks after White Hart Lane chairman Alan Sugar had dulled United's interest by putting a £6million price-tag on the wantaway star's head.

He flew north on Thursday night to hammer out a three-year contract deal with United chairman Martin Edwards and then immediately faced up to the prospect of replacing Cantona.

"I'm sure people will start making comparisons between me and Eric, but I can only play my own game and hope that it will be good enough for Manchester United," said Sheringham, who announced his intention to quit Spurs earlier this month. "Some will see it as a daunting task and if you think like that then it will be. But it's something that I can handle. If I didn't think like that then I wouldn't be here."

But although Sheringham will be earmarked for the play-making role behind the main striker that Cantona filled with the distinction which turned him into an Old Trafford legend, he will not be wearing the Frenchman's No 7 shirt. He explained: "I have always worn the No 10 shirt and I will have it again when I play for United.

"I asked about it and it fitted in with what the club wanted because I think David Beckham will be swapping the No 10 shirt for the No 7 that Eric had."

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Boxing