In brief: Macklin laughs off Varon taunt
Boxing: IF they were giving out titles for colourful put-downs, then Ruben Varon would win hands down every time. Varon has told Irish middleweight Matthew 'Mack the Knife' Macklin that he has a better chance of usurping Prince Charles and becoming King of England than challenging for a world title.
And former underage Tipp hurler Macklin, who defends his European title against Varon at Liverpool Echo Arena tonight, reckons that the Spaniard is correct -- about his chances of ascending to the English throne.
"If he did say that it was a good one -- but he's right about me not being able to become the King of England because I'm Irish," laughed Macklin.
Meanwhile, if Macklin wins tonight's duel then Argentinian world champ Sergio Martinez could await. However, his fellow Irish middleweight Andy Lee may beat him to the punch and get first shot at 35-year-old early next year.
Lee was due to meet Poland's Daniel Urbanski on the Wladimir Klitschko-Dereck Chisora undercard in Germany tonight but the entire promotion was shelved after Klitschko pulled out injured. Lee is also very close to a deal to meet Texan slugger Bryan Vera -- the only man to have beaten him in the pro ranks -- in a rematch in Texas on February 4.
Meanwhile, Cavan bantamweight John Joe Nevin maintained his unbeaten run with Paris United in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) with a convincing win over 2010 European quarter-finalist Selcuk Eker of Istanbul last night. Nevin dominated all five rounds to claim a unanimous decision over the Turk.
Left-arm spinner Michael Beer was a surprise selection as Australia dropped Marcus North, Doug Bollinger and Xavier Doherty for the third Ashes Test.
Beer -- who has made only five first-class appearances -- is joined by leg-spinner Steve Smith in a squad of 12.
Pacemen Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Johnson, who played at Brisbane but were dropped for the defeat by England in Adelaide, are back in the reckoning, while Phillip Hughes comes in for the injured Simon Katich.
- Ireland and Sussex batsman Ed Joyce has signed a one-year extension to his contract which will see him remain with the county until the end of the 2013 season.
John Higgins defeated Mark Allen 9-5 in Telford last night to book his place in the 12Bet.com UK Championship final and close in on a dream return to major championship competition.
The Scot proved too strong in a one-sided evening session, which the three-time world champion won 5-1, sealing victory with breaks of 100 and 73.