Harty on The Albion, boxing and Gray and Keys

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THE Albion travel to Southampton this weekend looking to build on the much-welcome home win against Barnsley the Sunday before last.

After the Albion’s runaway championship win last year, there seems to be a reversal in roles for the South coast rivals this year, as Saints are now the Championship pacesetters.

There is a school of thought that the game at St Mary’s is now the Albion big derby match, bigger than either the games against Pompey or Palace.

I probably would concur with that. Palace will always be rivals, but with Pompey on the wane and both the Albion and Saints with state-of-the-art stadia and Premiership ambitions, perhaps there has been a sea change.

It goes without saying that after a slight wobble and dip in form, a win for the Albion at St Mary’s will certainly kick-start the season again. And, while Saints have enjoyed a tremendous start to the campaign, sooner or later they will lose at home, so why not against the Albion?

Saturday night saw the start of another chapter for an esteemed name in British Boxing.

Chris Eubank Junior, who had previously boxed as an amateur locally, made his professional debut on the undercard of the Tyson Fury bill in Manchester.

As much as his father will be an influence on his career, I felt that Chris Junior had a little bit of his thunder stolen by his dad on the night, but his fourth-round stoppage of a scheduled opponent from Eastern Europe was never going to pull up any trees – but certainly will have whetted the public’s appetite.

One major factor is the presence of Chris Eubank’s long-time trainer, Ronnie Davies, in the corner. This is a master stroke and all the time that relationship continues, things will move in the right direction.

The other slightly surprising aspect is the choice of promoter, Mick Hennessy. He’s very good at his job, but clearly not at the same level as the likes of Frank Warren or Barry Hearn, who both played a major part in Eubank senior’s career.

Is it a case of once bitten, twice shy, when it comes to promoters?

Time will tell, but I think there could be exciting times ahead for local fight fans.

On the subject of the noble art, Adur BC have a dinner show at the Charmandean Centre on Saturday week, in aid of James O Hagan, a local youngster, currently in America, undergoing surgery which will enable him to walk.

For ticket details, please contact Dave Binns on 07803 190313.

The departure of Richard Keys and Andy Gray from Sky Sports was well documented but their re–emergence on the mid-morning show on Talk Sport, had made me and a lot of others think that time had moved on.

Clearly not, because while their radio show is attracting healthy audiences and in my opinion is very listenable, the duo’s recent national theatre tour was cancelled, including last Thursday’s date at Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre, due to poor ticket sales.

A fact that has not gone unnoticed at their former employers, even producing a topical gag in “what’s the difference between Abraham Lincoln and Richard Keys? At least Lincoln made it to the theatre.”