John Conteh, the British holder of the World Boxing Council version, of the world light-heavyweight championship, has broken his right hand, and has been forced to postpone his title defence scheduled for next month.
GV EXTERIOR Selfridges Hotel
GV INTERIOR Conteh displaying right hand alongside x-ray
SV Newsmen listen as Conteh speaks (3 shots)
(This film is serviced with part of Conteh's speech in English at the news conference. A transcript of this appears below.)
"It happened in the last round of my sparring session, of a ten round sparring session it was actually. With Franky Lewis it was in actual fact, the sparring partner, and it was the last minute of the last round. So it's really a tough break because I'd sparred ten round, was in great shape. Colin Hart was there at the time and the he went just before the end of the sparring session. I think he though I was only doing six rounds, but I went to do another four with my sparring partner, and I was in great shape and looking really fabulous, and feeling great."
And my hand went. I hit him with a right hand. The reason why I broke it I think because my hand I held a little bit incorrect, the hand was open a little because I had to - although I wasn't consciously opening it - I had to keep it open a little because I had a bad sore on this middle nail, which is, every time I was punching it was giving me trouble. It's a bit difficult to explain, but that's why I had to sort of keep the hand open a little bit when I was punching, not consciously though, and I broke it. I feel it's the best thing to do, you know, to go down there personally and sort of explain the situation to the President Amin personally, and also to arrange a new date for the fight, and we've got it tentatively pencilled in for the second week in June."
Initials CL/2312 CL/2317
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: John Conteh, the British holder of the World Boxing Council version, of the world light-heavyweight championship, has broken his right hand, and has been forced to postpone his title defence scheduled for next month.
Conteh told a news conference in London on Thursday (25 March) he had broken his hand in the last minute of the last round of a ten round sparring session with Franky Lewis. He was training for his title defence against Alvaro Lopez of the United States in Kampala, Uganda, which was scheduled for 11 April.
Conteh said he now hoped to fight Lopez in the second week of June.
He said he believed the hand had been broken because he was not closing it correctly. This was because he had a sore nail on his middle finger, which was hurting every time he punched with his right hand. Conteh said he was not consciously keeping the hand open.
He said he felt the best thing to do was go to Uganda personally and explain the situation to the Ugandan leader, President Idi Amin, who had been taking a great interest in the fight.
The break occurred in exactly the same place Conteh broke his hand in a non-title fight in the United States last August.