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Frank Maloney Boxing: Tony Jeffries Has Close Call In Portugal

Olympic bronze medallist Tony Jeffries lost his way last week after being sent off course by three crazed dogs, but thankfully his boxing career is still on track.

'Jaffa's' mishap came during a training run in Portugal with fellow Sunderland fighter Dave Ferguson and Blackpool's unbeaten light-middleweight prospect Brian Rose.

The trio lost their way for almost two hours while running in 80 degree heat at their promoter Frank Maloney's Algarve training camp after being chased by three hungry dogs.

The mutt attack sent them in a different direction than normal and with none of the boxers carrying a mobile phone during the running session, Jeffries' dad, Phil, who was at the camp, could not be contacted.

Phil became worried when the fighters hadn't returned and eventually found them in a remote area eight miles from their mountain hideaway.

Phil, who manages his son and heavyweight hope Ferguson said: "I thought they were longer than normal and the penny quickly dropped that they had got lost.

"Frank had returned to London on business for a few days and because he knows the area, had been with them every morning.

"They had been working and running hard every day, but wanted a change of scenery and in no time at all were off track when three scraggy dogs scared them more than any opponent.

"Although the dogs were only on their case for a minute or so, the area was full of mazy roads and they were soon barking up the wrong tree."

Red faced Jeffries (3-0) said: "It was pretty rural, but the dogs barking terrified us all and although we lost them we suddenly never had clue where we were.

"The occasional Portuguese motorist went past and we tried to hail them down. They just stared with a look that said; 'Who are these lunatics, wearing shorts and running in this heat?'

"We had just about run out of water when my dad tuned up. He just looked and us and said: 'Weather's turned out nice again'.

"Because of the dogs going bananas, we went four miles out of our way which wasn't the brightest thing to do in hot temperatures."

Ferguson (9-2), who Maloney hopes to push into British title contention, blamed Jeffries and Rose and said: "I won't follow Tony anywhere again unless it is around Sunderland.

"Because I'm a bit heavier than Tony and Brian, I was a couple yards behind and following them, but I soon got in front when the dogs were growling.

"If you got a load of dogs chasing me on a run, I'd become the world's fittest heavyweight."

Super middleweight Jeffries and Ferguson are both in action in their hometown at Seaburn Centre on October 16.

Also on the bill is Jeffries possible future rival Darren Sutherland (4-0), who also won a bronze medal in Beijing last August and has stopped all of his professional opponents.

Heading the quality bill is a British super bantamweight title defence by Jason Booth (33-5), who faces Hartlepool's former European champion Michael Hunter.

Booth, 31, will be having his 17th major title contest and making the second defence of the championship he won against Mark Moran in April.

Tickets priced £35 and £90 are available from 0871 226 1508, Phil Jeffries 0191 564 0202 and www.frankmaloney.com. Those buying from the website will receive a discount.

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