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Thriller in The Mirror; EXCLUSIVE: SMITH AND SHERIDAN GET READY TO RUMBLE.

Byline: RON MOORE, Chief Reporter

TOUGH-TALKING MSP Tommy Sheridan will take on football pundit Gordon Smith in an unmissable charity boxing match.

Sheridan, the Scottish Daily Mirror's newest edition, is to face fellow Mirror columnist and former Rangers hero Smith in Glasgow next month.

The 38-year-old Scottish Socialist Party leader came to the rescue after funnyman Tam Cowan chickened out of the bout.

Tubby Tam, 33, bobbed and weaved his way out of the clash with Smith, claiming he didn't want to ruin Gordon's "pretty boy" looks.

Now "The Pollok Puncher" will meet "Slugger" Smith in a three-round all-Mirror clash to raise cash for charity.

All proceeds will go to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill, Glasgow.

Last night, Tommy said: "As long as I'm in the red corner, then I'll be into it.

"It's been said I might be 'well tanned' in the ring, but I think Gordon will be looking even more tanned than me.

"Gordon will probably insist on wearing blue shorts, so it may be a bit of an Aberdeen-Rangers bout - and you know they probably end in blows.

"I'm also concerned Gordon has a longer reach because, going by what my pals tell me, I never buy a round of drinks."

Tommy added: "It's all about good, clean fun and raising much-needed cash for the sick children's hospital."

In the Mirror's blue corner, Gordon, 48, vowed to avoid Tommy's secret weapon - the left hook.

He said: "I look forward to meeting Tommy but I will be keeping well away from his extreme left. And I am afraid I will look pale standing beside Tommy's famous suntan.

"But he is a political heavyweight, so it will be a fight to remember.

"The most important thing is that it will raise cash for a really worthwhile cause."

The Mirror's stars square up for the bout, organised by exchampion boxers Gary Jacobs and Paul Weir, at the Glasgow Thistle Hotel on February 23.

Several other big-name fights are featured on the bill, including former Rangers star Ian Durrant against ex-Celtic hero Peter Grant.

Last night, Jacobs said: "Tommy and Gordon have agreed to take part in what will be a brilliant night of boxing entertainment."

BLUE CORNER'Slugger' Smith

HEIGHT: 6 ft

WEIGHT: 13 stone, 12 lbs

REACH: "don't know but longer than his"

CHEST: "a well toned 42 inches"

NECK: 16 inches

AGE: 48

RED CORNER'Pollok Puncher'

HEIGHT: 5ft 10 1/2

WEIGHT: 12 stone,

REACH: "Not very long"

CHEST: "Sexy and 38 inches

NECK: 151/2

inches

AGE:

38

CAPTION(S):

BROWN BOY IN THE RING; How tanned MSP Tommy Sheridan, right, might look when he takes on fellow Scottish Daily Mirror columnist Gordon Smith
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 14, 2003
Words:450
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