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WE'LL KO X FACTOR; BOXER JOE VOWS TO WIN RATINGS BOUT WITH TALENT SHOW.

Byline: Rick Fulton

STRICTLY Come Dancing's boxer Joe Calzaghe promises to land The X Factor a knockout blow tonight.

The reality telly smash hits go head-to-head in a battle of the broadcasters tonight.

With 46 wins at supermiddleweight and lightheavyweight, undefeated world champ Joe is Strictly's secret weapon.

The 37-year old Welshman, the bookies' early favourite to win, is also set to sizzle with rumours he and dance partner Kristina Rihanoff are an item already.

He told the Record: "I'm ready to deliver a knockout blow to The X Factor.

Retired

"I'm looking forward to the challenge. I had a great time as a boxer and I miss the focus and hard work.

"Going up against The X Factor adds to the adrenaline."

And 2007 BBC sports personality of the year 2007 Joe, who retired from boxing in February is ready to rumba.

He said: "I know I can fight and kick ass, but this is a little different. I'd like to go far but the first thing is about enjoying it and having fun.

"Of course boxing isn't the same as dancing, but you have to be light on your feet and in boxing you work on the balls of your feet."

This weekend, the first eight celebrities will have to dance a waltz or a tango with one of them voted off at the end of tonight's show.

They include Joe and Kristina, as well as Ali Bastian and Brian Fortuna.

The other eight celebrities and their partners will dance next Friday and Saturday and will feature Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle, former England cricketer Phil Tufnell and Jo Wood, the estranged wife of Rolling Stone Ronnie.

Joe admits that before he was asked to appear on the new series, he'd never danced, unless he was drunk.

He said: "No never. Only at 2am, a bit drunk on the dance floor.

Kristina, who he insists he's not dating, jumps in: "So, I have to get you drunk to start you dancing?" Joe is certainly a different proposition from her last partner. Last year, Kristina teamed up with viewers' favourite John Sergeant.

Despite being labelled "a dancing pig in Cuban heels" he was loved by Strictly fans who kept him in the show until he quit.

Now Kristina has a sportsman to fling her around the dance floor properly.

She said: "Of course, it is very different but John was very good in his own way. He tried his best and he was a great personality.

Competitive

"But this time, I just got the best boy really in my hands to work with.

"We're both very competitive, we both want to do well - so here we go."

The BBC's Strictly started last night while ITV's X Factor will finish it's auditions stage with shows tonight and tomorrow.

While Strictly starts at 7.25pm tonight, the 100th episode of The X Factor , the fifth of the current series, kicks off at 8pm and finishes at 9.15pm, 10 minutes after the BBC show.

CAPTION(S):

PACKING A PUNCH: Calzaghe and his Strictly partner Kristina Rihanoff
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 19, 2009
Words:514
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