Page last updated at 10:13 GMT, Sunday, 28 March 2010 11:13 UK

Boxer Joe Calzaghe's cocaine apology

Joe Calzaghe at his father's gym
The boxer was awarded a CBE at Buckingham Palace in 2008

Ex-world boxing champion Joe Calzaghe has apologised after a newspaper's allegations that he has taken drugs.

A statement on his website said he regretted his "occasional use of cocaine" since retiring from the ring.

He said he was fully aware it set a bad example to others and although "not a major problem" in his life it was something he was "actively addressing".

The 38-year-old from Newbridge, south Wales, also criticised the reporting tactics used by the News Of The World.

The super-middleweight retired from boxing in February 2009 as Britain's only undefeated boxing world champion with 46 wins from 46 fights.

He is a former winner of the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year and took part in the last series of Strictly Come Dancing.

He said he felt he had been the victim of a sting operation by the newspaper, whose reporters posed as the London representatives of a Russian investment bank.

I very much regret my occasional use of cocaine in what have sometimes been the long days since my retirement from the ring
Joe Calzaghe statement

Calzaghe said he had been unaware he had been secretly filmed and many of the discussions took place in a "relaxed environment" where not everything said was "meant seriously."

He wrote on his website: "I am deeply sorry if anyone feels let down and I will make sure that nothing like it happens again.

"Over the course of the last 24 hours I have been in discussions with my family, friends, my management team, my sponsors and charitable partners, in particular the team at Help for Heroes, who have given me their full support and continued backing on the fundraising initiatives I have recently commenced.

"Others I have also spoken to today have given me their full support to get over this and help me deal with some of the issues that have been raised."

'Embarrassment'

He questioned if it was the "proper function of a free press" to have journalists using "this sort of underhand deception" to get a story "which they hope will sell newspapers by knocking someone down."

His website also included the statement issued to the newspaper.

It read: "I very much regret my occasional use of cocaine in what have sometimes been the long days since my retirement from the ring.

"I am fully aware of the bad example it sets to other people and particularly to youngsters and I apologise to my family, friends and fans.

"It is not a major problem in my life but it is something which I am actively addressing.

"Many of the other conversations reported to have taken place simply involve men joshing or shooting the breeze over a drink.

"While some statements are either untrue or exaggerations I am, naturally, sorry for any embarrassment their publication may cause to entirely blameless third parties."



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SEE ALSO
Profile: Joe Calzaghe
01 Dec 08 |  Wales
Undefeated Calzaghe quits boxing
05 Feb 09 |  Boxing
Strictly Joe gets a Sugar boost
13 Oct 09 |  Wales
Joe Calzaghe 'petrified' at Strictly contest
25 Aug 09 |  Entertainment
'Nervous' Calzaghe picks up CBE
26 Nov 08 |  Wales
Calzaghe given 'freedom' honour
15 May 09 |  Wales
Calzaghe in plea over knife crime
03 Feb 09 |  Wales

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