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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 13:07 GMT
Rise to the challenge for Sport Relief



Ben Shephard will take on Lemar in Sport Relief Celebrity Boxing

UK soul star Lemar and GMTV presenter Ben Shephard will do battle in this year's Sport Relief Celebrity Boxing.

The duo will go head-to-head in the ring on 14 March as part of the Sport Relief weekend.

Lemar, 29 and Shephard, 32, will be mentored by Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton respectively and given expert training by Jim McDonnell and Frank Maloney.

The two men have embarked on intensive six-week fitness regimes to ensure they are in peak physical condition.

They will spend two hours a day, three days a week pounding the punch bags in the build-up to the most eagerly anticipated Sport Relief bout ever.

TALE OF THE TAPE
Ben Shephard will take on Lemar in Sport Relief Celebrity Boxing

Lemar.............v...........Shephard

29..................Age..................32

6'1................Height...............5'10

83'...............Weight.................83'

0....................Wins....................0

0..................Knockouts.............0

0.................Losses....................0

The two foes will come face-to-face for the first time at a packed news conference in a central London hotel on 12 February.

"The Hammer" Shephard has impressed Maloney in training, and the legendary boxing figure has declared him: "the fittest celebrity boxer I have ever trained".

But will that be enough to derail the three-inch height and big reach advantage enjoyed by Lemar, the self-styled "Soul Destroyer"?

Both boxers weighed in at exactly 13 stones (83kgs) before they started training so an evenly fought battle is all but guaranteed.

"He might be taller than me, he might have a longer reach than me, but that just means he's got further to fall," said a confident Shephard.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Sean Chaney

"I've never been allowed to have a fight before but Sport Relief have given me a great excuse to connect with my Inner Essex Boy."

Two-time Brit award winner Lemar has just become a father for the first time and admits he wants to win to impress his new-born daughter Nyaima.

"The fact I've just had a baby inspires me during the boxing, every punch and every block is a little bit more loaded," he said.

"I don't want to show her a video of me lying down at the end of the fight. I intend to win and I wanna tell her, yeah Daddy's a champ."

Both men are delighted to be rising to the challenge and are encouraging everyone to do their bit by signing up for their nearest Sport Relief Mile.

There are over 200 miles in every corner of the country so sign up now and start getting sponsored to do your bit for Sport Relief.

Previous Sport Relief Celebrity Boxing Bouts
2002: Bob Mortimer beat Les Dennis
2004: Ben Fogle beat Sid Owen
2006: Jack Osbourne beat Bradley McIntosh

Lemar and Shephard join other celebrities rising to the challenge for Sport Relief, including Adrian Chiles and Alan Shearer who will cycle from Newcastle to London in two days.

And James Cracknell is undertaking an extraordinary challenge to travel from the UK to Africa completely under his own steam.

Look out for the latest news on all these challenges and many more on the BBC Sport Relief website.



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