Britain's top heavyweight boxer blamed an injury to the little toe on his right foot for his defeat at the weekend - and in doing so inspired Yahoo to round up the most far-fetched excuses in sport.
In March 2009 the Frenchman tested positive for cocaine at the Miami Masters. Gasquet pleaded his innocence, maintaining that the drug must have got into his system via a waitress, whom he had spent the previous night kissing. The explanation was initially greeted with derision, but Gasquet took the case to an independent tribunal, which heard he "kissed her at least seven times, each kiss lasting about five to 10 seconds". The 23-year-old also argued successfully that - unknown to him - his companion was a regular drug user, and subsequent forensic evidence sealed the deal. The two-year ban was reduced to two months, and Gasquet is now back in competition.
The Championship side pulled the plug on their cheerleaders, the Crystals, in the Spring of 2011 after their saucy routines were deemed to be too distracting to the players, with some fans likening them to "poledancers on grass". Palace's form did improve, albeit only slightly, after the draconian measure, and the club eased to safety in a relatively comfortable 20th position.
The former Soviet republic blamed their 4-0 defeat at the hands of Spain at the 2006 World Cup not on an inability to defend, but on an army of frogs who apparently croaked all night just outside the windows of the players' rooms at their hotel. The noise apparently got so bad that the players even went outside to try to beat up th4 frogs with sticks.
In the summer of 2010 the England cricketer was picked up by the police at 3am, and failed a breathalyser test. Amazingly, Swann claimed that he was driving over the limit as he was on a late-night mission of mercy to buy screwdrivers from a 24hr supermarket so that he could rescue his pet kitten, Max, who was trapped under the floorboards. Swann was cleared in February this year on a technicality over police procedure.
The Zambian tennis player, Lighton Ndefwayi, was horrified when he lost to arch-rival Musumba Bwayla in a local tournament - and absolutely let rip with an astonishing array of excuses in his post-match interview. "Bwayla is a stupid man and a hopeless player. He has a huge nose and is cross-eyed. Girls hate him. He beat me because my jockstrap was too tight and because when he serves he farts, and that made me lose my concentration, for which I am famous throughout Zambia."
Cycling has had more than its share of doping controversies, but excuses do not come more outlandish than Dutchman Van der Poel's in 1983 after he who tested positive for strychnine, which acts as a stimulant when used in small doses. He blamed it on a pigeon pie served for Sunday lunch. Little did he know, Van der Poel explained, that the birds were his father-in-law's racing pigeons which had been doped with strychnine.
And finally, my favourite:- Alex Ferguson knew there was only one reason why his football side, Manchester United, went 3-0 down inside 45 minutes against Southampton back in April 1996 - and it wasn't lacklustre defending. Instead, the United boss blamed his side's grey shirts - "results had been poor whenever we wore it, and we certainly never played in it again."
Overload by Valenberg
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