BACK TO WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
By Frank Warren
WE LAST WEEK convened to formally reveal the latest of our highly-acclaimed ‘Magnificent Seven’ cards, which will take place at the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham – formerly known as the NEC – on Saturday March 16.
It is very much a return for the Magnificent Seven theme because our first version, back in 2010, was also at the National Exhibition Centre, where the likes of Nathan Cleverly, Enzo Macarinelli, James DeGale and Matthew Macklin all fought for significant title belts.
We then revived the title in November of last year up in Manchester and the event was again a resounding success, with Nathan Heaney’s epic triumph over Denzel Bentley, Nick Ball’s dominance over Isaac Dogboe and Liam Davies’ thriller against Vincenzo La Femina amongst the many highlights.
The show, as we anticipated, received rave reviews and it demonstrated what an appetite there is for such a pick ’n’ mix of title action. At the AO Arena we had three British title fights, a European, English, a unified world title and final eliminator for a WBC world title shot.
When we land again in Birmingham in March we will have Liam Davies fighting in an IBO world title fight this time, Nathan Heaney making his first defence of the British against the English champion, Dennis McCann and Brad Strand going into battle for two WBO belts, Eithan James and Owen Cooper trading up for English and WBO European belts and Sol Dacres defending his English title, hopefully against David Adeleye, in what will be a cracking domestic heavyweight match-up.
Not only that, we’ve also got Zach Parker taking on the German former world champion Tyron Zeuge, plus the return of the Juggernaut, big Joe Joyce, going up against Kash Ali.
If you just take into account the six confirmed fights on the card so far, the records perfectly illustrate the competitiveness of the matches. The combined tally is 198 wins with just eight defeats and two draws. Only Joe and his opponent Kash have lost more than once from the 12 fighters.
It is a proper, proper fight card that, as close as you can get, guarantees an absolutely cracking night of action from start to finish.
I am excited by all the fights but, if you ask me to pick out some personal favourites, I would lean towards the super bantamweight showdown between the undefeated McCann and Strand.
Both will view the fight as a pivotal moment in their careers, where a win really catapults their fortunes moving forward. It is much the same for our unbeaten welterweights, James and Cooper, who have kind of snuck up the blindside before now.
We will also get to see if the Nathan Heaney Story continues to captivate when he defends his treasured belt against Brad Pauls. Working with Nathan and delivering the opportunities for him has been a joy. His successes mean so much to him, he improves fight on fight and we’ve still got his ultimate dream to come, which is fighting on the pitch at Stoke City.
However, he has an equally determined young opponent in Pauls looking to spoil the party.
Then, of course, we’ve got the big success story of British boxing in Liam Davies looking to win the IBO version of the world super bantamweight title against Erik Robles Ayala and this will be one not to miss.
In Liam’s last five fights with us, he has won a different major title in four of them and his last one was a mandatory defence of his EBU belt. Winning the IBO belt against the Mexican who defeated Lee McGregor on his last visit here will place Liam right in the reckoning at the elite end of the division.
Birmingham on March 16 really is going to be the hottest ticket in town. Don’t miss it.