NIGHT FOR THE AGES AT YORK HALL
By Frank Warren
I WAS STRUCK by a thought while watching our, mostly, prospects production from York Hall last Friday about the remarkable Emiliano Marsili.
When the Italian, anything but a prospect at the ripe old age of 47, turned professional in 2003, a fellow member of the Bethnal Green cast, Moses Itauma, wasn’t even born.
I cannot deny that I felt Marsili was holding sway in the fight against Gavin Gwynne with the European lightweight title on the line, but there was still a fair chunk of proceedings to go when he withdrew with a shoulder injury, so Gavin might well have pulled it around anyway.
Congratulations to Gavin, bagging a European title on his Queensberry debut isn’t bad going at all and he has added a further distinction to his place in the Merthyr fighting history books.
We have got some big decisions to make over our lightweight options moving into 2024. Sam Noakes maintained his knockout streak with a fourth round stoppage of Carlos Perez in a bit of a scrappy encounter.
I believe both Sam and Mark Chamberlain are more than ready to move into higher jeopardy territory and the most obvious solution could well be for them to fight each other in a match that I am sure the public would engage with.
Both are openly saying they are up for it, so I guess it will come down to the nitty gritty and I will have to get around the negotiating table with my son Francis, who manages Sam, with Mark being with me.
Another option is for one of them to fight Gavin, which would represent a proper test for either with big belts on the line.
Decisions, decisions. Watch this space.
I was delighted for Brad Strand in winning his first title in the WBO European super bantamweight belt. Brad is a classy operator and looks destined to make a big splash in the division.
He is more cautious than explosive, but he knows what he is doing and he will be a match for anybody at domestic level, at least. It was interesting to hear him call out Liam Davies and Dennis McCann and it shows the strength we possess at the weight.
Either of them would be top fights and we know Brad has a bit of previous amateur history with Liam. Again, it is a great sign of what we have got to come next year.
Another with big prospects is Raven Chapman, who really delivered the goods against Lucie Sedlackova on Friday. The Omen looked as good as I have seen her in action and, to be quite honest, her next move needs to be right up at world level.
Moses Itauma and Royston Barney-Smith, two of our real Blue Chip young performers, showed again the genuine quality we have within our ranks with their displays at York Hall.
Moses, now 7-0, has really kicked on since he allowed himself to become a little bit sluggish in a couple of performances earlier this year.
I did have a few words with him, which he certainly appears to have taken on board. The long and short of what I said was, no matter who is in front of him, to use his lightning speed advantage and let his hands go. I didn’t want him to get disillusioned by opponents not showing any ambition and just wanted him to get the job done.
Moses is getting the experience and activity he needs at this stage of the game and the level of opposition will be increased when the time is right. He is a work in progress, but an almost certainly world class one.
The same goes for Royston, who is such a gifted boxer and has the world in his super-quick talented fists. He is a joy to watch and, if he maintains his discipline and momentum, he will go all the way and we will have a lot of fun watching his career develop.
Moses and Royston are setting the benchmark for our other young fighters to strive towards. It is a high bar, but this is a tough business and we all want to see excellence at work.