OFF THE MARK IN MANCHESTER
By Frank Warren
It took a little longer than anticipated but, on Monday, we finally made our return to the BT Tower to reveal the first exciting phase of the forthcoming BT Sport-BoxNation schedule.
I am delighted with what we have been able to bring to the table so far and I am sure the fight dates have already been circled in 2017 diaries.
What we have announced is genuinely just for starters as we are poised to sign off on another batch of crowd pleasing contests, but we wanted to put our marker down now and provide a snapshot of what we are planning to deliver.
Our likely lads and leading lady were in attendance but unfortunately, due to a tight capacity on the platform in the auditorium, we had to limit our cast list to the individuals involved in the first wave of announcements.
Our preference, of course, would’ve been to have our entire stable on show, but we had to work within the confines of the venue. There were no snubs or slights intended.
I must, however, extend my apologies to Paul Butler, who should have been there but, due to a mix-up at our end, didn’t make it – much to my embarrassment. So a big sorry to him, but the good news is we are making significant progress on securing him a shot at the WBA world title currently held by Jamie McDonnell.
It looks like we are getting there with that one, so it will be a big fight to look forward to in the summer.
Monday was about setting in stone a few early headlines, but there is much more to come when we are in a position to reveal the full cards. Jack Catterall, for one, wasn’t at the BT Tower, but like another of our captures, the unbeaten big punching Manchester cruiserweight Jordan Thompson, he figures very highly in our plans.
We will host another media conference next week to reveal the whole Manchester card for April 8 and there are some top fights that I am sure will meet with your approval.
Our Manchester Arena launch show is going to be a blinder, stacked with even-money fights.
Terry Flanagan against Russian Petr Petrov is a hard fight and it is one Terry and his team really wanted. We have duly delivered, but, I have got to say, it is a fight I initially had some reservations about taking.
The Turbo won’t be able to take his foot off the gas for a moment and, hopefully, as has been the case before when he has been up against it, he does the business in style.
Then we’ve got the two Liams, Smith and Williams, a massive domestic duel we are absolutely delighted to be able to put on for the fans. To my mind, it is the best domestic scrap that is there for the making.
It will be war in there when these two step into the ring, make no mistake about it.
Nicola Adams, the world’s best female flyweight, will make her debut on this card, along with our sensational new teenage giant heavyweight signing Daniel Dubois, so it will truly be the Little and Large show!
On the subject of big men, it was good to catch up with Hughie and Peter Fury on Monday and Hughie looks in fine fettle.
We remain in negotiations with Joseph Parker’s representatives over Hughie’s mandatory challenge for the WBO world heavyweight title but, what we do know for sure at this point in time is that the fight will happen.
Hopefully we can secure home advantage for our man and I would expect definitive news on this sometime next week.
Another major announcement next week will involve Billy Joe Saunders, who is currently bedding in with new trainer Adam Booth. It was important that Bill resolved the issue of who was to direct his training regime and in Adam he has got one of the best in the business.
Liam Walsh is another with a big date in the offing. Unfortunately we couldn’t raise the Cromer crew from their training camp in Tenerife to get them there on Monday, but Liam is assured of his mandatory spot for a shot at the new IBF super featherweight champion Gervonta Davis, while his twin Ryan is booked in for a third defence of his British featherweight title at the Copper Box on May 6, where victory will see take ownership of the coveted belt.
There is plenty more work to do to keep the big fights coming, so watch this space!
More from Frank tomorrow on how and why he captured the fabulous Nicola Adams exclusively for BoxNation and BT