FRANK WARREN'S SUN COLUMN 15/02/14

Posted on 15 February 2014 in Frank Warren's Column
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British rivals Dereck Chisora and Tyson Fury might just be the two best heavyweights on this planet right now whose name isn't Klitschko.

And fans will be able to assess the pair's respective world title credentials this evening when they go head-to-head against US opposition at The Copper Box Arena in east London.

I'm confident both will triumph in style in front of a packed house at 'The Box that Rocks', paving the way for a summer showdown against each other at a London stadium before the football World Cup commences on June 12th.

That would not only provide fans with easily the most meaningful British heavyweight pairing but would also double as a final eliminator to challenge WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko.

The Ukrainian legend, who also holds the WBA and IBF belts, might be more technically gifted than his recently retired brother Vitali but he is marginally smaller and noticeably less sturdy.

Having endured three stoppage defeats and many more trips to the canvas, Big Wlad has always been the more vulnerable sibling.

The man known as 'Dr Steelhammer' will enter his 39th year next month and his decision to defend in late April against the anonymous Alex Leapei – a squat little six footer from that heavyweight hotbed of Samoa – suggests a dulling of ambition.

Whoever emerges from the Chisora-Fury scramble would pose a very genuine threat to his eight year reign on the heavyweight throne.

Reigning European champion Chisora has noticeably the stiffer task tonight.

After a blockbuster 2013 in which he scored four successive stoppage wins, I've decided to pitch 'Del Boy' into a 12 WBA and WBO International contest against Atlanta's very able Kevin 'Kingpin' Johnson.

Like Chisora, the 34 year old Yank has four defeats on his card but, despite mixing in stiff company, he has never been stopped.

In December 2009, he lasted the full 12 round championship trip in a WBC title challenge to Vitali Klitschko and extended Fury the same distance three years after.

He lands in London with a reputation for being exceptionally crafty and fleet of fist, plus the knowledge that an upset over Chisora this evening will provide a shortcut back to world title contention.

If 'Del' were to eclipse Fury and become the first to defeat Johnson inside the distance it would send out a statement to the division.

After twice being jilted by David Haye last year, big Tyson has been dormant from the ring for 10 months.

Tonight, the 6ft 9in foghorn from the travelling community eases back into battle against Joey 'Minnesota Ice' Abell.

It's optimistically scheduled for 10 but I'd be surprised if it reaches the half way mark.

Twenty-eight of Abell's 29 wins have come inside the distance -22 in the opening two rounds – but he's been dispatched early on five occasions himself.

Fury, unbeaten in 21 but also no stranger to the canvas, boasts 15 quick wins. He should have too much heart and class but expect it to be lively while it lasts.

The 25 year old is a colourful character and a natural showman.  The son of a bareknuckle champion – currently incarcerated for gouging a man's eye out in a street fight – Fury was christened after Mike Tyson and seems intent on being just as contentious and controversial.

A social media junkie who, by his own admission is 'gifted at talking rubbish', he was heavily fined by the Boxing Board last year for an online homophobic rant about David Price.

Conversely, he is also a Born-Again believer who talks freely about his daily quest to 'batter the devil'.

But he's fun to be around and he can certainly fight, having scalped Johnson in 2012 and an albeit out of shape Del Boy in July 2011.

Both are altogether more skilled and hardened beasts today. If a rematch between the juggernauts comes to fruition, it will represent the biggest domestic dust-up of 2014 and promises to be a truly brutal affair.

***

The undercard at this evening's big Copper Box bash is stacked with rising champions of the future.

Leading the way is Tyson Fury's rather more conservative 19 year old cousin Hughie Fury, a former World Youth champion. Already 6ft 6in tall, the kid they call 'Fists of Fury' has racked up a dozen wins in his opening eight months in the profession.

A slick technician with a real thirst for hard graft at the gym, Hughie steps up to eight round level against grizzled US journeyman Matt Greer.

Mallet fisted super-middle Frank Buglioni might one day 'own' the Copper Box if he continues his meteoric rise through the ranks.

The one-time Westminster University undergraduate already shifts close to a thousand tickets personally and has raced to 11 successive wins, with eight victims capsizing before the finish.

'The Wise Guy', who moonlights as a male model, defends his WBO European title against ex Italian champion Gaetano Nespro.

Fast rising English welter king Bradley 'Super' Skeete, a masterful boxer, squares up to former French champion Christopher Sebire over ten, while Team GB Olympic skipper Tom

'Captain' Stalker debuts for me in a six rounder. Expect both to be in the British title mix before the close of the year.

You can watch tonight's action in HD as BoxNation debuts on Sky Channel 449.

***

Finally Froch v Groves II has been agreed which is great news for fight fans.  With no venue currently confirmed, I wonder whether Froch will be given home advantage in Nottingham or will it be in the Capital on Groves' home turf?  One thing to be sure is that both will be getting their biggest ever purses.

It looks like Mayweather will fight Marcos Maidana next.  Khan has missed out on the opportunity to fight Mayweather as Showtime boxing boss Steve Espinosa said that they were worried about a situation with Khan and the worrying rumours doing the rounds regarding his social life and these concerns appear to have scuppered the fight.  There is now talk of Khan facing Adrien Broner on the undercard, which in itself would be a cracker!

***

Since inception in September 2011, The Channel of Champions has revolutionised boxing coverage in the UK. Today, almost every major world championship from around the globe is broadcast to British screens and BN is easily the industry leader.

To celebrate, the channel has a mega March lined up for subscribers. In addition to regular domestic action, the channel has secured the UK rights to show the German civil war between super-middleweights Robert Stieglitz and Arthur Abraham on March 1st.

A week later, Mexican sensation Canelo Alvarez features against Alfredo Angulo over 12 rounds at light-middleweight with Carl Frampton target Leo Santa Cruz topping the undercard with a defence of his WBC super-bantam strap.

On the 15th, Amir Khan conqueror Danny Garcia from Philadelphia squares off with Mauricio Herrera for the WBC and WBA light-welter belts. Then, a fortnight after that, you can catch Darlington's Cinderella Man Stuey Hall making the maiden defence of his IBF bantam crown against fellow north-easterner Martin Ward at Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena.

Get on board at www.boxnation.com.
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