2017 HERE WE COME!
By Frank Warren
I am currently compiling quite a shopping list of fights I would like to put together in 2017.
Fortunately, or unfortunately – whichever way you look at it – I have developed fairly expensive tastes when it comes to boxing and big fights don’t come cheap.
I don’t reckon I will get any discount in the January sales.
I am working on a number of potential crowd-pleasing and career-progressing scraps at the moment that have yet to reach the ears of the Twitterati, so I will keep those particular cards close to my chest for now as I don’t want to jinx anything by speaking too soon.
However, there are a few possibilities that are already in the public domain, so no harm in sharing a small portion of my wish list for 2017.
As I have mentioned before, Hughie Fury is first in the queue to face the new WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker and this is mandated to happen in the spring.
We are into negotiations for the fight, but the obvious sticking point is the fact that Parker’s camp want to put it on in New Zealand, while we want it in the UK.
It would make for a fantastic night in Manchester and would provide a magnificent showcase for Hughie, who has quietly gone about his business up to now and kind of crept up to the top without too much in the way of fanfare.
As is always the case in title showdowns, if agreement cannot be reached over money or where the fight will be staged, we will enter into purse bids.
Rest assured, that being the case, we will be sure to push the boat out for a young fighter we hold in the highest regard.
It was good to catch up with Billy Joe Saunders earlier this week when he arrived for our pre-Christmas bash looking particularly fit and trim.
It is no secret that Bill had to contend with weight issues ahead of his last fight and he now knows it is vital that he remains in good nick so we can keep him busy and deliver him a bumper 2017.
It was heartening to see Bill spurn the offer of a helping of Christmas pud for afters, so let’s hope he continues to display such dietary discipline over the festive period.
With Gennady Golovkin mandated by the WBA to face their regular champion Daniel Jacobs and Miguel Cotto set to emerge from a year of inactivity against James Kirkland, the fight we will work to tee up for Bill is against Saul Alvarez.
It is a fight that makes sense for both sides, with Canelo probably not wanting to step straight into the middleweight maelstrom against the force that is Golovkin, while Bill would view the fight as his opportunity to step into the elite.
Terry Flanagan is another we are looking to propel into the elite, where I believe he belongs. I would love to get a fight on in the summer against the brilliant Vasyl Lomachenko, which would be a fantastic event to bring to a UK audience.
My admiration for Lomachenko has been placed on record a number of times and the fact that I have been in talks with Bob Arum over this fight should tell you how highly I rate Terry.
Of course it is a pity that Anthony Crolla cannot be tempted into the ring with his local rival, but there are other options out there for Terry this year including what I think would be a terrific fight against Luke Campbell.
I know that both the Liams are open to it happening and it is one of those fights that the fans love to see – so why not?
Obviously in an ideal world, such a fight would be for a vacant world title or final eliminator and, if that can be done, we will do it.
But this is just a great fight – with or without a belt at stake – and it is one I would like to see happen next year.
I would like to thank everyone for your support across 2016, with the promise that 2017 – along with our new association with BT Sport – will provide a truly fistic feast for boxing fans and BoxNation subscribers.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!