A CRACKER FOR THE COPPER BOX

posted on: 18/11/2021

By Frank Warren

WE WERE THRILLED to add an absolutely intriguing chief support act to the blockbuster Arthur-Yarde collision that is fast closing in on December 4 at London’s Copper Box Arena.

Our super welterweight star Hamzah Sheeraz has made big strides over the last couple of years and we needed to find a fight for him that not only provided an appropriate test, but also served to increase his profile by coming up with somebody well known to the boxing public.

Step forward, Bradley Skeete. Our former outright British champion at welterweight is coming off a break, but is determined to re-establish himself at British boxing’s top table.

The fleet-footed and skilful Brad has relocated to the Ingle Gym in Sheffield since commencing his second coming and had a little rust-shaker in the summer to announce his official return to business.

Brad, who was also WBO European champion and on the cusp of a world title shot previously, made himself available to all the names currently making the most noise at both welterweight and light middle, but his invitations were ultimately spurned and it is a Queensberry contender who is willing to put his unbeaten record at risk.

I was, for a long time, charged with pushing Brad’s career along and he can be proud of what he has achieved in the game. I am now in the corner of Hamzah and I firmly believe this young man has got what it takes to reach the very top.

There is no doubt, however, that his credentials will be given a stern examination by the vastly experienced Brad.

It will be fascinating to see what tweaks the Penge puncher has made since making his Sheffield switch and how much of the ‘Ingle way’ has rubbed off on him. He was already a technical, defensively sound operator so, style-wise, the move appears a natural fit.

Hamzah too possesses technical qualities, but is much more aggressive and, unusually, Brad won’t be looking down on his opponent.

This is a proper fight with plenty at stake. For Brad the game will most likely be up for him in the event of defeat, while Hamzah must win in order to maintain his upward momentum that should see him challenging for big titles in 2022.

It is one not to be missed on what is a top quality card headed by the rematch between Lyndon Arthur and Anthony Yarde, which is essentially a world title eliminator with a hefty dollop of festering bad feeling.

I WAS PLEASED with the progress displayed by our younger contingent in last Friday’s’The Prospects’ series, which continued at York Hall with David Adeleye occupying the headline spot.

It wasn’t actually the show we intended on delivering as it is always the plan to have a couple of really meaningful fights and tests for our young prospects to add a bit of spice to the occasions. This time around, however, injuries and illness got in the way that we were unable to legislate for.

I was still happy with what I saw and BT Sport do an excellent job of packaging it all together and provide some context to what they are broadcasting.

The above-mentioned David, I feel, gave his most mature performance so far and showed that he will really be a force to be reckoned with in the months and years ahead. It is still early days and, as I always say, experience is the most valuable commodity at this stage.

I was also highly impressed with Liverpool super bantam Brad Strand, who is a clever fighter, but this time showed the spiteful side of his nature in nailing a first round stoppage. Henry Turner, as always, put on a classy display of boxing to move himself to 6-0.

I won’t ramble on through the whole card, but all our prospects on display did themselves proud and will continue to benefit from this concept throughout 2022.

MY ATTENTION WAS, along with many others it seems, drawn to an interview clip with our rampaging bantam/super bantam Andrew Cain following his impressive victory in Birmingham a couple of weeks back.

There were none of the usual cosy platitudes from young Andrew. He is raw and has his eyes fixed firmly on the prize of becoming a future world champion and will fight anyone and anything to get there.

I love his attitude. I was also mightily impressed with the way he dismantled Uriel Lopez to record his eighth straight win as a pro. As I alluded to above, Andrew can be a bit of a raging bull when the first bell tolls, but he is also now backing up his words and demonstrating to us that he can do it both ways, he can box his way to victory as well.

The reaction to the interview clip has been overwhelmingly positive and I think Andrew has won a number of new fans. I can tell them that when we get going again next year, his will be one of the first names put on the card.

There are big fights there for him and we will have no concerns over him stepping up for a challenge.

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