By Frank Warren
WE ARE NOW fast closing in on our much-anticipated double-header nights of boxing that will take place at London’s Copper Box Arena across the Friday and Saturday nights of March 26/27.
It offers fans the chance to feast on a proper boxing fix over two nights and is also the opportunity for the sport to be showcased during an international break for football.
The Friday headliner features our former decorated amateur Sam Maxwell stepping up to British title level and a shot at the super lightweight champion Akeem Ennis Brown.
Sam has shown us what he is all about in his last couple of fights after snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with bludgeoning KO of the showboating Sabri Sediri in a fight where he very nearly came unstuck. Really good wins over the previously unbeaten Connor Parker and the redoubtable Joe Hughes have propelled Sam into a strong position and victory over Ennis Brown could open a lot of doors.
Ennis Brown is a tricky customer who will make things awkward for Sam, but then a British title battle isn’t meant to be straightforward and it is up to Sam to force the issue and make it his type of fight. If he does that we should all be entertained.
Our British super bantamweight champion Brad Foster doesn’t need twice telling to make a fight of it. Having won his Lonsdale belt for keeps, we are setting Brad off on an international path that is the next stage of his development.
He will take on Alvaro Rodriguez for the IBF European title and a ranking that will serve him well, if successful against the tough Spaniard.
I really rate Brad and admire what he has achieved so far at such an early age. He hasn’t long turned 23 and his last six fights have all been for domestic titles and we know there are no easy pickings with these belts on the line.
Our new super middleweight signing Zach Parker will introduce himself to BT Sport viewers when he gets back into action against the American Vaughn Alexander.
Even though he is No.1 ranked by the WBO and will be fighting for the International title against Alexander, Zach needs and wants to be active so we will keep him busy while we wait to see how the forthcoming fight between Canelo and the WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders plays out.
Another recent recruit, the WBC International Silver welterweight champion Danny Ball put his title on the line against the also unbeaten Sam Gilley in what should be a cracking 10 rounder.
Dennis McCann continues his development against a big-punching Mexican in Luis Moreno in what should be a litmus test for our precocious bantamweight, while David Adeleye will be seeking KO No.5 up at heavyweight.
The British title theme continues on the Saturday with an absolute belter of a fight for the British and Commonwealth super middleweight titles. Willy Hutchinson, who I believe is going to be very special, will be tested to the max by Lennox Clarke, who has only had one split decision go against him in 21 fights.
If Willy isn’t what we believe him to be, or not quite ready, Lennox will expose any shortcomings. It will be a new experience for the young Scot because Lennox will look to intimidate him in the build-up and then bully him in the ring.
Willy will need all of his undoubted pedigree to pass such an examination at such a young age and early stage of his professional journey.
Also bidding for a first title is featherweight whirlwind Louie Lynn, who I don’t think could be in a dull fight if he tried to be. The 8-0 Louie – described by his trainer Martin Bowers as like ‘a puppy’ out of the ring – is one of the most dedicated young fighters you could hope to meet and I hope he gets his rewards when he takes on Spain’s Sebastian Perez with the WBC International Silver title at stake.
Up at heavyweight, the rebuilding of Nathan Gorman is gathering momentum and he goes in with the Czech Pavel Sour, who has eight stoppages from his 13 wins. Nathan is a fighter I have every confidence in and I was very impressed with his comeback victory over Richard Lartey, even though he was carrying a little excess timber by his own admission.
Nathan can still be a big player amongst the big men and there will always be appetizing options for a quality heavyweight, like he is, and hopefully another British title shot will soon be on the horizon.
Sam Noakes put the lightweight division on notice that a powerful force is bursting through the ranks the other week, but he is not alone in fitting such a description.
Mark Chamberlain, just 22 himself, has also been maintaining a high KO-ratio and really looks the part. Both Sam and Mark won a senior ABA title and the puncher from Portsmouth gets his chance to steal back the thunder when he steps in with the tough Jordan Ellison in his second eight-rounder.
The Saturday show will also feature the professional debuts of Ilford super bantamweight Umar Khan and Erith cruiserweight Stephen Adentan.
So we have two nights of boxing, six major titles being fought for and fireworks pretty much guaranteed. Not to be missed.
BOXING FANS OF a certain vintage, like myself, were particularly shocked and saddened over the weekend to learn of the passing of the great Marvin Hagler.
Marvelous Marvin had it all and I doubt many people would quibble with me calling him one of the finest fighters of all time. He has sadly been taken before his time but he has left us with never to be forgotten fights that we can look back and marvel over that will serve as an inspiration for generations to come.
LIAM WILLIAMS NOW knows his date of destiny comes on April 17 when he challenges for the WBO world middleweight title against the holder Demetrius Andrade in Miami. I firmly believe Liam has got the beating of the stylistically awkward American and he will return to Wales with some additional luggage.
Liam is a ferocious, yet calculating, operator who is brimming with confidence and a genuine force at the weight. If Andrade overlooks the threat he brings it is at his peril because Liam will be snapping away at him right from the first bell.
Liam fighting for a world title in just his sixth fight at middleweight just goes to show what an inspired decision it was by him to take a punt by stepping up to fight Mark Heffron for the British title at the end of 2018.
He is now primed and ready to reap his rewards.