THE FRANK WARREN COLUMN
By Frank Warren
SAM BOWEN HAS made relatively light work of the opponents who have been put in front of him so far in his unbeaten professional career, which is probably why it has been hard work finding many willing takers to go in with him.
The rise of the supremely talented super featherweight has been blighted by potential opponents rejecting the invitation to challenge him since he was mandated for his first eliminator and title opportunity.
Even though his character borders on reserved, Sam’s reputation as a fearsome operator in the ring has gone before him and he ended up being propelled straight into British title contention, which he won impressively in April of last year.
I was certainly impressed with what I saw in his first fight for us in October when he broke down and ultimately dismantled the tough Argentinean Horacio Cabral, finishing him off with a devilish body shot in the fourth round.
Unfortunately a sparring injury kept him out of action in December, so I am now particularly looking forward to Sam making a first defence of his British title at the Morningside Arena in Leicester on Saturday.
Even this time around Sam has had to contend with a change of opponent after injury forced the withdrawal of Ronnie Clark, but another Scot, Jordan McCorry, has stepped in to fill the void and – as I am told I often say – he will not just be coming to make up the numbers with a British title belt at stake for the winner.
We are in a good position where the British super featherweight scene is concerned, with obviously Sam – as British champion and WBO Intercontinental belt holder – leading the way and the likes of Zelfa Barrett, Archie Sharp and Lyon Woodstock all wanting a piece of the action.
It reminds me in some ways of the time years ago when Naz, Steve Robinson and Paul Hodkinson were all in the picture, with Steve winning the world title and defending against Paul, Colin McMillan and Duke McKenzie before Naz took over at the start of his reign as world champion.
The battles of the Brits can happen again and these are the fights that appeal to the public, although I do feel that Sam is at the stage where he needs to be pushed on quicker because I firmly believe he is good enough and we have a genuine talent on our hands.
I think he is one of those fighters who will raise his game the better the opponent you put him in with, so we don’t want to hold him back in any way and the others will have to earn their stripes in order to fight him, which I am sure they will and give us all big domestic fights to look forward to.
The Morningside Arena, home of the Leicester Riders basketball team, is a great little venue with tremendous views from every vantage point and it is the ideal place for us to develop our talent from the region.
Hopefully, in the not too distant future when the likes of Sam are in big title fights, we can move them to a bigger stage and really build something special in the East Midlands where plenty of top young prospects are beginning to make a name for themselves.
Two of which are the Leicester pair of CJ Challenger and Kyle Haywood, who will do battle on Saturday for the vacant Midlands Area super welterweight title. These Area title fights rarely disappoint, especially if fought for by two young, unbeaten fighters like we have in this one.
Local pride and bragging rights are at stake and I am anticipating quite a confrontation in front of two passionate sets of supporters from the same city.
Nathan Gorman will have his first fight of what should be a very significant year for him in the heavyweight division. I have come out and stated my intention to put Nathan and Daniel Dubois in together before the end of the year and that rivalry is simmering nicely as they keep tabs on the progression of each other.
Nathan will want to put on a statement performance this time around after a couple of victories via verdict, as well as Daniel ploughing through has last opponent in just the second round.
Nathan is right, however, to point out that it is about styles and we are going to be in for a fascinating showdown when the time comes to match them up.
Sam Maxwell will receive some well-deserved exposure in Leicester in front of the BT Sport cameras when he fights for his first title – the WBO European belt – against the Spaniard Kelvin Dotel.
The Liverpool lad has done everything that has been asked of him in some style so far in reaching 10-0 and the time is now right for him to step it up and reap the rewards. He has got about a bit, fighting in Belfast, Germany, Manchester, Leeds and Leicester and hasn’t failed to impress.
Because he is a former vastly experienced amateur, we will now press the fast-forward button on Sam and I expect a title win on Saturday that will be the first of many.
Saturday’s card will also showcase a number of this country’s top young prospects in Ryan Garner, Willy Hutchinson, Tommy Fury, Troy Williamson, Ryan Hatton and Mark Chamberlain, so it will be well worth taking your seats early to feast your eyes on the future.
CARL FRAMPTON IS now ideally positioned for his next tilt at becoming a world champion again following our collaboration with Top Rank for the promotion of his future fights.
Coming off the back of an unsuccessful shot at the IBF featherweight title held by Josh Warrington, the likelihood is that Carl would’ve had to travel in order to challenge the likes of WBO champion Oscar Valdez in any case.
Now he will enjoy the lucrative financial rewards and security of doing so as a home fighter, while also being showcased back in the UK and Ireland on BT Sport.
If he is successful in reclaiming a seat at the top table – which I sincerely hope he will be – then the natural fight to make would be a big rematch and unification with Josh Warrington, back on British soil.