By Frank Warren
OUR 2022 SCHEDULE is set off and running at the fitting venue of York Hall on Friday and I can tell you that, while we are a little late off the mark, our forthcoming plans will more than make up for lost time.
It is no secret that I was hugely frustrated by the decision of the BBBoC to suspend boxing in January without any consultation with stakeholders. There were no assurances or guarantees offered for February so we elected to err on the side of caution and kickstart our schedule in March.
What we have got coming up is well worth waiting for and we will soon have further news for April to slot in alongside the big one, the WBC Heavyweight championship of the world collision between Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte. Demand for tickets has been truly staggering and, fingers crossed, we get the green light to bump up capacity even further from the current 90,000 already sold.
There will be considerably less in attendance when we rock up in Bethnal Green on Friday for another edition of the ‘Prospect Show’ concept. We’ve got a proper little banger heading up the card with Peacock product Chris Bourke challenging for the vacant British super bantamweight title against Marc Leach.
Chris, who resembles a little pocket battleship, has made huge strides over the last year or so. With only 10 fights on his clock now, in his last three fights has beaten Ramez Mahmood for the Southern Area, stopped English champion Michael Ramabeletsa for the WBC International title and made a successful defence of his belt against James Beech jr.
Now he is gunning for the top domestic honour and he will have to be at his best against Leach, who is something of a dark horse of the division. The Jamie Moore-trained fighter has done everything asked of him to get to this point, even to the extent of having to navigate two final eliminators!
He gets his shot now and I feel certain all the ingredients are in place for a tasty little scrap.
I am obviously backing our man Chris to prevail and this would add another dimension to what is a fascinating battle for supremacy amongst the super bantams in our ranks. As well as Chris with his WBC International belt – and hopefully the British – we have also got the European champion in Jason Cunningham, with news on a defence for him coming soon.
Then there is the former British and Commonwealth champ Brad Foster determined to reclaim lost ground – and will be back in title contention in April – and the WBC International Silver champion Liam Davies, who has punched his way to prominence over the last year.
Lastly, but by no means least, is the snarling Liverpool firebrand Andrew Cain, who probably has the deepest amateur pedigree of the lot and you will be hearing a lot about him over the course of 2022.
These young men are in for a productive – and lucrative – period of time and are lucky to be around at a time when the division is so hot with so many potential fights to be made.
None of them are the type to dodge and swerve the fights people want to see, so we will soon start the process of getting these domestic crackers made.
Friday brings about another opportunity to witness the development of the hugely gifted light heavyweight Karol Itauma. The young man just looks like a natural born winner to me and, although he won’t be rushed, I feel he is destined to reach the very top.
A host of our other young talents are also on the card seeking to maximise the opportunity of performing higher up the bill and in front of the television cameras. Make sure to tune in from 7pm on BT Sport 2.
WITH THE AWFUL situation in Ukraine deteriorating further by the day, I must doff my cap and pay tribute to our partner in Queensberry Poland, Mariusz Krawczynski, for his acts of compassion and generosity to the displaced Ukrainians.
Mariusz and his family are successful hoteliers who own a number of hotels across Poland, including a castle, which is now playing host to some very special guests.
The castle is now welcoming refugees from Ukraine – mostly women and children – and homing them free of charge.
Mariusz, I salute you, my friend.