posted on: 30/03/2017

By Frank Warren

Langford v Khurtsidze

We last week set the ball rolling for our Leicester promotion on April 22 and I saw it remarked on social media that it is a card that ‘covers all the bases’.

Well, looking at it, it is a show with something for nearly everyone, whatever your fistic preference.

Following our inaugural BoxNation/BT Sport blockbuster in Manchester on Saturday week this bumper card features a world, British, English and also a Midlands Area title – so there aren’t too many missing from the championship jigsaw. And there might well be one or two surprises to be added on yet.

It will be our first visit to the Leicester Arena – home of the Leicester Riders basketball team – and we are going in there with a bang.

The headliner is Tommy Langford, going in where others fear to tread, by happily agreeing to trade leather with the formidable Georgian Avtandil Khurtsidze.

These two are effectively Billy Joe Saunders‘ mandatory‚Äôs who are competing for the WBO Interim world middleweight championship.

The winner either gets to face Bill – or the winner of his next fight – or will be declared champion if this doesn’t happen.

Whichever way you look at it, it is a hugely significant step for Tommy in just his 19th fight.

Unbeaten since being on the wrong end of a narrow split decision against Hassan N’Dam back in 2010, the Brooklyn-based Khurtsidze has not been at the top of many middleweight’s wish list.

He is a relentless operator, stocky and powerful, with 36 fights and over 200 rounds in the bank.

Even though his opponent stands at just 5ft 4in, six-footer Tommy has got a tall order on his hands, but he is not one to shy away from dangerous assignments.

The Baggies Bomber is an impressive character and I admire the way he backs himself to succeed at the highest level.

He was bitterly disappointed when Chris Eubank Jnr swerved making a defence of his then British title against him – citing Tennis Elbow among other excuses.

I’m pretty sure this is a fight the Eubanks wouldn’t entertain, so more power to Tommy’s own elbow for rolling the dice and being prepared to mix it at the top end of the rankings.

Tommy has cultivated a massive following in the Midlands and there will be quite some atmosphere in the arena – a crowd that will not go short when it comes to top quality fights on the night.

Tyrone Nurse returns to action with a defence of his British super lightweight title against Joe Hughes before, all being well, trying his hand at welterweight in Leeds a couple of weeks later.

The progress of the Huddersfield man has been hamstrung by holding the British belt up to now, with mandatory challengers falling by the wayside.

There are big fights out there for him at both weights and he just wants to get cracking now. Our intention is to give him the dates and get him the fights that will see his career build momentum again.

The card is not without very local interest and a fight that could well catch fire – if the press conference is anything to go by – is a defence of his English title by Leicester’s Jahmaine Smyle against the tough Londoner Darryll Williams.

The pair engaged in some lively verbals last week and, if the actions do speak louder than the hostile words, then we are in for some fight.

Area titles are rightly being afforded some due attention in recent times and the battles for these belts result in some right old barnstormers.

Lyon Woodstock

They represent an ideal proving ground for top prospects and Lyon Woodstock will have it all to do when he takes on Birmingham’s Paul Holt for the Midlands super featherweight championship.

Lyon is not lacking when it comes to self-confidence, but I believe he has got the clout to go with it and the ability to become a top 130-pounder.

This is an opportunity to bag a first belt, one I suspect could be the first of many, but it is a tough division domestically and nothing will come easy.

Anthony Yarde is ready to hit the road and showcase his stealth and power to a new audience. The light heavyweight has made short work of whoever has been put in front of him so far, so hopefully we can get a few rounds into him in Leicester.

Top super middleweight prospect Alex Hughes will also be making his way across from Wales, bidding to extend his unbeaten record into double figures.

Three of our new signings will have their opening night for us in Leicester – Brad Foster (6-0 flyweight), Sam Maxwell (1-0 super welterweight) and Ekow Essuman (2-0 welterweight).

All three are hugely talented prospects and are among the crop of young fighters I envisage going on to achieve big things over the next two or three years.

Leicester is the home of the Premier League champions and this card is doing its bit to maintain the theme, with a host of current and future champions doing their thing in the ring.

More from Frank tomorrow


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