By Frank Warren
WE ARE BACK at the Copper Box Arena on Saturday evening for our final UK show of 2021 and I fully expect we will be seeing the year out with a bang.
One year on, Lyndon Arthur and Anthony Yarde are getting it on again following their closely-fought fight last year in Westminster and I am anticipating a different sort of spectacle this time around.
Last time it was cagey and tactical, not really what we thought we were in for when we made the fight. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a compelling affair because of the high level of the two fighters, but it didn’t really catch fire bar a few flickers in the final round.
There could be any number of reasons why the fight didn’t develop into open warfare and I reckon high on the list was the absence of fans from the venue. It affected fights and fighters in all sorts of ways during the restrictions and it certainly didn’t do the home fighters any favours right across the board.
I believe a packed house at the Copper Box, an electric atmosphere during the ring entrances and when the first bell goes, will inspire both men and propel them into a spectacular and memorable encounter.
The stakes are high and the prize for the winner will be a shot at the WBO world title, currently held by Joe Smith jr, but hopefully changing hands to Callum Johnson in mid-January.
We could well have an all-British punch-up for the world light heavyweight title on the cards for the spring, if all goes to plan.
First things first though and back to Saturday where a few spicy ingredients have been added to the mix in recent weeks. There is and has been some bad feelings from the Lyndon camp over the venue for this rematch, with it taking place in Anthony’s home city of London.
I wish I could reveal all about an elaborate conspiracy that led us to the Olympic Park in Stratford, but the truth of the matter is pretty boring. There was no venue available in Manchester on the dates we had available for the fight. We did try to go down the middle and take it to Birmingham in October, but that didn’t work out, so here we are and, after all, a ring is a ring.
Tickets have gone like hot cakes so both men will enjoy plenty of support in the arena.
Pat Barrett and Tunde Ajayi winding each other up provided a tasty side dish for the build-up, but their back and forth becomes completely irrelevent once these two big men start trading bombs.
I do suspect Anthony will turn up the heat but he will have to be sensible because Lyndon is a smart operator who would be more than happy for Anthony to empty his tank in trying to get him out of there. Anthony will know this and he now has a calming influence in the corner in James Cook, who will doubtless bring his experience to proceedings.
It will be fascinating to witness the ebb and flow of the fight as it unfolds and also to see how Lyndon reacts to being put under pressure as the unbeaten fighter of the pair.
I make no predictions other than it will be a cracking fight with a few twists and turns and the winner will fight for a world title next year.
Make sure you tune in.