By Frank Warren
IN JUST OVER a week’s time we will be rocking up at what is traditionally known as the Manchester Arena for a Box Office event between Joe Joyce and Joseph Parker that will have all the bells and whistles on, as you would expect.
The WBO Interim world heavyweight title will be on the line and there will be some nine other significant title belts being fought for on the night.
We like to cover all the boxing bases here at Queensberry, so this Friday we are all ready for a good old fashioned British title bang-up at York Hall.
I would like to, at this point, put in writing and document our condolences to the Royal Family following the sad passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Our gratitude will forever go to the Queen for her service to our nation and beyond.
Her Majesty was a champion of our country and a champion of sport, so the show will go ahead on Friday and we will all have the opportunity to pay our respects.
Even though we are in the midst of a sad passage of history for our country, we also must recognise the hard work and sacrifice made over a lengthy period of time by our boxers and their opponents to deliver our entertainment, while providing for themselves and their families.
The setting is very different from AO Arena in Manchester, but the old venue in Bethnal Green has a charm all of its own and, while the lights might not be quite so sparkly on the Old Ford Road, the fights will mean just as much to the boxers and their supporters.
The British title duel comes at middleweight, where our champion Denzel Bentley makes a first defence of his title against Marcus Morrison.
I was very proud of Denzel back in May when he went in as the away fighter to reclaim his belt after the disappointment of losing out against Felix Cash just over a year previously.
Unfortunately, we lost out in a competitive purse bid for his fight against Linus Udofia and I can only put it down to the fact that I must have neglected to have my now customary slurp of Furocity prior to sending in our envelope to the board!
However, we needn’t have worried as Denzel made himself at home at 02 Indigo and overcame an excellent opponent to take back his prized bounty.
Tonight he defends against another tough proposition in Marcus, who is an experienced operator having come through a number of ups and downs along the way. Marcus, with Joe Gallagher in his corner, fancies the job and believes winning this belt is his destiny.
Joe, of course, was also in the corner of our now super middleweight champ Mark Heffron a few weeks back and Mark, being a former opponent of Denzel, will have been well placed to offer up a few tips.
If Denzel can overcome this tricky obstacle he can really push on towards European and world level. I know he fancies a shot at the new WBO champion Janibek at some point in the future, but there is no rush on that one and we wouldn’t want to thrust him into a world title fight just for the sake of it.
We want him to have the best possible chance of winning, which means picking up more experience against quality opposition.
We’ve got another cracking little fight on the card at York Hall, with cruiserweight competition winner Ellis Zorro having his first fight as a Queensberry fighter against Dec Spelman.
Being a bit of a late starter and now 29 years of age, Ellis is ready to crack on and Dec will offer the perfect test of his credentials at a higher level.
A former English champion at light heavyweight, we know Dec well from him appearing in big fights on three of our cards. Unfortunately for him, all three ended in defeat, but against a very high calibre of opponent in Shakan Pitters, Lyndon Arthur and Anthony Yarde.
He gave a very good account of himself in all three fights and, had the last two not been such big opportunities, he likely would have shifted up to cruiserweight before he did.
By his own admission, Ellis can be something of a cruising cruiser, so he will have to up the tempo against Dec, who will be on him right from the first bell.
We will learn a lot about Ellis in this fight and we’ll see if he is ready to start mixing with the more established British contenders. I believe he will be.
I won’t run through the whole card, but I am particularly looking forward to seeing our teenage super featherweight prodigy Royston Barney-Smith back in action.
The 18-year-old, who was an exceptional amateur and two-time European champion, is swapping north-west London for east of the capital after his first two fights as a pro took place at Wembley Arena and Wembley Stadium.
Unfortunately, injury denied him a July date, but he will be back on Friday determined to remind everyone why he is considered one of the country’s most elite prospects. He is also promising a KO or a stoppage, so we will see if he delivers.
A night of boxing at York Hall rarely fails to deliver.