posted on: 10/06/2017

By Frank Warren

Billy Joe Saunders

I really thought I had heard it all where reasons for fights falling out of bed are concerned. A transatlantic phone call put paid to that notion the other day.

When the call came through from the promoters of Avtandil Khurtsidze to report that he had been arrested on suspicion of being part of a Russian crime syndicate, I must admit to being a bit taken aback.

Khurtsidze, who is familiar to us having recently defeated Tommy Langford in Leicester for the WBO world interim title, was set to return to the UK to challenge for the full world title held by Billy Joe Saunders.

Obviously his arrest in New York means he cannot travel and fulfil his mandatory challenger status at the Copper Box on July 8.

Unfortunately, once again, this leaves Bill having to play the waiting game and he misses out on headlining on July 8.

Bill’s current objective is to satisfy his mandatory obligations, which will free him up to put himself in the frame for bigger fights, so simply finding an alternative opponent for the Copper Box is not what he wants.

All we can do is seek clarity from the Khurtsidze camp, as well as the WBO, before Bill can make his move at a slightly later date.

It is a bitterly disappointing development for all concerned and, in the case of Bill, I sometimes think if he didn’t have bad luck where opponents are concerned, he wouldn’t have any luck at all.

The show will rightly go on at the Copper Box because it is a card packed with meaningful title fights and all the fighters are working hard towards their date.

Thankfully, this setback hasn’t occurred at the last minute and we will add further strong attractions to the bill to compensate for our world middleweight champion not featuring this time around.


Skeete v Singleton
Bradley Skeete is one beneficiary of a slot becoming vacant on the big Copper Box show and the welterweight again proved he is a cut above domestic level with his spiteful destruction of Shayne Singleton last Friday night.

Brad himself says he is at world level, very soon will be the time for him to step up and prove it.

First of all though, he gets the chance to put another notch on his British title belt and keep it for good if he is successful in overcoming the threats posed by Dale Evans.

I know one man who would like to test himself against Brad in the near future and it is the sort of fight we want to put on as it is one which would appeal to the fans.

Gary Corcoran returns to the ring at the Copper Box for his second fight at welterweight to challenge for the vacant WBO Intercontinental title against the unbeaten Larry Ekundayo.

It is a tough entry into the welterweight picture for Gary but it is simply not in his nature to duck anyone or shy away from a tall order.

He is a proper warrior who never complains and if courage won you titles he would clean up because he has got bags of it.


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