By Frank Warren
This weekend sees the innovative free to air TV channel Dave continue their coverage of live sport. The BDO World Darts Trophy, a marathon three-day event of live darts will be live and exclusive on Dave over the bank holiday weekend. The tournament will see the top players from the BDO contest for over £150,000 in prize money. It follows hot the heels of their latest boxing event, headlined by David Haye’s capitulation of his grossly overmatched opponent, Andrei Gerjei.
I applaud the fact that Dave’s toe is being bravely dipped into sporting waters. I’d like to see them make some waves. The more sport we have on free-to-air TV, the better.
Although viewing numbers for Haye’s latest show yet again prove the pulling power of live boxing given the right platform, the Hayemaker is doing the sport no favours by picking pushover opponents. They are a turn off rather than a turn-on and left many viewers taking to social media to complain at the lack of competition throughout the card. A shame as we all know that broadcasters can quickly go into hiding when it comes to boxing if fans are left feeling they are not seeing competitive match-ups.
I am pleased to have helped facilitate the live coverage of the ‘World Trophy’ this weekend, which has been done in partnership with UKTV and the BDO. It is of course also great to see it taking place at the home of British darts, The Lakeside Country Club, the most iconic darts venue in the country.
A bumper crowd will see the BDO’s biggest names, including reigning World Champions Scott Waites and Trina Gulliver MBE, along with the likes of Glen Durrant, Martin Adams, Scott Mitchell, Deta Hedman, Lisa Ashton, with wildcards for Jeff Smith, Andy Fordham and Ted Hankey.
Although I have worked predominantly in boxing for nearly 40 years, I have also promoted and been involved in various other sports and entertainment ventures. Notably football, rugby and staging pop concerts.
I met with the BDO a few months back. Even though they have had their ups and downs over the last 20 years they clearly now have the enthusiasm to re-establish their great product.
I am delighted to have been part of setting this up and securing the BDO one of the UK’s leading broadcasters for what I believe will be a terrific event, one of the first of many.
In my opinion, Dave is the perfect channel for darts and with it taking place at Lakeside, I am sure the atmosphere will be electric.
I offered several top fighters great money to meet Beefy – among them Austin Trout and Kell Brook, but they didn’t want to know.
However, we don’t go down the rankings looking for dead bodies and with the Charlo twins and Erislandy Lara having been in action only last week I believe we have the best currently available in this Predrag Radosevic.
But Liam would also love a domestic fight and that is why I made an offer to IBF welterweight champion Brook to move up a division and face him.
It would be a great fight for the fans, an opportunity for career high paydays for both, and not the end of the world for the loser. But we did not even get a call back.
The reasons why I think people do not want to fight Smith are that he is a young, live fighter, with bags of talent and in my opinion, the most underrated UK fighter currently on the scene. He has all the potential to go and be one of the best in the world. He can box and bang and is a crafty tactician. As we’ve seen with Triple-G and Canelo, that’s a fearsome combination.
We will deliver his big fight, but he has to focus on Radosevic first – and he cannot take him lightly.
The Montenegrin has only lost one bout in 31 and that was in Germany to the redoubtable Felix Sturm who is currently under investigation for an alleged doping offence.
Beefy was drafted in for sparring by the beefed-up Amir Khan before the former world light-welter champ courageously took the plunge against Canelo, and I wouldn’t bet against our man in a fight against either of the two. It might just happen, as we all know, in boxing, you can never say never.
Tomorrow in Hubbard’s Cupboard: Why the Board must stop this fight!