THE FRANK WARREN COLUMN
By Frank Warren
ON FRIDAY EVENING we once again return boxing to the grand old stage of the Royal Albert Hall.
We were there in March – only the second promotion held at the South Kensington venue in the last 20 years – and it would be true to say the historic setting has lost nothing of its ability to inspire both fighters and fans alike.
A new generation of fans were able to enjoy watching boxing ‘in the round’, with the wonderful steep banks of seating providing a perfect view from every vantage point.
Now we get the chance to experience it all over again and, as I said back in March, it is my intention to make this a home from home for Daniel Dubois and our other young London fighters.
Daniel is a name on the lips of so many across the boxing world. When I was in the States for the Tyson Fury fight the other weekend, everyone I came across was asking about him or telling me their thoughts of this force of nature who is threatening to take over the division in the coming years.
Daniel may well be a quiet and slightly reserved young man, but he is making a big noise in boxing circles.
Word is also spreading across the sports public in general and that is because people love the excitement of explosive knockouts and the edge-of-seat entertainment heavyweight boxing delivers.
People can see that, with Daniel having only just turned 22, the strong interest of our country in the marquee weight category is pretty much guaranteed for a long time to come.
Our man is having only his 13th fight on Friday and in his first 12 he has cemented his position as the top young heavyweight in world boxing.
I am not about to rush him when all he needs right now is to continue picking up experience but, truthfully, the only one out there I wouldn’t be so confident of putting him in with is Tyson. The lineal champ has probably got a bit too much stealth and cunning for the new kid on the heavyweight block at the moment.
Don’t rule it out at some point in the future though because Tyson has got no plans to step down.
The vacant Commonwealth title is on the line when Daniel takes on the unbeaten Ghanaian Ebenezer Tetteh at the Albert Hall. The 31-year-old can clearly bang a bit if his KO-ratio of 16 from 19 is anything to go by and he is not a hand-picked opponent simply drafted in to make Daniel look good.
If Daniel wants to be crowned Commonwealth champion this is the guy the governing body insist he must beat. Nobody could really accuse Daniel of dining out on cannon fodder anyway when you consider his last three opponents, including Tetteh, have a combined record of 49-1.
Not exactly easy pickings!
As has been well documented, the Commonwealth title will be the seventh belt Daniel has fought for in 13 fights, which really is some going. We have titled the show ‘Every Belt’ and winning all of them is not an unrealistic target.
I understand it has not been done before by any Englishman in any division, but mostly due to the English title having only been around for the last 16 years. To be the first to win Area, English, British, Commonwealth, European and world titles would be an incredible feat.
Nicola Adams is no stranger to making history and on Friday she will become the first female to fight as a world champion at the Albert Hall as she makes a return to competing in London for the first time since her Olympic exploits in 2012.
Nicola is the WBO world flyweight champion and far from the first to be awarded such a status outside of the ring, due to former champion Arely Mucino not being in a position to defend.
Nicola being Nicola, she will want to authenticate the accolade with a successful first defence against Maria Salinas. The Mexican is a far more experienced pro than Nicola and has twice before challenged for a world title. Her most recent attempt was against Mucino where she lost out via a split decision, so we are not talking about a routine night’s work for our Golden Girl and I am sure the London fans will get behind her once again.
Two of our prospects who can now be considered contenders take their next step at the Albert Hall. Archie Sharp defends his WBO European title against the unpredictable and exciting Irishman Declan Geraghty as he continues to stake a claim for a world title shot.
Our charismatic middleweight banger Denzel Bentley also gets the opportunity to increase public awareness of his potential when he takes on the only once-beaten Nuneaton man Kelcie Ball. If he successfully comes through this test there are some big middleweight fights on the cards for Denzel.
The last few months has seen the addition of a sizeable number of richly talented young fighters to our roster who I am very excited about seeing come through. Three of them are in action on Friday, with super lightweight Eithan James, lightweight Sam Noakes and super middleweight Lewis Edmondson all making their professional debuts.
I wish them all huge success and encourage you to follow their careers with interest.