CRASH, BANG, WALLOP AT WEMBLEY
By Frank Warren
OUR HEADLINERS APPLIED a quick and spectacular finish to the show at Wembley on Saturday, while there were also plenty of star turns amongst the supporting cast.
Both David Avanesyan and Hamzah Sheeraz made short work of their opponents – who both came to fight – and issued major statements of intent ahead of their next challenges.
For David, his career destination is an obvious one, he needs to be in at least a final eliminator fight or a straight shot at the WBC champion. He is simply too good for everyone at the weight in Europe and there is nobody currently active in Britain who could put up much of a fight against him. They don’t want to fight him and, to be quite honest, I don’t blame them.
Oskari Metz came with the intention of making a fight of it but, once he got caught, his senses were scrambled and it was only a matter of time before the referee had to intervene.
What was more surprising was the speed that Hamzah dealt with the threat of Jez Smith. Jez, with a full camp under his belt, promised fireworks and said he would be too much for Hamzah in his first fight at middleweight.
As it turned out, a relaxed and calculated approach from our man paid dividends and Hamzah picked his shots to perfection. He simply had too much class and quality for an outgunned Jez.
Considering the tough night’s work Jez has given a good few middleweights, Hamzah can take real satisfaction from the way he snuffed out his threat.
Hamzah has got that stamp of real pedigree about him and I believe he will be a genuine star of the future. He is still very young and improving all the time, so there is so much potential there.
Watching the fights back on TV, I didn’t get the remark suggesting Hamzah had struggled in his last two fights. He wasn’t at his best against Bradley Skeete but still managed to put him down, while his previous fight was an impressive fifth round stoppage against a rugged 15-1 Spaniard.
Hamzah has entered an exciting marquee division now and I expect him to become a big player over the next couple of years.
Looking back at the efforts of the younger contingent, I feel they all took a step or two forward on the night.
We gave a big build up to our newcomer Royston Barney-Smith ahead of his professional debut and he dealt well with the pressure put on his young shoulders. What I had forgotten was that, taking Covid into account, he hadn’t been in a proper fight for more than two years.
But Royston is a cool customer and he showed his obvious class across the four rounds and I am looking forward to seeing much more of him in the months ahead. Believe me, this kid is special.
Our lightweights continued their charge towards competing for major titles in the next year or two and Mark Chamberlain did very well once he got the measure of a tough and ambitious opponent in Jeff Ofori. Ofori was a significant step up from what he has encountered before so I am very happy he passed the test with flying colours and we will put him in a position to begin a belt collection in his next fight.
Sam Noakes was typically emphatic too against the Italian Vincenzo Finiello and both young men need to keep being tested as we move them along towards the big prizes. Both of them are big punching crowd pleasers so we are in for a fun ride on the lightweight front.
I was happy for Dennis McCann to win his first professional belt in a good fight for the WBO world youth title against Charles Tondo. If I was being picky I would say he made harder work of it than he should have and he got hit a few times too many but, for all the plaudits, Dennis remains a work in progress and he needs a fair bit more experience.
When elite young talents turn over at the age of 18 you have to be prepared to give them the time they need and the right fights to bring them along. The big 50-50 fights might not happen as quickly as some people would like, but you have to take into account their age and need for experience.
Elsewhere on the card, I was pleased for Henry Turner getting his first stoppage. Banging people out isn’t really his game, but all young fighters like to get a first one on their record. Henry is a classy operator and natural boxer and he will get more opportunities to really shine when his opponents engage with him more.
Masood Abdulah on the hand, loves a stoppage and he made it four out four following a tough encounter with Sandeep Singh Bhatti. Also a big well done to Khalid Ali and Sonny Ali Liston for getting wins under their belts at the beginning of the evening.
I WOULD LIKE to welcome Tommy Fletcher to the Queensberry ranks, with the strapping cruiserweight talent signing up with us last week. Tommy is just 20 years of age, 6ft 7″ tall and, according to his trainer Mark Tibbs, he carries Deontay Wilder-type power.
That being the case, perhaps we should bulk him up quickly and shift him up to heavyweight now! Joking aside, I am delighted he chose to team up with us and he recognises that this is the place to be for the best young fighters.
I am looking forward to getting Tommy started in the pro ranks.
I WAS ALSO delighted to confirm over the weekend that we will be heading to the Pride Park Stadium for Zach Parker’s big night against Demetrius Andrade on May 21 with the WBO Interim world title at stake.
Andrade is an undefeated two-weight world champion and Zach has got to show him that super middleweight is a step too far. It is a big ask but I am so confident in Zach and have been so impressed with him since we teamed up.
It will be such a special night in Derby and I hope the city will really get behind him in the biggest and toughest fight of his career. It was devoted Derby County fan Zach who came up with the idea of helping the football club financially during the current struggles and we are happy to play our part with £10 from each ticket sold going into the club coffers.
So Derby fans can enjoy a top night out, get behind their man and also support the club at the same time. It is what we call a win-win!