THE FRANK WARREN COLUMN
By Frank Warren
DANIEL DUBOIS ONCE again demonstrated that he is the new and irresistible force of the heavyweight scene with his one round destruction of Ebenezer Tetteh to win the Commonwealth title, but he was not alone in leaving a lasting impression at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday night.
Daniel’s late shift against the previously unbeaten Ghanaian was short and particularly sweet. He just came out from his corner and immediately reminded everyone what he is all about. His boxing skills are improving all the time and he just took his opponent apart with his powder keg jab.
Virtually everyone on the card advanced their cause under the grand old dome and young Dennis McCann led the way for the young ones who clearly have such a big future in the sport.
Eithan James was extremely accomplished on debut, showing off his silky boxing skills against a grizzled campaigner in Fonz Alexander. Fonz has had over a hundred professional fights, giving youngsters competitive action to show them the ropes. I would say less than ten have opted to fight him on debut and that is a mark of the confidence the excellent trainer Alan Smith has in the Northampton prospect.
Alan had a good night with his trio of superb young fighters, with McCann and James being joined by another first-timer in Sam Noakes. Sam, backed by a noisy travelling support from Maidstone, showed that fans are going to have a lot of fun watching his career unfold.
He is a crash, bang, wallop type of operator, but not without boxing ability. It will be interesting to see if trainer Alan manages to harness his obvious enthusiasm for a scrap in order to display his technical qualities. I think we’ll have to wait and see on that one though.
Which brings us nicely back to little Dennis the Menace, who clocked up a fourth win and again had people marvelling at ringside. I don’t like to pile on the plaudits too early or ramp up expectations, but what he is showing at the moment is so reminiscent of a young Naz.
Take a look back at a few of Naz’s early fights and you will see similarities to what Dennis was doing on Friday. His corkscrew-like uppercuts and the way he gets himself into positions to throw unorthodox shots is just like the Prince in his pomp.
However, Dennis is only 18 and it is still very early days, but I wouldn’t bet against him reaching the top. It is also reassuring that Dennis carries with him an incredible work ethic and he knows full well that talent alone is not enough. He is devoted to the sport and that can only be a good sign.
Alan from the iBox Gym was not the only one to have a productive night with his charges. Martin Bowers from the Peacock Gym enjoyed a win-double and is probably relieved he isn’t paid by the round.
Between Daniel and his middleweight Denzel Bentley he was employed for all of 3 minutes and 22 seconds, with no corner work required!
Denzel is another who looks the part and he has now proved his readiness to be thrust into big fights following his vanquishing of Kelcie Ball. He really set about him, forced an excellent stoppage and put a marker down in some style.
There are some superb domestic fights to be made at middleweight now that have to happen and we have to make them happen.
Archie Sharp did what champions do by pulling a peach of a shot out of the bag when the tide was flowing against him in his fight with Declan Geraghty, while Willy Hutchinson showed his genuine quality with a second round stoppage in his tenth fight.
Willy looks to be the real deal and has such a bright future in front of him. He is only 21 with a world amateur championship triumph behind him and he already compares favourably with the other highly-touted light heavyweights out there.
It remains to be seen whether he tries his luck or not at super middle and, if he does, he will present an immediate threat to those holding domestic titles.
Getting back to the youngsters, Mohammad Bilal Ali got his first stoppage in his third fight and, another debut-maker in Lewis Edmundson got off the mark with an impressive win. It wasn’t easy for Lewis, with being in a floating bout and coming on last, but he will gain from the experience and get an earlier slot next time around.
I have to say that, in all my time in boxing, I struggle to recall a time when we had as many hugely talented young fighters coming through the ranks. A number of them were showcased at York Hall the other weekend and another crop on Friday that I have mentioned.
Now we are off to Leeds in under two weeks’ time and we have yet more ready to introduce themselves, such as George Davey and Shabaz Masoud.
It illustrates the health the sport of boxing in this country finds itself in and it is on a real high with so many youngsters taking up the game and excelling in it. I know I have banged on about it endlessly, but you don’t have to have been an Olympian or on a GB squad to make a good fist of it in the pros.
Politics and favouritism tends to play a big part in the amateur code where national squads are concerned and I always remind people that the likes of Naz, Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe didn’t come into the professionals with an Olympic pedigree.
That is not to say that our recent intake were not decorated amateurs, because they were, with dozens of a national titles between them. They have simply chosen to turn their hands towards the pro game at an early age and get cracking towards winning titles.
Finally, on the subject of titles, I was happy that Nicola Adams retained possession of her WBO world flyweight title following her split draw with Maria Salinas. In fairness to Nicola, she had been out of the ring for a long time and her inactivity was evident on the night.
I still genuinely thought she won the fight and if the Mexican feels hard done by then that will only serve to spice up the rematch.