FRANK WARREN’S SCRAPBOOK – 10.3.16
There aren’t many middleweights eager to chance their arm against Gennady Golovkin but Billy Joe Saunders is already waving his invitingly in Triple G’s direction.
I have known Bill since I first signed him as an 18-year-old after the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and he has never lacked confidence in his ability. Now, since relieving Andy Lee of the WBO world title in December I have noticed an even greater surge in his innate self-belief.
“Get me Golovkin!” he has asked repeatedly and I have told him this is what I am now determined to do once he has disposed of the battle-hardened Ukrainian ‘Mad Max’ Bursak whom the undefeated Hatfield southpaw meets in his first defence at the Copper Box in London’s Olympic Park on April 30.
This is could be a potential ’nasty.’ Bill is well aware it is essential he beats Bursak in style and look a million dollars doing it, if the Kazakh cruncher is to remain in his sights.I
I have always liked to have boxers with both brains and bottle and Billy Joe has these commodities in abundance as I sussed when I first set eyes on him as an amateur,believing that he would emerge eventually as the best of the GB elite in those Olympics. He has amply fulfilled that faith.
Obviously a Golovkin fight is a football stadium production so it can’t happen until one becomes available in the summer. .
With Canelo Alvarez now facing Amir Khan in May I doubt a mooted showdown between the Mexican and Golovkin is going on for this year. If at all.
So at the moment Bill is right there in pole position as a future opponent for Golovkin, who has been calling him out.
So I’ve told him: “If you want to fight Golovkin, you’ve got to beat his guy Bursak, and you’ve got to beat him in style.”
The colourfully nicknamed ‘Mad Max’ is a former European, WBO Intercontinental, IBF Youth and WBA Continental middleweight champion, a veteran of 37 fights to Bill’s 23. He holds a win over current British champion Nick Blackwell who is due to face Saunders’ victim Chris Eubank jnr.
The 31-year-old from Klitschko territory in Kiev has only lost four times – all on points – against useful opposition: Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in an Interim WBO World title fight; Jarrod Fletcher, who Saunders destroyed in two rounds, in a vacant WBA International title clash, Brit Martin Murray whom he took the distance in a vacant WBC Silver title fight and undefeated talent Zac Dunn for a vacant IBO World title at super-middleweight.
So Bill knows he’s in for a risky initial defence against a dangerous challenger. It is a potentially a banana skin fight and he knows it.
Our Copper Box bill will also feature that lovely man Ovill McKenzie against Bursak’s fierce-hitting compatriot Dmytro Kucher for the vacant European cruiserweight crown, and a win would set him up for another crack at the world title after that blatant stitch-up in Argentina when he was awarded only a draw against IBF champion Victor Ramirez.
And there’s a mouthwatering clash between Ryan Walsh, who defends his British Featherweight title, against young Irish prospect James Tennyson. This fight will be a cracker!
It promises to be a great night. The Copper Box, one of the iconic venues of London 2012, is ideal for boxing; bright, modern, easily accessible from Stratford and giving excellent views all round. It will also be televised live by BoxNation of course.
More from Frank’s Scrapbook tomorrow on Liverpool’s super showdown