THE FRANK WARREN COLUMN
By Frank Warren
A FEW DAYS late but we are still at that juncture where it is timely to reveal a few New Year’s resolutions or a wish list. I’ve seen a number of people keeping it topical and piping up with their 20/20 vision, so here is mine and let’s see how much of it we can make come true over the course of the next 12 months.
A natural and obvious starting point would be our man Tyson Fury, who is currently Stateside preparing for a fight that is already on the books and official. Tyson against Deontay Wilder is the biggest fight in the business because it is the two best heavyweights in the world up against each other for the second time.
Due to the mandatory double-header he has in front of him there is little point in dragging the name Anthony Joshua into the argument before or after the February 27 showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Suffice to say, if Tyson does what we think he is going to do to Wilder, we would like to draft Joshua into the equation before the end of the year.
It would mean the top heavies being a bit more active this year, but that is no bad thing, especially for the public.
Sticking to a world title theme, we will deliver on Josh Warrington’s desire to unify his IBF world featherweight championship belt and we should soon be in position to rubber-stamp a huge development, so watch this space for that one.
Carl Frampton too has big things ahead and is primed for an assault on a world title at a third different weight. If all pans out as anticipated, May is going to be a huge month.
We are also working hard at restoring Anthony Yarde to world light heavyweight title contention and it is something that will happen this year once he is back to winning ways.
Anthony did himself proud and showed that he belonged at the level when he rolled the dice and travelled to Sergey Kovalev’s home town of Chelyabinsk last year. He was a matter of seconds away from pulling off an improbable victory, but even in ultimate defeat he will have taken so much from the occasion in terms of experience.
We know he has got the talent and we believe in him 100 per cent. His time is coming and he will fall into the world champion category of fighters soon enough.
We have two others right on the cusp of world title shots that will arrive in 2020. Jack Catterall has had to be patient since occupying the No.1 spot in the WBO super lightweight listings. It is always a dilemma whether to stick or twist while waiting for a mandatory challenge to come around and, for Jack, the waiting is almost over.
It was unfortunate for Jack in some ways that the former WBO champion Maurice Hooker took up the unification option and subsequently lost to the WBC champ Jose Ramirez. It meant the Top Rank man was then confronted by two mandatories and the first of which takes place on February 2 against Viktor Postol.
Once that is done with, Jack is next, no two ways about it. The compensation for him being stuck a little longer in the waiting room is that he will be fighting for two world title belts and that, I am sure, will make it worth waiting for.
Jack is one, you might recall, that I have been banging the drum for right from the beginning. He is a cracking young lad and a very smart boxer, who perhaps tends to be overlooked a little due to his quiet nature.
He has never shied away from a fight and I remember his first two ten-rounders were against unbeaten and highly-touted prospects in Nathan Brough and Tom Stalker. Since then he has more than carried out his domestic duties with victories over Joe Hughes, Tyrone Nurse, Tyrone McKenna and Ohara Davies, so he is fully deserving of his shot at the big time.
Much the same could be said of our fearsome middleweight Liam Williams, who posted a number of brutally executed statements over the last 12 months or so. It all started in December 2018 – in support of the Warrington-Frampton fight – when he took up an invitation to jump up a weight and fight Mark Heffron for the vacant British middleweight title.
A lot of respected pundits thought he would be up against it going in with the then unbeaten Mark, who was blazing a trail through the domestic scene with some signature KOs of his own. To put it bluntly, Liam outfought, outmanoeuvred and ultimately outclassed him.
Looking at what Liam has done since at middleweight you have to feel a bit for Mark because nobody could have foreseen then that ‘The Machine’ would function quite so well at the higher weight.
Liam’s last three opponents combined have not lasted as long as the ten rounds Mark survived in Manchester. The most recent of which, Alantez Fox, was ranked at No.1 by the WBO and Liam took him apart with clinical precision.
Liam now just has to sit tight and await the outcome of Demetrius Andrade v Luke Keeler on January 30 and the winner could well be his next fight.
A big feature of my 2020 wish list is guiding Daniel Dubois to a mandatory spot with one or more the governing bodies so he is in position to challenge for a world title when the best opportunity arises.
The heavyweight division is sewn up for most of the year with Fury-Wilder and Joshua’s compulsory assignments, but you can never rule out the belts becoming fragmented again and, while this isn’t always ideal, being able to steer Daniel and Joe Joyce into the mix would be no bad thing for the sport.
On the subject of Daniel and Joe, it is a fight we want to make and positive discussions are ongoing at the moment.
What a fight that would be! Two of the best unbeaten young (at heart, in Joe’s case) and unbeaten heavyweights in world boxing putting it all on the line in a huge London collision. What’s not to like about it? This is the sort of fight we always want to make for the fans.
Also, don’t forget Nathan Gorman in all this, who still has a massive future and his ambitions rightly remain the same as before his fight with Daniel. Another young heavy to keep tabs on over the course of 2020 is David Adeleye, who made a hugely impressive debut in our final show of the year and is currently putting in the work with Tyson over in the States.
Going from top to near enough bottom in terms of poundage, this year I want to get our flyweights on the up and fighting each other in big domestic dust-ups. Fighting domestic rivals and showing what you are about is the way forward for all ambitious fighters.
Take Archie Sharp, for instance. He jumped in as the away fighter against the also then unbeaten Lyon Woodstock and his career has gone from strength to strength since. Archie is closing in on world title consideration and it is because he was happy to take a chance.
We’ve got Harvey Horn and Joe Maphosa at flyweight and Sunny Edwards bouncing up and down between fly and super fly. They should now be at the point of being prepared to fight each other and one particular fight is already booked in for April, so keep an eye out for that one when news lands.
We have such a lot in the pipeline for 2020 and, with having a sizeable and hugely talented stable of mostly young fighters, it makes it impossible to name-check everyone who is going to be in meaningful action this year in one column.
It is going to be a blockbuster year and, looking at the names we have coming through, the same can be said for the decade too.
Here’s to the 2020s and a belated Happy New Year to you all.