By Frank Warren

IF WE ALL stick to the recipe the sport of boxing can cook up a storm across 2023 and, here at Queensberry, we are readying our ingredients for a five-star fighting feast.

We’re one week into 2023, I believe boxing is about to put its best foot forward this year and make fights people want to see, both here in the UK and in other major territories such as the US.

It is rarely about not wanting to make the biggest fights, at least from a promotional perspective. Everyone needs to pull together across the board – trainers, managers, advisors and, yes, fighters.

There isn’t a promotional company more dedicated to building young fighters and development than Queensberry and we are always prepared to give our boxers the time and fights they need to enjoy a successful career and win major titles.

However, at some point, fighters have to take the plunge and accept that jeopardy is part of the business. It is worth repeating that losing a fight is not the end of the road and there have been some fine examples of this in 2022. Step forward the likes of Jason Cunningham and Maxi Hughes, amongst many others.

Two fights after losing to Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois was crowned WBA heavyweight champion. One fight after losing to Felix Cash, Denzel Bentley regained his British middleweight title and subsequently fought for the world title. If anything, his stock has risen in defeat to Janibek Alimkhanuly.

A couple of wins will see Zach Parker right back in the super middleweight fold after injury forced him out against John Ryder. We will bring Jason Cunningham back too into our thriving super bantamweight concern involving Liam Davies, Chris Bourke, Brad Strand, Dennis McCann, Brad Foster and Ionut Baluta.

The industry as a whole needs to take the fear-factor out of losing for fighters willing to step into the 50-50 fights the public demand and we all want to deliver.

I am happy that the fighters on our books want to be in real fights and across 2023 you will see some thrilling match-ups involving Queensberry’s finest, who are ready to jump up the card and really make themselves known in circles beyond just the boxing circuit.

A good example of this from last year was Nick Ball, who seized his moment at Wembley Stadium against Isaac Lowe and has now got world titles on his mind for this year.

Mark Heffron has rolled with the punches over a couple of defeats, but he stuck at it and we stuck with him and he finally got the rewards he deserves with a big win over Lennox Clarke for three titles and can look forward to an exciting year.

Of course, a couple of defeats in big fights has hardly hampered the prospects of Anthony Yarde, who opens up the year for us at the OVO Arena, Wembley on January 28. A rematch victory over Lyndon Arthur and Anthony is now getting himself ready for a shot at the three world light heavyweight titles held by Artur Beterbiev.

It is a magnificent way for us to begin our 2023 campaign and we are setting the bar high. It is worth noting that Willy Hutchinson is also on the card fighting for a major title at light heavyweight, just two fights after suffering a demoralising defeat to Lennox Clarke. He can also become a big player at 175lbs, alongside Karol Itauma, who fights for his first title on the same bill.

As you will probably imagine, the booming heavyweight division will be featuring strongly in our plans across the next 12 months.

Top of the to-do list is finalising the undisputed showdown with Oleksandr Usyk that will dominate the spring schedule, plus returning both Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois to the ring to defend their WBO and WBA world title belts respectively.

If Tyson can vanquish the great Ukrainian, then he has said himself that he is eyeing up a big Wembley night with Big Joe and that is a fight I would love to make and one that would once again break records at the national stadium.

With Tyson wanting to fight three times this year and Daniel and Joe wishing for similar, there is plenty of scope for regular and huge heavyweight action. It is also in the plans for David Adeleye to push towards a British title and our new young heavyweight star Moses Itauma to get cracking towards his goal of becoming the youngest world heavyweight champion.

Our Liverpool contingent of the above-mentioned Nick Ball along with Andrew Cain, Brad Strand, Boma Brown, James Heneghan and Callum Thompson can really push on this year and the aim is to have them perform in front of a home crowd.

We are always looking to work across different regions and our successful visits to Telford are testament to this. We would like to find a fitting venue on the south coast to showcase Mark Chamberlain, Ryan Garner and co, while it is no secret that we intend to give Nathan Heaney a big fight in Stoke.

We’d also like to head over to Ireland, where Pierce O’Leary and Willo Hayden would have the chance to shine in their home country, with Anthony Cacace a short hop away in Belfast.

There is so much to work on and so much to look forward to. I would love to get Raven Chapman into position for a world title challenge this year and I am sure the Queen of Queensberry will soon be ruling the featherweight roost.

Hamzah Sheeraz will continue to take on big challenges at middleweight if Amir Khan doesn’t decide to put himself in the frame for a most unlikely grudge match! A cracking fight against Denzel Bentley could well be on the cards later this year.

Much as I would like to, I won’t name check everyone, but what I will say is that I firmly believe we have got the strongest and most talented group of fighters in British and maybe even world boxing.

It has been a long haul to get to this point, but we have stuck to our principals of building young fighters and turning them into stars. It is now set to pay dividends in a big way and we can all look forward to watching the stories unfold during what I think will be a year to remember.

Happy New Year to you all.

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