By Frank Warren
PROBABLY THE MOST practical and least problematic solution to us twice losing the main event for Saturday’s first show of the year at the Copper Box would have been to pull the plug on it and plan for another day.
Whether we went ahead or postponed, the inevitable brickbats would still be flying in our direction from the usual social media quarters.
However, our ultimate goal at all times is to remain true and loyal to our fighters because we are fully aware of the work and sacrifice that goes into preparing for a fight and, especially in the current climate, they need to be paid.
With the hugely appreciated support of our partners at BT Sport, we were in a position to proceed with the promotion and give our boxers the exposure and payday they deserve.
Of course it was not what we wanted to deliver for our 2021 launch, but fight fans were still served up a night of boxing and it is up to people whether they wish to tune in or not. It is at times like these that we have to do the right thing by our young boxers.
It was a real blow to lose the British title fight between Anthony Cacace and Lyon Woodstock that everyone seemed to be looking forward to, especially off the back of Carl Frampton suffering a hand injury that ruled him out of his scheduled world title challenge against Jamel Herring.
We tried our utmost to keep Anthony on the card and find him a new opponent, but you are more up against it than usual when you take into account the Covid-19 requirements and testing protocols.
The upside to it all is the platform and showcase afforded to young fighters who before would have been fighting outside of the TV slots. Two out of three of our debut-makers on the night got to perform live and there were encouraging signs from both Adan Mohamed and Amaar Akbar, who will benefit greatly from the experience.
Unfortunately we could not squeeze in the debut of Masood Abdulah because his performance was the most explosive of the three in getting off the mark with a second round stoppage.
Talking of explosive, our lightweight firebrand Sam Noakes is proving himself to be a real show-stealer and on Saturday he put a first dent in the record of Delmar Thomas with a brutal first round destruction.
I like what I am seeing from this kid, he is a proper handful in the ring and, to me, he has got the look of a Ricky Hatton or Nigel Benn about him in the way he sets about his opponents.
His early success hasn’t come as a surprise because Sam was a senior national champion as an amateur and is so highly thought of by his training team at the iBox Gym. Whatever way his career develops – and I anticipate great success – young Sam is going to entertain the fans and I shouldn’t imagine the judges will be called upon too often when he steps into the ring.
Tommy Fury is also looking the part as he continues to learn on the job due to very limited experience as a junior amateur. He shouldn’t and won’t be rushed due to his family name and public profile because Tommy is dedicating himself to his fighting trade and building a career pretty much from scratch.
He is an attraction due to his out of ring activities and he will benefit from that through a ready-made fanbase, but he – and we – have got to do it the right way and simply get him the experience he needs.
One thing I think we can be pretty sure of is that, like Sam, Tommy is going to provide the thrills and spills as he goes along. He appears to carry potent punch power and he will be fun to watch.
There were plenty of people from the city of Stoke who would have loved to have been watching Nathan Heaney in person. Our recent middleweight recruit made his first official appearance under our banner and was given a good workout by the game Ryan Oliver.
He was a convincing winner and he has put his name right in the frame for some fascinating battles in the middleweight division, in which we are well represented.
When we signed Nathan he was obviously keen to perform in front of his many loyal and loud followers from his home patch. We didn’t know then just how long we would be operating as a television-only model and, as the lockdowns became further prolonged, we couldn’t delay his return to the ring any longer.
Hopefully, by the time his next fight comes around, he won’t be singing ‘Delilah’ on his own.
The eventual main event between Kaisy Khademi and Ijaz Ahmed turned out to be a terrific little scrap and a close run thing, with Ahmed getting nod from the judges and taking home two international belts.
It just goes to show what I have said throughout these behind-closed-doors times, that the advantage of being the home fighter has been nullified and we have got a level playing field. Opportunities are there to knock TV fighters off their perch and a good few have been grasped along the way.
I WAS SURPRISED and concerned to learn that Umar Sadiq was back in action in Mexico over the weekend.
He reported via his social media that he returned to the ring with a first round stoppage and I certainly didn’t have any knowledge of this engagement.
The super middleweight suffered a minor bleed on the brain following his defeat to Fedor Chudinov in September of last year and, quite rightly, his licence is suspended until he can prove a full bill of health.
Risking his well being by taking fights overseas is irresponsible and dangerous. If he believes he is fit to fight then demonstrate it by submitting a brain scan and passing the medical criteria set down by the Board of Control.
Medical regulations are there for a reason – to protect the safety and long-term futures of boxers.