LEICESTER SHOW PACKS A PUNCH
By Frank Warren
Leicester’s sporting teams have all done their bit over the years to put the city on the map, with success in rugby union, cricket and most recently football and basketball.
Well, the people of Leicester can now add the pastime of punching to the list because we will certainly be back at the local arena following the feedback on Saturday night’s show – and there are a couple of more than useful Leicester lads who will ensure this becomes a reality in the months and years to come.
The arena itself was everything we hoped it would be – atmospheric and without a bad view in the house. The fans were in their seats and got behind the fighters near enough from the off until after the main event, which is testament to the fans themselves and the entertainment value delivered by the boxers.
I predicted some weeks ago this was a show that would provide thrills and spills, with titles on the line at a number of different levels, but you can never be sure, so I am delighted that everyone enjoyed themselves.
Our job is to ensure there is much more of the same to come and we are working hard with this objective very much in mind.
The kind messages and comments on social media do not go unnoticed and they are all much appreciated.
Saying all that, it is the fighters that fight and the tone for the evening was set early by a right ding-dong battle for the English title between the super middleweights Jahmaine Smyle and Darryll Williams.
The fight was a bit of ticking time bomb during the build-up with tensions nearly reaching breaking point and the pair backed up their provocative words in a confrontation where neither man gave an inch.
Williams prevailed via split decision and you could see what it meant to him and his team from the iBox Gym. Talk of rematches is bandied around after every half-decent close contest these days, but I don’t imagine anyone would object to seeing a repeat performance of this one.
A special mention for cutsman Frank Greaves, who did a fantastic job on Williams’s cut.
Anthony Yarde, Daniel Dubois and Lyon Woodstock again demonstrated why the future of British boxing is in such safe hands with clinical destructions of the men put in front of them, whereas Tyrone Nurse didn’t get it all his own way against the very game Joe Hughes for the British super lightweight title.
I said before the fight that Hughes wasn’t coming to make up the numbers and there were some at ringside who felt he was unlucky not to take the belt home with him.
Tyrone will need to raise his game for the challenge ahead, which will hopefully be a tasty clash with Jack Catterall in the summer.
Tommy Langford came up short against the stocky, big swinging Georgian tough guy Avtandil Khurtsidze after dropping his guard in the fifth, which was an unfortunate outcome to the headline fight.
Credit to Tommy for stepping up, but he was always going to be up against it taking on someone who has operated – and been avoided – at the highest level.
Losing doesn’t represent the end of the road because Tommy can come again and he can put this setback down to experience.
So, with the exception of a naturally downcast Tommy, a good night was had by all at the Leicester Arena and those watching across BT Sport and BoxNation.
With a live televised show also taking place in Liverpool, it was pleasing to learn our promotion won in the TV ratings, which goes to show what I have believed all along.
A level playing field ultimately changes the game.
More from Frank tomorrow on a vertically challenged challenger to Billy Joe Saunders