By Frank Warren
BOX OFFICE BOXING returns to BT Sport on September 24 with the huge Joyce-Parker heavyweight collision and we have pulled out all the stops to ensure the event is a gripping spectacle from start to finish.
Of course, the two Joe’s now have an additional incentive – as if one was needed – to triumph, following the news that the WBO have now upgraded the fight to Interim world title status.
Some people like to moan and mock when this provision is put in place, but there is more to it than picking up a shiny belt. It increases the stock of the Interim champion and also has a significant effect on the purse splits when it comes to challenging for the full title. Also, should the champion elect to vacate, the Interim holder is automatically elevated. So it is a worthwhile exercise.
A fight such as Joyce vs Parker is deserving of a stellar supporting cast and I believe we are delivering in a big way in this respect.
Anthony Cacace, who was so unfortunate to have his Wembley moment snatched away from him in April, gets the chance to reap the rewards his obvious talents deserve with a shot at the IBO world super featherweight championship against the unbeaten title holder Michael Magnesi.
Anthony is very clearly best in class at his weight in this country, a British champion who nobody wants to fight. Winning the IBO belt will serve to give his career a kickstart, while giving him a piece of the action at world level. It isn’t one of the big four belts, but it will put him up there and make people take notice.
I am thrilled that we can provide a home for Amanda Serrano to further unify the featherweight world titles against the unbeaten Sarah Mahfoud. A seven-weight world champion, Amanda is a genuine superstar of the sport and this will be her first time fighting in the UK.
Like with Lou DiBella for Magnesi-Cacace, it has been a pleasure dealing with Jake Paul and Nakisa Bidarian from Most Valuable Promotions to bring Amanda over for such a significant fight that I am sure the Manchester crowd and BT Sport viewers will appreciate.
Hopefully, September 24 will prove to be a magical night for Ekow Essuman, who has the opportunity to make the British welterweight title belt his own. He takes on his mandatory challenger Samuel Antwi in what should be a very fan-friendly encounter.
Ekow is a class act in and out of the ring and I have been so impressed with his work since we teamed up. For my money, he is the best welterweight we have got in this country and I would confidently put him in against anyone.
We all know the plum candidates won’t fancy the job, so after this fight – if successful, of course – it will be about turbo-charging his rankings at world level and getting him the marquee fights he deserves.
No doubt the noisiest fans on the night will belong to Nathan Heaney, our hugely popular middleweight who is taking on a domestic challenge for his IBO International title against Jack Flatley.
Nathan has successfully taken on a steep learning curve across his last three fights against international opposition. The three opponents may not have possessed huge name recognition, but they were tough men drafted in to give Nathan the tests he needed.
Nathan is no pretender. He readily acknowledges that, with being a late starter in the pro game, he is not going to be troubling the Golovkins and Charlos of this world. He wants to become Stoke’s second British champion and to do so on the pitch of his beloved Stoke City. That is his dream.
To that end, a tough domestic encounter against Jack Flatley is the perfect examination for him at this point in time. Jack is a tough young customer who is coming to, and believes he will, win. This is going to be a really good scrap and I’ve got a little hunch it will be a big challenger for the label of ‘fight of the night’.
Before Amanda Serrano takes to the ring, our own First Lady at featherweight, Raven Chapman, takes on a huge test in just her fourth fight as a professional. Raven goes up against former IBF world champion Jorgelina Guanini for the WBC International title and taking this fight is a real statement of intent from Raven and her team.
I love what I have seen from Raven so far, which admittedly isn’t that much as her Queensberry debut lasted a matter of 58 seconds! I really believe it is only a matter of a short space of time before we are negotiating a world title for her, which is why I am sure she will be keeping a close eye on the Serrano-Mahfoud fight.
I am also looking forward to seeing Mark Heffron make a speedy return to action after becoming British, Commonwealth and IBF Intercontinental super middleweight champion.
Mark is an example to all for the way he has stuck at it and he showed what he is all about with the way he set about Lennox Clarke last time out in July. With it being such a quick turnaround, this fight will be about Mark maintaining momentum in front of a local audience for him ahead of a big career push later in the year.
Mark is an exciting fighter who has now found his optimum weight. He is an absolute pleasure to work with and I am thrilled he is now getting the rewards his talent and application deserves.
So, as undercards go, this is a bumper one and then some. No fewer than 10 title belts will be fought for on the night, so the stakes are very high. As the show title says, there is ‘Nowhere to Run’ and there will certainly be no place to hide at a packed AO Arena in Manchester.
Tickets for ‘Nowhere to Run’ – the heavyweight clash between Joe Joyce and Joe Parker on 24 September at the AO Arena, Manchester being shown exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office – are priced from £40 and are on sale exclusively from Ticketmaster.co.uk.