posted on: 23/02/2017

A New Era Tickets

By Frank Warren

A New Era

We’ve got a few new bangers on the block for BoxNation and BT Sport viewers to feast their eyes on when the first bell rings on the exciting New Era for boxing at the Manchester Arena on April 8.

The top end of the card needs little in the way of introductions, as fans know full well what they are going to get when Terry Flanagan charges up his Turbo and gets to work on the highly ranked Russian Petr Petrov and Liam Smith and Liam Williams start exchanging punching pleasantries.

Then there is one of the world’s finest, Zolani Tete, seeking to put himself firmly back in the world title picture via a WBO final eliminator against Arthur Villanueva, as well as the Golden Girl Nicola Adams making her professional debut.

This card runs deep and also features a number of our new additions who will be well worth a watch.

Recently added to our ranks is Mark Heffron, a heavy-hitting super middleweight who is building quite a reputation in the North West.

Heffron, 25, has already amassed a 13-0 record since turning pro in 2010 with the majority of his fights taking place overseas.

He is now back home and training under the expert eye of former European champion Pat Barrett in Manchester.

Everybody speak so highly of him and predict big things ahead for the puncher who has only been extended beyond two rounds in four of his 13 fights.

We might need him to make similarly quick work of his opponent on April 8 because we have got a lot of fights to get through!

The name Heffron is not unfamiliar to us as we promoted his brother Ronnie when he turned professional at the back end of 2009 and I understand he is back in the gym and considering a return to the ring.

Another who likes a quick night’s work is Jordan Thompson, who has taken just nine rounds in accumulating his 5-0 record at cruiserweight.

Fighting under the stage name of ‘Troublesome’, the 23-year-old will now be punching on our watch and his heavy-handed approach definitely marks him out as one to keep tabs on as he learns the ropes and is steered towards title contention.

At the end of 2015, Jimmy Kelly jnr backed himself and stepped up to the plate in making a challenge for the WBO world super welterweight title then held by Liam Smith.

It proved too tall an order on the night but he had nothing to lose except his unbeaten record and I said at the time that he would come again.

Working with a new trainer in Lee Beard, he worked his way back into the mix with three wins in 2016 and, at the Manchester Arena, he has the opportunity to show he belongs at the top end of the division.

Kelly takes on the tough Bolton boy Rick Godding – who has suffered only one reverse on points to Gary Corcoran – and the winner of this one will place himself high in the queue to challenge for the British title.

It is such a strong weight class in the country, with the two Liams, Ahmet Patterson, Kelly, Corcoran and Joe Pigford all jostling for position.

Establishing a pecking order means more top fights for the fans and that is what we will look to bring about this year.

I am also looking forward to seeing Jack Catterall back in action now he has bedded in with new trainer Haroon Headley.

Jack will not have it easy on the night as he faces the experienced Martin Gethin, who pulled off something of a shock last time out as a late sub by stopping John Wayne Hibbert in November.

Gethin has been in with the top boys such as Terry Flanagan and Derry Mathews, so he will provide an ideal test of Jack’s credentials before he hopefully moves on to make an assault on the higher echelons of the super lightweight class.

Another of our new signings, JJ Metcalfe, is starting with us as he means to go on with a tough looking fight against the experienced Mark Thompson at super welterweight, with fellow Scouser Steven Lewis also facing a tricky assignment when he takes on Midlands Area champion Andy Keates.

Add to all this top prospects Zelfa Barrett, Daniel Dubois, Anthony Leak and Mason Cartwright and we are in for a long and potentially thrilling night at the Manchester Arena.

If you cannot make it in person on April 8, be sure to tune in on BoxNation or BT Sport for a show that is not to be missed.

More from Frank tomorrow


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