NIGHT ON THE BASH IN BETHNAL GREEN
By Frank Warren
OUR POPULAR PROSPECT show concept returns on Friday at York Hall with the latest in the series designed to showcase our young fighters and give them the experience of top billing.
Of course, we also have a couple of quality title fights as headline acts and the two we have put in place for Friday really promise to deliver the thrills and spills in a big way.
Brad Foster makes a welcome return to action for the first time since his sole career setback against Jason Cunningham last year doing battle for the European title at super bantamweight.
As I have said many times, Brad is a remarkable young man and a real high achiever, especially considering the fact that he had no background in the sport before turning professional.
To have won the British title belt outright, the Commonwealth title and IBF European at the age of 23 is some going. He is now a year older and is gunning for the WBC International title where success will put him right on the world title trail.
Brad is jumping right back into the deep end at York Hall against Ionut Baluta, who we all know comes with a real pedigree and a knack of upsetting the odds. Brad himself considers Baluta as No.1 in Europe so he is well aware of what he is up against.
Credit to our man for only wanting to be in proper fights. This will be his ninth successive championship battle, which shows you what he is all about.
Baluta believes this is all about him on Friday. He fully expects to win and considers Brad as just an obstacle in his path. He has made his training base over here in a bid to get busy after a quiet spell in his career since taking on Michael Conlan and he will have his eye on other potential super bantamweight conflicts that could be made in future.
It is a buoyant division in which Queensberry is well represented.
Although he is toying with the idea of dropping down to bantam, Andrew Cain will make a first defence of his WBC International Silver title in the chief support at 122lbs.
The fearless Scouser goes up against Luis Moreno, a tough Mexican who is used to winning. Moreno says he expects a war with Andrew and is more than ready for it. He added that he intends to make his opponent ‘suffer’.
People will remember Moreno being outpointed by Dennis McCann last year and he explained that the classic ‘Olympic’ style of the Menace was not suited to him and his Mexican ways.
He wants open warfare when he steps into the ring and, with Andrew, he might just get his wish. If it does pan out this way it will certainly be fun viewing.
To my mind, this is a perfect match for Andrew, who blasted out his last opponent in a matter of seconds. I am confident that he is going to be a big star and a must-watch fighter so a test at this stage against a typically robust Mexican with bad intentions is ideal for him.
It is a pleasure to promote fighters with the mentality of Andrew. We could chuck him in with Naoya Inoue next time out and he would welcome the challenge and expect to win. It is the sort of attitude that progresses careers quickly and makes people want to get behind you.
York Hall on Friday is where we officially get to unveil Raven Chapman, our new featherweight who has joined forces with Queensberry to become our first female fighter since Nicola Adams.
I am looking forward to seeing her in action because she is an entertainer with a relentless approach from the first to last bell. Raven has got the BT Sport stage to herself at the moment and I am excited over the prospect of steering her towards world title success in the not too distant future.
Elsewhere on the card, the prospects on parade include the former amateur starlet Charles Frankham fighting over six rounds against a tough opponent in Sandeep Singh Bhatti, plus his cousin Josh Frankham, Micky Burke jr, Adan Mohamed and the debut of Sean Noakes.
Catch the action from York Hall on Friday on BT Sport 2 from 7pm
I WAS THRILLED last Friday to see Denzel Bentley return the British middleweight title to the Queensberry fold with an impressive victory over the previously unbeaten Linus Udofia.
I know that losing his title in such an emphatic fashion to Felix Cash hit Denzel hard, but it did not dent his confidence and if he could have fought the following week, he would have done.
Things don’t always go your way in professional sport and it is about how you react to setbacks that really counts in the long run. Denzel is a true pro and a real warrior and I was always confident he would retrieve his lost property in a tough fight.
I was also really pleased for Martin Bowers and his team at the Peacock Gym, with their weekend being made even more special by cruiserweight Ellis Zorro cruising to victory in the Boxxer tournament up in Manchester.
Congratulations to Denzel, Ellis and everyone at the Peacock.