By Frank Warren
WE ARE HEADING into a big couple of nights for fighters in Queensberry colours, which will hopefully come to a conclusion with the crowning of a new WBO world middleweight champion.
First up, we are back at York Hall where our prospects will take centre stage, before attention will switch to Las Vegas and our man Denzel Bentley attempting to dethrone the feared world champion Janibek Alimkhanuly and fulfil a dream.
This weekend is actually a launchpad for an incredible run of shows and fights under the Queensberry banner or involving our fighters.
After York Hall and Denzel’s Dream, next Friday we have our annual Debra charity dinner show with four of our young fighters performing on the card – including a debut for our new heavyweight, big Boma Brown – before, the following night, we return to Telford for a cracking European super bantamweight title fight between Liam Davies and Ionut Baluta on a card that will also see the return of Anthony Yarde to the ring ahead of his world title challenge in January.
The Saturday after we have got the bumper show at the 02 Arena headlined by the WBO Interim world super middleweight title fight between Zach Parker and John Ryder and four other big title fights on the card featuring Hamzah Sheeraz, Dennis McCann, Sam Noakes and Pierce O’Leary.
Then, the week after, it is Tyson Fury time at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium where he defends against Derek Chisora, with Daniel Dubois defending his WBA world title against Kevin Lerena as chief support.
To cap it all, a week later, David Avanesyan goes up against a pound-for-pound great in Terence Crawford over in Omaha, Nebraska.
Back to Denzel. We know and he knows he is going to be up against it against an avoided fighter, but I have every confidence in Denzel to pull off an upset. It will be a fight well worth staying up – or getting up – for.
I’ve always rated our Battersea boy and have the highest regard for him as a bloke. He is a joy to work with, a proper professional who wanted to jump in the deep end right from the off. He comes from a team at the Peacock Gym who want to be in real fights that deliver for the public.
This approach can lead to the odd loss along the way, but it will pay dividends more often than not and a competitive loss in a 50-50 fight should never count against you. I always say, it is about how you lose that matters.
Part of my confidence over Denzel’s chances of causing an upset against the Kazakh comes from talking to his trainer and manager Martin Bowers. Martin knows his stuff and is utterly convinced his man will prevail if he does everything right on the night.
Martin has studied Alimkhanuly right back to his amateur days and knows what his charge is up against. I suspect the key will be to meet fire with fire and refuse to be bullied by a heavy-handed champion.
Fighters like Alimkhanuly, with a big reputation for putting lights out, often have their opponents beaten before the first bell as survival instincts kick in. Denzel needs to show no respect remember that he was not called the Battersea Banger for nothing earlier in his career.
While Bethnal Green might not quite compare with the Palms Casino Resort in Vegas, the popular London venue will be a theatre of dreams for our younger contingent on Friday.
Topping the prospect card (although a good bit beyond that tag himself) is our ferocious featherweight Nick Ball. Nick is such an exciting and fearless fighter and he will need that second quality because he is in for a tough encounter against the Mexican Jesus Ramirez Rubio, who holds a record of 20-1-3, with 14 KOs.
It should be an absolute cracker, with Nick’s WBC Silver title on the line and it is opponents of this quality that will help speed Nick along to a world title shot, hopefully next year.
David Adeleye is another who will really be looking to push on next year. He will clock up 10 fights as a pro on Friday and there is no reason why he shouldn’t be in the mix for a British title challenge next year.
He is big, charismatic and very talented, which is what you need in the heavyweights and I rate him highly. Tyson Fury has called on him for every recent training camp and he will have learned so much from seeing how a world champion goes about his work.
Willy Hutchinson is back at light heavyweight, which is really where he should have been all along. Losing out to Lennox Clarke for the British super middleweight title was a blow, but Willy has regrouped now and is ready to go again.
He was considered as one of Britain’s brightest talents not so long ago and we will see if he can recapture the magic and we will set him on his way up the world rankings.
I would like to officially welcome Carl Fail to Queensberry and the former decorated amateur will make his first appearance under our banner at York Hall. Carl, along with his twin brother Ben (who fights next Friday), are super welterweights of huge promise and they tell me they will be dominating the division before too long! I look forward to seeing it and helping them along.
Cruiserweight Aloys Jr Youmbi, featherweight Umar Khan and welterweight Sean Noakes complete the card and I am excited to see them all perform again.
I should also mention a selection of Queensberry fighters who have headed out to Dubai to feature as part of the Floyd Mayweather exhibition fight. Tommy Fury, Louie Lynn, Henry Turner, Chris Bourke and Raven Chapman are all experiencing a spot of winter sunshine and I wish them all every success in their fights.
The Queensberry flag is flying high in three different continents this weekend!