READY FOR OUR BIG RETURN

posted on: 06/07/2020

THE FRANK WARREN COLUMN
By Frank Warren

THIS WILL BE a fight week like no other, that is for sure.

I am sure I can speak on behalf of all fans in saying what a great feeling it is to be entering into a week with live boxing at its conclusion. There really is no sport like it and I have certainly missed the action.

We wanted to get our fighters active again at the earliest opportunity and we are doing what we promised on Friday, live from the BT Sport studio, which is pretty much just a stone’s throw from the Copper Box Arena on the edge of the Olympic Park.

The studio is something special – around the size of a football pitch – so there is plenty of scope to be creative and deliver something eye-catching for the viewers.

Of course, we would much rather have people there in person to create an atmosphere, but we have to do the best with can with the cards we are currently dealt.

There is nothing normal about this new reality. Not least the eye-watering invoice for extensive Covid-19 testing to be carried out on our behalf.

As always though, in boxing, the safety of the fighters is paramount and we are putting every measure in place.

Thankfully, the first hurdle has been overcome and all the fighters taking part on Friday have a clean bill of health following the initial round of testing.

On Wednesday they will be tested again before entering the hotel – which will be home until after the fights – and then once more on weigh-in day on Thursday. Due to such strict protocols and the importance of minimising risks and contacts, teams have to be kept to just essential members and, unfortunately, numbers also have to be kept down on the night so the loyal bands of family, friends and fans have to miss out for now.

We are the first UK organisation to get back to business and I am sure we will learn what works and what doesn’t as we go along, but the two most important aspects of this exercise is to get our fighters back doing what they love and to put on a competitive card for the fans at home who love the sport.

I believe Friday’s card carries all the right ingredients.

Our bill-topper, Brad Foster, is a young man I much admire. He is a gritty and determined individual with no shortage of heart, who is really self-made in the boxing game. He had no background in the sport when he took it up in his late teens and has effectively learned on the job.

To be British and Commonwealth from a standing start at the age of just 22 speaks volumes for him and what he is about. If he wins a tough fight against James Beech jr on Friday he gets to keep his British title belt and I wouldn’t bet against him rapidly moving up the levels.

He has got that mentality that won’t be denied. Beech will bring it to him, being just a year older, unbeaten and from more or less the same neck of the woods.

It is a good looking fight on paper, so I am more than hopeful it should be become the real thing.

Another I have been hugely impressed with is Hamzah Sheeraz, our young super welterweight, who I reckon is destined for big things.

I have noticed huge improvements in him from fight to fight, which is what you are really looking for in a young fighter. He can box and he can bang, which is not a bad combination to have in your favour.

The 21-year-old stopped an experienced campaigner last time out in Ryan Kelly after not having it all his own way. That can only be a good sign and the WBO European title he holds – and defends against Paul Kean on Friday – I am sure will be the first of many.

On the subject of big punchers, I recommend people to tune in from the start to be sure of catching Mark Chamberlain in action. He does not call himself ‘Da Bomb’ for nothing and just seems to carry natural power for a tall, lean lightweight.

Another carrying heavy ammunition is our new heavyweight project David Adeleye. On the face of it he has got it all – huge frame, ripped physique, power to spare, charismatic, good talker. Now he has got to put it all together over time and capture the imagination of the public.

I would like to have got him out at least a couple more times by now, but obvious events outside of our control put a block on that, but fans will get to see him in his second pro fight on Friday and I would advise not to avert your gaze for a moment once the bell rings.

Also featuring is the man who keeps Daniel Dubois on his toes on a daily basis. Dorin Krasmaru, a 27-year-old Ukrainian, will have his third fight as a heavyweight pro and will be looking to steal the spotlight from his illustrious training partner.

Opportunities for a Ukrainian heavyweight, who can actually fight, are unfortunately thin on the ground so I am delighted to provide a spot for Dorin on the first show of our summer series.

From watching Premier League football earlier this season and since the lockdown, a pleasing feature of the domestic game is the number of hugely talented young players breaking through into teams and getting rave reviews.

It certainly bodes well for the future of the England team and illustrates the benefits of investing in youth.

I feel much the same way about our ever-expanding crop of richly gifted young fighters that we are bringing through. As someone who has been around for a while and seen several generations come and go, I can honestly say I have never been so excited by the talent we are in charge of nurturing towards titles.

If they stick to doing the right things then I would say nearly all of them could go all the way.

You can see for yourself a sample of our next generation of champions on Friday when we bring boxing back to a UK ring on BT Sport. And, for me, it is not a moment too soon.

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