STRAIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE

posted on: 31/10/2021

By Frank Warren

WE WILL BE occupying the middle ground when we go back to the Midlands once more for our next bumper card in Birmingham at the Utilita Arena this coming Saturday (6th November).

The focus will be on the marquee divisions of super middle and middleweight, with the swashbuckling Zach Parker headlining the bill at the upper weight in a domestic dust-up against Marcus Morrison. Stoke’s hugely popular ringwalk crooner Nathan Heaney and the former British champion Denzel Bentley are also added to the middleweight mix.

Zach possesses the potential to become a genuine star of the sport. He carries swagger, style and incredible power, although he is certainly no one-trick pony who relies too much on his most eye-catching attribute.

At 21-0 and 27 years of age, Zach is poised to break through onto the biggest of stages. He is ranked No.1 by the WBO and could, if he wished, simply sit on his hands and await the call for his mandatory challenge to the current title holder, Canelo.

He has expressed no such intention and, quite the opposite, he wants to use the waiting time to increase his own experience and narrow the odds for when his time comes around.

In fact, we should get some sort of indicator in the hours following our Birmingham show when the BT Sport Box Office cameras point in the direction of the great Mexican as he seeks to become undisputed at the weight against Caleb Plant.

It has got all the makings of a fine fight, but I don’t think you can look past Canelo when it comes to who will take ownership of all four belts.

Canelo’s next move will be key. Will he continue accepting challenges at super middleweight or look to set about fresh frontiers? I suspect light heavyweight beckons for Canelo and such a move would completely open up the 12st division with four vacant titles becoming available.

While fighting for a vacant title would probably work to Zach’s advantage and might well be the outcome, the Derby man is actually hankering after a shot at Canelo and would in no way look for a way out should he remain at the weight.

Whichever way it plays out, Zach is in a great position and, if he keeps winning, will be fighting for a world title next year.

Not that he is going to have it easy against Marcus Morrison, who will view this as his own passport to fortune. He has overcome some early setbacks and turned his career around with the spectacular KO of Emanuele Blandamura in 2019.

In his most recent fight he gave a good account of himself against Chris Eubank jr and, if anything, he probably should have backed himself more because Eubank couldn’t put a dent in him.

We know that Joe Gallagher will have him well prepared and Joe loves the opportunity to orchestrate an upset.

The Stoke City (mostly) Male Voice Choir will be out in force again in support of Nathan Heaney as he bids to move to 14-0 and win the IBO International title. The rousing rendition of ‘Delilah’ naturally attracts lots of eyes and ears and plays out far and wide across online platforms.

However, it should not take away from the fact that Nathan is building himself a career based on his abilities and improvements and is not a sideshow to his supporters.

Nathan works hard at his craft, has done everything asked of him and my goal is to deliver him a major title fight on his home patch of the Bet365 stadium. The atmosphere would be off the charts and Nathan would be a man inspired, but that is for the future and he is up against an experienced campaigner in Sladan Janjanin in the here and now.

Denzel Bentley begins his second coming against Sam Evans after losing his British title in April to Felix Cash. While the defeat was a real blow to the Battersea charmer and left him licking his wounds, what he should remember is how far he came in such a short space of time. And he can do it again.

Denzel was amongst the first back when boxing returned to our TV screens in July of last year and his fight with Mick Hall was his first proper step up. He went from that into two British title battles with Mark Heffron and then a first defence against Cash.

All this happened while fans were absent from ringside. Yes he has done it tough, but that is the way fighters from the Peacock Gym prefer it. Trainer Martin Bowers sees absolutely no value in routine fights that don’t bring the best out of his boxers and losing in fights that people want to see should never be held against a fighter.

That is how we see it with Denzel and we are behind him all the way as he sets about starting another belt collection.

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