FRANK WARREN’S SCRAPBOOK – 14.4.16
The next few months will provide the perfect illustration of why BoxNation is described as ‘The Channel of Champions’.
For on July 9 from the Manchester Arena, it will be the home of ‘The’ heavyweight championship of the world.
I am delighted that we have added the much-anticipated rematch between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko to our already bumper schedule of elite-level action.
Of course, the heavyweight picture has become fragmented since that November night in Dusseldorf when Tyson systematically dismantled the long-standing champion, claiming four world title belts in the process.
His prior agreement to provide Klitschko with a return in the event of pulling off a shock away win resulted in him dropping the IBF belt due to not being able to fulfil a mandatory date with Vyacheslav Glazkov. Charles Martin subsequently stepped in to compete for and claim the vacant title after the Ukrainian went weak at the knee in round three.
But not quite as weak as ‘Prince’ Charles himself when he came to London last week wearing a tinsel crown and forlornly abdicated against Anthony Joshua.
Significantly Eddie Hearn now seems to be backtracking on his notion to stage a defence by AJ at Wembley Stadium on the same night Fury and Klitschko clash again.
I am not surprised. Joshua against a nobody on Sky Box Office – which it would surely be – would be blown out of the water by BoxNation’s screening of the real heavyweight championship between two genuine giants of the ring.
This time around, Tyson will rightly enjoy home advantage and, with the fight taking place in Manchester, it is very close to home for the linear champion. He has the ideal opportunity to inflict a devastating double on the now 40-year-old Klitschko before setting about unifying the division again.
Now they are trying to make out that an eventual fight with Joshua and Fury –and barring a calamity that should happen next year – would be hero v villain scenario. No prizes for guessing who they reckon is the bad guy.
Yes, Fury has said a few stupid things, but unlike Joshua he doesn’t have a criminal record. Joshua has certainly turned his life around, but carries a conviction for a drugs offence and was subject to an ASBO as a young tearaway in Watford.
The question is whether this will prevent him from fighting in the USA, where they are very strict about these things. Certain personalities in both the sport and entertainment business have been refused visas in the past.
From the very beginning I’ve been a big fan of Joshua and it is no secret that I tried to sign him. One of the problems, I believe, was that in the GB squad he was very close to the head coach Robert McCracken, who has strong connections with Matchroom through Carl Froch.
I still don’t understand how it can be possible for professionals like Froch, and other Matchroom fighters, to have trained at the tax payer-funded Institute for Sport in Sheffield. That cannot be right.
But back to BoxNations fight-fest this spring.
A hearty appetizer is booked for May 21 when another slice of the heavyweight cake is defended by Deontay Wilder, who won’t enjoy home advantage this time, against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin, like Joshua an Olympic champion.
The collision for the WBC belt will take place at the Megasport Arena in Moscow and I predict that the unbeaten record (36-0, 35ko) of the Bronze Bomber from Alabama will encounter its most serious challenge to date. Don’t rule out the belt changing hands, Povetkin has only a single blot on his card after a points loss to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 and I suspect Moscow will prove a tricky mission for Wilder.
April and May will also see BoxNation mopping up the middleweights, with the seemingly indestructible Gennady Golovkin putting his belt collection on the line against the unbeaten Dominic Wade on April 23 before, Hughie Fury jointly headline an terrific card alongside Liam Walsh on a huge night of boxing featuring the best of British of talent.
With Billy Joe Saunders unfortunately having to withdraw from his first WBO middleweight title defence against ‘Mad’ Max Bursak with a hand injury the undefeated Fury challenges for his own first title – the vacant WBO Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship – against experienced big-hitting American Fred Kassi.
The joint bill-topper sees Cromer’s British and Commonwealth Super-Featherweight champion Walsh, who is also undefeated, defending his belts against Coventry’s Troy James.
A week later – and perhaps most tantalising of all – BoxNation is proud to showcase the unlikely match-up in world boxing between WBC champ Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Amir Khan. This is one fascinating prospect and, when it was first called, I don’t think many gave Amir a prayer at the set weight of 155lbs. You can watch Khan v Canelo on BoxNation.
Over time though, more and more pundits are revising their predictions, believing Amir’s speed and skill sets –and sheer unadulterated bottle – can create problems Canelo has not encountered before.
I am sure you will agree with me that this is quite a line-up. These are pay-per-view level events available to BoxNation viewers for the price of a monthly subscription, which happens to be just under a fiver less than the cost of watching last weekend’s boxing on Sky!
More from Frank’s Scrapbook tomorrow