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Posted on: 23 Jul 2020

By Frank Warren

MASKS AND HAND sanitizer at the ready! We are all set for our second post-lockdown boxing bash at the BT Sport studio on Saturday night.

And we’re drafting in a few of our big hitters for the occasion, led by the Juggernaut, big Joe Joyce.

Walking willingly over banana skins probably comes with a health warning and rightly so, but we have been cornered into setting up two booby traps that could de-rail our best laid plans in the space of five weeks.

When we announced the huge collision between Daniel Dubois and Joe, the two leading lights outside of the big three in the heavyweight pecking order, there was obviously no intention of doing anything to jeopardise such a big event coming to fruition.

The enforced hiatus due to Covid-19 has forced us to think again to ensure that both fellas are in tip-top condition for the big occasion scheduled for October 24 at the o2 Arena.

Due to external factors and through no fault of his own, Joe has been out of the ring since last July, while Daniel last saw action in December. That is far from ideal and made it imperative that we get them both firing again before they confront each other.

With that comes risks that I would much prefer we didn’t have to take.

Thinking back to just the recent past, Tyson Fury apparently only had to turn up to overcome the unfairly maligned Otto Wallin in a rehearsal for his rematch with Deontay Wilder.

Wallin gave it his best shot, Tyson ended up with 47 stitches above his right eye and the fight could have been stopped at any time.

The script is rarely followed to the letter, especially in heavyweight boxing.

So drafting in two big, burly Germans to give our boys a proper fight before the big one makes me a little apprehensive.

It has got to be done though. Joe will take on Michael Wallisch on Saturday and, from meeting him earlier this week at the press conference, you can tell he means business.

He has got a record of 20-3 and a fair bit of experience, with his only defeats coming against top heavyweight prospects in Tony Yoka and Efe Ajagba, as well as the highly regarded Christian Hammer.

Daniel will be up against the 7-0 Erik Pfeifer on August 29, with the Hamburg man possessing an excellent pedigree in the amateurs. He is a two-time Olympian, who has also medalled at two world championships and twice defeated Olympic champion Yoka.

Both men will be coming to win and our lads cannot afford to take them lightly, which I am sure they won’t.

Alongside Big Joe returning to the ring, we’ve got a few potential crackers lined up in support on Saturday night that will not disappoint.

Denzel Bentley, the new force of the middleweight division, gets another chance to showcase his credentials against Mick Hall, a well-seasoned pro with only two defeats with one of them coming over three in Prizefighter and the other due to a swelling around the forehead.

Denzel is a proper fighting man who wants to crack on and prove himself at the top level. It is a refreshing attitude and typical of fighters from the Peacock Gym. We’ve got big plans for him and I believe he has got the ability and personality to become a genuine star of the sport.

A fight that has caught the eye of boxing folk is the Southern Area super bantamweight scrap between Chris Bourke and Ramez Mahmood. There is nothing not to like about two unbeaten young fighters putting it on the line for a regional belt and these fights nearly always deliver for the fans.

I believe Chris is a real talent and also a hefty puncher with five of his seven wins coming via knockout. The punch that sent Louis Norman to the canvas at the Copper Box in December was a proper show-stopper and sent out a strong message to British super bantamweights.

Also on the card is exciting featherweight Louie Lynn, who is really starting to look the part in the pro ranks since joining up with the team at the Peacock Gym.

Apparently they want to slow him down a bit and I wish them well with that one because Louie is like a whirlwind from start to finish. I strongly suspect we’re onto a winner with ‘Loco’ and there are similarities with Josh Warrington in that they share a relentless approach to setting about opponents.

Once again we are behind closed doors at the home of our broadcaster but, fingers crossed, it won’t be too long before fans are back in the fold.

The Prime Minister offered encouragement that spectators could be watching events again in September trials before an official return in October, so we are hoping for the best with a big October date in mind!

IT WAS GOOD to see Mark Heffron when he called into the office last week to map out a fight plan.

Mark is a top and talented pro who it is a pleasure to promote. He really gets the game, he has cultivated a huge following, always sets out to entertain and wants the biggest fights possible.

He was a bit unfortunate to come up against an inspired and rejuvenated Liam Williams after he worked his way into mandatory position for the British middleweight title. Little would any of us have known when we made the fight that Liam would so quickly be mandatory for a world title shot.

There is no doubt Mark can come again and I see that he and Denzel Bentley have been engaging on social media. What a fight that would be! No problem with making that one.

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