THE FRANK WARREN COLUMN
By Frank Warren
Wembley Arena, as it used to be titled, at one time held a monopoly on the big fights staged in this country, with the others happening at the Royal Albert Hall, where we returned the sport to last month to considerable acclaim from fight fans.
Back in the days of Henry Cooper the historic venue was known as the Empire Pool and Our ‘Enry fought there on some 15 occasions, including his final curtain call against Joe Bugner. Frank Bruno also made himself at home there, dividing the majority of his fights between Wembley and the Albert Hall.
Now Daniel is ready to follow in illustrious footsteps and this is a young man who I am confident will emulate the achievements of Henry and Frank. It is a big shout, I know, but Daniel has all the makings of a real star turn.
He is a little bit reserved at the moment and prefers to let his bludgeoning punches do the talking for him, but over time he will grow in confidence and the public will get to like his warm and engaging personality.
For now though he is single-mindedly focussed on his work and progressing through the levels. To have won four titles in his first ten fights is some going at the age of just 21 and it is almost scary to imagine what he might become when he reaches, say, 25.
It is a great time to be a heavyweight, with Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua jostling for position at the elite end of the division. They won’t have it all their own way for too long because, even just in Britain, you have Daniel, Nathan Gorman and Joe Joyce in pursuit, while Dillian Whyte is also closing in on the top.
I really don’t think it will be too long before the chasing Brit pack enters the top ten in the rankings and then it will be boom time when it comes to domestic showdowns.
First of all though, Daniel, Nathan and our new signing Joe Joyce need to keep winning and keep their momentum going.
Daniel isn’t the only bright young thing who will be showing us what he is all about at Wembley because the card is stacked with a number of top prospects and contenders who I believe can go all the way.
Keep an eye out for explosive super middleweight Zak Chelli, who is going for a first title against Jimmy Smith with the Southern Area belt at stake. Another super middle, the naturally gifted Lerrone Richards, is also taking a step up to battle for the vacant Commonwealth crown against the far more experienced Tommy Langford.
Charismatic super flyweight Sunny Edwards, soon-to-be world super lightweight title challenger Jack Catterall and top super featherweight Archie Sharp also feature so we should be in for a fistic feast at Wembley.
Coverage from Wembley begins at 8pm live on BT Sport 1
AS YOU MIGHT have gathered from last week’s column, I didn’t hold out too many hopes for Amir Khan in his quest to roll back the years and knock pound for pound star Terence Crawford off his perch.
Whether Amir was looking for an early exit in there or not is largely irrelevant looking at the bigger picture. He was being completely outboxed and outfoxed by the highly skilled Crawford and it wasn’t going to end well whichever way it came about.
It is Amir’s post-fight rhetoric that should be causing the most concern, where he stated that he cannot end his career on such a note.
That is exactly what he should do, while he is still walking, talking and with all his faculties in place. It is not going to get any easier for him and continuing is dangerous territory.
I WAS DELIGHTED to sign-up Sunny Edwards to a new long-term contract last week. He is a flyweight – or super fly – that I firmly believe can become a little star.
Sunny is a good lad who I have got a lot of time for and, I’ll tell you what, if confidence wins world titles then he will definitely become a champion.
He has got plenty to say for himself but he backs up what he says and is a genuine talent who I am looking forward to steering to the top.
SHAKUR STEVENSON WAS quick to throw in the name of our man Josh Warrington after impressively clocking up his 11th win as a professional at the weekend in New York.
The American Olympian is making big strides and I know he is someone that his promoter’s Top Rank have very high hopes for.
Josh is busy at the moment preparing for what could be a tricky encounter against Kid Galahad in Leeds on June 15 that he cannot overlook. After that, assuming ownership of his IBF world featherweight title is retained, we can start looking at major fights against the big players Stateside and I am sure it won’t be too long before Stevenson comes into the picture.
IN CLOSING FOR this week I would like to wish Pat Barrett all the best for his Black Flash show in Oldham on Saturday.
We are now working in tandem with Pat on his promotions, with this being the first of many we have to look forward to.
Of particular interest to us in Oldham is the return to the ring of Pat’s nephew Zelfa after a long spell out with an Achilles injury. Super featherweight Zelfa is a terrific prospect who, despite a single setback, remains a blue chip talent who is destined to go a long way in the game.
It won’t be long before Zelfa is back competing for titles on BT Sport.