Josh Warrington
By Frank Warren
OUR SHOW IN Leeds on Saturday fully lived up to expectations and now we have another clutch of top young fighters ready to move onto bigger things in 2018.
Obviously the primary focus of the night at the FD Arena was on Josh Warrington and whether he could overcome the final challenge between himself and a shot at the IBF world featherweight title.
He did it in some style in his final eliminator against Dennis Ceylan and made something of a statement in the process by stopping the previously unbeaten Dane.
Josh did well and did what he had to do by applying constant pressure. He wore Ceylan down and seemed to break his heart in the process.
In dealing with Ceylan, Josh has fulfilled his part of the bargain and now we will be pushing to get his world title shot booked in as soon as possible.
Our two super featherweight starlets also did the business in what were tough examinations of their title winning credentials – Zelfa Barrett winning the English title against Chris Conwell and Lyon Woodstock claiming the WBO European in an all-action scrap against Craig Poxton.
I thought they were both extremely impressive and Zelfa, with more experience, really looks the part. He oozes class, in my opinion.
Providing he sticks to what he is doing and does what he is supposed to do going forward, everything about him suggests he will go all the way.
Lyon had a real job on his hands against Poxton – who is a real tough nut – and you have to bear in mind that Lyon has not had a lot of experience and this was just his tenth fight.
I was very pleased with him and, I’ll tell you what he has got, he’s got balls that kid.
He even underwent a change of hair colour during the fight, due to Poxton’s cut eye, going in as a blond and coming out a red head.
Both Zelfa and Lyon have got lots to look forward to now because we will keep stepping them up and offering opportunities to add to their belt collections.
Another who impressed and is now on the cusp of a shot at the British title is JJ Metcalf. The super welterweight division is a buoyant one and JJ is now up there amongst the leading contenders.
The picture should become clearer on November 11 when the top two – Liam Smith and Liam Williams – go at it again in Newcastle and it is pleasing to see that a number of domestic challengers are putting themselves in position for further great fights down the line.
TWO OF OUR men are off on world title travels before Christmas in what should make for a thrilling end to the year.
Saunders v Lemieux
Billy Joe Saunders defends his WBO world middleweight title against the big-hitting David Lemieux in Montreal on December 16 in a clash that has all the makings of a classic.
Bill defending away from home was a big decision for us. We thought about it long and hard and what swung it was the fact that it is a live primetime slot on HBO.
Our man is up for it and if he comes through it, which I think he has got the skills to do, it will stand him in good stead for his next fight.
That is the logic behind it and, as a world champion, sometimes you need to branch out and showcase yourself to other markets.
We also have Gary Corcoran grabbing a golden opportunity to take on Jeff Horn, the conqueror of Manny Pacquiao in Brisbane on December 13.
It is amazing how quickly things change in boxing because a year ago nobody would have batted an eyelid if we had made this fight for the Commonwealth title.
Gary will be no easy pickings for anyone and if the Horn camp believe this to be a routine voluntary they are very much mistaken.
Bradley Skeete was originally in line for the shot at Horn but was passed on at the last minute. I have seen a few comments from the press conference as to why this was the case, but these can be translated into ‘they didn’t fancy the job’.
It is unfortunate for Brad and he is obviously hugely disappointed, but his time will come soon enough.
What we do have is a great fight between Horn and Gary and don’t bet against that WBO world welterweight title belt boarding the flight back from Brisbane to Heathrow.
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