By Frank Warren
ANTHONY YARDE SHOWED the boxing world that he has lost nothing from having near on a year without a proper fight when he made a spectacular return to the ring at York Hall on Saturday night.
I have long believed that Anthony is right up there with the best in the light heavyweight business, with perhaps the only thing lacking being a bit more experience. In many ways he has learned his trade on the job and you have to say he has made a pretty good fist of it.
He did a fine job on the gutsy Dec Spelman, forcing a stoppage in the sixth round, having eased his way through the gears to break down an opponent who normally always hears the final bell.
Anthony showed that he is right back in the game following his unsuccessful world title challenge last year and his overwhelming class and strength told in the end. You sometimes get the sense with Anthony that he takes a fight as far as he wants to and finishes it when he wants to.
Credit to Dec though, who is a brave sod and came to fight and was always firing back when he could. He provides a proper test and if you are not up to it then fighters like Dec will find you out.
We now have the hugely appetizing prospect of Anthony against Lyndon Arthur to look forward to in what will be a massive domestic collision between two forces of the division in this country.
We are looking to get this fight put in place very soon to happen before the end of the year as a headline attraction, which is what it deserves to be.
Another fight fitting of such a billing will be the demanded rematch between Mark Heffron and Denzel Bentley.
The pair put on a cracking show for the BT Sport viewers, as everybody thought they would. I think we always knew we were onto a winner in putting these two in together.
The outcome – a draw on all three cards – was probably about right given how mixed opinions have been on the subject. Even just at ringside and where I was on the TV gantry it was completely split and I thought myself it could have gone either way with nothing really in it.
Denzel did well and was very sharp on the counter, but his tendency to gravitate towards the corners allowed Mark to bang away at him. I fully understand Mark’s opponents not wanting to get into a shootout with him, but I did think Denzel could have tried to back him up a bit more and put him on the back foot, where he is more uncomfortable.
It would have made it a different fight.
That being said, I am sure nobody will complain over seeing a repeat and we will look to firm up a date as soon as possible.
I do know that I suffered a couple of senior moments in my post-fight analysis by calling Mark by the name of Tommy. Tommy is Mark’s dad and, for whatever reason, I got the names jumbled up. Sorry Mark!
Also, I have got to be honest, I do acknowledge that the fights ran on too late and the two main fights should have been on earlier for the fans at home.
One problem, if you can call it that, is that every fight bar the last one went the full distance. That, coupled with the compulsory time between fights for ring cleaning and Covid precautions resulted in us being in it for the long haul.
We will look at working it differently to keep the main fights in the prime slots but a major part of what we are doing at the moment is keeping our young fighters active and keeping them in the sport during this very difficult period.
We remain limited in the amount of fights we can stage on a single night and we are determined that our youngsters continue their development and hopefully benefit from the exposure they are being given.
I do hope that the fans enjoy seeing these young talents at such an early stage of their careers, become familiar with the names and personalities, then get behind them when they step up the levels in the not too distant future.
I MUST PAY tribute to the performance of Umar Sadiq when he took on Fedor Chudinov over in Russia on Friday night.
It was a typically brave display from our man against a world level operator and the fact that one or two of the judges had him ahead going into the final round speaks volumes for his character and ability.
Umar gave it his all and has been in hospital as a precaution where I have spoken to him a few times. He rolled the dice and got himself into a good position. Losing in the way he did will do his prospects no harm at all, absolutely none.
I WAS VERY sorry to hear about the passing of British middleweight great Alan Minter last week at the age of 69. Alan was a true gent of the sport who reached the pinnacle by becoming an undisputed champion in 1980 and also one of the most popular sporting figures of his generation.
I would like to send my condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.