Are we witnessing the demise of Frank Warren Promotions?

9 03 2013

Frank-Warren-001George Groves and Ricky Burns have now added their names to the growing list of boxers who have left Frank Warren Promotions over the years.

Amir Khan, Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe and Kell Brook are just a few of the names who grew tired of Frank Warren Promotions and moved on to other promoters or to start their own promotional companies.

So why should these latest defectees concern Frank?

Well George Groves immediately signed with rival promotional company Matchroom Boxing, the number of postponements for his “bigger name” fighters, the criticism from the Burns, Bellew and Mitchell camps in recent months, the rumours that he isn’t paying his fighters on time and not to mention his TV channel, BoxNation, doesn’t seem to be the success he was hoping for.

Frank Warren should also be concerned of the growing popularity of Eddie Hearns Matchroom Boxing”. The two have had a bit of back and forth in the press recently and it’s the quote below from Frank Warren that I find most interesting.

“That’s why my fighters get home advantage when they fight, very rarely will I take them on the road unless I really fancy the job or they’re getting fantastically paid.

“What have they (Matchroom) done in the last year – taken four guys abroad and got them all beat,” he added. “What a great track record. There’s a good way to build your business.”

The quote above tells me that Mr Warren is completely out of touch with the average boxing fan. I think the majority of boxing fans applauded the fact that Eddie Hearn took his fighters abroad and took on the tough challenges, giving us fans the sort of fights we want to see.

In Darren Barker and Gavin Rees they went out to America, fought on HBO and took on Martinez and Broner, the best guys in their respective division. But in Frank Warrens eyes, that’s hurting the business. Forget giving the boxing fans what they want.

In my opinion, Barker and Rees earned more respect for taking those fights than someone like Nathan Cleverly has earned in his whole career to date. There’s nothing to be gained from padding out a fighters record against bums.

Oddly enough Warren could be accused of doing the same with Derek Chisora when he put him in against the likes of Fury, Vitali, Helenius and Haye. I didn’t hear Warren coming out and talking “business” then.

I just don’t think Warren can cut it any more as a promoter, I don’t think he knows how to build fighters any more. You only have to look at the success Kell Brook has had since moving on from Warren. He’s selling out arenas in Sheffield, he’s fighting on Sky Sports and he’s got a world title shot.

Instead he’s got fighters leaving him left, right and centre, his fighters aren’t anywhere near active enough, fight after fight being cancelled, fighters not being paid on time and a whole host of other issues that I can’t really touch upon as I don’t have any concrete proof but it’s safe to say that things really aren’t going right for Frank Warren.

Fighters seem to do much better elsewhere and if I was a boxer under Frank Warren Promotions, I’d certainly be considering my future.

So are we, the British boxing public, witnessing the demise of Frank Warren Promotions?

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Cleverly-Bellew: Who’s ‘0’ will go?

15 10 2011

Cleverly-Bellew: Clash at weigh in

The wait is finally over as bitter rivals Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew clash at Liverpool’s Echo Arena tonight for the WBO light-heavyweight title.

After months and months of back and forth trash talk, the two get the chance to settle their differences in the ring.

I’m not too sure why there is so much animosity between the pair, so much so that the police were called after Nathan’s father/trainer clashed with members of the Bellew team during a press conference, but the time for talking is now over.

Cleverly is the favourite with the bookies but Bellew shouldn’t be under-estimated by anybody.

Bellew packs a thunderous punch and Cleverly would be best served not to let Bellew test his chin too much.

This fight has the potential to go down alongside the other great all British wars. Eubank-Benn, Clazaghe-Woodhall and Cooper-Bugner.

Promoter Frank Warren has said that the winner of this will be looking at the winner of Dawson-Hopkins, with the preference being the living legend Bernard Hopkins as he would be the bigger draw.

For me, this is the wrong direction to take either of these fighters in. Both are good fighters, Cleverly with the potential to be a real good boxer but the likes of Hopkins and Dawson, when his head is right, are levels above these two fighters at the moment.

Sweet Science UK prediction

I expect this to be a good old fashion tear up, with both fighters doing their best to knock each other out. The animosity between the two is so fierce that it makes DeGale and Groves look like the best of friends.

Bellew has said he’ll look to box Cleverly, which would be a mistake for him. Cleverly is a better boxer. Bellew’s best bet is to drag this into the trenches and turn it into a real war. If he catches Cleverly clean; we’ll really see how good his chin is.

Cleverly should really look to box Bellew and not get drawn into a slug fest; which can happen with Cleverly as we’ve seen in the past. He has to stick to using his skills and not get drawn into Bellew’s kind of fight.

I’m expecting a cagey opening couple rounds as both boxers try to figure each other out before things eventually explode into action. I do think Cleverly will look to stand toe-to-toe with Bellew and try and blast him out of there, even though I think this is the wrong option for him.

But I expect Cleverly to retain his title via a late stoppage.

Watch Cleverly-Bellew clash at the weigh in below:





Barker hoping for an upset

2 10 2011

Barker hoping to cause upset

‘Dazzling’ Darren Barker will be hoping to cause an almighty upset as he looks to dethrone middleweight king Sergio Martinez at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

Barker faces an uphill task as he takes on a boxer many pundits, and myself included, consider number 3 on the pound-for-pound (P4P) list.

This is a massive step up in class for the likeable Barker, who has conquered the British, Commonwealth and European divisions. One thing is for sure, you cannot fault Barker one bit for what he has achieved.

The real question is; does he have what it takes on the elite stage?

Sadly I can’t see Barker taking the south-paws ‘The Ring’ World Middleweight title.

I like Barker. He’s a very good boxer, very textbook with his style. He possess a good jab, a good straight right, good temperament and he seems like a really down to earth guy.

I just don’t think he has enough speed or power to trouble Martinez.

I will be rooting for ‘Dazzling’ Darren and really hope he puts in a fantastic performance, whatever the result. He’s had quite a hard time in his personal life but he’s done fantastically well to come back and to win the European title in his comeback fight was a brilliant achievement.

Hopefully he puts on a good enough performance to impress the American’s over there to earn himself some further chances.

But I’m afraid Barker will follow in the footsteps of Mathew Hatton, Ryan Rhodes and Brian Magee.

A ‘heroic failure’ sort of performance is on the cards tonight.

Sweet Science UK prediction

As much as I like Darren, I don’t see him having the required power or speed to really trouble a focused Martinez.

Martinez does like to fight with his hands quite low when he’s out of range and Barker will have to try to take advantage of that. His best bet is to stick that jab all night and use his good straight right whenever possible. Barker does posses a decent left hook too and he’ll have to use that to counter Martinez as he comes in.

But sadly I think Martinez has too much power and speed to defeat Barker.

Martinez also possesses that rare one punch KO power (just ask Paul Williams) and Barker will have to be aware because Martinez can hurt you with either hand, particularly the left.

If Barker doesn’t freeze early on the big American stage (ala Calzaghe-Hopkins/Jones Jnr and Froch-Taylor) then I can see him taking Martinez into the later rounds.

If Martinez is unfocused then Barker does have a chance but his lack of power will seriously hurt his chances.

Martinez to win by KO late on.

See the weigh in below:

All the best Darren. I, for one, hope you prove me wrong.





One to watch: Joe Collins

15 04 2011

Collins (left): One to watch

With the state of British boxing looking better than ever, The Sweet Science UK sat down with rising star Joe “Crackers” Collins to discuss how he got into boxing and how he sees his future in boxing panning out. 

The 24-year-old Manchester based-boxer is a bit of a late bloomer to the professional ranks and relatively unknown but with his last fight being promoted under the Hatton Promotions banner; he is sure to be a face British fans will soon come to recognise very soon.

“I first got into boxing through a friend. I was coming off a knee injury I sustained in a football match and I was just trying to get fit again to play football.

“But once I was there I couldn’t turn back. The atmosphere in the gym and the work rate was first class and after I had my first sparring session, I didn’t look at any other sport. Boxing had and has taken over my life.”

Studying boxers and boxing itself became the norm for Joe, who counts the likes of Marco Antonio Barrrera, Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe as his idols.

“I used to look up to the likes of Hatton, Calzaghe, Michael Brodie, Scott Harrison and, of course, Barrera. They were brilliant to watch.

“My favourite fight has to be the second fight between Barrera and Erik Morales, it was an incredible fight. But Michael Gomez v Alex Arthur was a bit special too and has to be up there.”

The light-welterweight now trains under the well-respected coach Bob Shannon at Shannon’s Fighting Fit gym in Openshaw.

“Bob Shannon is a great trainer who is very determined and very knowledgeable about the sport.

“I look up to all the lads I train with at Shannon’s gym. Denton Vassell, Prince Arron, Kieran Maher and of course, Matthew Hatton. It’s a top set-up there and everyone in the gym helps out. They all play their part in the gym and they deserve all the credit in the world for making it such a success.”

Talk moves on to Joe’s style of boxing, which may shock a few of you considering his “Crackers” nickname.

“I like to slip and roll under shots you know. I’m not adverse to mixing it up but that’s definitely my style.

When asked on which boxer he’d like to fight, the response wasn’t as I’d expected.

“Rocky Balboa! (Haha) Why not? To be honest I’ve never really thought of who I’d like to step into the ring with.”

Following a defeat in his last fight (the fight was stopped in the third following a clash of heads which left Collins with a broken nose) we asked Collins how he sees his career in boxing panning out.

“I want to get as far as my ambition and drive will take me.”

When asked if he feels he could become a title holder in his division, Collins responded quite simply.

“If I don’t believe in myself no-one would ever believe me.”

There is no doubting he’s got people who believe in him. The likes of Hatton Promotions, Bob Shannon and his stable mates. But most importantly he has that inner self belief that is the most crucial thing for a boxer.

Finally we finished up the interview by asking Collins, a student of the game, on his prediction for the up-coming Khan – McCloskey fight.

“I think Khan will win by stoppage late on, around the 10th. McCloskey will be very tricky and he can hit too, so it will be a tough fight for Amir, a lot tougher than some think.”