Frank Warren interview(talks about JC/Hatton/Woods)
Frank Warren interview(talks about JC/Hatton/Woods)
Sports Network promoter Frank Warren gave Fightnews an update last night on his stable of fighters and some of the upcoming developments for the rest of 2006. In the UK Warren has helped put boxing back on ITV1 with his contract that has seen viewing figures top several million for many of his promotions in the last twelve months at peak Saturday night viewing times in the UK. The season kicks off again in September with the IBF Light-Heavyweight title fight between Clinton Woods and Glen Johnson and then in October Joe Calzaghe will defend his IBF and WBO titles at 168 pounds.
Frank - you must be delighted to kick off the new boxing season with an exciting match in Bolton between Clinton Woods and Glen Johnson?
This will be an excellent fight for the fans and with two fights already there is some anticipation of an excellent match. Both are two of the best fighters in the world at Light Heavyweight and many people were surprised when I won the purse bids with the IBF but I knew this would be an exciting match. We exect to sell near capacity 8,000 tickets for this fight and viewers on ITV1 will see a high class world title fight.
How do you see the fight Frank?
I think it will be a tough fight for both fighters but think that Glen Johnson will win, possibly via the distance on points. Glen is a boxing warrior and the veteran of 56 fights and has mixed and defeated fighters in the calibre of Roy Jones Jr and Antonion Tarver. These are two excellent scalps to have in world boxing. Clinton is an excellent fighter and he also has improved since their last bout but I just fancy Johnson to be the better fighter on the night. My only concern is that at 37 years of age fighters can often fall apart at the seems in one fight and I hope this is not the case with Johnson and to be honest don't feel it will happen because of his professionalism and experience.
Will Joe Calzaghe fight the winner of this fight?
That is my plan and certainly if Johnson wins I already have a verbal agreement in place to match both the fighters and get Joe Calzaghe to challenge for the title at light heavyweight. This would be a great match up and a chance for Joe to be a two weight world champion.
What if Clinton Woods wins?
If Clinton wins this fight I will look to work with Dennis Hobson and secure the fight. Given it will be an all UK match of two of our best fighters I am sure we will get there. There has been a lot of sparks flying in the press on this subject but I know we can make this bout for 2007 either with Glen Johnson or Clinton Woods. It is interesting that we offered the chance for Clinton to take on Joe Calzaghe and he would have made more money than for the mandatory with Glen Johnson which I won on purse bids. Whilst Clinton has the IBF belt Joe is the best fighter at any weight the UK has to offer.
Your September 2nd promotion in Bolton sees Olympian Amir Khan return to his hometown - how do you see his progress?
There is no doubt Amir is one of the best prospects we have ever had in the UK and after the first year as a pro he is 8-0 so he is progressing well and has lit up venues all across the UK. This boy has talent but is still a boxing novice in many ways but is looking like he will become on of our best prospects and champions. It will be interesting to see how his home fans take to him one year on from in last fight in Bolton. He is still in the learning process and I have taken some criticism of his pace of opponent step up but I have a proven record in this area and will keep giving him tests and challenges and whilst he stays focussed he will be an excellent fighter.
When will Joe Calzaghe be back in the ring?
Joe will return at the MEN Arena on October 14th in Manchester and will defend his IBF and WBO titles at Super-middleweight. He will return to the arena where he had his best victory in March against Jeff Lacy. If Joe wins his next fight then we will work to get the winner of Glen Johnson and Clinton Woods for early in 2007.
Who will Joe fight?
We are just in the process of finalising contract details and I hope to make an annoucement this week.
Are you making any progress in trying to secure a WBA Heavyweight fight for Matt Skelton?
Discussions have taken place with Saurland Promotions and it looks like that champion Nicoli Valuev will go to the USA for his next fight to showcase him in America but discussions are on going and we are confident of securing a match with Matt in the future.
Do you think a Johnny Nelson and Enzo Maccarenelli fight for the WBO Cruiserweight title will take place in 2006?
As you know Enzo is the WBO Interim champion and a match of these two would be so exciting. The fight has to happen from my point of view and both fighters will create a superb contest. Johhny Nelson has until the end of September to give his intentions to the WBO and I understand a doctor's letter of fitness will be sent soon. Enzo is an exciting fighter with a big punch and the fans love his style. It will be a match between seasoned champion and exciting younger fighter. He showed tremendous heart getting off the floor with Mark Hobson in March and showed true grit and determination. He is coming on leaps and bounds.
How do you compare Enzo with WBC#1 ranked Cruiserweight David Haye?
I have always said if you are born round you will not die square. I think David Haye has fallen into the Audley Harrison mould of being more interested in the trappings and fame of being a boxer than actually enjoying the boxing. Most top fighters actually love the sport and enjoy fighting first and that gives them a good living whilsy Haye wants the living and fame with his interest in boxing secondary. His last fight was a dull affair with him just throwing twelve punches per round, He just hasn't convinced me and Carl Thompson showed he has frailties when he stopped him a couple of years ago. I would love to make a fight between Enzo and David Haye but he just doesn't seem interested.
After WBO Featherweight Champion Scott Harrison's personal problems can you see him back in the ring in 2006?
I spoke to Scott and his father this morning and they are both pleased with his progress and he is back in training and we hope to have him fighting in September or October. It would be good to see him back in the ring after some problems and I am sure he will be encouraged by all the best wishes of the UK boxing fans.
What is your view on former fighter Ricky Hatton's progress in the 147 pound division?
I always thought Ricky should fight at 140 pounds where he has a natural advantage and he did struggle when he moved up to welterweight. He is a big junior welterweight but a small welterweight and I think they have made a mistake. The best fight out there would be with WBO champion Miguel Cotto who is finding it hard to make the weight and could be a top scalp for Ricky. I don't think Ricky is a "happy camper" at the moment and whilst I got criticism about the level of opponent he was facing, he was always keeping busy. It is a fact that he blows up between fights and for just two fights a year as in 2006 he will probably spend 20 weeks in training and 32 weeks living the good life. That is not a good balance and I have offered him the chance to take on the winner of the WBA junior welterweight clash in Bolton on September 2nd.
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