By Frank Warren
ON SATURDAY NIGHT in Manchester, Joe Joyce propelled himself into the elite band of active heavyweights.
It is a group of three that also currently features Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, while I am hopeful that Daniel Dubois will make it a fab four before too long.
Tyson and Usyk are the only ones I can see giving Big Joe any bother were he to get the chance to share a ring with either of them. His performance against Joseph Parker at the 02 Arena has really made people sit up and take notice, with previous doubters now acknowledging his genuine world class.
People at ringside were gasping at the way Joe is able to walk through fire to unload his own artillery. The fact that he doesn’t get wobbled, doesn’t appear susceptible to cuts, doesn’t seem to swell, while also carrying considerable power of his own makes him a formidable opponent for anyone.
I don’t want to labour the point of Joe being able to take a shot. What he showed on Saturday was an incomparable engine, relentless and effective jabbing and a show-stopping big finish.
I should add that I have complete admiration for Joseph Parker, who stuck in there, kept firing back and he proved himself a top level contender.
Joe now rightly finds himself on the cusp of fighting for a full world title after seizing the WBO Interim belt in Manchester. The Interim championship is his guarantee of fighting for the main title, with a more generous split of the bounty.
With the timing of his challenge, much depends on the undisputed fight between Tyson and Usyk going ahead in the spring. If there are any delays we will make sure it works to Joe’s advantage.
It was a successful night all round on Saturday, with Anthony Cacace winning the IBO world super featherweight title by defeating the champion Michael Magnesi on points. Anthony showed his class but, my word, what a tough customer Magnesi is. He just never stopped coming forward and Anthony’s best shots just bounced off him.
Ekow Essuman is now the proud owner of the Lonsdale belt for the welterweight division after outscoring his mandatory challenger Samuel Antwi. The Londoner was in it for the first four rounds before Ekow eased himself ahead and saw the job through.
Ekow can now look forward to testing himself on the international front and working his way towards a No.1 spot in the rankings.
It was a pity that Nathan Heaney’s night was ended early by a savage cut because his fight against Jack Flatley was shaping up to be a good one. Nathan got the nod from the judges and now we will have to make sure he is fully healed before he makes his next move.
I must pay tribute to Nathan’s fans. They come in huge numbers and high spirits, creating a superb atmosphere while causing absolutely no bother at all. They are a credit to themselves and Nathan and I thank them for adding to a memorable occasion.
Mark Heffron also brought an army along with him for what was essentially a celebration fight for him winning the British, Commonwealth and IBF Intercontinental belts. He blasted out his opponent in typical fashion and demonstrated again why he is going to be some force at super middleweight.
There is a lot for Mark to look forward to in the forthcoming months and I really couldn’t be happier for him because I have always got along well with Mark and have enjoyed working with him.
Raven Chapman made an impressive statement in winning a major title in just her fourth fight as a pro, defeating a former world champion in style. She struck up a friendship with the visiting Amanda Serrano and hopefully one day the pair can fight with world titles on the line.
It was a pleasure to host Amanda and her team and we look forward to hopefully seeing them all again soon.
So, to conclude, a good night was had by all and our fighters delivered in a big way. There is more of the same to follow in the remaining months of this year so keep your eyes peeled for announcements soon.