Frank Warren’s Future

By Cain Bradley on October 27, 2016
Frank Warren’s Future
Ten years ago you imagine most of the world champions would be boxing for Warren.

Some assumed that Warren may take a step back from promotional duties and instead concentrate on BoxNation. Instead he has tried to build up prospects…

The last five events that Frank Warren has promoted have been headlined by Liam Walsh, Enzo Maccarinelli, Liam Smith, Jack Catterall and Hughie Fury. Hardly headline names right now. All of them were heavy favorites against boxers who would allow them to look good. He has two British world champions, both of whom have perhaps had an easier time of it than fans would hope. The dominance of Eddie Hearn in terms of being a British promoter would perhaps be called a monopoly in other industries. Frank Warren may not even be his main domestic rival anymore. This marks a steep change from the 90s and 00s where Frank was the dominant force in British Boxing. From Prince Naseem and Frank Bruno to Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan, Joe Calzaghe and Clinton Woods. Frank Warren has slowly watched his empire collapse. Ten years ago you imagine most of the world champions would be boxing for him, some have and left him. Some assumed that Frank may take a step back from promotional duties and instead concentrate on BoxNation. Instead Frank Warren has tried to build up prospects. Some of these will bust at English title level will some will reach European level. Here are the five prospects that Frank Warren will be expecting the most of.

Hughie Fury
Age: 22
Nickname: The Fist of Fury
Division: Heavyweight
Record: 20-0

The most recognizable name on this list, little cousin Hughie is not that little. At 6’6 and weighing in at 230 pounds he is big for the weight. He left the amateur game having been the 2012 Youth AIBA World Champion. His first 12 wins came in a Tyson-esque 33 weeks. He has mainly notched comfortable wins with Fred Kassi his latest victim when winning the WBO Intercontinental Belt. Kassi stacks up as one of his better wins along with George Arias and Andriy Rudenko. He suffered a recent setback when unbeaten Andy Ruiz Jr. pulled out from their scheduled fight. Talks with Anthony Joshua have seemingly gone nowhere. Fury has also has setbacks in his career. He has struggled with copper levels and food allergies which have left him very weak and a severe break out of acne.

You can, unsurprisingly, see shades of Tyson Fury in Hughie. His greatest ability lies with his movement. His foot movement sees him come off in different angles and directions in a very unpredictable manner. He mainly uses a strong jab as a defensive weapon to pest and move behind. He often seems far too comfortable to throw just the jab and can be in boring fights. He does work the body well on the inside with power but his longer punches lack the power of a heavyweight. This could give him big problems against the best of the division. He also sticks his chin up and if his movement does not get him out of trouble then he is hittable. The problem for Fury developing into a star may be the strength of the heavyweight division. So many of the top twenty are younger boxers. Fury is no longer looking up at an old Klitschko but rather young powerful fighters like Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker. I think the lack of power and his hittable qualities really harm him at a higher level. The level of Hughie can likely be found at the domestic level. David Price, Dereck Chisora, David Haye and Dillian Whyte are all interesting opponents for Fury in showing what level he belongs. I think that is the ceiling for Fury but those fights can headline a strong card.

Liam Williams
Age: 24
Nickname: The Machine
Division: Light Middleweight
Record: 15-0-1

The exciting performances of the Welshman recently led Frank Warren to proclaim boxing in Wales is back. Whether he has heard of Nathan Cleverly or the Selby brothers is another matter entirely. He was a six-time British Champion as an amateur but before attempting to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in Turkey he was knocked down by a car. This led to him turning professional where he has been trained by Gary Lockett. He had eight straight wins before a clash of heads with Tyan Booth led to a technical draw. He would defeat Michael Lomax for the Commonwealth title in his 13th bout. Following this bout he needed hand surgery. He was told by specialists that his career was over but found a doctor willing to operate. His return was against Kris Carslaw who he stopped in the second with a jab. His most recent fight saw him take on rival Gary Corcoran. The two had exchanged words and shoves. In the ring, Williams dominated with strong straight shots. He finished the fight with a counter right hook in the eleventh round that saw Corcoran’s legs give way. 

Liam is a lengthy boxer, having come down from middleweight, at 5’10. He is mainly known for his power and knockout ability but Gary Lockett has always maintained he can box brilliantly. The shot to fear is the right uppercut but he mixes it in with great combinations. His straight shots are accurate and long. He does a lot of subtle work which makes it difficult to prepare for. Interestingly Kell Brook used him as sparring to prepare for Gennady Golovkin as his style most replicated the Kazakh middleweight. Williams recently won the Young British Boxer of Year, awarded by boxing writers. He is another with a strong domestic scene in Brian Rose, Liam Smith, Amir Khan and Kell Brook. Firstly he will take on Ahmet Patterson for his British title. He is ranked third in the WBO behind Miguel Cotto, Demetrius Andrade and Saul Alvarez. The biggest challenge for Williams could be overcoming a strong set of world champions. If he beats Patterson, look for a big domestic clash once again capable of headlining cards. Following that he will move onto world title level where I can see him coming home with some gold at some point in his career.

Jack Catterall
Age: 23
Nickname: El Gato
Division: Light Welterweight
Record: 16-0

Jack Catterall turned professional at 19. He was a talented amateur who admits he never fully dedicated himself but still went 48-18. He first stepped into a gym at the age of 10, following his older brother Alex. Early on he impressed, stopping opponents who have proved very difficult to stop. His ninth bout saw him taken on unbeaten Nathan Brough who was a World Junior bronze medalist as an amateur. Nathan Brough was stopped in the second round by a vicious left hand. Another step up saw him take on unbeaten Olympian, Tom Stalker for the WBO European Title. Catterall was a late opponent change but he took advantage of the change with a huge win. In a brutal fight he would knock Stalker down twice before finishing him in the eighth. He then won and defended the WBO Inter-Continental title impressively. Domestic rival Joe Hughes may be his most impressive recent win. His most impressive achievements may have come away from the cameras and lights. Jack Catterall was chosen as a sparring partner for Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez. He was used in preparation for Manny Pacquiao and James Kirkland respectively.

It helps to be a southpaw when it comes to sparring opportunities like that. However there are many quality southpaws and the invite shows how well regarded he is. He has quick feet which help him land his fluid combinations. His main attribute has to be his power which seems to come in all shots. Catterall is another with a strong domestic division. Young, undefeated boxers Josh Taylor, Ohara Davies and Tom Farrell may currently be considered downgrades in opponent class. He has spoken of a title eliminator by the end of the year. The three top ranked in the WBO rankings are John Molina, Jose Zepeda and Jason Pangara. Zepeda would be the one I would fear Catterall would struggle with. He would walk on to Catterall shots but is always a knockout chance. The champion is Terence Crawford who is the best in the division. He may be looking up to welterweight where the big money fights are and if so Jack Catterall can certainly exploit his absence. I would expect Frank Warren to also mention Ricky Burns a few times. The Eddie Hearn world champion has not looked the best and the power of Catterall would make him favorite.

Mitchell Smith
Age: 23
Nickname: Baby Faced Assassin
Division: Super Featherweight
Record: 14-1

Mitchell Smith is the only boxer on this list with a loss. George Jupp beat him with some impressive combinations. It was a cagey affair with the jab of Jupp as the best weapon of the fight. For Smith it should be a wake-up call. He believed his own hype and admitted after he needed to make changes to his complacent attitude. He was looking forward to Josh Warrington rather than Jupp and cut corners in camp. He also came across as a brat when abusing Jupp and his trainer beforehand. Not long before that he had won the boxing writers’ young boxer of the year. He started boxing at six and was a particularly impressive amateur. He won a senior ABA title at bantamweight in 2011. He impressed early on in his career and has gone the usual WBO route of Frank Warren. He beat a ranked fighter in Dennis Tubieron by impressive stoppage in the first. He has come back since the Jupp loss and won, although it was 12 pounds heavier. 

Smith is a flashy sort. At his best he uses range really well to avoid attacks before landing his flurries. His highlight reel is probably the most impressive on this list with some vicious looking stoppages. I do wonder if he will struggle against taller opponents to get past good jabs. A lot depends on how he took the loss to Jupp. He has said the right things for sure but is he truly dedicated. Only time will tell. The rematch with Jupp is a big bout that makes sense. The British Champion is Martin Joseph Ward. Warren usually targets the WBO title and near the top of the rankings come potential targets like Billy Dib, Evgeny Chupprakov and Miguel Berchelt. Whether it has all changed by the time Smith gets to that level is another question. Domestic clashes with Stephen Smith and Liam Walsh also sound pretty enticing. I imagine if he is motivated that Smith can beat Jupp before making his way up through the WBO rankings and a huge clash with Walsh.

Lucien Reid
Age: 22
Nickname: Lethal
Division: Super Bantamweight
Record: 5-0

Reid has a very impressive amateur pedigree and is probably the best on this list as a senior. He originally begun boxing as his Dad decided they needed to box as they were soft. He was schooled at Repton Boxing Club before joining West Ham Boys Club, both of which are clubs with glittering reputations. It also gave him experience in two styles. Repton is the classical, classy amateur style while West Ham have a more grueling style of wearing down opponents. He was also an Elite ABA Champion at Bantamweight. Lucien boxed for England a few times but with Qais Ashfaq blocking his path, he chose to turn professional. The Hackney boxer has had a strong start to his career.

Reid is a boxer-fighter capable of doing it all. He has great movement, both head and foot. In some ways you can see Yafai and Floyd Mayweather in him but then he switches it on with aggressive attacks. He mixes up punches brilliantly. His next fight will be an eliminator for the English Title against Josh Kennedy.  If he can overcome him it will be unbeaten Sean Davis. From here it is a strong British division. The Ward brothers, Jazza Dickens, Kid Galahad, Gavin McDonnell and Scott Quigg. All are potential future bouts for Lucien Reid but it is far too early to predict those. He does have the potential to be a world champion though.

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