By John Evans
Like the majority of fans, Frank Maloney has become frustrated by the roadblocks and smokescreens that all too often prevent fights from taking place. The veteran promoter has seen the sport go through boom and bust periods before but seems to have decided that now is the time to ensure that – at least on his part – the fights the public want to see get made.
This Saturday, Maloney promotes what could prove to be the British show of the year at Liverpool’s Aintree Equestrian Centre. Local heavyweight hope David Price tops the card as he takes on Sam Sexton in an eagerly awaited clash for the British belt but the main event is supported by an incredibly strong supporting cast. Ashley Theophane defends his British light welterweight title against Darren Hamilton, local lads Paul Edwards and Kevin Satchell meet for the Commonwealth flyweight belt, Bob Ajisafe fights Travis Dickinson for the English light heavyweight crown and Adil Anwar and Dillian Whyte are also scheduled to appear.
Does the card signal a move on Maloney’s part to win back the fans affection by producing stacked cards which offer more value for money?
“I’m gonna try!” said Maloney when talking to BoxingScene. “It’s hard work but it’s enjoyable. Boxing hasn’t been grabbing the public’s attention the way it should have. It’s a sport I’ve always loved and been passionate about. I’ve been involved in it since I was ten-years-old, but even I was losing interest. You’ve got fighters who don’t wanna fight. I told all my fighters, 'If you want to stay in our group then you’ve got to fight. A loss isn’t the end of the world. If you lose we’ll bring you back'. If they lose two or three in a row, though, I suggest they get another job.
“We all sat down, cut my stable – there are a few more I’m gonna trim off – and I think we’re moving in the right direction. This card will prove it; I think it’ll be a successful show. We’re gonna be set up for 3,600 and we’re expecting a sell out.”
The Price – Sexton fight is seen by many as a formality; the next step on the road to an inevitable world title fight. It would be wise not to underestimate Sexton though. The Norwich man is a skilful, determined, mobile heavyweight and is undoubtedly Price’s biggest test to date. If there is one man who knows the route to heavyweight glory then it is Maloney. The man who guided Lennox Lewis to the top of the world loves his heavyweights and is also throwing his weight behind the exciting prospect from Brixton Dillian Whyte.
“Sexton’s a very good fighter and he’s gonna come to win” said the Londoner. “Anybody who gets a shot at the British belt is going to try, but my man [Price] is also desperate to win. I also really rate Dillian Whyte. I think he’s a fighter who’s going to go places. He’s fighting a fighter that nobody else wants to fight [Noureddine Meddoune, 4-1 (4)] and that’s why I like him. As soon as I offered him the fight, he took it straight away.”
At the other end of the scale is the fight which might just steal the show. Former sparring partners Paul Edwards and Kevin Satchell meet in front of their home fans in a clash for the Commonwealth flyweight belt and there are no prizes for guessing what kind of battle the pair will produce. It has “Fight of the Year” written all over it.
“Great fight,” agreed Maloney with a big smile. “I like little Paul Edwards and I like Kevin Satchell as well to be truthful. I wish both fighters could win but they can’t. Like I’ve said though, a loss isn’t the end of the world. You can’t go in the ring without getting wet. Mickey Ward, Manny Pacquiao and Roberto Duran all lost fights. It's how you perform in losing a fight that matters.”