By Frank Warren
It's no secret that, due to the recession and being involved in the launch of BoxNation, the last two years have been the toughest of my promotional career which now spans four decades. But last Tuesday, at the Grosvenor House on Park Lane in London's West End, I was delighted to announce the formation of a new and exclusive promotional entity involving steel magnet Bill Ives, my sons' company Queensberry Promotions, and myself which I feel will significantly benefit British boxing.
Eastender Bill, chairman and principal at Rainham Steel – the UK's foremost independent steel stockholder is one of the UK's most successful businessmen and regularly features high on the Sunday Times Rich List.
A lifelong fight fanatic, big Bill was once a very good amateur heavyweight back in the 1960s before eye problems curtailed his professional ambitions inside the ring.
It is a huge boost knowing that such an astute commercial operator supports our vision and has confidence that we will eventually return him a profit. We will work together and continue to invest in British boxing and hopefully British fight fans will benefit – similar to how Chelsea supporters must have felt when Mr Abramovic arrived at Stamford Bridge!
Bill's injection of finance will allow us to continue to invest even more heavily in grassroots boxing and attract the brightest emerging talents. We'll be better able to develop the plethora of prospects already on our roster into champions and hopefully elevate our existing champions into household names.
The greater revenue will also allow us to further improve the quality of our promotions by stacking our shows with even more title fights, something which will benefit fans who buy tickets or who watch from their armchairs on the box.
Mr Ives is a major investor in 'The Channel of Champions'. The network was launched during an inclement time for the economy and many cynics predicted that it was doomed.
Quite the contrary, it is flourishing. Over the past two years, BoxNation has ploughed £20m straight back into British boxing and infrastructure, which has been great for both fighters and fans.
Bill's increased commitment adds long term stability to the network. It allows us to continue delivering the biggest and best fights to our ever-expanding band of subscribers and also to extend our ambitions to the next level. Later this year we'll be adding a HD channel.
Week in, week out, the network broadcasts the globe's biggest superstars – fighters British fans otherwise wouldn't get to watch live – and all for less than the price of a pint of beer a week.
Just recently BoxNation staved off all competition to secure exclusive live UK broadcasting rights to next weekend's world light-middleweight unifier between Floyd Mayweather and Saul Alvarez. The mouth-watering showdown is easily the biggest boxing event of 2013 and early indications suggest it will smash all pay-per-view box office records.
The considerable financial clout and business acumen that Bill brings shall be supplemented by the youthful drive and energy of my sons, plus the knowledge and experience I've acquired during four decades involvement in the game. Together, I hope that we will give the fans what they want – the best fights.
After eight consecutive WBO championship wins, Coatbridge lightweight Ricky Burns should have a higher profile and be contesting more meaningful contests.
Following his career high fourth round stoppage of Kevin Mitchell 12 months ago, I offered 'Rickster' a nailed –on unification clash on home turf with IBF kingpin Miguel Vasquez of Mexico.
It was a very winnable contest and an impressive victory would probably have elevated Burns into a blockbuster against pound for pound contender Adrien Broner for life-changing money.
Instead the 30 year old Scot opted for his mandatory obligation against unheralded but talented and unbeaten Jose Gonzalez from Puerto Rico.
It was a fight I'd previously counselled against Burns accepting at short notice. He almost came unstuck – behind on all three cards and victim of a real shellacking in round seven – before digging deep and persuading the visitor to raise the white flag whilst sat on his stool after nine rounds.
Ricky has little to gain when he makes a voluntary defence of his WBO lightweight strap against Phoenix based Mexican Raymondo Beltran in Glasgow tonight.
The challenger, a 7-2 underdog, is undeniably tough and hungry but is past his prime.
A long term spar-mate of Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao, Beltran's 34 fight slate already lists six defeats beneath world level and he has previously been stopped twice.
His warmongering style appears tailor made for Burns who should retain comfortably, provided he sticks with his boxing skills.
Thereafter, Ricky is committed to another risky but mandatory. He is obliged to defend against dangerous Nebraskan banger Terence Crawford, unbeaten in 21, before the turn of the year.
Again it is a fight that is unlikely to court either the attention or pay cheque that Burns covets. Surprising then that no one from his camp was present to fight his corner at the annual WBO convention in Budapest last month.
It was sad to read that Tommy Morrison passed away earlier this week at the young age of 44. The cause of death hasn't been released by his family, but Morrison was diagnosed with HIV in 1996 and continually refused to accept the diagnosis.
An exciting puncher with a feared left hook, he had 42 knockouts in 52 fights, and won the WBO World Heavyweight title against George Foreman, but was shockingly stopped in one round against British born Michael Bentt in his second defence.
Following his HIV diagnosis he missed out on a mega-payday against Mike Tyson which would have been a huge fight.