By Edward Chaykovsky
Promoter Frank Warren is not going to allow Ricky Burns to walk away quietly. Last week the WBO lightweight champion announced that he terminated his promotional contract with Warren. On Monday he announced that a new promotional deal was signed with Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport. Burns is the most recent boxer to jump from Warren stable to Hearn. George Groves jumped ship last week, and both Kell Brook and Tony Bellew left Warren for Hearn as well.
"They say I'm on the ropes but that's not the way I see it," Warren told The Independent. "The bottom line is, I'm really comfortable where I am. Yes, we have had a few problems, some shows have been postponed, but boxers get injured, so what am I to do?
"OK, so in the last couple of years my promotional business has lost money. Having said that, you tell me how many companies have made profits in that time? Everything's tough out there. Sometimes people have had to get their money a little bit late. They'd much rather be paid late than be owed money by Blockbuster, HMV or RBS. The point is, they do get paid.
"Customers have always got value for money with my shows. Last year I staged the two biggest in Britain in terms of bums on seats [David Haye v Dereck Chisora and Burns v Kevin Mitchell].Fighters come and go, but as far as I'm concerned, Burns is still under contract to me. I always found him a really great kid, one of the nicest in boxing. The sad thing is that he has been given a lot of misinformation. I have an agreement with him and that agreement is to be honoured.
"I hear about this power struggle between Eddie Hearn and me. What about the power struggle with his old man? If he's going to do what his dad has done at Leyton Orient, then I ain't got no worries. Promotional rivalry? I don't even think about that stuff. Going back to the days of Mickey Duff [whom Warren eventually dislodged as Britain's leading fight impresario] I have always done my own thing. I'd like to dig out all that has been said about me making comebacks. According to some, I've made more than Sinatra, but the fact is I've never been anywhere, I've always been here.
"When I walked away from Sky I decided I wanted to do my own thing and set up BoxNation. What we have done is got a TV channel going that is breaking even, of which my family owns 70 per cent. I think that's quite a success story, so my emphasis has changed in certain ways from being a promoter. Everything we do is down to us, we're not beholden to any TV company. What have they [Matchroom] done in the last year? Taken four guys abroad and got them all beat. What a great track record. There's a good way to build your business."