By Frank Warren
I ALWAYS SUSPECTED we were in for something very special when Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton came to lock horns in Manchester with a world title at stake, but what we got from these two fine fighting men surpassed even my expectations.
It was a fight, like I thought, that couldn’t fail to deliver and that is nearly always the way when the best is pitted against the best. I stated afterwards that it turned out to be the most thrilling world title fight I have ever seen in a British ring and I stand by that.
All the ingredients were in place to cook up a perfect storm. The fans were magnificent and created a scintillating atmosphere, the undercard lived up to its billing and then we were treated to an epic confrontation between two gents of the sport at the top of their game.
The pair of them are ultimate warriors.
It is a pity that fans were forced to choose between which big fight to tune into on the telly and my thoughts on the matter have been well documented. I do, however, want to make the point that I am not critical of Dereck Chisora and Dillian Whyte because, of course, it was going to be a good fight – like the first one was.
What I was talking about was levels when it comes to Box Office events that people pay for over and above their monthly subscriptions. For instance, Johnny Garton and Gary Corcoran was a great domestic punch-up recently and nobody could have given any more than those two did, but you wouldn’t countenance putting a rematch on pay-per-view because, with the greatest of respect to them, they are not at a world class level.
Nor is Chisora at that level because any significant fight – bar one – over the last few years he has lost. He is a competitor and I know that because he was with me for years, he gives a good fight but comes out as the loser.
To talk about it being qualifier to take on Anthony Joshua is a bit rich when Chisora was totally outclassed by Tyson Fury three or four years ago. So I am not criticising the fight, just the people who are claiming it is a world level fight when it is not.
Going back to our featherweight heavyweights of the game, I am sorry to use the old adage again, but it was a case of styles make fights. We probably bore everyone rigid saying the same thing but it is the case.
They are two offensive fighters who have both got a good engine and Josh Warrington is a true fighting machine, as is Carl. Josh’s tactics were spot on, he jumped on Carl and fought the first round like it was the last.
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You’ve got to put your opponent out of his comfort zone and he managed to do that in the first round and stamped his mark on the fight. That is how the clash then progressed. He was clever in pacing himself for the first 90 seconds of each round and then really upping his attacks to catch the eyes of the judges.
Carl, I must say, is a fantastic bloke and you couldn’t work with a better individual. He said to me that the last 18 months is the best time he has had in boxing, working with us and the team around him.
It has been the same for me and it has been a real privilege promoting him, as it has been with Josh. It was one of those fights where it was a shame someone had to lose.
The questions are always inevitable, but it almost didn’t feel right talking about what comes next after the fight. What does come next for both is a big rest and the opportunity to take stock. My heart was racing a bit during the fight, so I can’t imagine how exhausted the boys must have been, so quality time with their families over Christmas is what is needed now after such an amazing fight and night.
One thing is for sure, we are going to be hitting the ground running next year with the best heavyweight in the world in Tyson Fury and the best featherweight in Josh. Pound for pound they are the best of British.
I should also pay tribute to Josh’s dad and trainer Sean, who got it all dead right with his gameplan once again. He is a really good guy and I think other fighters should be looking towards him.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and hope you enjoy a memorable festive period with family and friends.