By Shaun Brown
After the success of his promotion at Windsor Park earlier this month Frank Warren says he hopes to put on more outdoor shows at the venue, next year and beyond.
On August 18 Carl Frampton realised a lifelong dream by boxing at Windsor Park, in front of 25,000 fans, against Australia’s Luke Jackson. And even after the heavens opened later that night the spirits of his loyal fans could not be dampened as they roared their man on to a dominant performance, ending in a ninth-round stoppage.
“Yeah, next year,” Warren told Boxing Scene this week after we asked if he planned on returning.
“We’d like to make it an annual event. That’s what we’d like to do,” he added.
Frampton, Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, Paddy Barnes and more played their part in making the high-profile event a familiar mixed bag of triumph, agony and shenanigans – the latter thanks to Fury and Wilder after the British heavyweight notched up his second comeback win, with a routine ten round points decision over Francesco Pianeta.
“It was brilliant. A great atmosphere. Despite the weather it was brilliant, the fans got into that. It was just a fantastic atmosphere and they enjoyed themselves and that’s what we’re in the business for, to entertain,” said Warren who then discussed the bravery of Luke Jackson in defeat and the admirable showing by another Belfast son Paddy Barnes. The double Olympic bronze medallist was stopped by a crippling body shot from WBC Flyweight champion Cristofer Rosales in the fourth round of Barnes’ first world title attempt in just his sixth bout.
“Carl was a big favourite going into the fight (against Jackson), but I thought he put up a tremendous show of bravery and Carl did what he had to do. And Tyson getting ten rounds under his belt was good as was the undercard. Disappointed for Paddy but it was a tough call in your sixth fight going into a world title fight. But up until he got clipped, until he took that body shot, I thought he was doing well. I thought he was giving the fella problems but other than that it was a fantastic night.”
Warren told ‘Scene that 31-year-old Barnes wanted to be thrown in at the deep end from day one.
“If he had his way he’d have done a Lomachenko and he’d have had a world title fight in his first or second fight and that tells you a lot about him. It tells you a lot about the mettle of him and he wanted to go down that road. He’s got tremendous experience as an amateur and hopefully he’ll get more experience, like that fight, in the professional ranks. He was doing well. He hurt that guy a few times to the body but just got caught himself.”
The aftermath of it all presented Warren with questions about when and where two hugely important fights, in their respective divisions, would take place. WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder made his presence felt in Belfast during fight week and climbed into the ring on the night, welcomed by Tyson Fury and Warren, to face off with the ‘Gypsy King’ to (un)officially announce that the pair would fight one another later in the year.
Despite the doubts surrounding the contest, due to no official announcement, Warren reiterated to ‘Scene that the fight will go ahead and as we understand it the only thing to be finalised is the date itself.
“He is fighting Wilder,” Warren said of Fury.
“I think Eddie Hearn was putting out last week that he doesn’t think it’s going to happen. I don’t know why he keeps worrying about what we’re doing, he should be worrying about what he’s doing. We’re putting on a proper fight that the fans wanna see. That’s happening. The one thing about Tyson is he’s not one of those guys who’s going to embarrass himself. He said he wants it and he’s got it, that’s where we are.”
And after the main event at Windsor Park IBF Featherweight champion Josh Warrington, suited and booted, was in the ring in the shortly following
Frampton’s stoppage win against Jackson. Warren told ‘Scene that Warrington will fight Frampton next and agrees with many that the contest is now a 50-50, in particular due to the new IBF champ’s display against Lee Selby at Elland Road in May.
“First of all, and I mean this, I was the only one – other than Josh’s dad - who fancied Josh to win that fight (against Lee Selby) and I went out and said that from day one, and he did it. And he didn’t just win it, he won it very well and done him in every department. He went and done a job, a tremendous job.
“It’s a 50-50 fight (Warrington vs. Frampton), and they’re two super guys and two fantastic guys to work with. Not only that, from a promoter’s point of view I love it because they’ve got massive fanbases. Imagine what the atmosphere is going to be like!”
And as we reported (August 28) that fight looks like it will take place at the Manchester Arena in late December with the first press conference rumoured to be taking place next week.
“When I look at these domestic fights I know there’s not a better domestic dust up than that. Not a better one than Warrington against Frampton,” which will be shown live on BT Sport’s new pay-per-view channel. It will also be the place to watch the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin rematch and Deontay Wilder against Tyson Fury.
“It’s two guys (Warrington and Frampton) at the top of their game. There’s a lot of talk about [Kell] Brook fighting [Amir] Khan, and with the greatest of respect to them, they’ve had great careers, but they’ve had two beltings, the pair of them… two bad beatings. I know he [Frampton] lost to [Leo] Santa Cruz but that weren’t the end of the world. But they’ve been either knocked out, spark out, or hurt badly.
“All that is to me is your pension fund job,” said Warren continuing on the potential Brook vs. Khan match-up.
“It doesn’t matter who wins that fight, well I suppose it matters to them, but it doesn’t matter. They’re past it. They’re not in the game at the top level anymore.”