Frank Warren has warned Anthony Yarde he faces legal action before resuming his career.

The light heavyweight, 32, had been expected to fight his leading domestic rival Joshua Buatsi, but since his victory in February over Serbia’s Marko Nikolic he has been involved in a dispute with Warren and Queensberry Promotions, his long-term promoter.

As recently as Monday he described himself on social media as a “free agent”, and did so in the hours after it was reported that he had been replaced with Willy Hutchinson by the WBO as the opponent they wanted to fight Buatsi for their interim title.

However Warren, who on Saturday oversaw Hutchinson’s career-best victory over Craig Richards – that which did so much to elevate the Scot’s status with the WBO – has reminded Yarde that Queensberry expect him to honour a “contractual commitment”. Each of Yarde’s 28 professional fights have come under their guidance.

“He has nothing in writing from Queensberry saying that [he’s a free agent],” Warren said.

“He still has a contractual commitment to us. As far as we’re concerned there’s a contractual commitment to Queensberry – we expect that to be honoured. If it’s not honoured… it’s in the hands of our lawyers now anyway.

“Whether he has a contractual commitment to us or not won’t be decided by him, it’ll be decided legally. 

“At the moment, as we stand right now, I’m past that [the potential Buatsi-Yarde fight]. His management [manager and trainer Tunde Ajayi] I’ve got no time for anymore. I’m done with them.

“His management – the purses they’re asking for are the most ridiculous purses. Go to the purse bid – you find out what your true worth is. If you’re worth what you think then people will bid that and I’ve got it wrong.”

“As I said before I am a free agent,” Yarde had written on X. “Queensberry have now agreed in writing that the term of my previous promotional agreement has expired. So I am free to negotiate my future fights with any promoters, including Queensberry. I’m excited about the future big fights.”

“I don’t care anymore about it,” Warren also said. “They’ve made their choices; don’t want to listen to me. I’m just interested in working with fighters who wanna work with me. Fighters who work with me get well looked after like he’s been well looked after, but if he wants to listen to idiots that’s up to him. It’ll all be determined legally, where we are with it.”

The 25-year-old Hutchinson’s reputation was enhanced considerably by his unanimous decision victory over Richards. A fight between Buatsi, 31, and Yarde was on course to be the biggest of the coming summer between two British fighters, but Buatsi-Hutchinson represents an appealing replacement, and is one Warren intends to stage.

“That fight will go out to purse bids and I expect us to win the purse bid,” he said.

“It’s a fabulous win for him. It’s a bit of a yard stick as well – [Richards] gave Buatsi a tough fight, and he only lost by two rounds to [Dmitrii] Bivol on one of the judges’ cards, so it gives a yard stick. He done extremely well, and he’s got himself back into the big picture – so much so that he’s just been installed to fight for the interim title against Buatsi, so that’s brilliant. 

“He [showed promise] in the early days, then he had that loss [by Lennox Clarke in 2021] and he lost his way a bit, but he’s come back now and he’s had a couple of good wins, and certainly over the weekend he showed he’s back in the swing of it. It’s a great opportunity – they’re highly decorated amateurs, and they’re both good quality professionals. 

“It’s a great fight. It’s a very winnable fight for him. He’s shown what he’s all about and he’s in a position now where he can capitalise – especially now, getting those rounds under his belt. He needed that.”