By Keith Idec
Several of Tyson Fury’s friends are expected to follow the huge heavyweight’s lead by signing co-promotional agreements with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc.
Multiple sources have confirmed to BoxingScene.com that former WBO middleweight champ Billy Joe Saunders, IBF featherweight champ Josh Warrington and former super bantamweight and featherweight champ Carl Frampton will join Top Rank’s stable soon. Like Fury, Saunders, Warrington and Frampton also are promoted by Frank Warren.
Arum announced Monday that his company has partnered with MTK Global, a boxing management firm that represents Fury, Saunders, Frampton and Michael Conlan, an Irish featherweight prospect Top Rank promotes. Through Top Rank’s exclusive content deal with ESPN, approximately 30 MTK Global events per year with either be broadcast by ESPN or streamed by ESPN+ from the United Kingdom, Ireland and elsewhere.
Arum and other Top Rank representatives have been working with Warren to finalize co-promotional agreements for Saunders, Warrington and Frampton as well. They’ve also discussed Top Rank possibly adding promising English heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois to its roster, but negotiations aren’t as far along on a deal for Arum and Warren to co-promote Dubois.
Bringing Warrington and Frampton into the Top Rank fold is important from a strategic standpoint because the company needs potential opponents for WBO featherweight champ Oscar Valdez (25-0, 20 KOs), emerging featherweight contender Shakur Stevenson (10-0, 6 KOs) and Conlan (10-0, 6 KOs).
A Valdez-Frampton fight has been discussed by Arum and Warren for quite some time. Stevenson, of Newark, New Jersey, has been calling out Warrington for several months.
The 2016 Olympic silver medalist must first defeat Puerto Rico’s Christopher Diaz (24-1, 16 KOs) on the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan undercard April 20 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
England’s Warrington (28-0, 6 KOs) defeated Northern Ireland’s Frampton (26-2, 15 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-round, 126-pound title bout December 22 in Manchester, England.
England’s Saunders (27-0, 13 KOs) is expected to make his middleweight debut April 13 in London. That’s when he is scheduled to meet Germany’s Shefat Isufi (27-3-2, 20 KOs) in a 12-round fight for the vacant WBO super middleweight title at Wembley Arena.
The 21-year-old Dubois (10-0, 9 KOs) knocked out Romania’s Razvan Cojanu (16-6, 9 KOs) in the second round Friday night in London. Dubois will return on the Saunders-Isufi undercard, though his opponent hasn’t been chosen.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.