By Johnny Walker
Without hype, something terrible happens – nothing!
BoxNation promoter Frank Warren’s contention that he is giving the boxing public the fight it wants to see was strengthened today by the news that the upcoming heavyweight contest between former WBA world heavyweight champion David Haye and Dereck Chisora, slated for July 14 at the West Ham soccer stadium in London, England, has sold out half of its available seating in a little over a day.
The fight is a grudge battle between two evenly matched, top heavyweights, and in this era where the current champion Klitschko brothers mow down the opposition (including Haye and Chisora) with ease, it seems to have caught the imagination of the boxing public, who just want to see a competitive heavyweight war.
The tickets sales are also proof that, while the sports media may engage in fake outrage and the public in facile moralism, people really are more interested in this fight because of the history behind it: a now blown-of-out-proportion press conference brawl in Germany between Haye and Chisora.
Hype, it seems, works.
“We’ve sold more than 20,000 since they went on sale on Wednesday morning. The capacity is 40,000,” Warren told the BBC today.
“I’m sure there’s more interest than there would have been if there hadn’t been a fracas.”
Buoyed by the numbers, Warren also shrugged off the huffing and puffing of the British Boxing Board of Control, which yesterday issued a statement that threatened all and sundry of dire consequences should the promotion, cheekily titled “Licensed To Thrill” (the BBBoC has refused to license Chisora), go ahead.
“If they think I’m going to just roll over and let that happen then they’re sorely mistaken,” Warren said of the BBBoC’s threats to pull the boxing licenses of anyone involved with the fight.
“It’s not just me, there’s a lot of other license holders involved.
“There’s a lot of undertones with the way the board has operated, not just about Chisora, other things. Hopefully this is the catalyst that is going to bring some changes.”