European Boxing News and Notes
By: Oliver McManus
The European Boxing Notebook has been brought out of retirement and is firmly back on the Boxing Insider schedule. Frank Warren has been a busy, busy man so let’s get straight into it and dissect the plethora of information coming out of Queensbury Promotions over the last fortnight.
Fury-Schwarz on PPV
Tyson Fury’s co-promotional debut with Top Rank takes place on June 15th with the ‘lineal’ champion facing Tom Schwarz: an unbeaten German who is ranked with the WBO. Taking place at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, this was professed to be a “tune up… exposure” fight to endear the ‘Gypsy King’ to his newfound American market. Given the stated nature of this contest, you’d be forgiven for assuming it would be available via a regular subscription. No such luck, evidently, with Frank Warren and BT Sport taking the decision to air it on their pay-per-view platform, BT Sport Box Office.
Tom Schwarz isn’t exactly an ideal opponent to warrant ‘pay-per-view’ and, actually, the American broadcasters share that opinion with the fight being streamed on their digital platform only – ESPN+.
Joe Joyce, Brad Foster and Louie Lynn pen deals with Queensbury
A trio of signings announced for Frank Warren who has been ‘making moves’ since the turn of the month by shrewdly capturing the signature of three exciting talents.
Joyce is the obvious headline grabber and what he lacks for in overt charisma he makes up for, and then some, in natural boxing talent. There’s nothing particularly unlikable about the 33 year old but Queensbury will need to market him correctly in order to maximize his commercial and sporting ability. The understated heavyweight has made an immediate impact as a professional, featuring Stateside, but it’s nice to see him back on home soil as he reaches the boiling point of his career. Given his age he can’t afford to allow the politics of boxing to keep him stagnant and ,whilst he awaits decisions from Agit Kabayel and Manuel Charr, he’ll be keeping busy on May 18th against Alexander Ustinov and, again, on July 13th against an opponent to be confirmed.
Brad Foster, meanwhile, is yet another British champion snapped up by Warren with the domestic super bantamweight kingpin set to be a star of the future. He captured the British title with a comprehensive out-pointing of Josh Wale in a contest that proved his class. Snapped up by Warren, less than a month later, he’s immediately involved in another test of his quality when he faces Ashley Lane, Commonwealth champion, on May 18th.
Louie Lynn, on the other hand, looked for a while as though he would sign with Matchroom – certainly he was keeping busy on their cards – but ultimately has inked a three year contract with Queensbury. The undefeated (4-0) featherweight has seen his quarter of wins come within the distance – all against notably durable fighters – and Warren is the best in the business at developing a young prospect. Good move!
The fight we were starting to think had drifted into the distant future has, like a bolt from the blue, been resurrected and will take place on July 13th. Arguably the two most explosive prospects in British boxing, the heavyweights square off with the vacant British title at stake. The contest was mandated last year for Dubois’ English title but, now Hughie Fury has stepped aside, has received a significant upgrade and the winner will see their name alongside Anthony Joshua and Lennox Lewis as Lord Lonsdale belt holders – no pressure, then.
At the time of writing Dubois was a reasonable betting favourite with odds of 4/11 available – Gorman viewed as a reasonable outsider at 2/1 – but those prices are shifting on a daily basis and are a good sign of how hard it is to predict a winner with certainty.
June 15th update
Two cracking domestic contests have been added to the undercard of Josh Warrington vs Kid Galahad – on June 15th – on a night that really doesn’t need hype to sell it. JJ Metcalf return was the first to be announced, having recovered from injury to record an eighth round knockout over Santos Medrano, in April. He’s immediately back in title contention, having been set to face Liam Williams, on December 22nd, with a fight against Jason Welborn for the vacant Commonwealth super welterweight title.
His first fight on a Warren show since last June is an instant opportunity to return to the spotlight and, against a world title challenger, he’ll be acutely aware of potential follow-up opportunities.
Welborn will be looking to, once more, upset the odds: having done so against Tommy Langford on two occasions last year. Doing the media rounds prior to this contest he has said he’s convinced he belongs back at world title level and Metcalf, formerly ranked by the WBC, is a good place to get back on that ladder.
Zelfa Barrett vs Lyon Woodstock Jr is another exciting clash between emerging contenders with the Commonwealth belt attached. Over the last 12-18 months we have seen Warren unafraid to pit his fighters against each other but, more than that, show a commitment to developing the careers of both men afterwards – Zak Chelli vs Umar Sadiq was how it all started. Woodstock, himself, was involved in one of those “crunch tests” against Archie Sharp last October and what a barnstormer that was.
Barrett is no stranger to ‘getting involved’ having also been on the wrong end of a bittersweet, fight-of-the-year worthy, defeat – against Ronnie Clark in February 2018. Both fighters have recorded wins since with Barrett twice out-doing Edwin Tellez and Woodstock seeing off Sergio Gonzalez earlier in the year. If this is anything like either of their previous ‘domestic tussles’ then we are in for an absolute cracker.