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· Villan
12,455 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'Sorry to disappoint people but this isn't the end for me, it's the beginning of something bigger.' Warren hits back at claims he is losing ground in boxing's turf war

Not for the first time the disparate names of Frank Warren and Mark Twain appear in the same sentence.

'The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,' remarks Warren as he eats a hearty meal wearing a smile not normally seen on the face of a
condemned man.

He is scoffing not only some of the finest food in London's club-land but at the very notion that his empire is crumbling and that his BoxNation television channel is too cash-strapped to survive much longer.

Warren had paraphrased the great American humourist thrice before.

Once after he was shot in the street. Then when Don King sued him for $12 million. Most recently as we broke bread on another occasion when his promotional network was being minced through the doomsday scenario.

This time he is responding to speculation that the power in British boxing is shifting so far away from him towards Eddie Hearn that he will shortly be out of the boxing business.

Warren sips a glass of vintage red wine which another notable connoisseur, Sir Alex Ferguson, would be proud to pour and says: 'If the Hearns put as much money into boxing as they do into Leyton Orient then I've got nothing to worry about.'

He is ribbing me, a long-suffering Orient fan, almost as much as he is mocking Eddie's father Barry, the club's owner.

'Got to laugh,' he says. 'Sorry to disappoint so many people but this is not the end for me, it's the beginning of something much bigger.'

Then, as he is preparing to sue Hearn and his latest defecting boxer, Ricky Burns, he says: 'Look, I don't resent competition. We all need it. I was the one who took on and broke the old monopoly years ago. I love the challenge. Keeps me on my toes.

'But don't take liberties.

'It saddens me to take legal action against Ricky but he has three fights left on his contract with me and he owes me all the cut I've never taken from him as his co-manager.'

We are talking while Burns is bunking off to Hearn. He is following in the wake of George Groves whose decision, coupled with the bug which sickened the Mexican rival to Burns in a world championship unification fight, forced the postponement of this coming weekend's big show at Wembley.

Groves switched to Hearn's bill at the same arena last Saturday and, in their frustration at the delay, the Burns camp announced a desire to gallop away from the Warren stable. They did so on the back of allegations that the opponent, Miguel Vazquez, had not really agreed terms.

'A load of bull,' says Warren.

He is still smiling but the empire is striking back.

'There's the small matter of the contracts,' he says. 'We have produced photographs of Vazquez signing his document. We have also published the certified medical report on his condition which justifies the postponement. Anyway, it wasn't too long to wait from March 16 to the rearranged date of April 20.

'I'm not young or naïve enough to think you can force anyone to fight but on principle I have to sue for compensation and damages. For a start I've paid out to hire Wembley twice.'

The more sinister whisperers have been trying to plant seeds of doubt about Warren's financial position.

Now he gets serious…..and more transparent than many might expect: 'I know who's putting this out - and why - but the berks who are listening just don't get what I'm doing.

'Tell 'em it's the television, stupid.

'I'm transforming the business, again not for the first time. I'm giving everyone the chance for boxing to control its own TV output….at a time when even Sky are drifting ever further away from boxing.

'Yes, it's expensive to run our own channel but it gives us our independence.'

'There's been an investment of £18 million thus far. Lots of people smirked and said BoxNation wouldn't last ten minutes. Well we've been going two years and now we've started breaking even.

'The financial position is strong enough that we are pumping more money into High Definition transmission . And that's bloody expensive. But this will give us a second channel for broadcasting the live fights, while the rest of our feature content and so on stays with the original feed.'
Is it all other people's money?

'Tell everyone this as well. Soon after we first put the consortium together a couple of the potential partners pulled out. So as well as our original stake me and my family covered those millions. it actually worked out for the best. It left us able to bring in some of the most notable individuals in broadcasting and the City. We have resources in terms of finance and talent which are committed to the long-term.''

The smirkers query how many £10 a month subscribers BoxNation really has:

'No exaggeration - unlike the reports of my demise - we peaked at 240,000 for the Haye-Chisora fight last summer. Then, during the quiet period for boxing in December, January and early February we dropped to 120,000 . But it's rising again and we will climb back above 200,000 fairly shortly.

'The maths aren't difficult. That gives us revenue of £2 million a month. By any reckoning that gives us a company worth at least £60 million. Who else in British boxing can say that? And it's going to get bigger.'

How so, when Sky's decision to consign all their fight dates to Hearn is catching the attention of many boxers and their advisors?

Warren smiles again and makes this arresting revelation: 'Amir Khan is coming over to BoxNation for his homecoming fight next month. We will also be the

British broadcaster for Floyd Mayweather's comeback against Robert Guerrero on May 4 in Las Vegas. And there will be a lot more for the boxing fans to watch.'

Now that Bernard Hopkins has surpassed his own record as boxing's oldest world champion - by taking Tavoris Cloud's light-heavyweight title at the age of 48 - more is likely to include a huge unification bout for Nathan Cleverly against The Executioner in Cardiff's Millenium Stadium this summer.

But Warren says: 'I'm no longer solely dependent on my own boxers and shows. I beam in world class fights from the US, Europe, all over the world.'

Warren sensed that Sky might be soft-pedalling on Khan until he forces his way back into world title action and stepped in. He also has a solid working relationship with Richard Schaefer, the chief executive of Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions, and is harvesting the UK rights to their biggest-name clients, Mayweather included.

He admits his disappointment at not securing Ricky Hatton's one-and-only comeback fight but is turning that to his advantage: 'Ricky hoped for a big pay-per-view audience on Primetime but they fell short of 100,000 buys. I feel sorry for him. He lost money because our guarantee was more than he got.'

Now one of the stars of Hatton Promotions, Martin Murray, will be on BoxNation when he challenges the world's supreme middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in Buenos Aires later on the April 27 night of Khan's re-appearance in Sheffield.

Sky's main focus this spring is on potentially the biggest fight of the year, the world title re-match at a sold-out 02 Arena of Carl Froch's epic battle with Miikkel Kessler. That will be their first pay-for-view venture since the Haye-Klitschko fiasco almost two years ago.

Warren says: 'I'll be watching the numbers with interest. I honestly hope it goes well for Carl. He's a proper fighter. Really exciting. He's one the major standard bearers for British boxing.'

Those sentiments will surprise Warren's critics, as did his public assertion that the split with Groves was amicable.

'I wish George luck,' he says. 'It's unfortunate that he's pulled out of a lot of fights with injuries. Although I do believe he would have reached his ambition of a world championship challenge more quickly if he had stuck with our European title fight on Saturday.'

Warren explains thus his altered attitude towards most unsettled fighters: 'If people want to know what I'm going to do without Groves or whoever, well it's the same as I've always done.

Develop our best young boxers into world champions by doing all I can to bring them home advantage, Then put on some of the most thrilling fights in British boxing history. The way I did with Ricky, Nigel Benn Naseem Hamed, Frank Bruno, Joe Calzaghe and all those guys.

' It's starting again with the likes of Billy Joe Saunders. Only now I'm doing it without the support of Sky… but on our own TV channel.'
As for the doom-mongers, does he have a message for them?

'Yeah, tell 'em I don't give a damn about them. I don't care that they don't understand what I'm doing, that I'm the one who is creating a better future for boxing.'

At 61 and as full of fire as ever, Frank Warren still sounds like the young promoter who shook up the hardest game more than 30 years ago.
Prize-fighting is as tough as sport comes but writing off this man is a dangerous game.

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· Premium Member
13,352 Posts
Warren strikes me as someone who plans everything he ever does in the public eye to the most minute detail. I'm sure there are some accurate points in there, but, it just comes across as too guarded rather than completely open.

· Registered
147 Posts
Seriously, who gives a shit? I don't. BoxNation, fine concept but the domestic cards suck this year, hence I cancelled when Mar 16th was called off. If it does get decent overseas fights, fine, but I am not resubscribing.

The people I feel sorry for are the fans who bought tickets for March 16th who now cant get a refund and will have to either stay at home or endure Clev topping the Wembley bill. Now that sucks!

· CHB Overlord
26,241 Posts
No, he's fucked. Where is he going to magic up another stable of boxers from? There's noone out there who wants to work with him

· Registered
3,358 Posts
Interesting read. The Froch quote seems bizzare given Frank stuck the knife in more than once in his Sun column. If his promotional activity is downsizing then I'd like to see him make an offer to Hatton - Murray, Quigg, Vassell, Crolla, Buckland, Askin, Dickens, Rabchenko, Towers and Etches could all be in good fights. Their stable also seems the right size to cover the weeks where there's no Sauerland card.

· Registered
4,327 Posts
something a bit weird and unnerving about how the writer is so determined to put it across that despite all thats gone on lately frank warren is still EATING REALLY NICE EXPENSIVE FOOD IN A NICE RESTAURANT YEAH whilst SIPPING A GLASS OF VINTAGE RED

· Registered
8,386 Posts
something a bit weird and unnerving about how the writer is so determined to put it across that despite all thats gone on lately frank warren is still EATING REALLY NICE EXPENSIVE FOOD IN A NICE RESTAURANT YEAH whilst SIPPING A GLASS OF VINTAGE RED
That's Frank all over that is, Fuck you brave boxer I know you want you're money but you can't have it yet, this livestyle I live needs a lot of funding, plus my Bentley needs petrol, you will have to wait. As for Jeff Powell, he's a mong at the best of times, it baffles me how this berk still has a job.

· Gone.
5,771 Posts
We'll see how loyal Chisora and Cleverly are when the pounds stop rolling in all of a sudden, and they're waiting for their cut after a hard fight. He treats his fighters like shit, you shouldn't do that just because you can get them a title shot at home, that's the only reason they stay. There's better options out there for fighters now. Some fighters in a Warren stable don't get any tests, some of them are just primed for a domestic career. As soon as they step up, it's almost always a massive gulf in class for British fighters. There's no loyalty to Frank, there's only money. He's very unreliable.

· Gone.
5,771 Posts
Stop being such a cunt and paying his fighters is probably his best bet. He either has the worst luck in the business or there's a reason all these cards he puts on fall apart within days or weeks of announcement. I'm leaning towards the latter. His best bet is probably to take whatever fighters he has and can get his hands on through boxnation, and actually promoting them.
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