What a week… Matchroom announces their 2021 schedule, Hobson updates us on Frank v Yousaf and Warrington relinquishes the IBF belt

Well Sport Readers despite there being NO BOXING in the UK right now thanks to COVID19 it is all go behind the scenes for all the major promoters as shows get announced and fights get made for the coming months.

Last Friday [Jan 15] Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing announced their up coming schedule after the BBBofC confirmed that boxing shows can recommence from Mid-February and they kick off on February 13 with Josh Warrington 30-0, 7 KO’s in with Mexico’s Mauricio Lara 21-2, 14 KO’s.

The following weekend February 20 Russia’s European welterweight Champion David Avanesyan 26-3-1, 14 KO’s makes his long-awaited Title defence against Josh Kelly 10-0-1, 6 KO’s.

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Next up on March 3 is the Jewel in the Crown the eagerly awaited rematch between former WBA world heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin 36-2-1, 25 KO’s and Dillian Whyte 27-2, 18 KO’s. In their first encounter Whyte had the seasoned Povetkin down TWICE in the 4th round before getting SPARKED in the 5th, so expect more fireworks come March3.

On Saturday April 10 rising welterweight star Conor Benn 17-0, 11 KO’s defends his WBA Continental Title against Samuel Vargas 31-6-2, 14 KO’s following his career-best performance in his last OUTING against Sebastian Formella.

Promoter EDDIE HEARN told Daily Sport Boxing “Even in a pandemic I feel like this is the strongest start to a year Matchroom have had in a long time. It’s going to be a rough ride over the next couple of months but with plenty of drama and excitement along the way. We have some thrilling main events and stacked cards that feature some of the biggest names in British boxing returning to action as we look to make a real statement in 2021.”

Photo Dennis Hobson/Fight Academy

Then on Monday [Jan 18] Sheffield promoter and Daily Sport columnist DENNIS HOBSON  updated us on the recently re-mandated by the BBBofC British flyweight title bout between SHEFFIELD RIVALS Tommy Frank and Kyle Yousaf.

The first fight was slated to take place on Dennis’ DRIVE-IN SHOW last December but Yousaf withdrew and then Tommy Frank suffered his first career loss against substitute opponent, Mexico’s Hugo Guarneros, after having to retire injured in the 8th round.

Despite the defeat all parties concerned Frank, Hobson and The Board are keen to plough ahead with a new date for the pair to contest the coveted LONSDALE belt. Hobson is confident that the BOUT will take centre stage on a SHEFFILED card once LOCKDOWN restrictions allow.

“Within 48 hours of Tommy losing that IBF fight, we’d put a provisional show together for March,” explained the Fight Academy boss.  “We said to Robert Smith at the Board that we still wanted the British Title fight, even though Kyle [Yousaf] had pulled out on us a few times.  I wanted to make sure the Board were going to honour that situation, and they gave us the nod straight away.

“Obviously that provisional March date will possibly have to move now because of this new lockdown situation.  So, I’m just trying to secure a date but I think we might be looking at the first week in April.  It might have to be another drive-in show, or even something different, but I’m gambling that by April we’ll be allowed some spectators, even if it’s not full capacity.

“Kyle is supposed to sell a few tickets, and Tommy does, so we’d really like a good atmosphere there when it happens, because it’s a great fight.  It will be another strong show.  We’re also currently doing various co-promotional deals with other promoters across the UK about putting on regular TV shows, so don’t be surprised if you see some different lads from other parts of the country on too.”

Photo Matchroom Boxing

Then on Friday [Jan 21] MATCHROOM announces that that their popular featherweight charge Josh Warrington had relinquished his IBF strap after the IBF had refused to sanction his proposed UNIFICATION in April with Xu Can.

Warrington is now looking to fight either Xu Can on April 24 or get in with WBC champ Gary Russell for the WBC strap. Any fight agreed would for the coveted Ring Magazine belt.

“It’s so important for Josh to be in a mega fight after Lara on February 13,” said Matchroom Sport Managing Director EDDIE HEARN. “He has his heart set on the Ring belt and it’s up to us to make the Can or Russell fights for April or early May. I’ve been working hard with Robert Diaz of Golden Boy to close Xu Can and also had several conversations with Luis De Cubas regarding a Gary Russell bout – both fights are Fight of the Year contenders.” 

“It’s disappointing we couldn’t have the IBF Title on the line, but I can’t let those decisions stand in the way of me going down in British boxing history by facing the very best in the division,” WARRINGTON told Daily Sport Boxing. “I’ve always dreamt about winning the Ring belt, for me it leaves no doubt who the king of the division is. Right now, my mind and focus is on Lara for February 13 and then I’m looking to pick up that beautiful red and blue belt.”

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