Frank Warren's column: Sunny Edwards show cancelled, Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury talks, Tyson Fury raring to go

Hall of Fame promoter and Queensberry head honcho Frank Warren returns with his exclusive BTSport.com column amid a busy week with news of Sunny Edwards, Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury and an update on Tyson Fury.

Published: 9 September 2021 - 4.23pm

Nightmare news this week about Sunny Edwards’ IBF title fight against Jayson Mama on Saturday night.

I found out on Monday evening that Sunny had an ankle injury which has forced him out of the fight. It’s a bit of a killer because it doesn’t really give us enough time to make another fight in time for the card this weekend. It’s a tough one for Sunny too as he was really looking forward to getting back in there.

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If you injure your hand or something, at least you can get out and do your road work to stay in shape. Because it’s his ankle, he can’t even get out to do that. I don’t know how long it’s going to be before he can get out and do any running so it’s going to affect him quite a bit. I think he’ll be out for a little while by the looks of it.

We’ve got to wait to get the report back from the doctor and see when he’s going to be available to remake that fight and then we’ll take it from there.

He’s going to have to fight Jayson Mama next one way or the other as he’s the IBF mandatory challenger. There’s no other options. He will be next, we just have to be patient.

Prospects take centre stage on Friday

The aim of this series of Prospects shows we’re beginning on Friday - live on BT Sport 1HD & Ultimate from 7.30pm - is for the fighters to get exposure, to get work.

Where we would sometimes run shows with 15 fights on the card previously, you can’t do that really in the Covid era. We’ve only been allowed a certain number of fights on a show. We’ve got to keep our youngsters busy. What we’re also trying to do is build an audience for these athletes. Hopefully the viewers spot a young fighter and join the journey with him or her on their way to fight for world titles.

The main difficulty we’ve had in getting young fighters out during the last 18 months is trying to find opponents, people who have actually been training and ready to fight.

There were no small hall shows going on throughout the pandemic really so a lot of these guys who the prospects learn their trade from, the journeymen, it was difficult to get them sorted out. 

There were also a lot of foreign travel restrictions too, so one minute a country was on the red list and then next minute it’s on amber, then switching back and forth. You didn’t know if you were coming or going! 

All of that was quite challenging. Add to that, all of the covid protocols we had to put in place for every show with bubbles and hotels and testing, it became quite an expensive exercise. We’ve signed quite a few young fighters and it’s taken nearly a year to get some of them their debuts. That’s how it’s been. So we’re on catch up now trying to bring these fighters through.

I’ve got to be honest, I quite like all the young fighters on the card this Friday. Karol Itauma, I really like. He’s a youth Olympic gold medallist so he’s got brilliant pedigree for a youngster but I like what I see with him. I think he’s an extremely good boxer and not a bad puncher.

The main event, with Louie Lynn, that’s a great fight that. He’s in a decent fight, Louie, and he’s done very well in his career so far. All of them on the card to be fair are quite eye-catching fighters.

Stateside with the YouTubers!

It was quite surreal being out in America for the Jake Paul fight, especially for an old geezer like me! The main event was an eight-rounder with a guy who’s had two pro fights against someone who was 39-years-old and never had a pro fight.

“I’m a bit more traditional and I like my guys to be ‘proper boxers’ ”
- Frank Warren

Their pulling power is obviously phenomenal because the place was completely sold out. They weren’t a boxing crowd, the majority of them. And they were in the venue from around 7.30pm which doesn’t normally happen until you get more towards the main event over here. It was great for Daniel Dubois and Tommy Fury got his US debut out of the way too.

For me, it was a matter of capitalising on an event that had a lot of eyeballs to get Daniel a lot of exposure and to obviously get Tommy closer to that Jake Paul fight. I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a fan of this whole YouTube boxing thing but who am I to stop Tommy from earning some serious money for fighting a guy that I think he’ll beat? That’s all set up to happen now if all sides agree so it’s down to us now to negotiate.

I’m not going to get any more into the YouTube-slash-boxing business, I don’t think. I doubt very much I’ll be making this a regular thing. I just don’t get it.

I get it in the sense that I understand they are celebrities with huge followings in their respective fields, and I appreciate they do a lot of hard work in the gym to get themselves fit and they’re within their rights to get out there and earn the money. Good luck to them. As long as nobody gets seriously hurt, I have no problem with that.

I’m a bit more traditional and I like my guys to be ‘proper boxers’ and by that, I mean, they served their apprenticeships and they’ve come through the gyms. But hats off to those YouTube guys, there’s obviously a big audience for it who are really buying into it.

Tommy did what he had to do against a guy who was quite small, I don’t think he particularly came to fight either. Tommy most definitely could have done better but hopefully that performance will make the fight easier to make with Jake Paul. Jake’s got a lot of options on the table and one of them is Tommy.

We’re discussing it at the moment and that’s where we’re at. Tommy’s made it very clear he wants the fight and if Jake wants it, I’ll do my very best to deliver that. I got Tommy on the card, helped stoke up the card and hopefully we can get it on and make it into a real barnburner. But if Tommy does fight Jake, he’s going to have to do better than his last performance.

The countdown to Fury vs Wilder 3

Tyson is chomping at the bit to get back in there against Wilder. He’ll have been out of the ring for nearly 20 months by the time the fight comes around, that’s a long time. We helped him become quite active slightly before that so he needs to shake the cobwebs out but he can’t afford to become complacent. Hopefully we can get rid of this obligation and then move on to the fights we want to see.

I spoke to Tyson this week and he said he was well, so I hope that is the case after his brush with Covid recently. A few sportspeople have had nasty experiences after contracting the virus but I hope Tyson’s back firing on all cylinders and ready to go.

I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Tyson Fury yet. I think if Tyson is the same fighter as last time out, I don’t see anything other than the same result. Unless Wilder gets really lucky with a big shot, I don’t see what he can do. He’s not going to outbox him, it’s impossible.

They’ve shared the ring now for what, 16 or 17 rounds? How many of those rounds has he won? It’s only the knockdowns where he’s had any success. Tyson was robbed in the first fight, six months after his long lay-off, he was carrying a lot of weight and he still won. In the second fight he emphatically beat him.

Deontay needs to bring something really special to the table to have any chance of winning but he’s not going to become a fantastic boxer overnight. The only way he can beat Tyson is to put it on him. If he tries to box him, he’s never going to win. Tyson’s taken his best shots, tremendous punches, and got off the floor. Wilder couldn’t take Tyson’s best shots. 

Fury vs Wilder 3 will be shown exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office on Saturday 9 October.