Frank Warren exclusive: Arthur vs Yarde 2 preview, Johnson vs Smith Jr & Tyson Fury's UK return

Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren discusses Arthur vs Yarde 2, Tyson Fury's homecoming and Callum Johnson's world title shot in his latest column, exclusive to BTSport.com.

By Frank Warren Published: 3 December 2021 - 10.39am

I’m really looking forward to Lyndon Arthur vs Anthony Yarde on Saturday night. I really do think it’s going to be an exciting fight.

There’s so much on the line, much more than last time. The last fight, it was a good fight but it didn’t match the expectation and excitement levels that I expected and I think maybe that was because it was behind closed doors.

Whatever reason it was, it just didn’t quite spark as I would have liked but I think this one will. I think there is needle involved between the two of them. It’s genuine needle.

There’s also a situation with the fact that Lyndon Arthur is now ranked number one with the WBO so Anthony Yarde will be trying to get himself in that position.

On top of that, we’ve also made Callum Johnson against Joe Smith Jr now for the WBO light heavyweight title too. Whoever wins that – hopefully it’s Callum – they will get the winner of this fight on Saturday night. They will be the mandatory challenger to that belt. It’s a really exciting scenario and I’m hoping it’ll bring the best out of both Lyndon and Anthony.

Lyndon used his jab very well last time. He said he had a problem with his right hand and didn’t throw it as much as he’d like.

Anthony was basically doing the same thing every round and came a little bit alive in the last round. He’s now added somebody else to his team, I don’t know how that is going to work out but I just feel that Anthony knows this is his last roll of getting a shot at the world title – and Lyndon knows he just cannot afford to slip on this one.

It’s not just going to be about who is the hardest puncher because if that was the case we wouldn’t need judges in boxing. It is about using the best weapon in boxing which is the jab.

Anthony hasn’t got a bad jab but what he’s done in the past is leave a lot to do until the latter rounds. He can’t afford to do that because suddenly you’re behind on all the judges’ scorecards and you’re playing catch-up, winding yourself up to let the bombs go. But while you’re doing that, you’re not relaxed. You’re not working off your jab, you’re looking to throw big shots and exposing yourself. He can’t afford to do that.

Can Lyndon go toe-to-toe with him? I think he can. He can punch, Lyndon, there’s no doubt about that. He’s a banger. I think we’re going to get a bit of both styles, some boxing and some brawling.

I think we’re going to get a really good fight. I think from the first round it’s going to be quite an explosive fight.

Sink or swim time for Sheeraz

Hamzah Sheeraz has done extremely well up until now. I’m looking for fighters now to test him. Bradley Skeete is that type of fighter. We know what Bradley’s like, we promoted him and got him into a good position during his career.

Bradley can whack and when he needs to, he will. You’ll find Bradley will be punching harder now than he ever has because he’s older, his feet are going to be planted. It’s a dangerous fight for Hamzah. Bradley’s had twice as many fights, he’s got twice as much experience. For Bradley, it’s all or nothing now really. If he wins this then he can get himself a couple of good paydays but if he gets beat, it’s all over isn’t it?

That’s what makes it dangerous for Hamzah. I did give this fight some thought because it is early in Hamzah’s career but if he’s as good as he – and we – think he is, this is a winnable fight for him.

This fight can be as difficult as Hamzah makes it. I don’t think he’s a one-trick pony, I think he can box and I think he’s got a good boxing brain. He’s got to impose himself. He’s got to be the boss from the beginning. He needs to make Bradley feel like an old man.

We’re going to see what Hamzah’s all about on Saturday.

The young kings of Queensberry

I’m picking Sam Noakes and Dennis McCann [above] as the other two fighters to keep an eye on this weekend.

We’re really blessed with fantastic talent coming through the ranks at Queensberry. Let’s get it right, we have got the best stable in this country by far. We’ve got the best heavyweight stable in the world.

These youngsters, some of whom are fighting on Saturday, we’ve really been working hard bringing them through. We’ve invested a lot of money, big sums, into bringing them through and most of them up to this point have been done what’s been asked of them.

They’re all going to be getting stepped up over the next year and they can’t afford to mess it up. More importantly, they’ve got to look good on the night.

I’ve got tremendous belief in Dennis and I really like Sam as well. They are good, quality youngsters.

George Fox is another promising young heavyweight we’ve got coming up this weekend.

What I want to see from him on Saturday against Kamil Sokolowski is heavy hands. He’s a good mover, George, but I want to see him plant his feet and let his shots go. He’ll be a handful for anybody but I think he can develop into being a really good fighter once he starts planting his feet a bit more.

A New Year banger - don't blink!

Callum Johnson was over the moon we’ve managed to secure him the world title shot against Joe Smith Jr [on January 15 in New York City].

Let’s get it right, he’s no youngster. He’s already had an opportunity and he didn’t do badly against [Artur] Beterbiev, did he? I mean, he put him on his a***! He hurt him! From his perspective after that, this fight is a fantastic opportunity. I’ve got to tell you something, this fight will not go the distance. But while it lasts, it will be very exciting.

I think Callum has got the pedigree to beat Smith Jr, I really do. He’s a tough sod, he’s game as they come and he’s going to go out there and do what he does, stick it on the fella.

That first fight Callum had [against Emil Markic] after joining Queensberry was probably the most exciting one we put together behind closed doors. It was unbelievable – almost a bit too lively for my liking considering he’s my man! He picked that opponent, Callum, which tells you what he’s all about. He puts it all on the line.

Less talk, more action!

Tyson Fury will fight in March.

If Anthony Joshua steps aside, Tyson will fight Oleksandr Usyk for all the marbles. If Joshua doesn’t, Fury will fight in March, probably in the UK, against someone who is ranked in the Top 10. Will it be Dillian Whyte? If Dillian is sensible with the money, I wouldn’t have a problem with that.

I watched an interview Joshua did the other day where he was talking about legacy and saying he doesn’t care about money – but really it is all about money.

‘If I’m going to step aside, how much are you going to pay me’ – that’s what he was saying really. That’s the bottom line. And he’ll want to get the winner. That is the criteria for it happening. Let’s see where we go with it.

It would have to be in March. Tyson has had one fight in 21 months. Tyson isn’t hanging around anymore, he’s made that very clear. And by the way, he’s going to have to step up and decide what he wants to do next too!

I just want to see Tyson get a fight away in March and then see where we go afterwards. All these soundbites don’t help anyone. What I want to see is some reality. Something actually happening.

We’re all working to make that happen and hopefully it will because otherwise it starts becoming tiresome for everyone.

I don’t want to get in the same position we ended up in last year with non-stop talk about fighting Joshua, all that nonsense, and then it didn’t happen.

Let’s cut all the c***! Are you in or are you out?!