Frank Warren exclusive: Fury vs Whyte set to break records, Catterall judging controversy, Andrade vs Parker

Hall of Fame promoter and Queensberry boss Frank Warren gives BTSport.com the inside track on the latest from the boxing world, including the fallout from the Fury vs Whyte press conference this week.

By Frank Warren Published: 3 March 2022 - 4.40pm

I knew there would be huge interest in Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte – but even I was surprised by the speed of ticket sales yesterday. It’s basically sold out!

We’ve still got tickets to release for fans coming on the coach and some platinum tickets too but that will bring us up to 90,000 capacity. We’re now in the process of applying to the local authority, Brent Council, to increase the capacity to 100,000. It’s the fastest-selling boxing event we’ve ever seen, this.

At one stage there was 171,000 people in the queue to buy tickets online. Ticketmaster told us the sales went three or four times faster than Coldplay! I could verify the interest yesterday too from the amount of people calling me saying ‘I’m number 158,00 in the queue, how am I going to get tickets!’. They were just overwhelmed, it was unbelievable.

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It just shows you it’s all about Tyson. The other guy didn’t even show up. After Tyson’s exploits in America, coupled with the fact he’s not fought here for four or five years, the public have come out and showed their support for him. He’s the English hero coming home on St George’s Day. It’s brilliant and I think we’re going to have a great fight.

Tyson was fantastic at the press conference. He was enjoying it a lot, as I’m sure you saw. He loves these occasions.

We’re going to announce the undercard next week but it’s a fantastic stage and we’ll have some exciting names joining the party.

Two wrongs don’t make a Whyte!

If we’re going to get to a stage where fighters aren’t showing up for press conferences because they’re sulking… imagine if Tyson had never showed up? Imagine if he had the same attitude. What would we be selling? You can’t sell the fight without the faces. It’s pathetic. It’s not good for boxing. It’s small minded.

Dillian has asked for all sorts over the past few weeks and we made some concessions but the negotiating period is over. They didn’t want to do a deal! They wanted it to go to purse bids and so we did.

Whyte is obliged in his contract to help promote the show. It’s unacceptable behaviour and if we start getting into tit-for-tat with rival promoters over purse bids, then what?

We all think we’re being clever but at the end of the day, it’s boxing that will suffer.

I’ve seen the question asked if we’re prepared in case Dillian Whyte pulls out of the fight but he’d have to be an absolute lunatic to do that. He’d be walking away from millions - with the upside of a few more million if he wins. Why would he do that? If he pulls out that fight, he’s a bottle job.

Fury’s farewell?

Tyson mentioned earlier this week that he might call it a day after this next fight. If he does choose to retire, I’d support him wholeheartedly. He’s worked hard. He’s been through a lot.

At the end of the day, he’s the fella getting in the ring. It’s his right choose so whatever he does, I’d support him 100%.

However, I do think Tyson is serious about wanting to fight [UFC heavyweight champion] Francis Ngannou, that fight is there and we’ll see if something materialises in the future.

The important thing now though is that Tyson is fully focused on this next fight against Dillian Whyte.

Catterall controversy

After what happened in the Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall fight last weekend, I’ve already had conversations with the British Boxing Board of Control about not having judges from this country involved in Fury vs Whyte. They know my feelings. But I want to emphasise something; I don’t think they’re corrupt.

I think the problem is that you can have an off night as a judge, make a bad decision - some judges have made quite a few bad decisions - but they’re not made accountable. If this was football, those referees would be downgraded, they’d be taken out of action for a week or made to work at a lower level for a while. But the BBBofC don’t do anything. They just give them another job and that is unacceptable.

It’s unacceptable to the fighters - I mean Jack Catterall should have been a four-belt world champion. That’s never going to happen again for him! That’s a historical moment for him and life-changing money had he have won. There needs to be accountability. And so for Fury vs Whyte, I want neutral judges. They can come from anywhere else except the UK. The incompetence levels concern me.

 

The Juggernaut returns

Joe Joyce should be back out again for us fairly soon. We had something exciting lined up for him before he was unlucky to get injured but he’ll be out hopefully in May and we’re really looking forward to seeing him back out.

Joe is ranked number one by the WBO and is the mandatory challenger to the winner of the Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua fight.

We’re not sure what’s going to happen with Usyk now though as understandably boxing isn’t his priority right now. But whatever happens our man is still in the mix and he’ll either get a straight shot at the title or he’ll get an interim title fight.

 

Parker takes a big step up

We recently won the purse bids for Demetrius Andrade vs our own Zach Parker for the interim WBO super-middleweight title and we’re hugely excited about that fight.

It’s a tough fight for Zach, there’s no bones about it. But as his promoters, we’ve gone out and we’ve backed our man and done our best to get home advantage. I think the people of the Midlands and Derby will come out and support their man and I hope he can win it. He’s capable, of course. Zach is big and Andrade is coming up from middleweight which is a gamble. At worst, Zach will learn from the experience, but I really do rate him and I think he will do the business for us.

He's a lovely fella and he’s done brilliantly for us. He’s been a revelation since we signed him having flown under the radar a little bit, nobody had really seen much of him. But he can bloody fight!