Frank Warren exclusive: The biggest fights, breakout stars and dates to watch out for throughout 2022

Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren gives BTSport.com the exclusive lowdown on what's coming up over the next 12 months with Tyson Fury, Anthony Yarde and Daniel Dubois rumoured to be lining up some huge fights.

By Frank Warren Published: 7 January 2022 - 5.03pm

Happy New Year all!

We got some bad news earlier this week, getting word that Callum Johnson caught the dreaded Covid which ruled him out of facing Joe Smith Jr next weekend. A real bummer to start the year!

We found out earlier this week. Someone in his family had it so he was locking down trying to avoid it but then the following day he tested positive. It’s rife at the moment but really bad luck for Callum.

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We’re going to try and get him in a position to resurrect it hopefully but if not, then number one contender is Anthony Yarde and he’ll fight the winner of Smith vs whoever the new opponent is that he’s got.

But onwards and upwards! Our plans for the first part of 2022 are well underway.

Big dates coming your way in 2022

We’re looking to do a show at Wembley in mid-March and we’re hoping Daniel Dubois will be on the bill for that.

Tyson Fury will be fighting in late March and we’re hoping we can get his opponent confirmed and over the line within the next few days.

It may be in the UK, it may be abroad. It depends what happens with Dillian Whyte's situation regarding the WBC but we’re working on that at the moment.

We’re also going to do another couple of shows getting some of our prospects out as soon as we can. We wanted to do some early in the year but the British Boxing Board of Control stopped all events in January and it wasn't clear that they'd begin again before the end of February.

We cancelled our shows [In January and February] because it was ridiculous, we can’t be paying for venues and putting things on sale without knowing what was going to happen!

They [the BBBoC] didn’t have the courtesy to pick the phone up to any promoters – certainly not us – and tell us what was going on.

They just arbitrarily shut the sport down when no other sport has done that! It’s ridiculous. If they wanted to do anything to help the NHS, they should make sure everyone who participates in the sport is vaccinated like they’ve done in some sports leagues in America. That would have been more sensible than cancelling shows!

But we’ll be busy in March and busy in April, when we’re hoping Zach Parker will have a big fight. We’re just waiting for Demetrius Andrade to confirm whether he’s going to come up a weight. If he does, the WBO will order an interim title fight between Zach and Andrade. Whatever happens, Zach is the number one contender, so he’ll fight somebody for the interim title.

All our guys are in good positions at the moment and all the youngsters we’ve got will be out in March too, Hamzah Sheeraz, Sam Noakes, Dennis McCann and many of the others. We’ve got a great collection of young fighters and we want to keep them very busy now.

And don’t forget Joe Joyce. Unfortunately for him, he fractured his wrist late last year and he was due to fight in February.

He won’t be out now until about April or early May if it all heals up properly. He’s ranked number one and we want to keep him busy and keep him in shape.

The injury is a bit of a nightmare for a boxer really because you can’t even train or spar because it’s all strapped up. It’s a shame as we had a really good fight lined up for him but he’ll be back soon enough.

My tip for 2022 - keep an eye on this fella!

We’ve got so many fantastic fighters in brilliant positions to break out in 2022, so it’s hard to just pick one.

There’s a guy in the number one spot who I’m sure is going to win a world title and that’s Anthony Yarde. He’s already come close once but I think this is the year he’s going to do it.

There are also some of the guys I’ve already mentioned above like Dubois and so forth but the guy I think who is really ready to break out is Zach Parker.

He's ranked number one with the WBO at super-middleweight and he’s such an exciting fighter. We’re so happy to be working with him at Queensberry.

We’ve got some big plans for him. There’s a big new indoor arena being built in Derby and he’ll be opening that and continuing to help him build that following so that hopefully we can get a huge fight on for him at the football ground [Pride Park].

The fight I most want to see in 2022

The obvious one is Tyson in with Oleksandr Usyk. That’s the obvious fight. But to get that on Tyson’s got to deal with Whyte and Usyk has got to deal with Anthony Joshua, which I think he will.

If Usyk doesn’t, then it’ll be Tyson vs Joshua – who cares which one it is, as long as we can get the unification done!

Tyson will be fighting in March. Dillian Whyte still has this arbitration hearing scheduled with the WBC so I don’t know how that is going to pan out but if that is a problem, we’re just going to move on. Tyson’s career is not going to revolve around Whyte.

The changes I want to see in 2022

The big problem that all sport has is drugs. That is what needs to be dealt with. There needs to be a competent central agency set up to deal with that. And boxing would benefit more than anything from an agency like that who could deal with all medical matters.

To me, UKAD isn’t fit for purpose. Some of the decisions they’ve made over the last few years and some of the things that have happened, I don’t understand what their role is.

Technology in boxing? I don’t know. We could look at what happened in Hamzah Sheeraz’s fight against Bradley Skeete recently. We all saw what happened. It was a decision made by the referee to carry on because he asked Bradley if he wanted to continue fighting. If he said no, Hazmah may have been disqualified. But he didn’t. So the referee penalised Hamzah instead.

I think to be stopping boxing and watching replays like VAR… we see it enough in football at the moment don’t we? Players don’t even celebrate goals sometimes and it takes two, three, four minutes to get the right decision. I don’t want to get into that.

I think where we are now, the one thing I would like to see happen is that if a referee or a judge has a real bad night, as in their scores are bad or they make a mistake, they should be treated like football referees and get dropped or demoted. Take them out of championship fights.

You see it all the time at the moment, bad decisions, and then the next week they’re doing another big fight. I know it’s in human nature to make mistakes but some of the scoring in the last couple of years has been dreadful. The scoring in the Parker vs Chisora fight recently for example, hideous!

Judges just need to be competent. These people are being given a job that they’re paid for professionally and they should be competent. They’re not amateurs. If they’re not up to it and continually making these errors, they should be demoted.

Sheeraz vs Skeete 2 update

We offered Bradley Skeete the rematch and they came back and said they couldn’t do it in February. But once we’d pulled that show we want back to them and said ‘fine, you can have it in March’. They haven’t even responded so that’s a dead duck I think.

I have no problem with Hamzah having the rematch with him. I think he would knock him out again. He took a while to get going in that first fight. He did hit Bradley when he was down but he’s not that type of guy, Hamzah, he just did it out of frustration probably. But he did knock him down initially with a legitimate punch and the referee dealt with it in the ring.

The best way for them to sort it out afterwards would be to fight again but Bradley doesn’t want it so we’ll move on.