Frank Warren exclusive: Why Willy Hutchinson could be the new Joe Calzaghe & his 'Marvelous' Marvin Hagler tribute

The Hall of Fame promoter speaks exclusively to BT Sport in the latest edition of his column ahead of a cracking double-header coming up this weekend.

Published: 24 March 2021 - 1.44pm
Features Boxing

Frank Warren

I’m really looking forward to seeing Willy Hutchinson fight this weekend.

This is his moment. This is a chance for him to be the fighter I think he is. If he comes through it, he sets himself up for a really big year.

I genuinely think he’s like a young Joe Calzaghe. He’s got the ability to follow in his footsteps.

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He’s one of the most decorated amateur boxers ever to come out of Scotland. He’s looked brilliant in every fight we've put him in so far.

What I like about him is that if you look at his recent Tweets and posts on Instagram, the definition he’s built on his body now, he’s got it in his head he wants to be a true super-middleweight.

That was one of my reservations previously, what was he going to be? He's now shown he belongs in this division.

It's a big fight for the British and Commonwealth titles and Lennox Clarke will get the best out of Willy.

I think it will be a great fight.

Watch Hutchinson v Clarke live on BT Sport 1 HD & Ultimate from 7pm on Saturday night, the second part of our superb Fight Night Live double bill this weekend.

Dennis "The Menace" McCann - another one to watch!

Dennis is a phenomenal young talent, there’s no doubt about it.

I like what he does in the ring. He came in to the Queensberry stable after I think 17 or 18 consecutive knockouts on the amateur circuit.

All he wants to do is fight, he wants to be the best. His attitude is great, he’s constantly training. And it’s not like he goes round the corner to the gym, I think he has to travel a round trip of something like 100 miles.

For him to be doing that, to me it shows serious commitment. It’s all he does, he wants to be the best. I’m so thrilled that he’s with us and I really do feel that there will be some good things happening with him.

We'll start stepping him up on Friday night when he fights Luis Moreno, he's a 9-1 Mexican fighter with six knockouts so he should be a good test at this stage for Dennis.

Watch McCann on the undercard of the Ennis-Brown v Maxwell bout, with coverage on BT Sport 1 HD & Ultimate from 7pm on Friday.

Our young fighters are on fast-forward!

I look back when I started off in the game and some of the kids coming through would have almost 30 fights before they fought for a British title. They wouldn’t have a 10-rounder before 15 fights!

Make It Or Die trying: The Frank Warren Story

The BT Sport Films team take a unique biopic which reveals how the eponymous promoter rose from humble beginnings in North London to multimillion pound deals in Las Vegas.

Now, these kids are stepping up and having 10-round fights sometimes after eight fights. That never used to happen. Are they fitter? Probably. Nutrition has a much bigger influence now and it’s very important. But these challenges are coming earlier and earlier to the fighters. Sometimes you’re getting a guy winning a British title within 10 fights.

I think it’s down to what the expectation level is now. There is a lot of pressure on fighters much quicker now than there ever has been.

To be unbeaten is brilliant – and if you do lose, it depends how you lose. I think these young fighters are in a position now where even if you lose the fight, it’s not the end of the world.

You look back through recent history at the likes of Amir Khan losing against Breidis Prescott (which wasn’t a fight I wanted by the way!) he took it and he got beat. But he still came back and won a world title. I also did James DeGale vs George Groves very early on in their careers. Groves obviously won but they both went on to win world titles. It’s not the end of the world to get beaten.

Remembering 'Marvelous' Marvin Hagler

Marvin was one of the top three fighters of the decade in the 80s.

I think Boxing Illustrated voted him Fighter of the Decade actually – and Boxing Illustrated was quite a big deal back then. It was quite a prestigious award and he deserved it, he was an amazing fighter.

He never ducked anybody, he fought everyone. He was just extra special. He got frozen out a little bit when he beat Alan Minto on that infamous night at Wembley Arena when some of the fans were pretty awful, to be honest.

He went on to defend his belt in some great fights like that classic against Tommy Hearns. I was at that fight and it was the most exciting fight I’ve ever seen.

I don’t know what it must have been like for those fighters in the ring because these guys really gave it their all, but for us watching those three rounds, we were all worn out! They never took a backwards step, they could have had that fight in a phone box.

I met Hagler a few times, I met him when I went to the Hall of Fame as he was a regular at those ceremonies. He was such a nice man and an amazing fighter.

He's a big loss for our sport.

Frank Warren will be back soon, giving BT Sport his exclusive insight on the world of boxing with a huge year of fights ahead in 2021.