Frank Warren's Column: Sunny Edwards ready to shock the world, Michael Conlan's return & Adeleye's lesson learned

The Hall of Fame promoter looks ahead to Friday night's must-see IBF flyweight world title clash as Sunny Edwards aims to shock the champ, Moruti Mthalane live on BT Sport.

By George Mills Published: 28 April 2021 - 4.27pm
Features Boxing

Frank Warren

Sunny Edwards is facing a very tough test on Friday night. He’s stepping up to world level and he’s probably facing the best guy in the flyweight division in Moruti Mthalane.

Mthalane has got a win over Zolani Tete - who’s a very, very good fighter – when Tete was younger, he did a job on him. We all know what Tete went on to do to Paul Butler and a few other guys over here in the UK so that’s a yardstick about how good Mthalane is.

He’s also beaten John Riel Casemiro – who beat Sunny’s brother Charlie in 2016 – so this is a tough, tough fight.

BT Sport Monthly Pass

Join the home of live sport for just £25 per month. Get instant access to the BT Sport app, with no contract and no BT broadband required.

Sunny is going to need to use all his skills – and he is a very skilled boxer with bags of self-belief. He has to be fully focused for every second of every round if he’s going to beat Mthalane. 

Mthalane is no spring chicken anymore and I hope he’s got a few miles on the clock when it comes to the fight. Sunny has got the ability to beat him but even if Sunny does lose, he’ll take some great lessons from defeat and that’s the beauty of boxing.

He’s at the point now where he needs one of these fights because we don’t want him to get stale.

He’s moved between flyweight and super-flyweight in recent years has Sunny, but he felt this opportunity was the right one for him.

Sunny’s comfortable at flyweight and he’s a student of boxing and he knows his stuff. He feels he’s made the right choice and we have provided him the platform to do that.

At the end of the day, we try to make the right matches and the right time and I hope in this case, that’s how it’s going to turn out.

Mick's back in business

We've made a good, tough fight for Michael Conlan on Friday against Ionut Baluta.

Mick's on a bit of a roll at the moment and he’s on the verge of a world title so he can’t afford to slip up. 

Baluta has got some good wins recently including TJ Doheny, who's a former world champion, and David Oliver Joyce, who he stopped for the European title last time out.

If all goes well, this is a fight I think Mick needs just to be absolutely sure of his level before a world title shot. I hope he can come through it and I’m confident he will show what he’s made of.

He’s got a really big following all over the world but especially in the States. There will be a lot of interested parties watching on this Friday night to make sure he gets that win.

Sink or swim for Troy

Troy Williamson is back in action fighting on the undercard this Friday night against Kieran Smith.

He's on the verge of breaking out into some big fights. We want to get him into a world title fight ASAP.

He’s 29 and he’s had about 16 fights so it’s time to see if he’s got it. It’s not like he’s a young lad coming through, we need to step on the gas now with him so I want to see a strong performance from him.

Callum's cracking Queensberry debut

Hats off to Callum Johnson.

To be out of the ring for 25 months and then take on a guy like Emil Markic, whose record showed he was a big puncher, who only lost 2 fights from 30-odd and had knocked 24 of them out... you could see why!

Markic was heavy-handed in the exchanges and he really came to fight, he hurt Callum and caught him with a really good shot that wobbled him in the first round. He gritted his teeth though, Callum, and he came back to win really well. There was more action in those first two rounds than in most 12 round fights!

They’re the kind of performances that give him a very, very good chance of getting that fight with [WBO light heavyweight champion] Joe Smith Jr.

Smith won’t fight now until the autumn but we must keep Callum busy. I don’t want him sitting around. He needs to be busy after such a long lay-off. 

We’ve got Anthony Yarde and Lyndon Arthur fighting over the next month or so, and if they come through their respective fights they will rematch each other.

Who knows what could happen after that. If Callum gets there before they do for a shot at the world title then there are some great domestic bouts to make.

Cash vs Williams - let's see it!

Felix Cash looked very big and strong in his win over Denzel Bentley on Friday night and Liam Williams has already said he wants a piece next.

The only thing that could stop that from happening is if Felix vacates his title. The British Boxing Board of Control will order it when his mandatory is due because Liam is the preferential challenger.

Why wouldn’t Cash fight him? Liam’s the guy that just fought the world champion and Felix has ambitions of fighting for a world title so why not see if he can do better than Andrade did?

Adeleye's tough learning fight

Going into that fight last weekend, David was a five-fight novice. His last fight was against a guy who was a last minute sub and it was always going to be a walkover.

He went in there on Saturday against a guy who’s had 33 or 34 fights. Kamil Sokolowski is a very well-respected journeyman, a tough guy with a wealth of experience and he’d just come out of training camp helping Joseph Parker prepare for his fight against Derek Chisora so you knew he was going to be in good nick.

It was always going to be a step up for David because he is a novice but I think he won the fight. It’s all about who lands the punches. David’s jab could have been better, I didn’t like where his hands where, I didn’t like his head movement, I didn’t like him spending a lot of time on the ropes. But the punches that scored, he threw more of so for me, he won the fight.

Kamil did what he did, used all his experience to try and cut down the distance and old-man him, push him against the ropes and muscle him about for most of the fight. But David wobbled him in the last round and I thought it was a tremendous learning fight.

I didn’t agree with the commentary of the fight. They said David was in ‘crisis’ at one point – what crisis was he in? He was never wobbled, I don’t even think he was hit with two consecutive punches. David was hit with one or two shots but he wasn’t getting hammered by combinations. There wasn’t a mark on him during the post-fight interview, and he was the one who wobbled Kamil in the last round.

At the end of the day, David is a novice and it was a fight for experience for him. It will stand him in good stead and he’ll learn from that. He’s got a lot of work to do and him calling out Nathan Gorman recently was ridiculous – I’ve said that all along. It’s great to have ambition but we need to temper that sometimes and let him learn his trade.

Watch Fight Night Live - Mthalane v Edwards from 7pm on BT Sport 1 HD & Ultimate on Friday 30 April.