Boxing faces shake up as Warren considers licensing breakaway

BRITAIN’S top boxing promoter Frank Warren has threatened to overhaul the sport in this country after revealing he will consider prolonging his partnership with the controversial Luxembourg Boxing Federation (FLB).

David Haye’s clinical fifth-round stoppage of the durable Dereck Chisora on Saturday night concluded an acrimonious six-month period in which a press conference brawl between the two fighters resulted in the latter having his boxing licence withdrawn by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC).

In an unprecendented move, both fighters were thereafter licensed by the FLB in order to allow their grudge match to take place and now Warren, having witnessed the considerable success of that particular show, is admitting he may in future seek to do the same.

“The situation with the board is that people forget it’s not a government represented body,” Warren last night told City A.M. “They’re a limited company. It’s run by a small group of stewards of two or three guys who drive all the policies. There are 2,500 licence holders who aren’t allowed to vote on anything.

“The fact of the matter is the board mishandled the whole Haye and Chisora thing and as a so-called body of sport, to send out statements saying if anyone participates in this fight they’ll be deemed to have handed in their licences, and stuff like that, and to have to retract that, tells you they’re not taking proper legal advice.

“From my point of view, I think ‘do we support this governing body in its present state, or not?’, and I’m really in two minds now about where I go with this.

“I don’t want to see the end of the Boxing Board of Control, I’m against [president and chairman] Charlie Giles and [steward] John Rees, and a couple of other stewards. There are some good stewards there whose heart and soul is in boxing, but unfortunately the other guys have the power.”

Warren’s next promotion is scheduled for 22 September, when Dagenham’s Kevin Mitchell challenges Ricky Burns for the World Boxing Organisation’s lightweight title, and though both fighters remain fully licensed by the BBBofC, the promoter admits that the FLB may yet sanction their showdown in a move that would further undermine the BBBofC’s authority.

“I’m actually debating it,” said Warren. “I’m actually thinking about where to go with [Mitchell versus Burns].

“We did save money [using the FLB]. Their sanctioning fees are nowhere near [the same as the BBBofC’s], and it opened my eyes. I thought ‘wow, I’ve never thought about this side of it’. And the boxers also saved money as far as sanctioning fees are concerned, so it makes you wonder.”

The BBBofC declined to comment when contacted, but any controversy was regardless largely forgotten about after Saturday’s fight when Haye and Chisora shared both mutual respect and an embrace and it is this that Warren believes strongly vindicates those who argued that the fight should be allowed to take place.

“The crowd there really enjoyed the show. The important thing is they settled their differences in the ring and even more importantly, after the fight, they were very friendly – arms around each other, and that’s the end of that. Everything that happened in Germany just got buried – it was a good night for boxing.”

“It’s moronic [for anybody to say the press conference fight was staged]. It’s moronic for anyone to think that.”