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Frank Warren fumes at Frampton-Khan clash

Frank Warren is not happy.

The veteran promoter will promote one of his biggest fights in recent years on Saturday April 21st in Belfast when four-weight champion Nonito Donaire comes to town to take on home hero Carl Frampton.

However, the featherweight clash at the SSE Odyssey Arena – shown live on BT Sport and BoxNation – will not be the only big boxing card on in Britain and Ireland that weekend.

On the same evening across the Irish Sea, former light welter world champ and Olympic silver medalist Amir Khan returns to the ring at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, facing a to-be-confirmed foe in the headline fight of a Matchroom card live on Sky Sports.

Before Christmas Warren had said Frampton would face the Filipino Flash on April 7th.

The official announcement of the fight last Tuesday though saw April 21st confirmed as the date for the fight.

The following day then Matchroom announced their acquisition of Khan and his clashing comeback date.

This has angered Warren, who wrote in his column for the Daily Star that “it is just a shame that boxing fans have been made to choose yet again as it [Frampton v Donaire] clashes with Amir Khan’s return to the ring on the same night in Liverpool.”

“Boxing doesn’t need to dilute its audience any further by running big shows against each other on the same night.”

“You wouldn’t get Manchester United against Chelsea on Sky Sports with Arsenal against Liverpool at the same time on BT Sport, would you?”

“It is something that needs to be looked at but we announced our date with Frampton first so we cannot be blamed this time.”

It’s not the first time the two promoters have seen dates clash, with Matchroom’s Ryan Burnett unifying bantamweight titles versus Zhanat Zhakiyanov in Belfast on October 21st of last year going head-to-head with Queensbury ticket-seller Josh Warrington fighting in an IBF featherweight final eliminator against Dennis Ceylan in Leeds.

On that occasion, Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn had announced his card first.

While he is frustrated by the scheduling, Warren believes there is no question which fight and card will be superior in terms of competitiveness and entertainment.

The Queensbury boss outlined: “make no mistake about it though, the SSE Arena in Belfast will be the place to be that night or watching on TV as Frampton takes on a mighty foe.

By comparison, Warren notes that Khan, who will not have fought in almost two years since his WBO middleweight title knockout loss to Canelo Alvarez, will be involved in a fight versus a lesser foe.

The Londoner reasoned that “he will not be facing a big-name opponent as he looks to shake the ring rust off and there is nothing wrong with that after such a long time out.”


Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie