Q: Leeds provides a massive football following for Josh Warrington - our local boxers have associations with various clubs, but (other than Brook v Spence at Sheffield United) nothing like the numbers Warrington enjoys. How important is it that boxers find a niche like that?
A: Obviously from a promoter’s point of view, it makes the job much easier if there’s a big fan base.
But not everyone is blessed with having a connection.
Ricky Hatton, who I promoted, was like a people’s champion, and Josh has created his connection with the Leeds fans.
The thing about Leeds is that they’ve never had a world champion, whereas in Sheffield, we’ve been spoiled.
Also in Leeds, their football team hasn’t won anything for a number of years; so Josh is a sporting hero with a great personality, who’s won something and they’re going to get behind him.
You do have to be careful though and fans have to be educated that if there is trouble then you’ll damage a fighter’s career and it can be just one person who can spoil a night.
We’ve talked about Khan v Brook before and how little progress has been made. Barry Hearn mentions 2019 now. Do we all have to accept it’s never likely to happen?
It should have happened years ago, and I tried to play a part in making it happen. Sometimes you get too many cooks spoiling the broth, too many people involved. I could have put a fair deal together, with an associate of mine, whereby everybody would have been happy. Obviously, it would have included Eddie Hearn, both fighters and the public would have been happy. I’m getting less optimistic that it will happen; it’s lost its sparkle for me. Both fighters aren’t going to get any better,they’re still quality but probably past their best. It would still be a decent fight though, I’d watch it.
Jarrett Hurd has belts on offer - would Kell beat him?
With Kell’s pedigree and quality, I think he has a chance against anybody. They do need to pick carefully which champion they go after; it’s about timing. He is capable of winning another world championship, but has maybe been softened up a bit. If I was involved, I’d be knocking on Khan’s door and saying, ‘let’s get it on!’ I wouldn’t be looking at anyone else.
When’s your next show?
I’m doing a show with Stefy Bull in Doncaster on June 16 and then we’re up in the north east on July 27 where Thomas Ward rematches Jazza Dickens for the British title.
Nicki Smedley tells us he’s officially retired. A loss to Sheffield boxing?
He was a talent, but that was a few years ago, so I don’t know why he’s saying it now. I thought a lot of him, but I’m mystified why he’s talking about it now, because he was just playing at it five years ago. It’s shame he didn’t apply himself, because we could have had another champion on our hands.
Tyson Fury’s comeback - what do we need to see from him to satisfy us he’s back in shape and mentally and physically on song?
He’s a work in progress, he has the track record and the CV, he just needs to get his timing back.
He’ll start to go through the gears and get the cobwebs off.
I don’t think we’ll see much in this first fight, but hopefully we do.
If he’s in shape and is getting good sparring then he’s on the right track.
If his mindset is good then he can win another world title. As regards his opponent, I think he’s ok for his first fight back, but after this it needs to be a credible opponent to test himself.