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Francis Warren steps out of father Frank's footsteps as he makes an impact on the UK boxing scene

By David Kelly

Boxing is in the DNA of Francis Warren and he’s determined to be behind some of the biggest stars of the sport in the UK and Ireland.

The son of Frank Warren, the man behind so many of British boxing’s stars over the past 30 years, Francis plays a key role in Queensberry Promotions which has brother George as Managing Director — while also developing his new fighting format, Total Combat.

The emergence of Francis has come coincidentally at a time when Eddie Hearn — son of Barry — has become a major force with Sky, who in recent years have staged many mega-fights. But BoxNation, the subscription broadcaster which has brother George on the board of directors, is gaining in strength — and, Francis insists, is offering fighters the chance to become stars.

“BoxNation has forced Sky to raise their game. Because it’s a boxing channel pure and simple, BoxNation has to offer competitive fights all the way down the card and as a promoter that’s what I want to deliver. Too many times you see cards and you know the guys in one corner are all on for wins — that’s not good enough any more,” said Francis, speaking exclusively to Sunday Life.

“Of course guys have to develop but it’s not about padding records, we have to see our fighters tested and they have to know that losing isn’t the end of the world, you can come back just the way we brought Chris Eubank jnr back into a tough fight which he won after his loss to Billy Joe Saunders,” said Francis.

“I believe that we now have a young group of fighters who in the next couple of years are going to be fighting for world titles and becoming big names in Britain — guys like Jack Catteral, Mitchell Smith, Liam Walsh, Liam Smith and Paul Butler.

“And we want to expand — I think the Irish market is largely untapped. There’s a lot of talent that comes out of Belfast and any time I have been there for shows the fans have been terrific.”

The 30-year-old also revealed that his dad is battling hard to land unbeaten Tyson Fury his shot at World heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko — with the Emirates Stadium or Wembley the preferred arena to stage the clash.

He added: “They’re in talks at the moment and what a fight that would be to bring to the UK — it doesn’t get any better than the biggest prize in sport. My dad did Bruno and McCall at Wembley Stadium 20 years ago and to do the World heavyweight title there again 20 years on would be very special.”

While he has naturally learned greatly from his dad, Francis also recently staged his first Total Combat show on BTSport — a concept he developed himself, where fighters compete in one six-minute round.

“I wanted to strip boxing right back to what fans want — the answer is knockouts, stoppages and money. The guys are getting rewarded handsomely for taking part and the audience gets all-out, toe-to-toe action,” said Francis.

“BTSport loved it and we have had some great feedback. Already other countries are looking to take the franchise and we have four more shows lined up and then we will look to do live shows — and we would be keen to do one in Belfast and if some Irish guys want to get involved we’d love that.”

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