Frank Warren Stands Firm On Contractual Obligations Set In Stone

Frank Warren is no stranger to a solicitor's letter.

And he declared on Friday with characteristic pugnacity that media critics and others who have inferred or stated his business was in trouble after the defection of George Groves to his rival Eddie Hearn and then, more contentiously, the announced departure of Ricky Burns, would be receiving the familiar envelope on Monday.

He remains adamant that Burns, the WBO lightweight champion, is contracted to fight the IBF titleholder Miguel Vázquez at Wembley on 20 April, even though the Scot's manager, Alex Morrison, announced on Thursday that their partnership with Warren was over.

The show is going ahead on BoxNation, Warren says, headlined by Nathan Cleverly, in defence of his world light-heavyweight title against the German-based Serb Robin Kasniqi.

"Not one person has picked up the phone to any of the organisations asking about our agreement being lodged on behalf of Vázquez. All of these people, including Alex Morrison, [talking] about no contracts … some time early this evening, certainly no later than Monday, will all be receiving solicitor's letters asking for apologies and damages.

"I have a contract with Vázquez, on my website. You can see the letter from the IBF. And in the meantime I have a contract with Ricky. I like Ricky, I don't want to fall out with him, and I'm not making any other statements about it."

Vázquez withdrew from the original date on 16 March because of a stomach illness. Warren says he has a copy of the medical evidence that confirms this. Before that Burns' fight against José Ocampo in December was cancelled after the sudden death of Ocampo's trainer.

"We had a contract and, at the moment, that's being dealt with," Warren said of the rescheduled Vázquez fight. "Vázquez is contracted to box Ricky Burns on that date. And he has confirmed that he will fight on that date. Everybody seems to be cancelling it except me – and I'm the one who's putting up the money.

"What it's called is wishful thinking. I know I'm right; I've been around long enough to know whether I'm right or wrong. Do you know how long they've been writing my obituary for? The only person to write my obituary is me."

Another intriguing player entered the ring on Friday, as the fallout continued to reverberate around British boxing.

The London promoter Johnny Eames – who is friendly with Burns and says he has the backing of rich Middle East financiers – was quoted on the boxing website as saying he would be "daft not to be interested" in signing him, although he has not opened formal talks with Burns or his associates – or Warren.

Eames says his young Showtime Sports Events company has considerable financial muscle. If he and his friends were to make a major move in a marketplace currently dominated by Warren and Eddie Hearn, the landscape may look considerably more volatile.

"A hundred per cent we have not approached Ricky," Eames said. "He's a friend of mine as is [his trainer] Billy [Nelson] and [his manager] Alex [Morrison]. We have spoken, but just to see if he's all right. I've been misquoted from somewhere.

"We don't want to be getting involved at this early stage just in case there are any possible libel suits. With the financial backing we've got we can compete with anyone, so it's possible for us to promote any fighter in the world. Should it become clear that Ricky is not under contract and he is free to speak then we'd be daft not to be interested, but no formal approach has been made."

Powered by article was written by Kevin Mitchell, for on Friday 8th March 2013 20.30 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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