Frank Warren glanced at three of his elite fighters – Nathan Cleverly, Dereck Chisora and Liam Walsh – and cautioned the doubters who reckon he might be finished. "We're here to stay," the promoter said.
Warren invited the media to a press conference in London on Thursday to confirm that his postponed Wembley Arena show would go ahead on 20 April, headlined by Cleverly, and promised an announcement on Friday of more funding for BoxNation, the subscription channel he asserts is now "in great shape".
"We've got three shows over the next three weeks," he said. "We'll be announcing dates up in Scotland in the next two weeks and a few other world title fights. There'll certainly be some big announcements on BoxNation over the next four or five days, regarding big fights that will be broadcast on the channel. So, don't write us off yet. I've seen that so many times. You'll just make yourself look stupid."
Frank Warren Promotions Ltd, now trading as W.Promotions Ltd, show accumulated losses of £4,361,142 over two years at 31 March, 2012, but the promoter is bullish about the future of the TV station at the heart of his boxing empire.
Warren spoke of loyalty, commitment and belief – and his determination to sue for breach of contract against Ricky Burns, the WBO lightweight champion, who followed the Commonwealth super-middleweight champion, George Groves, out the door last week to join Eddie Hearn's growing Matchroom stable. Groves left on good terms but Burns and his manager, Alex Morrison, have terminated their agreement with Warren in stronger language, claiming monies owed.
It is turmoil the promoter has consistently taken in his stride over three decades. And Warren is confident that Cleverly, the WBO light-heavyweight champion, will fight Bernard Hopkins, the IBF title-holder who at the weekend again became the oldest champion in boxing at 48, with victory over Tavoris Cloud – if he successfully defends his WBO version of the title against Robin Krasniqi at Wembley. Warren's unpredictable heavyweight Chisora and the rising Commonwealth super-featherweight champion, Walsh, are on the undercard, both against opponents yet to be named.
"The last 30 years I've been written off more times than I care to remember," Warren said. "I've seen them all come and go over the years, all of them, and I'm still here, still punching above the weight. I will continue to do so with the support of the staff that I've got, friends I've got. They've been very understanding.
"BoxNation's turning a big corner. And that can only be good for boxing because it creates competition. It means that there are two TV companies at the moment fighting over the services of boxers, which means the boxers' purses, hopefully, will go up. If we have only one game in town, the money's gonna drop and drop and drop – which was happening in 2011, before we left [Sky].
"What we did was to put our own money up. Here were are now, nearly 18 months on, and the channel's in great shape. It's enabled a lot of boxers to make a lot of money. That can only be good for boxing."
Of the fighters who have stuck by him Warren said: "They've been very understanding at times [about] where we've been with the channel, what we've had to do. They showed tremendous patience."
He made a point of singling out Cleverly, his remaining world champion. "As for Nathan, I will [take] every opportunity I can give to him any advantage in this business, because he's been more than a friend. It's not a friend like 'these are my friends in boxing, all boxers are my friends'. That's not how it works, we know it isn't. That's bullshit. But some people in boxing are your friends. Some people you do feel you're always giving back the loyalty to them. The guys sitting at this table have been extremely loyal. They'll get it back from me a million times over."
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