Fight manager Francis Warren contends MMA v Boxing crossover fights are not going anywhere.
Francis, son of Hall of Fame promoter Frank, is managing boxers under the umbrella of FW Sports/Champion Sports Management – his own management group. CSM is an overarching company and Warren is looking to deliver 10 boxers on an almost one-to-one capacity, including some who fight under the promotional banner of his father, Queensberry Promotions.
Tyson Fury’s fight with Francis Ngannou echoes what Floyd Mayweather did against Conor McGregor, and like that attraction, it is sure to make everyone involved a fortune.
“Look at it,” Francis said of the press conference to announce the heavyweight event in Saudi Arabia on October 28. “Great turnout, great press, there’s a big great buzz about here today, and these sort of events are here to stay, I think. They always bring something a bit unique and a bit different. It’s great exposure for the sport, and not only that, it gives some of the guys on the undercard a great opportunity to be part of something huge as well.”
Francis will likely have some boxers on the Saudi Arabia show, and while he is not involved with the financial side of the show, he has seen how big the Fury publicity juggernaut has become.
“Tyson [Fury] fills a stadium I think anywhere he goes,” Warren continued. “In the UK, especially, and in the States he generates a big gate as well, so, at the end of the day he’s a superstar. As you just saw, he boxed Derek Chisora last December, no disrespect to Derek [Chisora] with not the best record in the world, and that still sold tens and tens and tens of thousands of tickets and packed out [Tottenham] Spur’s football ground [in winter]. So, the short answer to it is yes, this is probably one of the biggest fights out there, but at the end of the day I think Tyson could fill a stadium with pretty much any opponent.”
With his father, who has been promoting boxing for several decades, heavily involved with the sport now, does Francis anticipate his own move into promotions? That is unlikely. He seems content managing.
“Listen, I don’t know,” he said, of whether he would start his own promotional entity. “I don’t think it will be, Queensberry [Promotions] do an amazing job for the guys that I look after. You never know what the future holds, but at the moment for the very very foreseeable future, my guys have got a great home at Queensberry, and it’s not about me looking to branch out into promotion, I’m a manager and that’s what I love doing on a day-in day-out basis, and I’m very excited with the group of guys that I’m working with.”
While his father might have been a significant promotional player for years, he still has a way to go until he reaches the likes of Bob Arum and Don King, who are promoting into their nineties. Warren is working on Fury-Ngannou with Arum.
“As long as he’s smiling,” Francis laughed, when asked of his father’s continued involvement. “Yeah, I mean listen, he’s [got] a pretty formidable appetite to keep doing it as long as he’s doing it. The majority of the promoters, they keep going, and going, and going for ever and ever, and I don’t think he’d be any different.”