Frank Warren hopes a fight between Anthony Yarde and Emin Atra will take place at the third attempt in late August.
The pair were supposed to clash first in April, only for Yarde to withdraw with a tooth abscess. Then the unbeaten German pulled out of their rearranged fight at the Royal Albert Hall this Saturday with an injury.
But the aim is now for the fight to go ahead in August, with a Yarde-Lyndon Arthur rematch in October, providing Yarde win and Arthur beats David Faraci on Saturday night.
Warren insists the rematch will happen, despite some grumbling from the Arthur camp since he won their first fight via a split decision last December.
Saturday’s show was originally organized to give both Arthur and Yarde an interim fight both asked for.
“I am at the end of my tether with it,” Warren said about complaints about a rematch. “The reason the fight was made in the first place was that they both wanted a rematch clause in there and everyone signed up to that. We have both have allowed them a fight in between.
“We should not even be doing this [show], it should have gone straight to the rematch. Now we get all this nonsense. There is a rematch and that’s that.”
Arthur now holds the No 1 slot in the WBO rankings, but while Warren says he has spoken to representatives of the champion, Joe Smith Jr, a mandatory defence is not due yet.
“We have spoken to Smith’s people,” Warren said. “He is with Joe DeGuardia, but they are looking at a unification fight, they are not due a mandatory until next year.”
The decision last month by the British government to extend pandemic restrictions until July 19, means that only 1,000 tickets can be sold for Saturday’s card at the Royal Albert Hall, about a third of what had been expected. Warren says that means a financial loss on the show.
“We were doing the show on the basis that we would be allowed a 50 percent attendance,” Warren said. “What I am pissed off with we are doing our money on this show, while other sports, football, tennis, they are allowing capacity crowds in. With theatres they are also allowing 50 per cent in. What is the difference with the Albert Hall and boxing?
“But if we cancel the show, the boxers don’t get the work. If I put my sensible hat on, I would cancel, bit I want to see Zach Parker out there.”
Hopefully, though, this will be the final London card with restricted attendances, although Warren, who promotes at the SSE Wembley on July 24, is not banking on it yet.
“It depends what happens in the next couple of weeks,” Warren said. “Because the result of all these gatherings (connected with the European Football Championships) is that the figures are going to go through the roof. Some hospitals are already closing to new patients and if treatments start being cancelled we are back to square one. It’s not even about deaths, it is about the NHS being overwhelmed.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.