It was a shame to hear, this week, that Billy Joe Saunders’ fight with Martin Murray was called off for the second time. I don’t know the in’s and out’s of the situation, but I’ve got sympathy for Martin because he’s put a lot of work in and been away from his family. But if Billy Joe has a fight with GGG on the line then what are you going to do? I would like to see Martin compensated. I’ve done that before, when I was working with Ricky Hatton, we compensated a German fighter when Ricky fought Luis Collazo. The German was the mandatory, so it was a different situation, but the principle is still there. If Billy Joe is injured though, like he says, then there’s nothing you can do about it, and have to have sympathy for all parties.
Martin does needs compensating though because it’s cost him money and time with his family, so it would be good at least to keep him on the show. We got offered Liam Cameron for him but Liam’s not in training. We’d have jumped at that opportunity and it’s a shame Liam wasn’t fit and in the gym because, if he’d have beaten Murray, it would have been a massive scalp. Fighters should be in the gym ticking over, and that’s a lesson for Liam. It’s alright having a week off after a fight but your job, as a fighter, is to be ready.
I’m looking forward to Tyson Fury returning this weekend in Manchester. He’s had a bit of stick about his opponent [Sefer Seferi], but you can’t really knock it. But after this one, he won’t be able to fight dustmen from Albania, it will have to be meaningful fights. Tyson is extremely talented and, in my eyes, I’d pick him to beat Anthony Joshua. I don’t know how the layoff will have affected him, and it’s a shame he’s not with trainer Peter Fury now, but I don’t want to get into that. He’s fantastic talent though and if he can get back to his best, he has all the tools to beat Joshua. I’d give him a chance against anybody because he’s the man who beat the man [Wladimir Klitschko]. So, until Tyson gets beat, in my eyes, he’s the real champion. I do admire Joshua; he ticks all the boxes, he’s a great role model, and he’s good to watch. But Tyson at his best, and I don’t know if he can get back to that, would beat him.
Terry Flanagan tops the Manchester show this weekend, bidding to become a two-weight world champion again Maurice Hooker. Terry is obviously very capable, but he’s flown under the radar a bit. The kid can fight and I’m surprised he’s not been showcased as much as he should have been. I don’t want to point fingers but he’s got a big platform with BoxNation and BT Sport, and should be on chat shows and doing things to raise his profile. The PR machine should be better for him; he’d be more of a household name and this fight would actually be being talked about. Terry is a quiet kid, but that’s not necessarily a problem. Look at Marco Antonio Barrera, he never shot his mouth off and he was a world star. I had something similar with Clinton Woods who didn’t want to go out and ‘meet and greet’. It’s part of your job as a fighter, you have to help with PR, and promoting is a two-way thing. Ricky Hatton was a dream because he connected with people. I don’t know too much about Maurice Hooker but I’m sure he’ll be good. With Terry not having fought since April last year, I hope he can do himself justice and doesn’t have a slip up just through being inactive.
My next show is on June 16 in Doncaster, live on Freesports (Freeview 95, Freesat 252, Sky 422, BT 95, Talk Talk 95) and top of the bill is local lad Jason Cunningham, fighting Paul Economides for the Central Area Super Bantamweight Title. I’m co-promoting with Stefy Bull who’s a good matchmaker and makes good, entertaining fights. Cunningham is hoping to make history by eventually winning the Commonwealth title at three different weights, so getting this Area Title will stand him in good stead, and this fight could easily have been for an English or Commonwealth Title. So, it’s a cracking fight for Freesports. You can have big title fights but if they’re one sided then they’re boring. This won’t be a boring fight. Stefy’s done a great job putting this together, and the undercard will feature some good up and coming kids. It’ll be another good night of boxing and I’m sure the Freesports viewers will appreciate it. This is our fourth show with Freesports and we’ve set the bar high so far. It’s value for money because no-one’s having to pay to watch it; so, it’s great for the public. I’m excited about the future. I’m working well with Stefy and my director Steve Crump; we’re breeding champions and, in 12 to 18 months, will hopefully have kids knocking on the door of world titles.