Frank Warren (promoter)
February 28, 1952 |
Early life and early career
Warren was approached by his second-cousin Lenny McLean who having just lost a fight and wanting a rematch, could not find a promoter. Warren agreed to become an unlicensed promoter, getting McLean a trainer who had worked with Chris Finnegan, and made the rematch at the Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park.
Warren's first licensed show was held at the Bloomsbury Crest Hotel, in London in 1980, promoting two unknown United States heavyweights. However, although he had arranged TV coverage, he was blocked from broadcasting the fight by the British Boxing Board of Control rules preventing first-time from televising their first fights. However Warren was later given his first TV date with the BBC in a British light welterwight fight between London's champion Clinton McKenzie and Coventry contender Steve Early.
Warren soon became a leading figure in British boxing, and since has managed some of Britain's best boxers of the last twenty five years, including 'Prince' Naseem Hamed, Nigel Benn, Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton, Dereck Chisora and Amir Khan.
Warren guided Hamed to become Britain's youngest ever world champion when he beat Steve Robinson to win the WBO Featherweight title at the Cardiff Arms Park, Wales, in 1995; he oversaw the ascent of Ricky Hatton to the IBF Light Welterweight Championship of the World after beating Kostya Tszyu in 2005; and has been with former IBF and WBO/WBC/WBA/Ring Magazine Super Middleweight Champion Joe Calzaghe throughout the majority of his 46 fight unbeaten career.
Warren signed the 2004 Olympic Lightweight silver medallist Amir Khan and after guiding him to be a world champion in 2009, but the two split in 2010. He continued this post-Olympic record by signing others after the 2008 Olympics.
Warren's major vehicles for promotion are Sports Network Ltd and Sports Network Europe, which employ 15 people, but rises up to 1,000 on the day of a big fight. In 1995 Warren signed an exclusive deal with the pay-TV operator British Sky Broadcasting, but having moved his promotions successfully around all of the UK television networks, he currently has a television deal with Sky Sports.
In July 2011, Warren started the BoxNation TV channel alongside the Boxing Channel Media Limited group. The channel was originally free-to-air and only released on the Sky platform, but on 1 December 2011 BoxNation was broadcast on Virgin Media for the first time and became a subscription channel at the same time.
On 30 November 1989, Warren was shot outside the Broadway Theatre in Barking by an unknown assailant wearing a balaclava, who was never caught. A .22 bullet from a Luger pistol missed Warren's heart by an inch, and he lost half a lung and parts of his ribs. The former boxer, Terry Marsh, who had become Warren's first world champion two years earlier, was accused of the shooting but acquitted by a jury.
Warren won a case when pursued by HM Revenue and Customs but has lost two cases, one a £7.2m dispute with Don King which was settled, and later a dispute with Calzaghe. Warren later successfully sued the solicitor who acted in the King matter and won significant damages.
Warren has admitted to have issued over 40 writs, mainly against newspapers over various negative comments, including winning a £10,000 payment against the Daily Mirror. Warren accepted £30,000 in libel damages against the Daily Record newspaper in respect of false allegations that he dishonestly fixed the outcome of the fight between John Simpson and Derry Matthews in March 2007, alleging that Warren had met the fight referee the evening before the bout. As well as paying Warren damages and legal costs, the newspaper also published a full apology. Due to the amount of writs that has been issued in his career, the internet website Boxrec on its forums prevents his name from appearing in print and instead the word "allegedly" appears in place of his name. Other popular forums have been forced to censor his surname to prevent legal action being taken against them.
Represented by solicitors Carter-Ruck, in 2007 Warren secured apology and significant damages from publisher Random House over defamatory comments in the book Ricky Hatton: The Hitman, My Story. Random House withdrew the book from sale.
Warren was also the founder and owner of the London Arena. Beset by transport problems, he was about to raise additional finance until shot - he says the incident cost him £8million, as he was forced to sell it in 1996.
Warren also invested in Hertford Town FC.
Notable television appearances
Warren appeared as himself in "Raging Pig", an episode of Operation Good Guys. Warren observed, "A few people have seen that show! It is funny, I read somewhere that someone had done a review on one of our videos and they asked why I’m such a miserable bastard - it goes to show that they don’t know me. Ask anyone who knows me; I’m a pretty outgoing person. Operation Good Guys was put together by Ray Burdis, who is a good mate of mine, and I enjoyed it. Maybe people get pre-conceived views of who I am but I do enjoy myself and have my bit of fun. Ask anyone who really knows me and they’ll tell you that some of stuff that is said on the Internet doesn’t accurately describe me, but people have an opinion and are entitled to express it."
- "Frank Warren: 'Calzaghe was the biggest disappointment. Total disloyalty...'". London: The Independent. 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- "Boxing, Frank Warren: Quarter of a century of fighting his corner". London: The Independent. 2005-12-05. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- "Frank Warren". International Boxing Hall of Fame. 2008. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
- "Warren company in administration". BBC Sport. 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- Davies, Gareth. "Frank Warren launches BoxNation, a new fight sports channel on Sky". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Laughlin, Andrew. "BoxNation to launch on Virgin Media". Digitalspy.co.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Syed, Matthew (2009-02-17). "Frank Warren still rolling with life's punches". London: The Times. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- "'Mike Tyson did not hit me…'". London: The Observer. 200-11-05. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- "Frank Warren Secures Back To Back Libel Victories". Carter Ruck. 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-30.[dead link]
- "Danny Williams should have retired after Klitschko: Warren - Boxing News". Boxingscene.com. Retrieved 2013-08-14.