Joe Joyce vs Christian Hammer,
Jason Cunningham vs Zolani Tete Fight Week Presser!
(June 30th) Fight week presser world title hopeful Joe Joyce returns to action for the first time in a year as he takes on former Tyson Fury opponent Christian Hammer.
European Champion, Jason Cunningham is also in action against 2-time world champion Zolani Tete. Elsewhere on the card the exciting Mark Chamberlain steps up to fight for an IBF European Lightweight Title.
‘High Stakes’ on Saturday, 2 July at the OVO Arena also includes leading heavyweight contender Joe Joyce taking on Christian Hammer for the WBO International and WBC Silver titles, along with the the highly anticipated super bantamweight collision between European champion Jason Cunningham and two-weight world champion Zolani Tete.
Stoke favourite Nathan Heaney will make a defence of his IBO International middleweight championship against Nizar Trimech. Mark Chamberlain will fight Marc Videl with the IBF European lightweight title at stake
Wycombe super lightweight Henry Turner and Bexley welterweight Micky Burke jr will fight over six rounds, with Ashford cruiserweight Arnold Obidai having his second pro fight over four. Thetford cruiserweight Tommy Fletcher will make his professional debut in a four-round fight having recently signed to Frank Warren and Queensberry.
Heaney Ready To Rock Wembley!
(June 24th) Stoke middleweight favourite Nathan Heaney probably beat himself up far more than his opponent Diego Ramirez managed to last time out in Telford.
The IBO International champion was particularly down on himself after recording a points victory over the dangerous Argentinean, especially after being put to the canvas near the end of the first round.
What perhaps Heaney didn’t give himself credit for at the time was the shock of the knockdown removed any cavalier attitude from his approach and ensured that he saw out the fight in a disciplined and convincing fashion.
It was only looking back on his 15th straight win as a professional that the 33-year-old afforded himself a very small pat on the back for his night’s work.
“To be fair and on reflection, from watching it back it was actually a better performance than I felt while I was in there boxing,” reflected Heaney, who returns to action at the OVO Arena, Wembley on July 2. “Obviously I got dropped in the first round, but I pretty much controlled him after that.
“I stayed disciplined and he was a good opponent. We knew he stopped Bradley Skeete and, although it was at a lower weight, Bradley Skeete is Bradley Skeete and was a top operator – and it looked like he was going to do the same thing for a split second!
“To be fair, my arse didn’t touch the ground,” Heaney recalled. “My immediate thought was ‘sh*t’ and normally you would take a count but because it was such a flash knockdown I recovered immediately. I even touched his glove at the end of the round just to let him know I was fine. And to show respect to him because it was a great shot.
“My senses were back straight away, I didn’t know what shot he got me with, although I assumed it was the backhand because that was the only one he was winging in. He was quite fast and sharp to be honest.”
Heaney will be responsible for something of a Stoke exodus to London next time out when his loyal following will be able to take in the sights around Wembley before he steps into the ring with tough Frenchman Nizar Trimech.
“There have been 500 people who have bought tickets so far, which is incredible really, with it being three hours away from Stoke. It is not a short affair and most people will stay in hotels, so it is good.
“A lot of fighters can’t sell 500 in their own city, let alone three hours away, so it is amazing what they are doing. They do follow me wherever.”
And Heaney warns not to underestimate the perils presented by Trimech, who carries a misleading record of 9-3-2. Look beneath the surface and there are some credible results on the card of the 29-year-old.
“He is very good and is ranked as No.2 middleweight in France and 62 in the world, one place behind me. He is a former WSB fighter and I think he was undefeated in that.
“He has been there and done it, he got two draws, one against the fella who boxed Golovkin and Munguia (Kamil Szeremeta) and the last one he fought was the Swiss 15-0 kid (Ramadan Hiseni). He lost his second last one (Pavel Silyagin), but that was against a big super middleweight from Russia, so he just bit off a bit more than he could chew on that one.
“The fact of the matter is, if you look at his record, it doesn’t suggest how good he is, it really doesn’t. People might look at it and think ‘Nathan will smash him to bits’, but he is better than that and I’ve got to give him the respect.
“The French guys are very tough fighters.”
Tete Time Looming For Confident Cunningham!
(June 23rd) Jason Cunningham believes his confidence is at such a level that he can be optimistic over the prospect of world title success if he can overcome Zolani Tete on July 2.
European champion Cunningham takes on two-weight world title winner Tete at the OVO Arena, Wembley on a bumper card also featuring Joe Joyce in heavyweight action against Christian Hammer, Nathan Heaney defending his IBO International middleweight belt against Nizar Trimech and young lightweight star Mark Chamberlain bidding for a first title success against Marc Vidal for the IBF European championship.
Cunningham, 31-6 (7 KOs) and unbeaten as a super bantamweight, will enter the ring against the South African superstar feeling that he belongs in such company thanks to a self belief he has accumulated over a distinguished career where the ups have far outweighed the downs in recent years and he is now winning the plaudits he deserves.
In his last fight in April, the first in his promotional alliance with Frank Warren, he completely overwhelmed an unbeaten challenger to his European crown in Terry Le Couviour. The Frenchman was systematically chopped down to the body right from the off and probably the only surprise was it lasted until round six.
Even then the 32-year-old still picked a hole in his performance.
“I am happy with it, although there was one round where I thought I got a little bit complacent, but it was because I was having it all my own way really.
“I need to be on it at this level, I can’t afford any little slip-ups or lapses against Tete,” added the Iceman, who now exudes the aura of a champion as he sets about his work.
“I feel it and it is confidence. Up until you get to the point of a major title you are always questioning yourself. Then, when you get these wins, you think ‘I am good enough to fight for a world title and good enough to be a world champion’.
“I have got that confidence and that aura, 100%, and obviously it is showing in performances. It has been a brilliant year in total and I just feel the time is right now. It is my time, I am taking that confidence into the Tete fight and I truly believe I am going to beat him.
Cunningham revealed that a match with Tete didn’t come totally out of the blue and he considers the 29-4 (22 KOs) man as a clear and present danger, who will only serve to increase his own stock by confronting.
“It had been mooted a few times. I love a challenge and it is a fight I will get credit for, that is what I thought initially. He is a name, he has been over to these shores before, he has chinned Paul Butler and I thought this is the chance to prove how good I am, also to myself.
“I know he has been inactive for the last couple of years but, still, he has been there and he has done it at multiple weights. So, yeah, I have definitely got the bit between my teeth for this fight and I just think the timing is right.
“The time is now really, if I want to be world champion I need to beat Tete, simple as that.
“To have a scalp like that on your record… I just can’t wait really, I can’t wait for this fight and also to share the ring with him as well. Obviously the respect is there for what he has done but, at the same time, I am coming from a different angle where he is in my way and stopping me from getting to that next level and pushing for a world title.”
Hammer Time For Joyce At Wembley!
(June 17th) Joe Joyce will battle the experienced German Christian Hammer at the OVO Arena, Wembley on July 2, as part of a huge fight night also featuring Jason Cunningham vs Zolani Tete, Callum Johnson and Nathan Heaney, live on BT Sport.
After being out of the ring since his defeat of Carlos Takam in July of last year and suffering a broken wrist that kept him out of action in the first half of this year, Joyce takes his place on the Wembley bill against the 34-year-old German Hammer.
“The most important thing is to get Joe active and confident again after injury,” said promoter Frank Warren. “Christian Hammer is an experienced campaigner who will provide a decent test and give him a good fight, but obviously we expect Joe to come through it successfully and then start preparing for a bigger showdown later this year.
“It was well documented that it was our intention to match Big Joe with Joseph Parker in September, but Parker has now opted to sign a promotional agreement elsewhere. Joe’s route to a world title shot does not revolve around Parker and we have plans in place for a major fight for him in the autumn.”
“I’ve known about Christian Hammer for a while now,” said Joyce from his training base in Las Vegas. “He has fought everybody, it is going to be a good fight, he comes forward and it will be exciting. It is one to get me ready for the next fights coming up.
“I’ve been out of the ring for a whole year now so it will be good to dust off the gloves and shake off the cobwebs. It is going to be a big year, this year and next, with some great fights and I just need to be in the right place.
“I have taken myself out to the right place with this training camp here to bring out the best in me.”
The Hamburg resident, Hammer, has taken on all comers across his near 14-year career, with names such as Tyson Fury, Erkan Teper, David Price, Alexander Povetkin, Luis Ortiz, Tony Yoka, Hughie Fury all featuring on his record. He most recently went the distance with WBO number three ranked Frank Sanchez.
His most recent title success came in 2018 when he defeated Michael Wallisch to win the WBO European championship belt, a title he also won in 2016 with victory over countryman Teper and subsequently made successful defences against David Price and Zine Eddine Benmakhlouf.
The July 2 card at the OVO Arena also includes the highly anticipated super bantamweight collision between European champion Jason Cunningham and two-weight world champion Zolani Tete. Callum Johnson fights Igor Mikhalkin for the WBC Silver light heavyweight title and Stoke favourite Nathan Heaney will make a defence of his IBO International middleweight championship.
Due to a hand injury, Sam Noakes will no longer be defending his WBC International Silver lightweight title on the night against Marc Videl, so the Spaniard will now face an equally formidable foe from the Queensberry ranks in Mark Chamberlain, with the IBF European title on the line. This represents a first title tilt for the 10-0 Chamberlain and his first fight over 10 rounds.
Super featherweight newcomer Royston Barney-Smith has also suffered a hand injury and he is replaced on the card by the 6-0 welterweight Micky Burke jr.
Wycombe super lightweight Henry Turner is fighting over six rounds and Thetford cruiserweight Tommy Fletcher will make his professional debut in a four-round fight having recently signed to Frank Warren and Queensberry.
For Tete Time At Wembly!
By: Frank Warren
(June 1st) Probably one of the most fascinating fights of the year will play out at the OVO Arena, Wembley on July 2 when two well seasoned, but contrasting, campaigners step into the ring at the famous old venue situated in the towering shadow of Wembley Stadium.
The super bantamweight scene in Britain – also in our own ranks – is literally thriving at the moment, with European champion Jason Cunningham leading the way and being hunted down by young, hungry contenders such as Marc Leach, Liam Davies, Andrew Cain, Chris Bourke, Brad Foster and, potentially, Dennis McCann.
With Jason having looked so assured and composed in the way he dealt with his last challenger, Terry Le Couviour, in April, it was a fine time to throw an old friend into the mix to spice things up even further.
Jason now goes up against South African superstar and former two-weight world champion Zolani Tete at Wembley and I believe we could well have a classic confrontation on our hands.
Doncaster man Jason just really looks the part now. His confidence is high and he believes the time is right to step into world title contention. His career path makes a mockery of the thinking that a handful of defeats automatically takes a fighter towards gatekeeper or simply decent opponent status.
If you don’t get too despondent following a loss and don’t take to heart the inevitable brickbats that come your way in these days of social media, setbacks can be put down to experience, as long as you learn from them.
There won’t be much that Jason hasn’t come up against in his 37 professional fights and probably the biggest conclusion behind his recent success is to make sure he fights at the right weight at the right time.
Of course, you have most likely got to grab an against the odds opportunity to get to this point and in Jason’s case it was the European title shot at three-week’s notice against Gamal Yafai. This is where staying in the gym and keeping ready is a useful habit to have and, again, this probably comes with experience.
It sounds a bit corny, but the upturn in fortunes Jason is enjoying really couldn’t happen to a nicer fella. He is a gentleman, a proper pro and his story should serve as an example and inspiration to other fighters.
He has been doing a bit of work with our young Dennis McCann recently and I can’t think of many better people that Dennis could learn from.
Which all makes Jason fully deserving of such a marquee fight against a genuinely proven champion and great fighter, such as Zolani.
We have worked closely with Zolani now since early 2016 after he came sharply onto our radar with his destructive defeat of Paul Butler the year before. He’d suffered a few ups and downs in his career prior to our link-up but his quality was obvious and he just needed guiding correctly.
Within three fights he was WBO world bantamweight champion and went on a run of wins that included the astounding 11 second defeat of Siboniso Gonya. Remember, much of the 11 seconds was taken up by the count!
Ultimately it was time to start mixing with the likes of Nagoya Inoue so he took his place in the WBSS tournament but, unfortunately, after winning his opening fight he was forced to withdraw due to injury.
We then won a big purse bid to stage his mandatory defence against John Riel Casimero in this country and the Tete Train was temporarily derailed. Casimero caught him in the third round and Zolani just couldn’t recover.
Was part of this down to making the bantamweight limit one time too many? Was he weight drained? We don’t know and, now he is jumping up to super bantam, we will see if the old Tete magic is still there.
I suspect it is because Zolani is such an incredible athlete and operator. He always seemed so huge for the lower weights and many people thought he would be comfortable at featherweight.
What I do know is he will have his work cut out against Jason and we will see an intriguing and outstanding exhibition of boxing from two fine fighting men.
High Stakes For Cunningham
At Wembly As the Juggernat Returns!
(May 27th) Jason Cunningham will take on the biggest challenge of his career when he goes up against South African superstar Zolani Tete at the OVO Arena, Wembley on July 2, with world heavyweight contender Joe Joyce also featuring on a bumper card filled with must win fights, it’s High Stakes, live on BT Sport.
Callum Johnson (20-1, 14 KOs) faces Igor Mikhalkin (24-3, 11 KOs) for the WBO Global light heavyweight title in a fight between two punchers where neither man will want to give an inch.
Meanwhile, destructive lightweight Sam Noakes (9-0, 9 KOs) defends his WBC International Silver title against the Spaniard Marc Vidal (13-2-5, 5 KOs) as the Maidstone man aims to make it 10 stoppages in as many bouts.
Stoke favourite Nathan Heaney (15-0, 6 KOs) will fight in London for the first time in front of a crowd, making a defence of his IBO International middleweight championship.
Cunningham, 31-6 (7 KOs), demolished the previously unbeaten French challenger Terry Le Couviour in Telford in mid-April in what was the second defence of his EBU belt. The Renaissance Man of British boxing will bid to join the elite by taking on the formidable force of ‘Last Born’ Tete, 29-4 (22 KOs), who has been a regular and exciting feature on UK fight cards.
The two-weight world champion last held a world title at bantamweight with the WBO championship belt previously in his possession. Prior to this he held the IBF super flyweight title, won by defeating Paul Butler in Liverpool back in 2015.
A shock defeat to John Riel Casimero in Birmingham in late 2019 prompted a move to super bantamweight and Tete returned to the ring in typical fashion with a first-round stoppage in Johannesburg in December.
The Commonwealth and IBF International super-bantamweight championships will be on the line for a clash that has got the potential to be a FOTY candidate.
Joe Joyce (13-0, 12 KOs) will be getting back into the ring against an established heavyweight contender as he closes in on a September clash with Joseph Parker in what will be a battle between No.1 and No.2 with the WBO. Following a lay-off due to injury, the Juggernaut will return to the scene of his last fight, a sixth-round stoppage of Carlos Takam in July of last year.
A bout of Coronavirus denied Callum Johnson a world title shot against Joe Smith jr in January. After making his recovery, he will go up against former world title challenger Mikhalkin for WBO honours.
The Germany-based fighter was defeated by Sergey Kovalev in 2018 at Madison Square Garden, having previously won and defended the IBO World light heavyweight title, as well as the EBU European title.
Sam Noakes seeks a perfect 10 against Marc Vidal as he currently sits on 9 wins and 9 KOs. Vidal, 33, has previously fought former World champion Kiko Martinez on two occasions – a points defeat and technical draw – and is a former European champion and European Union champion at featherweight.
Nathan Heaney is taking his Stoke City show on the road after overcoming the adversity of a first round knockdown last time out against Diego Ramirez before winning comfortably on the cards.
Wycombe super lightweight Henry Turner (7-0, 1 KO) fighting over six rounds, and Thetford cruiserweight Tommy Fletcher will make his professional debut at the OVO Arena. The Norfolk Nightmare will make his bow in a four-rounder having recently signed with Frank Warren and Queensberry.
“The stakes are high for all the Queensberry boxers in action on July 2nd at Wembley Arena, Live on BT Sport. Jason Cunningham vs Zolani Tete is about as even as matchmaking can be in Boxing and the same can be said regarding Callum Johnson vs Igor Mikhalkin. I’m predicting fan friendly action across both fights in matchups that will get the winners in the mix with the top guys in their respective divisions.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the Heavyweight Juggernaut Joe Joyce back in action too. Joes had a frustration time since his demolition job on Carlo Takam last year. He’s not been as active as we or he would have liked due to a wrist injury and the delay to his showdown with Joseph Parker. We found out last week that Parker’s training schedule scuppered our plans for them to meet on July 2nd, but it was important to us and Joe that he still fight after such a lengthy layoff with injury.
“The carrot for Joyce is a win on July 2 will set up a massive showdown with Parker in September. He needs to keep his focus, though, and deliver on July 2 as the big opportunities are now there to be taken for the Olympic Silver medallist.
“I am thrilled to deliver Jason Cunningham a massive fight and a huge test against Zolani Tete. Zolani has been with Queensberry for a long time, and we know what a top-class operator he is. Jason had no hesitation in taking the fight because his confidence is high, and he is an unbeaten fighter at super bantamweight.
“This is a fight between two top drawer and experienced campaigners that will bring out the best in each other and provide a treat for the watching public. It is a fight I cannot wait to see.
“The light heavyweight scene is hot at the moment and Callum Johnson will be looking to remind people why he believes he is top dog in the division. It was such a shame that his chance to prove it against Joe Smith jr fell through due to a bout of Covid-19 in January, but his time will come again and winning the WBC Silver title against the tough Igor Mikhalkin would put him right back in the mix.
“I am looking forward to seeing two of our crowd-pleasers in Sam Noakes and Nathan Heaney perform at Wembley.
“As well as seeing the much-anticipated debut of the giant Tommy Fletcher, it promises to be a thrilling night of action not to be missed.”
About Frank Warren
In an era spanning over 35 years, Hall of Fame boxing Promoter and Manager Frank Warren has worked with some of the biggest fighters in boxing history. Hamed, Bruno, Tyson, Calzaghe, Benn, Collins, Eubank, Khan and Hatton are some of the iconic names he has promoted during his career.
In 2011 Frank launched the innovative direct to consumer TV model, BoxNation as part of a vision that saw the sports TV market evolving from the traditional reliance on major satellite and cable broadcasters.
Since then BoxNation has gone from strength to strength becoming the UK’s fastest growing independent subscription broadcaster in the process and showcasing the biggest fights from at home and abroad, along the way.
Through Queensberry Promotions and BoxNation, the future of British boxing has never looked in such great shape.
About BT Sport
BT Sport is a group of pay television sports channels provided by BT Consumer; a division of BT Group in the United Kingdom and Ireland that was launched on 1 August 2013. The channels are based at the former International Broadcast Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.