Remember when?...Warren promoted 'The Magnificent Seven'
Jack Laidler takes us back to the evening of 18 September 2010, when the Frank Warren promoted 'The Magnificent Seven' card in Birmingham saw three future British world champions in action...
On 1 July Eddie Hearn is promoting 'Summertime Brawl' at the O2. The event is going to provide a huge stage for some of Britain’s best young talent to gain experience in a large arena whilst also hopefully endearing themselves to a larger audience.
The card will feature unbeaten prospects such as Ted Cheeseman, Isaac Chamberlain, Conor Benn and Lawrence Okolie. It will also feature the professional debut of Joshua Buatsi, perhaps the most exciting fighter from Team GB’s Rio 2016 Olympic squad.
The event is headlined by Frank Buglioni defending his British light heavyweight title fresh off the back of his enthralling KO victory over the previously unbeaten Hosea Burton.
At the moment most of these fighters are still unproven in the professional ranks. In many ways parallels can be drawn between this card and that of Frank Warren’s 'The Magnificent Seven' box office card in Birmingham back on 18 September 2010.
'The Magnificent Seven' showcased fighters that at the time were still on the rise and had not yet fulfilled their own potential.
James DeGale defended his WBA International belt in only his eighth pro fight against Carl Dilks. The bout also doubled as an eliminator for the British title. DeGale was still very much in the infancy of his career and had so far faced very limited opposition, his best victory at that point was a stoppage win over Sam Horton, a former Midlands area title holder.
His fight against Dilks was scheduled for ten and was supposed to give 'Chunky' some valuable experience in the professional ranks before moving up to British title level. Although Dilks was there to be beaten, he was a solid fighter. His resume stood at 14-2 with the two blemishes on his record coming in the form of split decision losses.
DeGale came out of his corner throwing out his jab whilst switching between southpaw and orthodox. Dilks instantly found the speed of the Olympic gold medallist too much to contend with. When they got close DeGale would spin his man then land a flurry of shots on the blind side of Dilks.
After only two minutes of action the nose of Dilks was gushing with blood and his face was beginning to redden. With the end of the first round nearing DeGale opened up with a barrage that sent his opponent on to the ropes, DeGale followed up with three or four shots that were partially blocked before referee Howard Foster waved the fight off just seconds before the bell sounded.
Since that night DeGale has gone on to win the British and European titles whilst also winning the IBF world strap in his first tilt at a world title.
Also on the card was an unbeaten Welsh prospect that at the time was most well known for having completed his degree in Mathematics. Nathan Cleverly was 19-0 and had already won numerous titles in the professional ranks.
He had claimed the Commonwealth light heavyweight strap two years earlier, defending it on five occasions whilst also picking up the British title. A TKO victory over Antonio Brancalion won Cleverly the European crown seven months before 'The Magnificent Seven'.
His opponent was Karo Murat. Unbeaten in 22 fights Murat had already held the European title at super-middleweight and had claimed wins over fringe contenders Shawn Corbin and Tommy Karpency.
From the opening bell Cleverly was able to punch through the upright guard of Murat, landing combinations almost at will without ever really hurting his opponent, something that would become a problem for the Welshman later in his career.
Murat was able to land his own punches in patches as his pressure style of fighting allowed him to get in close. As the rounds went on the quality difference between the two unbeaten boxers began to become more evident. After eight rounds Murat had taken a huge amount of punishment and he now had a cut over his nose.
The ninth was a mostly one-sided affair as Murat began to throw less punches whilst Cleverly continued to fire out his combinations. Twice during the round Murat spat out his gum shield - his night was beginning to unravel.
Within seconds of him sitting down at the end of the round it was evident that Murat's corner were not willing to see their fighter take any more punishment as they duly retired him. Cleverly had convincingly taken apart a very durable opponent and proved he was ready to move to the world scene.
Cleverly would go on to compete in seven straight WBO world title fights, lifting the interim then full title before ceding it to Sergey Kovalev in 2013.
The third future world champion to appear on 'The Magnificent Seven' card was Sheffield’s unbeaten welterweight Kell Brook. He had already been a professional for six years and in that time had amassed 21 straight victories whilst winning the British title outright.
Much like Cleverly, Kell was being pitted against the toughest foe of his career to date.
Although Michael Jennings was coming towards the end of his career he was a huge threat. He himself had been British champion and at one stage was 28-0. Only 18 months previously, Jennings had unsuccessfully challenged Miguel Cotto for the WBO welterweight title at Madison Square Garden.
The fight began slowly as both men scouted out one another, but Brook then began to pick his way through the defence of Jennings. 'The Special One' was finding the better shots but after the first four rounds the fight was still very much in the balance. The chess match continued into the fifth until Brook eventually opened up and swarmed all over his opponent. Jennings was pushed into a corner where he was caught with multiple heavy shots that instantly opened a deep cut over his right eye.
The referee Terry O’Connor instantly pulled Jennings to the corner and the fight was called off amid a smattering of boos in the arena.
Brook had solidified himself as the number one challenger for the WBO welterweight title, a crown that at that point was held by Manny Pacquiao. Jennings would never fight again.
Brook would eventually go on to claim the IBF welterweight title four years after his acid test against Jennings.
Although other big names such as Dereck Chisora, Enzo Maccarinelli and Matthew Macklin also showcased their abilities on 'The Magnificent Seven' card, it was Brook, Cleverly and DeGale who would go on to gain the greatest success at the top level of the sport.
It will be these three that the young prospects of today will be trying to emulate if not surpass in their own future careers.