Following the record breaking Fury v Whyte fight at Wembley Stadium, we spoke to promoter Frank Warren about the fight, the boxing event industry and his experience over his 40 year career…

Everyone is talking about Fury’s intention to quit boxing. Do you think he’ll change his mind and who do you think he’d fight next?

I don’t know what he is going to do next, but if he does change his mind there are some great fights out there. There is the winner of Usyk vs Joshua, which is the obvious one, and a few more good fights out there. He has said what he has got to say, let’s see what he does over the next few months.

How does Fury v Whyte rank among the fights you’ve been involved in?

I’ve put on some great events, I’ve been doing it for 40-odd years now, and for me that was the pinnacle.  Because it was the best heavyweight of his generation in Tyson Fury, the great story of his comeback, and in the sold-out national stadium. Unless Brent Council allow anybody else to have more seats in there, that’s the bar level set. The biggest attended boxing event ever in Europe!

Why did you choose Wembley Stadium as the venue?

We chose Wembley because it’s in London, and is the National Stadium, and we could get 94,000 in there.

How important is it for boxers to sell tickets at grassroots level and how does this change through to stadium level?

It is very important for fighters to develop a fanbase as the more fans they get, they then follow them through their career. The prime example here is Ricky Hatton, the first fight he ever had for me he sold three tickets. But he went on to be one of the highest personal ticket sellers of any fighter that I’ve ever been involved with.

How have you seen boxing events change over time?

The way people consume boxing has changed through different medias. We changed the production when I got involved with it, when I first started there was an old fanfare and a scratchy record to announce the main event. They even used to glove-up in the ring! But we changed all that time-consuming stuff. We brought the razmataz in, we brought the music in, the ringcard girls, the advertising to make it work commercially.

Do you think stadium level fights are here to stay post-pandemic?

Yes, of course they are. Events are events, and great fights become events. There is nobody like the British public to come out for a big event. It seems that the big domestic bust-ups are the ones they love and get behind and that been happening for a long, long time now.

Beyond the heavyweights and Tyson, what other fights could you see repeating the success of Wembley?

I believe that there are some fighters around who will get to that stage, not at this moment in time, but I feel Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois, who fought each other during the pandemic and delivered the highest boxing rating they had subscription TV that year. Prior to that we had sold out 20,000 tickets for these novice guys the year before at The O2. If they keep winning, they will get back to a rematch, and that could be a big, big fight down the line.

What drew you to partner with Ticketmaster for the Fury v Whyte event and how has Ticketmaster delivered?

We had great conversations with Ticketmaster from the start, we discussed how we wanted to move forward, and they became great partners in this. They got behind it, they marketed it beyond my expectations, and because of that, we delivered the highest grossing event to ever take place at Wembley Stadium. That was due to Ticketmaster and their exceptional expertise, professionalism, and outlet that they are.

How has boxing ticketing changed during your time in the industry?

I remember back in the days of London Arena, in the late 80’s when we opened up there our partner was Ticketmaster. They were my first partner when was started doing events there. What has happened now is that they have made it easier for fans to buy tickets. There is no queuing up, they can get their tickets straight away by engaging with Ticketmaster with a very simple transaction.

Promoter interests aside, what would your dream UK fight be and why?

For me, the biggest fight out there, providing he wins his titles back, is Anthony Joshua for Tyson Fury. But then again, the Usyk fight with Tyson would also be huge. He was seen by everyone when he took Joshua to school, so either of those fights would be huge, huge fights.

To read more about how Frank Warren and Queensbury Promotions worked with Ticketmaster on this event, click here.

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