• Inside Boxing

The six-figure headaches of big fight failures

August 27, 2014
Wladimir Klitschko pulled out of a Dereck Chisora fight because his opponent looked in great shape, according to Frank Warren © Getty Images

After Wladimir Klitschko pulled out of his September 6 world heavyweight titles defence against Kubrat Pulev with injury, promoter Frank Warren tells Nick Parkinson about the costs and frustrations of having a big bout postponed at short notice:

"When a fight falls through so close to its scheduled date like Klitschko-Pulev, or Chisora-Fury last month - which I was involved in - the fans are understandably upset and disappointed, but it's also logistical nightmare for the promoter.

You can have insurance but it depends upon the boxer involved. Joe Calzaghe was pulling out 50% of the time at one point and Wladimir Klitschko hasn't got a great record either. The insurance premium ridiculously high so you can't get insured and when a fight or a show gets postponed, the promoter just has to take it on the chin.

For Chisora-Fury we lost about £600,000. It is one of the worst things to have happened

Klitschko's opponent Pulev will also have had to take it on the chin. Just as was the case with Chisora and Fury, all the money he paid on expenses for a training camp, on sparring partners, hotels, trainers and gyms, will have been wasted. He doesn't get it back.

A promoter has paid out on press conferences, posters, adverts, the undercard, tickets … all those things are very expensive and you don't know how long it will be before you can reschedule the fight because of the injury.

We had a double whammy with Chisora-Fury because Chisora pulled out with an injury the Monday before the fight [on Saturday, July 26]. That was bad enough, but Tyson Fury was going to fight a substitute opponent until his uncle was taken seriously ill the night before the fight, and he pulled out. You are in a no-win position.

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For Chisora-Fury we lost about £600,000. It just killed us. It was a killer in two ways from a promoter's point of view and for the channel Box Nation and subscriptions because we are not replacing that fight with anything. It's one of the worst things to have happened. Thankfully a lot of those who bought tickets have just switched to the new date of November 22.

A good fight is a good fight but it might lose a bit of its appeal. I'm wary of having press conferences with Fury in the build-up to the new date because of all the effing and blinding - and what more can be said after all the build-up to the last one?

But this is an eliminator to become the mandatory challenger for Klitschko's WBO world heavyweight title, so the winner of the rescheduled Klitschko-Pulev fight will have to face the winner of Chisora-Fury. Wladimir keeps himself in very good nick but he's 38 now. He can go on for another couple of years as long as he doesn't get beat.

Wladimir Klitschko pulled out a day before he was supposed to fight Dereck Chisora in December 2010 because he had torn an abdominal muscle. His trainer Manny Steward told me he pulled him out because they had seen what good shape Dereck was in. They reset the fight but Klitschko pulled out again in March 2011 and the following summer Klitschko fought David Haye instead. I don't know what is happening with Haye right now but I would like to work with him again. We were talking to him and it went very quiet all of a sudden.

Postponements affect a fighter, too. Dereck twice trained for world title fights against Wladimir Klitschko that didn't happen and when he fought Tyson Fury in July 2011 he was under motivated, came in too heavy and lost.

I've had some late cancellations in the past and there's little you can do about it. People get injured and ill. In the first fight back on ITV, at the start of a new contract, I got a phone call at 8 o'clock at night saying Danny Williams had pulled out. I also had a bomb scare at the old London Arena and we had to cancel the show.

It's a real headache when it happens."

Frank Warren (centre) is wary of promoting Dereck Chisora v Tyson Fury after the original fight was postponed © PA Photos
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