With the announcement of a new prospect-centric series of shows, to air on BT Sport and the BT Sport Boxing YouTube channel, Frank Warren’s Queensberry are happy to unveil the first trio of new signings hoping to impress in the coming months.
FORMER Team GB ace Callum Thompson has signed a long-term promotional agreement with Queensberry Promotions.
The Liverpool boxer, 22, could have been heading to this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, but had his dreams shattered when rule changes were made in June 2019.
It was decided that weight classes for men would be reduced from ten to eight so the women’s competition could increase from three to five divisions.
It meant heartbreak for Thompson when the 60kg division was dropped and last year he decided to turn professional under manager and trainer Joe Gallagher.
Thompson who will box at Super-Featherweight explained: “The Olympic weights changed and they took the Lightweight (60kg) class out so I was put in a position to move up or move down.
“Dropping to 57kg was too much of a stretch especially as I would have had to make that weight day after day at competitions.
“At 63kg there were too many lads on the squad and I didn’t think I was big enough anyway.
“I could have grown into that weight and would have had a chance of making the 2024 Olympics, but I didn’t want to wait that long.
“It is a bitter-sweet situation because it has given me more time to gel with Joe, but at the same time I don’t like to be inactive so it has been frustrating.
“I haven’t boxed for two years, but it is what it is. People have been and are in worst situations. I have got to be grateful for what I have now.
“With Joe and Frank I am in a very good position. I am ready to fight once they give me a date.”
Thompson won a Three Nations gold medal twice and five bronze medals for Team GB in six international competitions during his two years on the squad.
Callum started boxing aged seven and had 96 amateur bouts. He was also in the England squad from the age of 13 for five years before getting his GB place.
It was a chat with former WBA World Lightweight champion Anthony Crolla that brought Thompson to Gallagher’s attention.
Thompson explained: “I’d already left GB and I got speaking to Anthony Crolla. He spoke to Joe and I went to the gym to spar with Scott Quigg before his fight with Jono Carroll last year.
“I knew how good a trainer he was and I went down on a trial basis. I loved every minute and I have never left.”
Gallagher said: “Callum doesn’t take any short cuts in training, listens, learns and for me as a trainer it’s exciting to start from the beginning with a very good young fighter.
“People who watch Callum will say afterwards, ‘Who is that? I want to see him again.’ That is the reaction from people who come to the gym.
“I am sure Frank Warren will keep him busy, and with his track record of development, Callum will get the right fights at the right time.”
ENGLAND amateur star Junaid Bostan is the latest top prospect to turn professional with Frank Warren’s Queensberry.
The Rotherham Super-Welterweight is a double national champion and boxed for England since he was 13-years-old.
Junaid, 19, boxes out of the Sheffield’s fast rising Steel City gym where he trains alongside IBF World Flyweight champion Sunny Edwards. He is trained by the gym’s head Grant Smith.
“Grant asked me if I wanted to turn professional and I wasn’t too sure because I wanted to go in the National Elite Championships,” said Bostan who will make his professional debut in late July or August.
“I decided to have a meeting with Queensberry. I liked what I heard, what I was offered and decided to accept it.
“The Elites have been rescheduled for later this year and it would have been next year before I boxed professional had I entered them.
“There is no time to waste. I believe my style is more suited to the professionals and my personality should help me do well.
“I don’t feel I am just a boxer. I want to entertain people inside and out of the ring.”
The youngster has been trained by Smith since he was 12-years-old, having spent his earliest boxing years training under the late Brendan Ingle.
Having started boxing with Ingle it’s no surprise to learn that Bostan is a tricky switch hitter who can expect to bamboozle opponents.
He has sparred with a string of top fighters and helped European Welterweight champion David Avanesyan prepare for his win against Josh Kelly.
There is no doubting the influence that Edwards and of course, trainer Smith have had on him.
Bostan added: “Sunny started at the gym two weeks before I did so I have been with him since the start.
“Seeing him winning the Elites and going on to win a professional World championship has given me confidence.
“If he has done it with Grant there is no reason why I can’t.
“Right now, turning over I will get good experience and I will be in very good hands with Grant and Queensberry.
“I know in my career I will be wanting to do stuff a lot quicker than Grant will. What he says I will do.
“This has been a long time coming and I want to show what I am about. In the first year I want to prove myself and I will from my first fight.
“I won’t say I am the biggest puncher, but if I land, you know about it. I am more of a boxer and I like to entertain.
“I don’t really have idols but I love watching boxers with personality like Pernell Whitaker, Hector Camacho, Caleb Plant, Fernando Vargas and of course Naseem Hamed.”
TELFORD AMATEUR STAR Macaulay Owen is set to turn professional and has signed promotional terms with Frank Warren and Queensberry.
Owen, 23, who holds a Masters degree in sports nutrition from Coventry University, intends to campaign at super featherweight after gathering the experience of 75 fights in the amateur ranks, where he won the CYPs, two British University championships and was a double winner of the Haringey Box Cup, where in the second of which he was declared Boxer of the Tournament.
With 30 fights as a senior amateur under his belt and with the pandemic shutting down this code of the sport for a prolonged period, Owen believes the timing is now right for his entry into the professionals.
“It is the best move possible really and it is what I have worked for,” said Owen, who will train under England amateur coach Shiney Singh in Walsall. “Obviously you build your craft in the amateurs and to get the backing of Frank Warren is a great reward, with the history of his promotions. It is a massive thing.
“I’ve known about it for a little while now, but it was a case of waiting to get my licence because Covid delayed everything and put it on hold. It was the chance to sign with Frank that really sparked me to turn over.”
Owen, who fought last in February of last year, originally planned another assault on the ABAs but, with them being aborted last year, he elected switch codes.
“It was a big one for me, but it didn’t necessarily make my mind up because we were looking towards it anyway. I was thinking about one last good run in the ABAs and then turn pro after that.
“I am the right sort of age – I am nearly 24 – and that was one of the biggest things and we need to get moving in the pros now.
“I had 75 fights and really my amateur career was booming towards the end of it and I was at the top of my game in the lightweight division. I won 50, but I lost a lot in the early days because I was a bit of a brawler who liked to have a fight with people
“I went to uni, changed my style and ended up winning much more than I was losing,” added Owen, who firmly believes his extended stint as a senior will serve him well.
“I’ve seen a few lads turn over and it is way too soon because they are not strong enough. I know myself from the amateurs boxing in the seniors that I was often the stronger one in the ring.
“It will be to my benefit and after sparring these pros now I am not going to struggle at this weight at all.
“I am glad I stuck around until 23 and got the fights under my belt fighting fully grown men. It means I can get cracking now and I am ready.”
In terms of what we can expect with regard to fighting style, his proposed stage name suggests he will be relentless in approach.
“I don’t want to give too much away, but I am an aggressive counter puncher, I’m gonna get them on their front foot and stick it on them. I was talking about what to call myself the other day with my coach and he said ‘No Mas’ because of the pressure I am gonna put on people.
“Don’t get me wrong, I am a boxer, but I am a pressure boxer and if you don’t quit I am gonna take you out one way or another.”
(Kristian von Sponneck)
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