By Emily Goddard at One Stratford Place in London

copper boxJune 10 - Boxing promoter Frank Warren today announced a six-fight deal for the Copper Box, saying that the London Olympic Park-based arena will "become the best boxing venue in Europe".

The agreement will see six fights per year - one every two months, with Warren promising "bigger and bigger shows each time" at the £43 million (€53 million/$70 million) 7,000-seat arena, host of handball and modern pentathlon fencing during the London 2012 Olympics and goalball at the Paralympics.

"It's a perfect venue for boxing," Warren told insidethegames.

"It's got fabulous sightlines throughout.

"There's not a bad seat in the house.

"We're going to run a show there every two months, six shows a year.

"From my point of view, it doesn't get any better than that.

"We're delivering some of the greatest shows in probably the greatest sports venue in Europe bar none, talking about the Olympic Park itself.

"But to add to that, the Copper Box has the ability to become the big venue for boxing in Europe.

"It's going to be brilliant."

The first fight will be the highly anticipated British middleweight title showdown between unbeaten champion Billy Joe Saunders and undefeated challenger John Ryder on September 21.

Billy Joe Saunders at Copperbox announcementBilly Joe Saunders hopes to inspire youngsters to achieve their goals when he fights at the Copper Box

Saunders, who competed in the welterweight division at Beijing 2008, explained the chance to defend his title at a home Olympics venue was a "win win situation" and hopes he can inspire future generations of British boxers to achieve their dreams.

"From being an Olympian myself, it means a lot to be able to add the bill and fight a good unbeaten fighter also," the 23-year-old told insidethegames.

"It's a win win situation.

"I've just got to go in and put a good performance in.

"It's about getting people there - young kids and people off the streets there.

"It shows then they can do something in their lives.

"I've not had the best upbringing, I haven't been fed off a silver spoon, it's been hard.

"If we all put our mind to something we can achieve it.

"Out of 1,000 if I could get one to do what I'm doing it would be an achievement and that's what I'm aiming to do."

The Copper Box hosted handball and modern penthatlon fencing during the London 2012 Olympics and goalball during the ParalympicsThe Copper Box hosted handball and modern penthatlon fencing during the London 2012 Olympics and goalball during the Paralympics

Today's announcement comes less than one month before the North of the Park re-opens to the general public for the first time since London 2012 and is the latest legacy boost for the venue, which has been confirmed as the new home for British Basketball League (BBL) club London Lions for the 2013-2014 season.

The venue will also host the London "Grand Prix Badminton", a Badminton World Federation (BWF) Gold Series event, this year from October 1 until the finals on October 6, while United Kingdom-based World Series of Boxing (WSB) franchise British Lionhearts are also rumoured to be targeting a move there but talks are still ongoing.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park chief executive Denis Hone welcomed the news of the latest deal as "another fantastic legacy story" following the London 2012 Games.

"We've already got the London Lions basketball team there, but now we've got six major nights of boxing come now, with potential for that to roll on for future years," he told insidethegames.

"Boxing is fantastic in the east end of London - we've got the best of British fighters so it's another fantastic legacy story.

"It means more world class sports on the Park and it's all moving in the direction of a very successful Park in the future."

Hone was also confident of securing an extension to the one-year contract with Warren, saying: "If it's a success in the first year I think all the parties will want it to go on.

"The crucial thing is to make sure that these six nights of boxing are absolutely roaring success and I'm sure this contract will move forward."

As for Warren's comment on the Copper Box having the potential to become the best boxing venue in Europe, Hone was confident of the chances.

"For atmosphere in the East End of London?" he said.

"He could just be right there you know."

The Copper Box will be open from July 27 and is expected to attract more than 500,000 visitors each year.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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