Spencer Fearon And The Takeover Of British Boxing
Ezio Prapotnich: Throughout the history of civilization, progress has often been brought forward by individuals with great self-belief who are not satisfied with the outside offer in their given field of expertise and decide to turn their own vision into reality. It is in this perspective that we have to analyze Spencer Fearon and the rather unique philosophy behind Hardknocks Boxing Promotions.
Article posted on 26.05.2010
We met the self-proclaimed Most Talkative Man in the Sport in occasion of “The Takeover…of the Home of Boxing”, Hardknocks third event set on June the 4th at Bethnal Green famous York Hall, and he more than lived up to his moniker.
EASTSIDEBOXING: You are an established sport commentator and interviewer, involved with The Real Fight Club, Uk number one White Collar gym, and you also run a property portfolio. It does not look like you entered promotions because you need the money. What is your purpose, then?
SPENCER FEARON: Boxing these days is stupid. People who run promotions have no real passion about the sport or knowledge of the game. I dare you to find anybody, anywhere, who is more passionate than me about this game. And I am a historian too. I can embarrass anybody when it comes to boxing history. Also, I have been making business and arranging deals since I was a little kid, with my friends. It’s only natural that I became a promoter..
ESB: You made your debut in promotions in 2007, but Hardknocks was only born in 2009. How did that come along?
SF: I was working with my business associate Ciaran Baynes for Setanta Sport and he was impressed by the fact that I know everybody in the game and that lots of fighters would come to me for anything. “Nobody has your style” he told me. He pushed me into this and here we are.
ESB: What is the next immediate short term goal you are set to achieve with promotions and what is the long term plan?
SF: My short term goal and my long term plan are the same bloody thing: to give people customer satisfaction. Boxing is a playing field and you have to give people what they want. Bear in mind I have been a professional fighter, therefore I know exactly what goes through a fighter mind, his expectations and fears. I could take 4 novices and match them against each other in a way that does for a good show, win, lose, or draw. Do you understand? It’s not about the titles, or the belts, or the big names: it is the atmosphere. Hardknocks is real. You don’t get anywhere else the kind of entertainment we offer.
ESB: Can you elaborate on that? Can you give some concrete example of how your company is different from the competitors?
SF: Two months ago I made history when Gregor Shaw of Welbeck Solutions decided to make major investments in Hardknocks. They gave ME their money to invest, not the other way around. This is unprecedented in this field, as it is also my idea to give fighters rights on their image, so they get percentages out of it every show. That has never been done before either.
ESB: Talking about which, how did you choose your fighters? What did you spot in them that made you want to sign them?
SF: Nothing. I do not pick fighters. They come to me. I am very spiritual but my religion, intended as way of life, is boxing. I understand boxing and that’s why fighters come to me spontaneously.
ESB: Is this the way you got involved with Choi Tseveenpurev (28-4-0), the Mongolian WBU Featherweight champion, who is possibly the biggest name on the bill?
SF: That was actually my partner Ciaran’s idea. When he contacted him, Choi was back in Mongolia and apparently retired, as no one in the UK wanted to fight him. I am glad we managed to bring him back. He is a hard and diligent worker.
ESB: Beside Choi, who will fight a 6 rounder against Mickey Conveney (9-10-0), your other fighters on the bill are WBF Middleweight champion Kreshnik Qato (23-6-0), Light Middleweight Natham Graham (9-1-0), and Light Welterweights Joe Catchpole (1-0) and Darren Hamilton (5-1), all fighting 6 rounders against yet to be named opponents. Top of the bill is the 10 rounder featuring Southern Aerea Super Middleweight champion Tony Salam (8-1-0) who will try to avenge his only loss against former amateur champion Courtney Fry (13-3-0). Are there any indiscretions you can give us about them, either related to the night or their near future?
SF: Darren Hamilton will fight former English Feather Weight champion Ryan Barrett, who approached me to be on the bill. Also, I am glad to reveal Joe Catchpole and Nathan Graham will be trained in the future by brother Naziim Richardson, who works with Shane Mosley among many others.
ESB: Now did you come out with “The Takeover of the Home of Boxing”? Are you making a statement about Hardknocks impact on the domestic scene?
SF: No, “The takeover” is just a track from rapper Jay Z.
ESB: To conclude, a general question on boxing in the UK. Do you think our favorite game has disappeared from the mainstream because people lost interest in it, or do you reckon people lost interest because they don’t get free access to it through terrestrial TV?
SF: It has nothing to do with terrestrial TV. Mark my words: “YOU GOT TO BE LOCAL BEFORE GLOBAL”. Ricky Hatton was never on terrestrial TV and look how many people he managed to move to Las Vegas with him. You have to think of the pubs, the clubs, the bingo houses… That’s where you start selling tickets and building a following, then you can move forward.
ESB: Is there anything else you would like to share?
SF: Yes, write this down: I’ve done it all but crack and cocaine. I mean money, women, status symbols. I am passed all that. I am bigger now that when I was fighting and I made my way up without using the color issue. I transcend color. I built my connections but I am the same guy I have always been. And now it’s all about promoting and giving people what they want. You will not find at any other show the same atmosphere you will find at Hardknocks’.
Tickets for “The Takeover of the Home of Boxing”, Saturday 4th of June at York Hall, Bethnal Green, are available either from The Real Fight Club (02072472358) or directly from Ciaran Baynes (07590336636).
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