Ben Shalom: New Avenue for British Boxing
Know right away that Shalom is only 28 years old. A native of Manchester, he was studying law when, with some friends, he organized parties, concerts and small shows on his university campus.
At the same time, he has friends who practice boxing at the professional level. It was by going to applaud them that he fell in love with the noble art.
I grew up in Manchester, a place where boxing is second only to soccer with Manchester United and Manchester City. There was always someone around, guys I knew who frequented the many boxing gyms in town. [on les compte en dizaines, NDLR] Shalom said.
At 23, after completing his studies, he admitted to himself that he had no desire to become a lawyer. She is willing to do anything to get away from the gown, the obligatory white wig and the courts.
By attending the boxing nights attended by his friends, he discovered how hard they were treated and poorly paid in the absence of serious sponsors.
” This environment can be intimidating for boxers. Poor organization, poor television and media coverage. I felt we could do better. »
Starting with more than average
Shalom feels that in 2017 or 2018 professional boxing is not doing well in the UK. There are no major unmissable parties. That was before heavyweight Anthony Joshua came to the fore.
His first direct involvement in the world of boxing, he did them on a voluntary basis. He helps set up press conferences, he works as a matchmaker, recruiting fighters from outside Britain.
He was 23 when he borrowed 10,000 pounds (C$16,000) to apply for a promotion license with the British Board of Boxing Control (BBBC), the equivalent of our Liquor, Racing and Gaming Board ( RACJ).
Fortunately, he knew someone to guide him through the administrative maze and BBBC rules.
When he received his official recognition, he became the youngest promotion permit holder in British history. He founded the group BOXXER that was behind Saturday night at the AO Arena.
At first, he kept a low profile to avoid direct conflict with companies such as Matchroom, run by Eddie Hearns who succeeded his father Barry, or Queensberry Promotions, owned by Frank Warren.
” We had small parties, just to familiarize ourselves with the process. It is intentional that we do not sign a promotion contract with any boxer under penalty of being immediately considered direct competitors. »
BOXXER advances turnkey production of mini-tournaments created from scratch for television. Quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals in an attractive package that creates excitement and attracts different and diverse audiences.
Transaction at a loss
By persisting in the way it operates and treats athletes, Ben Shalom has built a good reputation, so much so that they listen to long-term partnership offers presented to them. The confidence of boxers and broadcasters is earned in bursts of patience and consistency.
To understand where we are going, we must know where we came from. And Shalom never forgets the very first card shown by his new group.
It’s totally messed up. I have done several nights in small rooms. But this one came three years after I got my license. It’s really crazy and we lost a lot. Ricky Hatton (local legend and ex-IBF and IBO world welterweight champion) came to help us Shalom recalled.
By the way, Hatton, 44, will deliver an exhibition fight on Saturday night, before the fight between Marie-Eve Dicaire and Natasha Jonas. Having been a coach, Hatton also holds a promoter’s licence.
The wind in the sails
Now firmly established, BOXXER is making a big success. The group has about 25 pugilists under contract, including many Olympians from the last two national teams.
In addition, a major change for the health of his group, Shalom took advantage of the end of the agreement linking Matchroom (which is now linked to DAZN) with the Sky Sports network, to step in the front door to great wanderings. , supported by a significant financial contribution of this specialized network in finding programming for its schedule.
As an example, the recent night shown on October 15 at the O2 Arena in London, offered the very first all-female boxing card in the history of Great Britain.
The grand finale featured American Claressa Shields unifying the middleweight belt against Britain’s Savannah Marshall. Note that BOXXER and Sky Sports hold the exclusive rights to Shields matches shown in the UK.
We had a great year. We want to be the biggest advocate in the country. It is now a question, with our pool of Olympians, of developing the next superstars. That’s what we’re going to spend the next three or four years on Shalom concluded.
Stars: Nice gesture from Yvon Michel who invited 8 boxers from the Canadian national team, including Tammara Thibeault, to come and watch the Dicaire-Jonas duel.
Meanwhile, Eye of the Tiger and Camille Estephan continue to mix sea and world to position Mary Spencer well towards taking the world belts.
Spencer is due to fight, on December 16, in Shawinigan, for the IBO super-middleweight title against Belgian Femke Hermans.
Already a mandatory contender for the IBF belt that Dicaire still holds at the time of writing these lines. Spencer was established in the same capacity as the WBC.