Britain’s fight fans will soon get the chance to watch more boxing live from their front room, with the announcement that VIP Promotions will air future shows on VIPBOXING.TV
Already one of the country’s most successful promoters, Steve Wood has signalled his intent to do things differently next season as he responds to the changing face of boxing in the UK.
Over the last decade, the VIP Promotions chief has put on quality cards across the country, and produced numerous champions, but believes the way forward will be fewer, but more high profile shows - all of which will be streamed live online. VIP’s next show, on July 20 at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium, will provide an early blueprint.
“VIP Promotions wouldn’t have been as successful as we have without adapting, and that’s what we’ll be doing in the future, because boxing has radically changed over the last few years,” explained Wood.
“Eddie Hearn once said 'boxing is a fundamentally flawed business', which I agree with, but he won Willy Wonka’s ‘Golden Ticket’ when he got the exclusive deal with SKY Sports, so at least he has a chance! Good luck to him too because I work with Matchroom and they’re doing a decent job.
“Promoting has definitely got harder and more stressful though. We’ve proved ourselves over the years with our shows and the talent we’ve produced. We make champions to move onto TV but now there are very few places since SKY went with just one promoter. So we can invest in the development of a champion but end up with no TV for them, which is very frustrating for everyone as the deserved rewards aren’t there.
“Costs, including Board fees, have got higher too, while ticket sales have dropped. There’s less money about because of the recession, but boxing’s a business and the days when fighters put no effort into sales and just turned up with their kit bag expecting to fight a journeyman are over.
“Next season we’ll be putting on fewer, but much larger shows, which will represent better value for money for boxing fans, and we’ll be screening them live via VIPBOXING.TV. VIP fighters will also be expected to take harder fights, face each other, and take on local boxers who are ticket-sellers, which will all mean an even better atmosphere at the shows.
“Our next show, at the Reebok Stadium, will be the start of a new way of doing things as we head into next season. It’s still shaping up, but it’s going to be a terrific show and we’ve currently got 18 fights lined up. There’ll be at least two title fights on, with a Northwest derby fight between Chris Jenkinson and Lyndon Newman, plus Luke Blackledge fighting for the Central Area title. We’ll also have English light-welter champ Shayne Singleton, KO specialists Mark Thompson and Tomi Tatham, and talented John Quigley on the bill. Four youngsters will make their debuts including this year’s ABA winner Jack Massey, and I’m also hoping to add former European champ Stephen Foster Jr.
“We’re working within difficult circumstances but are really trying to get a better deal for fans, and I’m hoping people support VIP, and our boxers, by coming along to the shows, and by tuning in to VIPBOXING.TV if they can’t make it.”
VIP Promotions present a great afternoon of boxing at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium on July 20. The show will feature the fighters already mentioned plus Bolton’s Danny Watson and Paul Drago; Darwen’s Stevie Taylor; Merseyside’s Wayne Adeniyi; Wythenshawe’s Kofi Yates; Middleton’s Alex Rutter; and debutants Adam Ismail; Ritchie Lewis, and Ashtif Mustag.
Tickets, priced at £30 (General) and £50 (Ringside), are available from all boxers or at www.vipbe.co.uk