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Old 12-16-2017, 08:55 AM #1
Motorcity Cobra Motorcity Cobra is online now
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Default TKO Promotions. Imagine if they never went broke

Somebody there had a good eye for talent

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Here's an article from 2009 about them

It’s not clear if TKO Boxing Promotions is the busiest promotional outfit in North America, but they are certainly on the short list. With the loss of television outlets- most notably Telefutura- other companies like Top Rank have not done nearly as many shows as they have in the past. The bottom line is that many brand-name promoters are downright reluctant to put on promotions without the safety net of a license fee from a major network or casino money.

Yet, in 2009, this young, upstart outfit will essentially be promoting a show every other week and they go back to their home base of Houston, Texas this Saturday night at the Arena Theater. And they do it the old-fashioned way.

" What we’ve relied on is our street team, basically putting our heads down and going to work every single week and just going into a market," explained Chet Koerner, president of TKO Boxing Promotions. The key, according to him is make an investment- not just in money- but more importantly, in time, to a particular region." The biggest mistake promoters make is that they’re not committed to a market. And unless you can say to yourself,’ I’m going to a market six times, I don’t have TV and I’ve got to sell.’ It’s never going to work. So what we basically learned this first year is we’ve made every mistake possible you can make in certain markets, but for the majority of it, we figured out which markets were profitable and we’ve done the same thing every promoter should be doing- which is selling tickets."

The fact is, many promoters nowadays are nothing more than television packagers or casino brokers, who just happen to deliver the talent.

" Without TV and without casino’s, they’re basically dead in the water and if you gave me TV money and casino money, I could call myself a promoter," surmised Koerner, who has cut syndication deals for several of his fight cards." But at the end of the day, if you really want to develop a fighter, the fighter has got to have a hometown and he’s got to have a following. If you take the quick way and put him on one of the big networks, you’re not developing anything. So you’re basically cutting off your nose to spite your face."

Russell Peltz, the veteran promoter from Philadelphia lamented several years ago that nowadays promoting a fighter meant getting him to 20-0 and hopefully getting a spot on HBO or Showtime. In many respects he absolutely correct. Just how many ’Boxing After Dark’ shows have you seen where a young fighter( who makes high six-figures) performs in a near empty ballroom, thousands of miles from his home? TKO’s catch-phrase and mission statement is," Hometown Heroes to World Champions’. Before anything, they want to build a fan-base for their fighters. It seems like a novel concept, but that was the backbone of the business for about 80 years before promoters sold their soul to the premium cable networks.

Koerner says," In the short time we’ve been in this business, we try to be humble and we do the same things that we know make money. And that’s put asses in seats and sell tickets and go to people’s hometowns. The one thing I’ve noticed about our fighters is that they’re expected to sell tickets. They don’t call us and ask,’ What’s my purse?’ They’re expected to sell tickets to pay for their fights. I don’t know any different, all I know is to sell tickets."

TKO has turned down chances for their boxers to be on HBO and Showtime as opponents.

" We don’t want to make the mistake most promoters make and be a booking agent for the ’B-side’ and really try to develop our fighters and we have a business plan. A three, a five and a ten-year plan for the future. And we’re committed to this business and we know what works and what doesn’t," said Koerner.

What’s interesting about this concept is that it’s local club shows done nationally. Veteran matchmaker Chris Middendorf, who now works full-time for the company believed in this formula." Always did," he states," and the reason why I thought it would work is because it’s back to the basic concept- which is what a club show does. It brings together some competitive fights, you do your street-teaming, get your local sponsors and you put asses in seats. If it works in Baltimore, if it works in York, it’ll work in San Diego." They will do approximately 26 to 28 shows this year. It’s not uncommon for employees of this company to go from one show and begin working in another territory in advance of an upcoming card. It can be a bit of a Groundhog Day existence." It seems like it’s every weekend," admitted Middendorf." But that goes with the territory."

And as they hit the road, going from York, to Johnstown, to Houston, to Cincinnati, Baltimore, Hartford, Reno and San Diego( among other cities), one thing is clear, there is a marketplace for boxing. Yet each of these are unique and singular living organisms that must be treated differently.

" There’s boxing fans, if you do it the right way," Koerner, points out." But I will tell you this, there’s no set business plan for boxing. Every market is different, from Johnstown, where the population is 7,000- we do 3,500 every time we’re there. To Southern California with the Pala Casino. The experience at the Maywood gym, seeing 200, five-to-seventeen year olds at the community center and being told by the trainer there is eight other places like that in Southern California, it just blows me away. There’s also hotbeds in Tampa, hotbeds in D.C, the Baltimore area. We’ve made a market out of York, Pennsylvania and the last time I checked, nothing has happened in York for a long time."

This show in Houston has four boxers from the local area, Dat Nguyen, who brings a strong Vietnamese backing, Eugene Hill, KJ Noons and Gerardo Ibarra. In addition, young prospects Mickey Bey and Francisco Contreras are on the bill. The co-main this weekend is world ranked flyweight, Rayonta Whitfield. For TKO Boxing, the next step is signing blue-chip amateur talent, which they have done in the recent weeks.

" And there’s going to be other announcements in the next six months that I can’t talk about that we’re going to do, certain areas we’re going into," hinted Koerner." We’ve grown as a company quicker than I ever thought we would in the last year and now we’re starting to get the top guys. Because from a fighters standpoint, fighters want to fight. And they just don’t want to fight twice a year, they want to get into a rhythm, develop their career and what TKO has to offer every fighter out there is, we have the most dates. So they can stay busy, work on their skills and we’re developing fighters."

If these young boxers don’t have a region that supports boxing, then TKO is committed to cultivating one for them.

" You have certain types of fighters," explained Koerner." you have fighters who can reach a certain level. Then you also have fighters that you know are your horses and can win world titles. And with what our business plan is and the way we do our business, we take fighters from different areas that don’t have a hometown, we develop them in a market that they’re not even from.

" The key is to develop a market and be consistent."
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