http://www.boxingnewsonline.net/BN08/detail.asp?id=1179What state is British boxing in, not just from the perspective of your stable but overall?
Well, I think from a talent point of view itís probably in a better shape than itís been for a long, long time. There are some really good young fighters coming through, some guys that are on the verge of fighting for world titles and some brilliant young guys who have a good future ahead of them.
So letís talk about the pluses first. As far as live gates are concerned everybody Ė certainly we are Ė we are getting good live gates and very good attendances for the shows. TV is the problem. Youíve got the uncertainty of Setanta, and I believe tomorrow [Friday, June 19] they will be told they are still in business, which is great for the game. Sky mostly focus on Friday night shows which I think restricts the development of bringing stars through. Itís not a good slot. Itís a good slot for them and as a promoter youíve got to grab what you can but that slot, most newspaper sports editors donít send people along to fights on Friday night so you donít get a good preview and in most cases you donít even get the result in the next day. Itís difficult for fans to travel to the event if they are finishing work at 5pm on a Friday and you need to get to Birmingham or Manchester or Coventry if youíre living in London, itís a pain in the backside and vice versa.As a promoter, how do you get the newspapers to cover fighters who were not amateur stars or donít have Olympic backgrounds?
Theyíve got to do it through their talent and exposure and the way you get the exposure is through the TV so you need some Saturday night shows. Boxing on a Saturday night so we can put them on in big venues and get the public along to those type of fights rather than doing a small show at York Hall or somewhere that holds 1,500. You need to get into your 10,000 and 20,000 seat venues. Youíre not going to be able to do that on a Friday night. It cannot happen. You need that exposure on a Saturday. You donít need it to be on a pay-per-view basis you need it be on a subscriber basis or free-to-air. ITV are out of the game as we know, all they are doing is cutting money and basically whatís happening to boxing is happening to a lot of sports. Everything is driven by soccer, football whatever you want to call, it and thatís all the sport budgets are pushed into that.
The BBC are a disgrace. For a public channel not be showing any professional boxing and I understand they are pulling out of amateur boxing they are a disgrace and the people who are pissed off about not seeing boxing should write to the BBC and tell them.Have you been in negotiations with them recently?
They donít want to know. ITV have got no money so they are out of it.What do you think of the ITV scenario because Mick Hennessy was getting good ratings?
Itís bad. He was doing some good numbers on ITV 4 but itís all over so itís bad and itís not good for the game. The sport needs exposure. It needs its niche market. When I started in the game most fights took place on a Tuesday night and were shown on Sportsnight the next day. I started the Saturdays. The Saturdays are what we need because thatís the day when most people arenít working and they can take the time out to get to shows.So we are in a transition period with Joe retiring and Ricky losing, weíve got Froch and HayeÖ
But thatís always happened. Thatís nothing unusual. When there Maurice Hope and all those guys went by the wayside I remember reading reports that boxingís all over. Itís not all over. The fighters will come through. Itís just another cycle. What we, the promoters, have to do is be innovative and come up with ways to get fighters onto TV or other broadcasting areas in other forms.What was your take on Froch not getting live TV?
I thought it was terrible. But, you know, he went to the States, what was if 4-5 oíclock in the morning when the fight took place and that was his call. It obviously affected what he was going to get paid.What did you think of his gamble to defend in the US?
Listen, he had a real result, didnít he? Because he was 14 seconds from becoming a fighter who had been beaten nearly every round. If he hadnít snatched victory he would have been well beaten.Whatís your take on the David Haye situation?
I donít think he had a back problem with the alleged back injury I think he had a Setanta problem. He asked for the money up front and they wouldnít pay him. I know that for a fact.NB David Haye and Adam Booth deny this is the case and he is due back in England next week for physiotherapy on the back injury that they claim forced his withdrawal.Whatís the latest with the Joe Calzaghe situation?
The administrators went for appeal and the appeal was given refusal and leave to appeal. Itís out of my hands.How much of it is personal and how much of this case is professional?
With me itís very personal. Iím very pissed off. He was found to be lying in court, he had to apologise to the court. Gareth Williams was found to be lying and had to apologise to the court but having said all of that it went the other way, they found it against Sports Network Ltd and the facts are he and his father shook hands with me in a room and I swear on my childrenís lives thatís what happened. They denied it but thatís what happened. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth but thatís Joe.How old is Frank ****** Promotions the company?
A few months.Because it was Frank ******.tvÖ
Thatís not a promotional company, itís an internet site. I donít know why we get all of this. Iíve had that from a few people but itís an internet site.
With regards to the Sky shows, some have complained about there being just prospects against journeymen of 80-20 or 90-10 fightsÖ
Youíre going to get prospects against journeymen to start with because theyíve got learn their trade. What are you going to do, throw them in the deep end and let them get the s*** kicked out of them so they donít learn their trade? Thatís what the business is. Itís not the main event, you donít put it on as a main event but you step them up each time they fight. Theyíve got to learn their trade and if anyone doesnít think they should learn their trade they donít know what theyíre talking about.There has been some flak about Broadhurst and Cleverly against the African opponents as top of the bill fights?
Then someone should take it up with the Commonwealth because they come up with their list of contenders. We donít put the guys on their list. Itís their list. Some of these guys, we canít check them out because sometimes we canít even get any video out of them. But letís have it right, Don Broadhurst and Cleverly when they fought for them fought 12-round fights in something like their 10th or 11th fights. So you canít have it both ways.Who else would you like to promote?
The guys Iím promoting. Iíve signed [ABA light-welter champion] Ronnie Heffron, and Iím really looking forward t seeing him, heís going to be good. Iíve got enough on my books to be looking after at the moment. Out there who would I look at? Thereís a couple of kids, but nothing that really grabs me that much.Will Barker-Macklin happen?
Thatís up to Macklin. If he wants it he can have it.Now, you mentioned in a recent column about being a vegetarianÖ.
I eat fish.Has that been a long term thing?
Yeah, I havenít eaten meat for about 25 years.What inspired the change?
As far as meat was concerned I didnít like what they were pumping into the animals and I used to work at Smithfields meat market when I was a kid and I donít like the antibiotics and the stuff they beef them up with and now I donít like the intense farming conditions.Tell me something no one knows about you
What a nice bloke I am.Breidis Prescott caused you some trouble last year and now itís a legal thing [Prescott boxed in America on another promotion while allegedly under contract to ******]
It is a legal thing because of Luis DeCubas and the nutter [Ahmet Ohner].Would you like to use him again?
Yes. Weíll see where we are on it. Itís not the end of the world but he was stupid. Imagine if he had been here, I would have probably give him three fights by now and heíd be flying. Now heís gone of the radar.Some people think Prescott and Choi beat your prospects and youíve canned them?
No one has canned Breidis Prescott, you know what's happened there, and Choi you just couldnít get a fight for him. TV and no one was interested in him and thatís what happened. He did a job that night didnít he? I quite like him and I think Jack [Doughty]ís done a good job but thatís two of God knows how many fighters.
Kotelnikís one the guys that has beaten one of your fighters and youíve managed to find him more work with Amir Khan on July 18.
Yeah. I have had him back three times because I had also put him in with MBaye.