Actions Speak Louder Than Words for Farrell
Lots of time can be wasted talking in boxing. Months can drift by with little forward movement on the most obvious issues, let alone the more complicated ones. 65%-35%, PPV platforms and ‘A sides’. It gets wearying.
Instead of reading about people trying to talk their way into things, out of things or around things, last night I got to spend time around an organisation which has quietly gone about achieving every single goal it has set itself.
Less than eight months ago, Kieran Farrell launched his promotional career with a four fight card at the Middleton Arena. The goodwill generated by his astonishing recovery from a severe brain injury undoubtedly contributed to the sellout crowd, as did the promise of pizza delivered to ringside, but rather then resting on his laurels [finding his feet?] the inexperienced Farrell instantly plunged himself deeper into the world of boxing promotion.
Last night, at the revamped Bowlers Exhibition Centre [or the BEC Arena if you like], Kieran Farrell Promotions staged their fourth show. Boxing is a unique business. Knowledge of accounts and spreadsheets, standard marketing practices and break even analysis mean little compared to a real feel for the sport and, so far, Farrell has shown that he ‘gets’ it.
Tickets for Farrell’s events start at just £20, last night’s top ticket price was £55. I have been to Bowlers many times over the years and last night was the first time I have seen the entire exhibition hall opened up for a boxing event. The events have very quickly developed a ‘big’ feel. Every fighter walks through a pyrotechnic storm and make their way to the ring along a ramp that Anthony Joshua would be proud of.
He may not have developed a natural headline act yet, but by announcing his dates and fixing who will appear on his shows way ahead of time [there are two more already scheduled], Farrell gives his fighters plenty of time to sell their tickets. Once a ball starts rolling, momentum builds. If the fights are entertaining and good value, fans will return. If fighters feel like they have been treated well and get paid on time they too will want to come back and if good boxers get to fight regularly in front of sold out crowds, it stands to reason that stars will emerge.
Last night, Farrell put on a ten fight card. Now, the show went on too long, the final fight - Osman Aslam’s first round stoppage of Georgi Georgiev ended at half past midnight - and I can assure you that being in the famous rave warehouse at that time of night without the benefit of alcohol becomes a particularly cold experience, but fans got to see plenty of good action and a couple of shock results.
Zahid Hussain (10-0, 2KO’s) and George Brennan (3-0, 1KO) continued to build with unanimous decision victories. Danny Craven and Reece McMillan went directly at their opponents. The exciting Craven (2-0, 1KO) floored the decent Nathan Hardy and then out punched him in a mini war whilst McMillan showed some nice head movement and bodywork to outpoint tough Fonz Alexander.
Jay Carney (4-1-2, 3KO’s) got his third consecutive victory by easily outboxing Russ Midgley and slick Jack Sellars (5-0-1, 1KO) got his first stoppage victory when the ever dependable Chris Jenkinson came out of a clinch and dropped to the floor with blood streaming from his left eye. Sellars might be one to keep an eye on.
Not everything went to plan for Farrell. The popular Lee ‘Kombat’ Clayton (2-2, 2KO’s) was knocked out in spectacular fashion by Latvian opponent Dmitrijs Gutmans and Ryan Watson (1-1) deservedly surrendered his unbeaten record to Yousef Al Hamidi. It was only Al Hamidi’s 14th victory in 119 contests but I remain convinced that if he put his mind to it more regularly, he could beat plenty of fighters operating at around 10stone. The Syrian probably values his fortnightly phonecall from a matchmaker more than a few more ticks in the win column.
Every fan will have zipped up their jacket or clenched their handbag to their sheer crop top and braved the arctic winds whipping across Bowlers car park happy with their evenings entertainment. Farrell will expand his operations into Belfast in April. If he can repeat the impact he has made in Manchester with the traditionally fanatical Irish fight fans, who knows where his story might end.