With a number of successful shows behind him, including a huge world title fight bill in Monte Carlo and two others in Newcastle, promoter Dennis Hobson wraps up 2014 by taking a look at some of the calendar’s highs and lows, while also looking ahead to some big plans in 2015.
What was your personal boxing highlight of the year?
I think Ross Burkinshaw winning the Commonwealth title. He came to me at the beginning of the year, had a bad injury, but was also a personal friend of my family’s. He decided to go with Ryan [Rhodes] and it was a case then of how to manoeuvre him. It’s all about timing, and it was a gamble when he fought Jason Cunningham. To take that fight at four days’ notice and fight in the manner he did, it showed how much stamina and will to win he’s got. It was phenomenal and it was like a world title for us winning that. It was beautiful; a great memory.
What has been your boxing low of the year?
The politics! The Boxing Board has left me disillusioned. You pay your licence, invest in kids, and I read something recently about managers and promoters making money out of fighters … well this one doesn’t!
Some fighters have let me down and I don’t think I’ve ever let a boxer down. I’ve always got them as much money as possible and it’s very disappointing when you’ve done the right thing and they still don’t appreciate what you’ve done for them.
If the people in charge of the organisation of boxing are not stronger then kids, indirectly, are going to suffer because I’ll be reluctant to invest in them if I think the agreement I’ve got isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Would I invest in something if I’m not protected? It makes me question it.
Who has been the fighter of the year from the Dennis Hobson Promotions stable?
For me, it’s Lewis Taylor (pictured). He’s been very patient, is an intelligent kid, and conducts himself as a gentleman. He’s been matched, has had pull outs and has been frustrated, but for him to come through in the manner in which he did against Jonson McClumpha, in a crossroads-type fight against a quality fighter, was brilliant.
It was great to polish off this year with Lewis winning because he’s a lovely kid to work with.
What has been the best fight you’ve watched on one of your shows this year?
I think it would have to be Sam Matkin against Dale Hutchinson for the British Masters light-welterweight title. What a scrap! It was nip and tuck, and a phenomenal fight, just unbelievable. They were well-matched kids and that’s what we’re doing on a regular basis with our shows.
What are the plans for next year?
Early February I’m looking to do a show in Blackpool, and then on February 21 we’ve got a show at the Octagon in Sheffield. Ross Burkinshaw will defend his Commonwealth title and we’ll have all the kids on like Sam Sheedy, Lewis Taylor and Waleed Din.
We’re also going to do some work in the North East with Phil Jeffries, who I’ve known for years and get on really well with. He’s got some good kids and together we’ll have a strong stable to make some title inroads. We’ll have a few TV fighters within both our stables, and we’ll bring some titles home.
It’s been a tough year because I’ve been keeping the boxing going, while my dad’s not been well. Touch wood he’s come through it, but it has been tough keeping everything going.
It’s been a busy year, and it’s cost me money being involved in boxing this year, but it’s part of the investment. It’s not easy times at the moment but I always think long term. It’s a team effort and hopefully we can generate even more champions next year at different levels, because I get a buzz with any title. It’s the thrill of winning, and making history.
I’d also like to wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas, and all the best for the New Year, and give a special thanks to Steve Winstone for his help with sponsoring our shows and helping give our kids a chance to establish themselves.