Fighter, trainer, manager, promoter – Dennis Hobson has been involved in boxing at every level for decades.
From small halls to the bright lights of Vegas, the Sheffield businessman has helped guide the careers of a number of world champions, including Clinton Woods and Ricky Hatton, and continues to operate at the pinnacle of the sport today.
In a regular feature, we’ll be putting your questions to Dennis as the Yorkshireman voices his opinion on the talking points in the world of boxing.
Which current amateur would you most like to sign?
Well, I’ve just signed a kid who won the ABAs last year, his name’s Waleed Din. I don’t want to build him up to be shot down, but he excites me. He’s probably the best prospect I’ve ever signed. He could be the next coming of Naz [Naseem Hamed], but with a bit more humility!
He made his pro debut at the Octagon recently (September 13) and looked special. He’s a class act and because of his weight category (flyweight) we’re going to have to hold him back. I’ve told BoxNation about him already though because he’s going to light up the division.
Why is Stuart Hall’s world title fight being held in Monte Carlo rather than the North East – is it because of disappointing attendances at the last two fights?
That’s been taken into consideration obviously, and Stuart’s not a Ricky Hatton. But it’s mainly because of the opportunity that came along, and also because the date and time constraints with the IBF meant I couldn’t place it on BoxNation that month.
Rodney Berman approached me because I’ve put a couple of shows on in Monaco before, and it’s a special place. It’s like putting a show on in Vegas. It’s a famous location and what a great place to be putting a main event on. So I jumped at the chance.
It’s still on our terms with regards Stuart being a home fighter, and all that means, because he’ll have plenty of support there. Martin Murray is fighting and he’s a home fighter too. So it was an opportunity not to be missed. I don’t see it affecting the outcome of the fight; Caballero has still got to come from a different time zone and a different climate. So things are still in our favour.
Who wins between Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr?
I’d have said Billy Joe but I think Chris Eubank has improved that much and started to show some quality. The only thing is it might have come too soon for him and Billy Joe has got the bit between his teeth and is starting to show his potential.
In the past they might have been kept apart but it’s a different scenario now and we should have had this mentality ages ago, that a defeat isn’t the end of a career. But I think Billy Joe might just have a bit too much for him. Eubank has caught up very quickly though and it’s a great match-up, and compliments to everyone for putting it together.
Did you ever box yourself?
Yes, I had a few amateur fights. But I ended up concentrating on football because I was hoping to get into the football league, but it weren’t meant to be. I sparred with everybody around the gyms, and one or two of the pros that ended up with me I used to spar with to help prepare them for fights. I’ve always kept fit, although I like a party now and again!
When Clinton Woods lost for the Commonwealth against David Starie I was absolutely gutted. I was training at the time and I said ‘I’m going to have one or two pro fights’. I was in my early 30’s then, I started training but things came up with my business, my mind got off it, and I regret to this day that I didn’t just have a couple of pro fights. I would have made a good pro I think. Ability-wise, on my day, I’d have been a match for anyone and that’s not me blowing my trumpet.
Who will be the next big star from the Dennis Hobson stable?
I’ve got some good kids coming through. I’ve just signed a kid called Ryan Davies from Blackpool, a welterweight/light-middleweight. He hasn’t had much experience as an amateur and he’s 27, so he’s playing a bit of catch-up but I think he’ll be a handful for anybody. He could come through and do really well because he’s like a sponge, he absorbs everything. I’ve taken him on the pads, and I think he’s one that could upset some people.
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