With British boxing booming at the moment, new promoter James Lindemann is looking to put a spin on your ‘traditional’ boxing event.
On Saturday 18th June, he attempted to bring an American fight night across the Atlantic Ocean to Manchester with great success.
Despite the fact that there were only five fights on the bill, there were a raft of celebrities in attendance at Event City in Trafford Park. Fans were treated to a Q&A with WBA world lightweight champion Anthony Crolla, as well as an exclusive after party including a live DJ set all under one roof.
Despite regular shows being put on in the city by Eddie Hearn, Steve Wood and Frank Warren, Lindemann has spotted a gap in the market for boxing shows that he is looking to take advantage of over the coming months.
Originally, boxing promotion or working in the industry had never been on the radar for Lindemann, until a fateful trip to the States.
“I never expected to be a promoter two years ago. I don’t have background in boxing but instead come from a corporate recruitment background. I’ve been on record before saying my knowledge went as far as Hagler-Leonard, Ali – Foreman, Tyson v Holyfield, what you would call the super fights, I certainly didn’t know that Kieran Farrell had fought Anthony Crolla even though now I do some of Anthony’s commercial work.
I fell into boxing because I was in Vegas as a fan for a Mayweather fight. My passion was always previously United and I’ve been fortunate enough go to a number of European Cup finals. I can only compare a Mayweather event to a European Cup final in terms of the excitement and the buzz that he generates.
I was there as a fan and I noticed a guy I had previously seen in the ring with his sons. I got chatting with him and he was kind enough to give me a couple of tickets for the fight. The next day I went in the elevator after the fight, there could have been 60,000 different people in that elevator, and I met the brother of the guy that I had met. The guy was Sam Watson, Al Haymon’s long time friend and responsible for the management of Haymon’s fighters. We built up a strong relationship over that Summer and I lucky enough to be invited out as his guest to a few fights.
I then put on an event at the Manchester Hilton working closely with the licensed promoter, Steve Wood. I didn’t even know who Steve Wood was at the time. The night was called ‘Vegas Fight Night Comes to Manchester’. The event gained some excellent press coverage and a short montage of the evening was shown on Sky Sport’s Ringside.
The night was similar to what I had seen in America during my visits to watch fights the previous Summer, when there was always something for everyone to do. If you don’t like your boxing you can go and see the show girls or go to the super club.
You can’t really do that on the same scale in England because hotels are simply not big enough.
I started doing what I always have done when I find a passion and instead of watching Manchester United goals from 1982, I started watching domestic boxing every evening from the current day to years gone by. I started to network in the industry and to be honest in the business that we’re in, you’re going to step on peoples toes. People that have been in the game for a long time are often sceptical about newcomers or new ideas or putting a different spin on shows.”
I then started looking after Sam Hyde, a really exciting and unbeaten Cruiserweight and after seeing that Sam sells tickets I embarked on gaining my promoters license which I achieved in February of this year.
Whilst talking about his upcoming show, the passion in his voice is projected across the phone. He concees that Lindemann Sports and Entertainment aren’t the most successful promotional company yet, but they do offer a unique incentive for young fighters to join them.
“Why is a boxer going to join LSEL? Sam Hyde to his credit decided to sign with us to because he saw a commercial opportunity, and saw what we’re trying to do.
What are we trying to do? Well we won’t stop until Sam Hyde’s face is on the strip in Vegas or Atlantic City, and we believe it can happen because he’s good enough. However, we don’t need to rush anything and at the weight he fights at you have to be very careful because one punch can ruin your career.
I’d say boxing is going towards 60% marketing, 40% boxing now. It’s certainly not 50/50.
If you take the subcultures of Britain – boxing (which is becoming the new football), drinking and a night out, why not put them all under one roof and give the punters what they want? I know for a fact this nation is obsessed with drinking and a night out and at the same time boxing is enjoying a boom, so as long as the quality is kept to a high level why not bring them all together under one roof.
I only went into promoting because of Sam Hyde but I went ahead with my first show [after his injury] because I was committed cost wise. I did it at Event City whereby you didn’t have to leave the venue and I attracted sponsors such as JD Sports (Lindemann Sports and Entertainment Limited are proud that they can say outside of Matchroom, they were only promotional company to gain the backing of JD).
I’m not saying the boxing is on the level that Eddie [Hearn] puts on but in terms of the production they can say that it is a very top end delivery of the show.
Due to Sam not being on the card, I had to get two named fighters, hence Morrison and Johnson at the time who added real credence to the event.
Lindemann’s next show will be on the 22nd October, titled “Return of the Hyde’. “The card sees exciting cruiserweight Sam Hyde return to action as well as the likes of Michael Gomez Jnr, Artif Ali, Craig Bunn and Ryan Oliver. We also have a Dutch Welterweight who is making his debut called Steve Danyo that has an impressive 12-0-3 record.”
“During the build up to the promotion, we will spend a lot of time building the fighters up because we want to raise their profiles.”
“There will be billboards across Manchester, we will have flyers in [JD] stores and a lot of social media activity that other promoters aren’t doing. I think that adds value to the industry by building up profiles of lesser known boxers.”
Looking into the future, the model that Lindemann employs is intriguing. He doesn’t want a huge amount of fighters like other promoters, he wants to do things very differently.
“My plan for Sam is this; he will fight an eight rounder on his comeback, he will then fight in February for probably a British Challenge belt and then my plan is to hold an outdoor event at Altrincham Football Club on bank holiday Sunday in May.”
“I’ll make it family orientated so that it’ll be an event that people want to come to on a bank holiday Sunday. We’ll have maybe an English title fight on the bill and Sam’s going to fight for the IBF world youth title. I think I would be wrong in this game to look too far ahead so that’ll take me to the end of May.”
“I’m hoping that other boxers see what we’re doing with Sam and see what we’re doing with our shows; doing things differently to others. We believe this event will be televised on a free view platform. We’ll get footballers and celebrities there and it’ll cater for both the boxing purist and social fan.”
The future looks bright for Lindemann Sports and Entertainment, with a new style of show that he hopes will take over the industry. The concept is fresh and exciting, and we will only see with time if it will be a successful one.
By Luke Madeira, follow Luke on Twitter @lukemadeira15
Fans can buy tickets via www.l-sel.com
£100 VIP Ringside (Reserved)
£65 Outer Ringside (Unreserved)
£30 Standard Seating (Unreserved)
All tickets include access into the After-Party which will commence at Midnight and go on until 4am.