In part 2 of my interview with Leonard Gunning, I wanted to find out about the importance of building momentum with regular shows. Boxing Ireland have signed a lot of new prospects with less than 5 pro fights, so it’s obviously important for them to get fights under their belt.
Also, what it will take for the national broadcaster’s to get involved with Boxing again and we also talk about what fighters out there Leonard would love to sign….
KO – You’ve signed a lot of great prospects recently to Boxing Ireland. As a promoter, how important is it to build momentum for those guys making debut’s or with a handful of fights on their record?
LG – It’s very important really. It’s all about getting them on their way and building momentum. We’re trying to increase the pool of talent and the number of pro’s in this country. Obviously you have guys at different level’s, different weights and different stages in their career’s, so it’s about doing the right thing that makes sense for everyone.
For us, it also helps build cards and enables us to put on events which is the main aim. We want to bring regular boxing shows back to Ireland and build the sport back up, so we’re putting our money where our mouth is!
KO – Looking around, who would be on your ‘dream list’ of fighters to sign to Boxing Ireland Promotions?
LG – That’s an interesting one. You know, there’s some seriously talented guys in this country. In the amateurs id say Tommy Hyde is one that stands out. He’s someone who has the power, movement and speed to take to the pro ranks really well. The obvious one then would be Joe Ward, he’d be top of the list and someone id love to promote. He’s such a fantastic talent.
Then further afield id have to say Joe Joyce at Heavyweight. He’s a serious talent and someone I think has a big future ahead of him. Apart from that, if you look in the UK, Matchroom seem to be tying up most of the top guys from team GB, so they obviously have some great talent coming through their ranks.
KO – Considering where Irish boxing was a few years ago, things are certainly improving. However, what do you think it will take for the national broadcasters to get involved again and start showing boxing on terrestrial tv?
LG – I think RTE might be thawing a little. They’ve been showing some coverage of Michael Conlan’s fights in the states. obviously it’s delayed highlight’s, but they’re still putting it on air. I think Conlan could be the one to get the broadcaster’s interested again. He looks like he’s destined for great things in the sport and hopefully he can get the casual fans on board.
Apart from that, I think if guys are good enough then why not give them that exposure. If people looked at boxing in Ireland, they would see that there is genuine world-class talent here, so that tv exposure would benefit everyone.
KO – Finally Leonard, whats the plan then for the next 12-18 months for Boxing Ireland Promotions?
LG – Hopefully we’re going to have another 4 shows within the next year, which is a massive development for us and boxing here in Ireland. We’re hoping to have a few Irish and Celtic champions in our stable, and we can hopefully start showing big title fights and build some real momentum.
Our thing is to include and work with other promoters in the country if possible. Obviously we’re working with Tony Davitt, then we might have something coming up with Kieran Farrell, so it can only help the sport to grow, which is what everyone wants.
From talking to Leonard, it’s easy to see how committed and passionate he is, not just about the sport of boxing, but about developing young Irish boxers into genuine talent’s. What Leonard and Stephen Sharpe are doing with Boxing Ireland can only benefit the sport and help it to grow. If they can manage to put on 4-5 good events each year then hopefully it’s only a matter of time before the broadcaster’s get involved and start giving a platform for our fighter’s to showcase their talent’s.
Celtic Clash 3 is on September 9th in the national stadium, Dublin. Tickets for the show are now on sale and can be bought directly through any of the boxer’s involved, Ticketmaster or Boxing Ireland Promotions.
Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo