Promoter Ben Shalom heads to the UK’s second city tomorrow night, the vast metropolis of Birmingham will play host to Joshua Buatsi Vs Pawel Stepien.
We have seen a change of direction from Shalom’s Boxxer, co-promotions in Paris and Poland recently have added an extra flavour to the boxing content on Sky Sports. This weekend they hit a new city in Birmingham where London’s Buatsi headlines with a host of local talent making up the undercard.
“There is a huge amount of talent here, huge superstars here.” Shalom said in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV News. “It’s been a long time. London, Manchester and even Newcastle has had the stars and built consistently, but the Midlands has always been the one that has never had the big shows consistently. It’s now here, look at the three Olympians, three Olympic medalists all from the Midlands. We have got a huge amount of signings here, this [show] will be the first of many. We will be here three or four times a year.
“Matt Macklin was from here but never really fought at home. Obviously Robert McCracken, but that was a long time ago. I don’t remember too many huge stars. Look at Manchester it had Ricky Hatton and we are still living off that. But now there is such a huge talent pool and there is those future stars that every city needs. This is the time, I can actually see it exploding.”
The stars Shalom speaks of are spearheaded by Team GB amateur standout Ben Whittaker, a fighter Shalom moved Heaven and Earth to sign.
“A huge amount of personality, a huge star.” Shalom said proudly. “Huge potential, also very talented in the ring. I want to keep his feet on the ground in a sense, this is his first fight back after a long time out with injury. It’s huge for us that he is back, he’s box office and we need box office stars coming through. It has been a long time since Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury turned over, where are the new stars that are going to tap into it. I think Adam Azim is potentially one of them, Frazer Clarke is another one down the line. But we need to build them, they need to be on big platforms and need to be seen. We want more than just boxing fans watching boxing, that is what Ben Whittaker can do 100 percent.
“Fair play to Jordan Grant for taking this fight. The best British fighters are sometimes hard to match with other British fighters. It’s because fighters don’t want to lose their winning record or get involved in such a tough fight. It’s a double edged sword. With Ben Whittaker, he is so talented in the ring, he needs a certain level of opposition. Jordan Grant just went the distance with Aaron McKenna on 24 hours notice. He’s fighting him in just his third fight, It shows you where Ben wants to go. We will take it at our own pace because he is a superstar. We want him to be filling out this arena within 12 months.”
Headlining Shalom’s first Midlands project is new signing Joshua Buatsi. A Londoner who linked up with Boxxer just over a month ago after a very public spat with rival Eddie Hearn and Matchroom.
“He’s ready to go, he is frustrated.” Shalom continued. “ He has watched Dan Azeez fight three or four times since he last fought, he has watched Anthony Yarde fight for world titles. He believes he is number one in the UK, but he needs activity. He is most comfortable when he is in the ring. I'm looking forward to that tomorrow night.”
It has been reported that Buatsi is ready and willing to jump in with the winner of Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith, who have been mandated to fight with no date confirmed at the time of writing.
“I think it is a great fight, a great fight for either one of them for Buatsi. “Shalom added. “But we have a plan for this year. We have a huge fight that we feel we can make very soon. But I think Buatsi just wants world titles, big names and wants activity. It was only five weeks ago that he signed for us, and he’s out already. He is in a big event on Saturday and it is right back into the mix. We will see him in all the big fights in the next 12 months.”