WHEN FightCard Promotions made it’s first foray into professional boxing in Tasmania, there was a distinct lack of active combatants.
Two years on and the sport is thriving locally, with over a dozen active professional participants. And for promotional figurehead Adam Wilcock, it doesn’t stop there with the wheels in motion for an ambitious bid to bring WBO featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez to the garden state in 2018.
Since launching in 2011, Wilcock’s Melbourne-based company, FightCard Promotions, has put together 27 events across Melbourne, Brisbane, New York and of course Hobart. But the crown jewel for his established promotional firm would be a landmark world title challenge for Tasmanian sporting icon, Luke Jackson.
“FightCard has done six shows in just over two years in Tasmania, we’ve basically started from nothing,” said Wilcock in an exclusive interview with Aus-Boxing. “Aside from the couple of Geale shows, there’d been no professional boxing presence for a long period in Tasmania. Over the last couple years we’ve tried really hard to turn that all around”
“It’s come at a significant investment, but you only need to look at the number of Tasmanian professional boxers now emerging, to see its all been worth it. We’ve had some very loyal supporters over that period and people on the ground working hard to ensure the shows are a success. The public support for boxing in Tasmania is massive, I feel like we’ve been a big part in helping that growth, but still so far to go.”
Jackson’s team are looking to take a leaf from the playbook of WBO welterweight ruler Jeff Horn, who had his historic world title challenge against Manny Pacquiao bankrolled by the Queensland Government, and in particular Events Queensland, Brisbane Marketing and Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.
Although talks of bringing the 26-year-old Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs) to Tasmania for a title defence are still premature, Jackson (15-0, 6 KOs) has long been hopeful of securing the financial support of the Premier of Tasmania, Will Hodgman, a vocal advocate of Jackson’s professional career.
“Jacko has voiced his desire to have Oscar Valdez come to Tasmania, thats been our collective goal and aim for some time now,” he reiterated. “We have every reason to believe it is possible and its now reaching the point of the journey where we need to pull it all together and make it happen.”
“I’ve said a number of times in the Tasmanian media that we have a set plan and path, bringing a world title fight to Tasmania is hopefully not too far away from reality. When I heard that Luke Jackson was interested in turning professional back in 2013, I couldn’t have picked up the phone any quicker. Luke is a promoters dream, ticks all the boxes and is an absolute gentleman.”
“He trains like a world champion and is destined to be one,” Wilcock added. “He makes my job as his promoter so easy. Luke asks questions and wants to know the answers, but shows the upmost respect and trust in the process. From day one we’ve been on the same page, set small goals and put steps in place.”
Long-term partnerships are rare and seldom in this sport, which makes the four year alliance between Jackson and Wilcock all the more special. Efforts in teams that are separated by distance often go unnoticed, but in this instance, the respect appears to be very much mutual.
“So far, Luke is unbeaten and is doing his bit. As his promoter, we have delivered at every step and we’ll be there till the end of the journey. Without him headlining cards, there’s no doubt that the promotionl path would’ve been harder and the chances for other boxers wouldn’t have happened.”
“Professional boxing in Tasmania has been dragged back from relative non-existence,” he concluded. “Luke’s contribution to that on a number of levels is astonishingly selfless.”
Photo: Bruno Ferreira