DUE to a lack of televised cards, seldom do we see the best domestic fights that could be made.
With a relatively small talent pool that struggles for mainstream exposure, promoters are often forced to think outside of the box to create opportunities for our next generation.
The progressive mindset of Matt Rose has allowed his company, No Limit Boxing, to become one of a handful of promoters to secure live television for their events.
The annual ‘Star of the Ring’ cards have been a ratings hit, with broadcast numbers reflecting a genuine interest in domestic boxing.
However, these live events have come with a twist, as rugby league converts are often headlining cards that are stacked with legitimate fights underneath them.
“Coming from an NRL background, we have always been connected through there,” Rose told Aus-Boxing.
“My brother played for many years and I’m a player agent as well. We saw the connection with a couple of fights with people who have gone across, we had ‘Choc’ first, then the likes of Solomon Haumono and John Hopoate.
“It attracts mainstream attention straight away, with an NRL player being a high-profile athlete going to another sport. In this case, the sporting fan base with boxing is very small compared to any other sporting codes.
“What we need to do from a boxing perspective is build the fan base. I believe there’s a crossover between NRL and boxing fans, I believe there are NRL fans that are boxing fans. And that’s probably the same with AFL.
“The reason we know that is from how engaged they are to fight, or even to watch boxing. Take someone like Justin Hodges, he’s a Queensland sporting legend, wanting to jump in the ring beause his passion for the sport.
“It’s not like he needs to do this, he just wants to do this.”
As the thirst for domestic and evenly-matched fights develops, Rose continues to service this audience with cards that appeal to a wider sporting audience.
Point in case is Rose’s latest offering on Friday night, where the iconic Horden Pavilion will be at its capacity when Paul Gallen faces former Australian heavyweight champion John Hopoate.
While critics will lament the profile and platform the two will be afforded, the undercard alone validates the pay-per-view fee or admission price for a ticket with some of Australia’s finest prospects on display.
Prodigious talent Tim Tszyu collides with former Commonwealth titleholder Denton Vassell in the co-feature, while two unbeaten stars in Mateo Tapia and Adam Copland face off. To top that off, a meeting between Mark Lucas and Rocky Jerkic would be the main event on any other night.
“We have three fights on Friday night that would be main events on most domestic cards on any other weekend,” Rose explained.
“Having events like Friday allows us to create a platform to create a different fan base to watch boxing. This allows those fans to see Tszyu, Jerkic, Lucas or Tapia, fighters they normally wouldn’t see.
“The reason why we get the platform we do is because the number that we get when these guys come across. To be fair to Gallen, he’d had eight fights and its not like he’s just come straight in, whereas ‘Choc’ came in and had every fight televised.
“The cards we put together are based around having a strong foundation of boxing talent and even match-ups. If you knew that Jerkic was fighting Lucas on a show that wasn’t televised, the reality is that you’re not going to get to watch that fight.
“You get to now see them all on the one show, regardless of who headlines. And you get a great night of boxing.”
Photo: Louie Abigail/Photography by Rockfingrz