THE thought of promoting an event headlined by Jeff Horn never crossed the mind of Lynden Hosking.
After less than four years on the scene as a promoter, his company Hosking Promotions has formed one half of the ‘Battle of Bendigo’ showcase on August 31st, where Jeff Horn meets Michael Zerafa.
As the biggest event of his promotional career at Bendigo Stadium fast approaches, Hosking, a former Olympian himself, admits he’s enjoying every step of the journey so far.
“I didn’t think we’d have Jeff Horn in Bendigo. Not in a million years,” Hosking told Aus-Boxing.
“We’ve been in the media pretty much every second day, especially here in Bendigo. Everyone is buzzing about it – it’s definitely out there – and it’s great to have the fighters coming to the area as well.
“The whole concept was definitely pie in the sky. I’ve had dealings with Dean Lonergan (Horn’s promoter) for the last couple of years, but there’s always been talk.
“We’d been speaking about doing some TV shows for next year, and he saw the Tim Tszyu fight that we did, including the funding and support. He rang me one day and asked if I’d be interested in having Jeff Horn fight in Bendigo.
“We made some calls and everyone got on board straight away and we lined up a date with Visit Victoria.”
Having built a stable of his own in recent years, Hosking concedes it’s been a balancing act when mixing local talent with the high-profile names a marquee card would need.
The regional event will be the first of many, with Hosking’s company working in conjunction with Lonergan’s D & L Events, best known for grooming Jeff Horn from local shows to superstardom.
“It was hard, these are big shows, you want to look after the local guys,” he added.
“We’ve got two Bendigo guys on there. We’ve also got Joseph Goodall, who was born in Bendigo, but trains with Glenn Rushton. And others including Isaac Hardman, Shannon O’Connell and Brock Jarvis.
“The public will see that we’ve got some big shows planned for next year, which I’m sure Dean will announce. We plan to do at least three shows a year in Victoria and creating a pathway for our guys.”
The beauty of promoting a truly national act in his home state is having a neutral approach to fight night.
As far as Hosking is concerned, his best-case scenario includes no preferred winner, while highlighting the threat that former Commonwealth titleholder Zerafa (26-3, 15 KOs) possesses as a fully fledged middleweight.
Having said that, he’s more than aware that the event is understandably built around Horn, who has previously reached the pinnacle of the sport.
“You don’t have to be blind to see that it’s the Jeff Horn show,” he explained.
“But Michael has a lot of support from Melbourne. He’s a good looking guy that speaks really well. It’s very much about Jeff at this stage, but I think they could be shocked about Michael.
“I’m not Jeff’s official promoter, so I’ve got no vested interest in either fighter. My best-case scenario is we get a great fight and a packed house.”
Hosking hopes the partnership with Lonergan is the start of a long-standing relationship, which will continue to produce broadcast quality events.
“I think we’ve done our apprenticeship and I think I’ve learnt the hard way in some cases,” he said.
“With all due respect to other promoters, I don’t want to be doing small shows forever. I want to take the next step to bigger things. That’s why I’ve hooked up to bigger things with Dean. I want to step up.
“We want to structure a template so that we can start a platform. We want to be working with other promoters, where young kids having their early fights could potentially end up on pay-per-view.
“We’ll give them every opportunity. In Australia, we have a limited pool of fighters, and a limited pool of money. That’s why I applaud promoters who also have that same vision as us.
“I applaud them for having that vision. Rest assured, we’re bringing in the best we can.
“Now that Fox Sports is coming back and with sponsorship opportunities growing, hopefully we can make the fights people want to see. I just implore the fans to be patient.”