FOR most fighters, having the opportunity to fight at home is often seen as a luxury.
For former super featherweight titleholder and fledgling promoter Will Tomlinson, this is something that he looks to offer to his growing stable of professional fighters.
Tomlinson’s company, WILDFIGHTER, heads to regional Victorian town Bairnsdale for its third promotional offering, with Jason Whateley headlining against former Commonwealth representative Lance Bryant on October 12th.
As Tomlinson reveals, the regional town was a perfect pairing from day one.
“Bairnsdale was a pretty obvious destination for me,” he told Aus-Boxing.
“Given that I’m from Bairnsdale, I’ve fought there twice, and so is Jason Whateley and Blake Wells. A strong portion of the undercard is also from Bairnsdale as well.
“We’ve got some young, talented fighters that are coming from that region. I want to nurture them, and give them the guidance that I had. And so that the region can produce another champion.”
The event will see unbeaten pair and local favourites Whateley (5-0, 4 KOs) and Blake Wells (3-0, 2 KOs) challenge for their first and second professional titles in the main feature bouts.
Despite not having a focus on belts, Tomlinson has already began the development process for two fighters that have grown with his promotional franchise since its inaugural event in March.
“To be honest, I haven’t really thought too much about titles,” he added.
“I just want to make sure that I can continue to deliver quality fights on every card, whether they’re in the city or country. I want our brand to be synonymous with quality, a good night out and competitive match-ups.
“I’m sure it’ll be icing on the cake for both Blake and Jason, winning titles in front of their home crowds, but it’s about much more than that.
“Based on the numbers that I’m getting and sales so far, the way that my show is trending and the traction I’ve gotten is every promoter’s dream.
“It’s definitely been talk of the town back in Bairnsdale, and a crowd that is potentiall twice as big as my Melbourne shows, I mean that quite literally. It will definitely become a regular feature in the Bairnsdale sporting calendar.”
Another promising figure that is set to feature is unbeaten kickboxing convert Victor Nagbe (1-0), who Tomlinson sees as a future star at domestic level, making a bold prediction about his potential.
“I genuinely believe that he’s got the ability to beat any light middleweight in Australia in the future,” he said.
“I say this as I’ve seen him fight and spar, having seen glimpses in the gym. That includes Tim Tszyu, Daniel Lewis, Jeff Horn and Michael Zerafa. Once he settles and utilises the assets that he has as a fighter – which are his deceiving power and enormous engine – he can fight twelve rounds without backing up.
“Having said that, I understand that progressing his way into those fights is a process. I’m willing to invest in him so that he gets to the point where he has those fights.”
Reflecting on his new career as a promoter after a successful stint as a punch-for-pay professional, Tomlinson is happy with the progress he’s made so far.
“I wouldn’t say that I’ve been confronted with jobs that I wasn’t esxpecting to do,” he concluded.
“It’s been a learning curve as to how time consuming and how much commitment is needed to do the job well. To put together a large-scale event, with so many moving parts, many out of your control, it can be quite a big job.
“The way that I’ve been explaining it to people when compared to fighting, as a promoter, it’s almost like you’re fighting eight or nine individual fights at one time, as opposed to just the one yourself.
“My immediate goal after the Bairnsdale card in October will be trying to lock in the Australian cruiserweight title for Jason Whateley, who I have a lot of faith in.
“I genuinely believe that he’s the best cruiserweight in the country, he says he’ll fight anyone in the country, and I think I can make that happen.”
As Tomlinson’s stable of fighters continues to grow, the Melbourne-based promoter wants to adopt a truly nationalistic approach to acquiring talent.
“I’m open to working with fighters from all over Australia, as long as they’re willing to knuckle down and take my guidance on board,” he quipped.
“These are things that are required to have a successful professional boxing career. I’m willing to invest my time to get the most out of these fighters careers.
“It requires a lot more than fighters may think, from a career and branding perspective, which a lot of fighters neglect.
“It’s about making sure that they have the platform to have a successful career.”