Boxing is predominately a male domain, especially in the UK, but over the past few years the fairer sex have slowly but surely been making their presence known.
Following a highly publicised court action in 1998, against the British Boxing Board of Control, by Jane Couch Female boxers were finally able to complete in the paid ranks. Ms. Couch then went on to win numerous titles and is now a successful coach, manager and promoter.
In recent years London boxers and boxing fans have been treated to some excellent shows by another pioneering lady – Miranda Carter – who has earned an enviable reputation for her superb well matched Sunday afternoon York Hall events.
More recently, in fact just last month, another young woman was granted her professional promoters license by the BBBofC, and young is the appropriate term as the UK’s newest promoter, Olivia Goodwin, is just twenty two years of age. That’s a whooping nine years younger than any previously licensed promoter.
Olivia is already well known by many of the Capital’s boxers as she is the daughter of boxing promoter Steve Goodwin and has worked alongside him at all of his excellent shows.
Saying that please don’t go thinking Olivia is just playing at the game or her being a publicity tool for her father’s events. Far from it Olivia – whose maiden outing, as a professional boxing promoter, is set for June 4th at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, London – is very much her own person and as you will read in the interview below earned her license the hard way and intends to bring some creative new concepts to the events she will be promoting.
Rio) Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today Olivia and congratulations on gaining your professional boxing promoter’s license. My first question has to be why did you decide to become a promoter?
Olivia) Yeah, It’s quite an achievement, especially as I am only twenty two, to get my promoters license, the youngest was 31 before that. It’s something that I would have only dreamed of getting, obviously my dad helped me but I did it myself, I did all the studying, which took hours and hours and hours. I know the rule book inside out, when I went for my meeting they were impressed.
The main reason I wanted to do it is because I enjoy boxing and as you said I am only the third woman promoter in the country, that’s going to bring interest from the public whereas another male wouldn’t. You have to use some things to your advantage sometimes and the fact that we can bring the public in because I’m a woman promoter is something we need to do to create a spark.
Rio) So what can we expect to see at an Olivia Goodwin promoted event that is different from a Steve Goodwin show?
Olivia) The next couple of months is all about getting out there in the press and generating publicity, coming up with some good ideas. I want it to be that when new people come to the show they are ‘Wow, why haven’t we been coming to these shows before’.
I’ve just been learning from my dad really and obviously I have only just got my license so now it’s all about sitting down and coming up with ideas, so if you ask me this in a few weeks I’ll probably have something really creative ideas, but right now I have been focusing on getting my license. The amount of studying I have put into it, because I want to be a promoter I need to know my stuff. I don’t want to be someone who gets something by fluke, I wanted to get it because I deserved it. I didn’t want people to say I got it because I’d been in boxing for a year. I learned the rule book inside and out. At the board meeting they said itwas obvious I had gone through the rule book with a fine tooth comb, which I did.
I wanted to know everything and now I do know everything. I pointed something out to my dad the other day. There are rules you don’t need to know on a show to show basis but because I am so fastidious I really studied the rule book inside and out.
Rio) Do you think Boxing at the London 2012 Olympics will help raise the profile of Small Hall Boxing in London?
Olivia) I think with Women’s boxing being introduced at the London 2012 Olympics, mind you just the fact that we have the Olympics in London as well, is going to help boxing in every way. It’s all about creating interest and until my dad became a promoter I didn’t realise how bad it is. Ticket sales from the outside public is so low, currently it’s all down to the boxers to sell tickets. It doesn’t need to be that way as everyone I speak to loves boxing, so why aren’t they going to the shows.
The answer is simple there just isn’t enough exposure of boxing in the media these days, hopefully Women’s Boxing at the Olympics and myself becoming involved may bring the spotlight on the sport a bit more and more people will come to shows because of it.
Rio) You say that you hope that your becoming a promoter will bring the spotlight to the sport, how do you mean?
Olivia) Basically by the fact of me coming in as a promoter if I can grab the public awareness and publicity it will encourage people to come to more boxing shows, I don’t just mean mine I mean all boxing events, and show their support for local fighters.
Once you get boxing out there, boxing isn’t out there these days, the only people that know about the shows are the boxing industry. That’s all well and good but what about Joe Bloggs down the road, he likes boxing but he doesn’t know that there’s a show going on at York Hall. The only way he’d know is if he bought Boxing News. It really is only people that are one hundred percent involved in the sport, or know one of the fighters, that know when boxing shows are on.
So if I can get out there, not just in the boxing press, and get it known and the public start coming in Boxers ticket sales can be lowered. It’s a lot of pressure on Boxers to get ready for fights but then to have to sell say one hundred tickets it’s just not right. Boxers should be Boxing not spending every free minute trying to sell tickets. If you get the public sales then Boxers will not need to sell tickets in order to fight, and that is my aim as a promoter.
Rio) So you aim to be a Promoter with a capital ‘P’ – one that promotes and sells the event rather than rely on boxers selling tickets?
My intention is to eventually have my shows selling enough tickets to the public that the Boxers are paid to fight, not paid a percentage of their ticket sales. I know that it is unlikely to be able to say to a Boxer on a show without TV that he doesn’t have to sell any tickets but if I can get enough people though the door so I can say to the Boxer you don’t have to sell a hundred tickets.
I mean one hundred tickets is a lot, if you said to me here is a hundred tickets, well I know a lot of people but I couldn’t personally sell that many, and neither can many of the boxers so they are struggling to get fights. That’s not right, at the end of the day if I can reduce the amount they have to sell because I have had the exposure that encourages more people to attend Boxing events then I think that’s a good thing.
My dad agrees, he doesn’t think Boxers should have to sell so many tickets just to fight either. He’s been doing what he can but obviously it’s really hard to grab the mainstream media’s attention and get some serious exposure for the sport, but hopefully that’s what I can do.
Rio) When is your first event?
Olivia) My first show is going to be on June 4th at York Hall and it’s going to be a big celebration to my new career. A big statement of my intentions as a promoter. I want it to be, I can’t say better as Goodwin Promotions shows are of top quality, but on the same level as Goodwin Promotions shows. I hope that we will grow together, I believe in boxing you should not be working against each other, you should be working together. That is what we will be illustrating to everyone.
It would be nice to get a Heavyweight in, but they are few and far between. To be honest I will probably use some of the managers as Goodwin Promotions, just because I already have an established relationship with them over the past year.
As I said we want to work together, we need to create work for the boxers, it’s not about working against each other and trying to stop others putting on shows. It’s about everyone being successful.
Rio) Is there anything else you would like to say or anybody you wish to thank?
Olivia) I want to thank the British Boxing Board of Control for giving me the chance, I know I’m young but age isn’t a barrier, it’s ability that matters and I have the capabilities to do well in the Boxing industry.
I’d also like to thank my dad for helping me and giving me the opportunity to work with him and learn everything and the support in my decision to become a promoter.
I’d also like to thank all the Boxers that have been on the Goodwin Promotions shows and I look forward to having them on our shows in the future.
Rio) Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today and I wish you the best with your 4th June show.
Olivia) It’s my pleasure and thank you for interviewing me.