Friday September 29th at the Nottingham Arena will hold a boxing show for the first time since Carl Froch fought Yusaf Mack there back in 2012. 5 years later and Carl’s brother Lee Froch headlines a show there, only this show isn’t a professional show. The Man promoting the show is former Midlands area middleweight champion and former pro boxing promoter John Ashton.
For any show to be at the arena is an achievement, but for an EBF sanctioned show to achieve it is a little bit more impressive. Having the name Froch attached to the show has evidently helped it happen as the show is titled ‘return of the Froch’ however running the stadium appears to have been a longer term tactic that professional promoters can definitely learn from.One of the things that stands out on the Ashton shows are the set up. Normally ran in the local nightclubs, the fighters get big introductions with good entrances which in turn make the crowd buy into them. The production values are good and he hires his own ringside interviewer in Sam Varley to speak to the fighters prior to and immediately after the event so the spectators can get that connection to the fighters.
This show was announced a while back and has been steadily built to. The fighters who are on this show have been contesting bouts on the nightclub shows against varied levels of opposition leading to 50/50 fights that will take place at the arena. Having the spectators get used to the boxers locally as they win regularly on smaller shows leading to a showdown is basic.Here they have built to more than one marquee fight. Lee Froch has had a steady flow of opponents and he now meets Viking looking Richie Leak for an EBF title. Paul Thompson and Tim Sobers have both picked up numerous wins on the smaller shows will collide here for a version of the title, and they also have experienced ex amateur Sam Godfrey from Derby who has won numerous EBF titles against Local fighter Jack mantel who has produced good performances on the nightclub shows. Elsewhere on the card there are other 50/50 match ups along with local ticket sellers such as Jack Fletcher, Ben Marriot, Big Rob Lamont and so on.
In addition to this, John Ashton actually promoter the show at each of his previous shows. There was a press conference held at the Grovesnor casino which made the show feel important. I can’t recall the last time there was a press conference for any pro boxing show that wasn’t televised. Local media, and social media has been utilised a great deal and the fighters had the date along with tickets months in advance.
Professional boxing, and professional boxing promoters can definitely learn something from the way John Ashton has promoted this show. It was a long term plan to get a show at the arena with many of the matches built to over time, with some ticket sellers on the undercard and a press conference to promote the show. John Ashton and the EBF with the help of Lee Froch have shown boxing that you don’t need TV to be able to build to put a show in a local arena, hopefully it won’t be too long until the pros grace that stage too.