Having worked with some of the sport’s most recognisable fighters and figures over an extended period of time, Richard Maynard has a unique insight into the business of boxing.
His passion for boxing is evident, not only because he remains as enthused about the sport now as when his fandom first began, but also by the way he heaps praise on his favourite fighters, from Mike Tyson to Rocky Marciano.
Speaking to BBTV, Maynard revealed that as an amateur fighter his original ambitions were to become a fitness coach. However, after learning his craft and developing an understanding of the fight game at the Ingle Gym in Sheffield, his focus shifted.
He said: “That was really my university, studying at Brendan’s gym, I owe everything Brendan, Dominic and John. I’ve stayed close to them over the years and ultimately that’s where I learnt the grounding, I was in the gym just being treated as another one of the fighters really.
“I stayed in the house in Pitsmoor with Kevin Adamson, Pele Reid, Jon Thaxton and Esham Pickering, that was the era of those fighters and I was lucky enough to be there then, subsequently I was going back every year and spending a couple of weeks there.”
He went onto reveal that his ‘direction changed’ as he wanted to have greater involvement in the business side of the sport, which led to him studying a business degree, before collaborating with Frank Warren, in what proved to be a long and fruitful partnership.
Warren’s faith in Maynard meant that in a short space of time, he went from working in a warehouse to helping build the career of Ricky ‘Hitman’ Hatton, who at the time was one of the hottest prospects in British boxing.
Maynard described the Promoter as ‘a legend in the sport’, adding: “I’ve always admired him and his promoting skills, he is the guy I always wanted to work for, so to land that job as a press officer and on PR, that was an absolute dream.”
Commenting on how media around the sport has grown, he continued: “I started off around 1999, so boxing websites were just evolving, as I recall there were only two or three, it’s evolved since then. The basics of the job don’t change, you’re still setting up interviews and getting publicity for fighters and shows, that hasn’t changed but the technology and the media has.”
On whether this been beneficial, he emphasised: “Progression is good, otherwise we’d be stuck in the past and still using fax machines. Dealing with the likes of you guys at British Boxers is as essential as dealing with one of the tabloid newspapers, getting the coverage for the fighter that they need.”
A plethora of illustrious names make up the list of fighters that Maynard has worked with through the years, however, one that really stands out is the of former heavyweight king Mike Tyson.
Describing what it was like working with Tyson, who ventured to Manchester to defeat Julius Francis in two rounds, Maynard detailed: “Four months after signing with Frank, I was working with Mike Tyson, it was absolutely surreal, he is a legend.
“There was all this furore about him coming over, it was debated in the House of Commons, initially he was denied access, but that was reversed and all of a sudden he was here. It was incredible.
“I remember one occasion, Frank had hired out the whole floor in the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane and Tyson was in there every day, he usually had the whole entourage around him, but on this one occasion he was just by himself.
“I was sitting there reading and doing a bit of work in the lounge and he just came over and started talking, we were just talking about boxing and how he liked the greats, like Dempsey, Marciano and Tunney. When we were talking about boxing his attitude really changed, he was very surly at the beginning, but talking about boxing and his character really lifted.”
Through his time in boxing, Maynard accumulated a greater understanding of how to maximise fan engagement within boxing, whether it be through highlighting the narrative of the fight or a genuine rivalry.
It was something that captured the imagination during the 2012 clash between bitter rivals David Haye and Dereck Chisora.
Maynard said: “It was another incredible event, a lot of boxing is built on controversy and you couldn’t get more controversial than that. With the build-up and getting the fight in the UK and the Board of Control not sanctioning the fight, it was very controversial all round.
“In the build-up, both fighters were absolutely great. I worked with David Haye before during the Enzo Maccarinelli fight and even though we were on rival camps I had no problems working with him. I couldn’t ask any more of him.
“The promotion for Maccarinelli was great, whilst the build-up with Chisora was a little more heated, it was great. We had the press conference at the old Boleyn Ground, we had the big barrier in between them, which set the tone for the whole show.”
Having worked with a myriad of established and elite fighters, Maynard revealed that what gives him most enjoyment is helping build the stock of a boxer that is lesser-known.
“My biggest enjoyment is working with a fighter that’s unknown and then through working with them, getting them well-known and then all of a sudden they’ve hit the jackpot and become a star.
“Many fighters like Michael Gomez, Alex Arthur and Anthony Farnell, I really enjoyed working with, where we started working together at zero fights and then built them through different titles, they’re the ones I most enjoyed working with.”
That journey to the top of boxing is one he’s currently embarking on with Super Featherweight prospect, Alex Dilmaghani, who enjoyed widespread media coverage prior to his enthralling battle with Francisco Fonseca last year.
Dilmaghani is joined by the likes of Shakan Pitters and Isaac Chamberlain in making up Maynard’s exciting new stable, which is brimming with potential.