Canadian promoters join forces

Shawn Smith
25/07/2015 9:21am

The dim Canadian fight scene just got a little bit brighter with the announcement that Ontario’s United Promotions and Quebec’s Eye of the Tiger Management will be working together to co-promote shows in the two provinces.

The first fight of the deal will take place on 29 August when Eye of the Tiger product Mian Hussain fights on the undercard of a United Promotions show in Ontario.

“It’s something that we’ve been discussing over the last year or two, just about developing fighters and getting the French fighters introduced to the Toronto market and getting the English-speaking fighters introduced to the French market,” said Tyler Buxton, promoter for United Promotions.

While Quebec has fully embraced boxing over the past decade, Ontario has been slow to follow. United Promotions has begun to regularly promote boxing shows in the province over the past four years, slowly building a fan base of English-speaking fans.

Although Buxton wouldn’t go into specifics, he did say it was a long-term deal that will see talent go both ways in the coming months and years.

“It’s going to add more variety to our cards and it’ll be the same thing for them,” Buxton said. “We’re hoping that we can build some of his guys here and take some of our guys there. We have some exciting guys that Montreal media and fan base don’t really know.”

Hussain, the fight fighter to cross over from Eye of the Tiger to United Promotions, is a 12-0 welterweight prospect out of Montreal with six knockouts. His opponent is yet to be determined.

“He’s accomplished, he’s got that one-punch knockout power that fans love to see,” Buxton said. “He can box, has a great amateur background as well. He’s Pakistani and, with the diverse culture in Toronto, it made sense for him to fight here.”

“I am extremely pleased to work with United Promotions in bringing Mian Hussain to the Ontario boxing fans, “ said Eye of the Tiger President Camille Estephan via press release. “Lots of great boxing has been occurring in Mississauga at the Hershey Centre. Mian (Hussain) is one of the most promising prospects in boxing today.”

With Eye of the Tiger hard at work on getting David Lemieux a fight with Gennady Golovkin, the company has no dates currently set. Buxton says that a rematch between United Promotions’ Steven Wilcox and Eye of the Tiger’s Mick Gadbois is likely to take place sooner than later, although Wilcox is scheduled to appear on United’s 29 August show. The two fought to a draw earlier this year in Toronto.

“We’re in discussions right now (for who United Promotions will send to Eye of the Tiger),” Buxton said. “Once they discuss the location of where that fight (Lemieux vs. Golovkin) will be, we’ll have a better idea.”

Buxton hopes the deal will be mutually beneficial to both fighters and fans. By having fighters compete outside of their home province, they are exposed to a different market, while fans are given a more unique viewing experience. Buxton is hoping the traditional English-speaking media, which virtually ignores Canadian boxing, will take notice by having the two companies work together.

“We have to work together to build the sport and do some of those head-to-head fights,” Buxton said. “When you’ve got Golden Boy promotions coming up, signing a guy like David Lemieux out of the Canadian boxing scene, you know we’re on the rise. The amount of champions and the amount of high-ranked boxing fighters coming out of Canada is great right now. American promoters want to be a part of it.”