BOXING is still in lockdown in Scotland with no shows for almost a year now north of the border. It could still be some time before we see any live action with crowds but Dennis Hobson is determined to move into the Scottish scene. He has already made ties with Sam Kynoch and Davie McCallister to start promoting shows showcasing the best of Scotland’s up and coming talent which includes Dean Sutherland, Billy Stuart and Calvin McCord.
Taking time out of his busy day Dennis explained to Boxing News what his hopes and plans were for his first foray into promoting in Scotland.
“We are looking for partners to work with up and down the country due to the new project and having a TV deal in place. I know Scotland is a hotbed for talent but in the past some of these guys would get overlooked or have to come down south in order to get the exposure they should. The world is a smaller place now with the internet and social media and I just felt the timing was right. I’ve obviously got a track record in getting fighters good opportunities with limited resources, for example, if you look at where Carl Thompson was. I brought him back when people said he should be retired and then he knocked out David Haye. Stuart Hall was the first kid to win a world title from Darlington and then Jamie McDonnell as well, they came to me on losses and look what we did. With the team we are establishing now we really hope to be able to push some guys onto the world scene, creating history and making a few memories. I’d love to give a fighter who has a special talent the opportunity without having to travel too far from his home town to go on and win a world title, that’s what floated my boat and that’s the main reason I’ve got involved. I know the Scottish fans love their boxing so I want to try and create a football atmosphere for them like being at an old firm game or something. I’ve had some big nights in the past but its like a drug so you want to have more of them,” Hobson said.
Although he wasn’t ready to announce the TV platform deal publicly just yet, he did say it would help him compete at the top end of the sport. “It has always been difficult to compete with the likes of Matchroom or [Frank] Warren with BT Sport to be honest. We’re not going to bid for the Fury vs AJ fight or anything but I like to think we can compete up to a point. The main thing is if we say we are going to get a fighter out four times this year then we will deliver and that doesn’t always happen with other promoters. The TV platform is in the early stages but will be revealed in around two to three weeks and I think people will be really excited about it. I’d love to end up having something on a regular basis in Scotland and I’m looking forward to creating something special,” he said.
The three boxers who have been taken on were all equally excited about the opportunities it could bring, catching up with Scottish lightweight champion Calvin McCord over the phone he explained why he signed and what he’s been working on in the enforced break. “When my manager Sam [Kynoch] talked me through things it just felt like the right way to go to get the fights we need. I’ve been told that I should be out in May so I’m looking forward to everything kicking off again as it has been nearly 20 months since I’ve had a fight. Lockdown itself has actually been a blessing to me as I’ve came out of this period 10 times the fighter I was before lockdown. I’ve had some amazing sparring with the likes of Terry Flanagan so people will see a different person next time out. Mixing it with someone who is world class has given me a big boost and Terry would work on me with certain things even after the spar so it has been a real confidence booster,” he said.
The last time I’d watched Calvin I felt his footwork could have been better and wondered if he had worked on this over the past year. “You’re right, I actually tore the ligaments in my ankle a couple of years ago. I thought I had decent footwork in my first couple of fights but I tore my ligaments after my second fight and I had 14 and half weeks out and my footwork wasn’t the same. Then three weeks before the Scottish title fight, I tore them again but I’d sold too many tickets to pull out so I fought in that with an ankle brace on. If you watch it back you see I’ve got a big sock on to try and hide it. It really hampered me that night as it was like fighting with a club foot. One thing that has been different class now is my footwork as its really given me the time to improve along with my head movement. You need to be ready in this game to take any opportunities so I’m always in the gym and I’ll make sure when the call does come then I’m ready and waiting to take the chances. Everyone will see a different Calvin McCord once I’m back out. I’d love to see myself well into the UK top 15 by end of year and touching the top 10, I believe I’m good enough to be there so its just a case of getting back to it,” McCord said.
Billy Stuart and Dean Sutherland discussed what this new arrangement could mean for them. They were both understandably delighted by the news with Billy adding, “Being the home fighter will be brilliant and it means less pressure on me to sell tickets with the TV deal being there. I’m ready to step up in my career now and I don’t want to be fighting journeymen going forward. I’ve been waiting for a break like this so I couldn’t be happier to hopefully get some big fights in Scotland. I want my name out there now so I want to fight for titles regardless of what they are. I’m confident that this will be a good move and I’d like to think I could win a British title at least, so whoever has the title is the guy I’d like to fight. I perform better when I’m fighting someone who could potentially beat me so I’m looking forward to those challenges.”
We also touched on his sparring session and how he was feeling. “Today is actually the first time I’ve sparred in a year so I’ve got a bit of ring rust to shake off as I didn’t think my sharpness was there today. I have been in the gym so I’ve had the opportunity to work on some stuff and I’m throwing more combinations rather than single shots now,” Stuart said.
Dean also can’t wait to get going again. “I’m really looking forward to making it all work. The plan is to be out four times over the year and for the fights to be for titles so it’s really exciting. The aim is to get into the British title mix but I’d also like to look at other options and fight a lot of different styles and get that experience under my belt. Lockdown has been a positive for me to be honest, although not competing has been frustrating. I have changed gyms and it has given the team a lot longer to get to know each other better and we are gelling well. Rather than just getting a 12- week camp we have worked on a lot of different things over the months to make me a better overall fighter,” he said. “I felt I needed something closer to home as the travelling was taking its toll, the sparring here is excellent as well which is a huge bonus. My technical ability has improved over this year and I’m looking forward to putting it into place as I believe titles will be coming in thick and fast. The possibility is I’ll be out in June but to be honest its hard to say at the moment with Covid-19. The good thing is with myself and Billy being local there is the chance to build a really good fan base up here so hopefully we can be the next generation of Scottish boxing and bring in the fans to Aberdeen.
“Looking forward I see myself over the next year or two becoming the best welterweight in Britain, as far as fights are concerned then anyone can have it!”