Whether we go to a fight show or watch combat sports on the TV, we like to see a high quality production that makes it look even more exciting to watch.
An evening of knockouts will certainly be entertaining, but with flashy lights, walk out music and a ring announcer can be the finishing touches for a night to remember. This high level of fight production is great for the fighters to experience a more professional show to help boost their profile.
Benefits of fighting on professional fight promotions
Fighters who get promoted on top fight shows will get more exposure with the use of:
- High quality promo photos
- Videos published on Youtube channels
- Credible fight record
Career Match suggests that:
‘Boxing Promoters are Matchmakers. Never mind that boxing is all about fighting and relationships all about loving. Just like a good marriage, a good fight is the result of a perfect pairing, and it’s up to the Boxing Promoter to arrange the date, including which Boxers fight, where they fight, and when. Indeed, when you’re a Boxing Promoter, it’s your job to set up boxing matches and then promote them.’
Boxing Behind the Scenes
If you have attended many shows you may have wondered what goes on behind the scenes or how much work exactly goes into promoting a fight night.
In fact, at any level of show it is extremely challenging and the slightest blip can make a show go horribly wrong.
A promoter ideally needs to already be involved and passionate about combat sports as they would need to know what fighters are available and their skill set. This is because a fight show can dramatically vary in standards and costs from a basic show to a top end production.
How Much Do Fight Shows Cost?
A very basic fight show can cost a minimum of around £5000 with the leading promotions going into millions of pounds.
So, a promoter needs to have a total budget in mind so they can work out how much they will pay for each fighter and other expenditures.
How Many Fights are there in a Fight Show?
A fight show usually has on average 15-20 fights with a main event.
The main event is the most prestigious bout of the evening and generally for a title which could be a British or World Championship.
What does a promoter need to arrange for a fight show?
Below is a list of things a promoter will need to arrange for a fight show:
- Sanctioning officials (They will provide the referee and judges)
- Paramedics and doctor
- Ring girls
- Door staff
- Photographer and video
- Tickets and promotional
As you can see a lot needs to be organised before the show can run smoothly on the day and the slightest of time lapse between bouts just leaves the spectators frustrated.
- The Venue
To start, a promoter would need to find a suitable venue in which it’s size and location would be suitable for the type of event they are holding.
It is also important to get a date in the diary in order to get fighters and others involved to work around with plenty of notice.
It also doesn’t stop there as they may also need to arrange accommodation for fighters travelling far away or from overseas for the international bouts.
With so many individual components to think about, a fight promoter has to make sure they are organised and have the time needed to plan the event too.
- The Fighters
This by far is the most important and most difficult part of promoting.
Let’s be honest, you could have the best set up, but if your fighters are poor or uneven matchups, the evening could be a disaster.
Good fighters are not necessarily just very talented, but they also are very professional throughout and always make the correct weight and are always reliable and don’t pull out.
Why Do Fighters Pull Out of an Event?
One of the most frustrating things for a promoter is fighters pulling out of an event and it is probably the biggest reason for a fight show to go wrong. Fighters have been known to do this up until the day of the event.
Each fighter has their own reason but it could be as genuine as they have got injured or been recently knocked out in sparring.
When a fighter pulls out the promoter will either need to find a suitable replacement or cancel that individual bout. The money for the tickets that the fighter has sold would also need to be reimbursed.
How Much Do Fighters Get Paid?
This is a very grey area as there are no set in stone costs for a particular ranked fighter.
A pro fighter may get as little as £100 for a fight whereas the superstars will make millions.
A way of a fighter getting extra money is to get commission for every ticket they sell to family and friends. So, a more popular fighter could generate a lot more money in ticket sales alone.
Many people state that a fighter with a higher profile or social fans would get paid more than a fighter with better talent.
An example of this has recently happened when YouTube star Jake Paul had his third boxing fight and had earned a substantial amount of money, much more of a fighter of an equivalent level.
So, unfortunately from a promoters point of view they want to get the best exposure for their fight night and sell the most amount of tickets which can make the sport a little unfair.
Check out a Jake Paul fight below:
How Does the Promoter Make Money?
For every show, no matter how small or big, the principle of setting up is the same.
The smaller productions are just as important for the sport as it is a platform for novice fighters to get started. As they progress they will aim to one day fight on one of the world’s biggest shows.
- They may get a percentage of what the bar at the venue turnover in the evening.
- They get sponsors to invest financially in their show in return for good exposure advertisement.
- The may get a TV deal to air their promotion and get paid for it.
They sell tickets at the door and give the fighters to sell tickets on a commission basis.
In every combat sport their are governing and sanctioning bodies that control the sport. However, in Boxing it doesn’t have one governing body that controls it worldwide. It does have national governing bodies like the BBBofC (British Boxing Board of Control), but that is for the U.K.
Both boxing and kickboxing also have many different sanctioning bodies which rank and award title fighters.The sanctioning body in which the promoter has chosen, will provide their qualified referee and judges for the event.
The fact there are many sanctioning bodies can cause lots of confusion within the sport as each sanctioning body has their own rules and rank of fighters.
There are four major sanctioning bodies in boxing and they all have their own belts respectively.
- IBF (International Boxing Federation)
- WBA (World Boxing Association)
- WBO (World Boxing Organisation)
- WBC (World Boxing Council)
This means that you can have 4 different champions in each weight class.
MMA and kickboxing are slightly different as the top promotions like the UFC and Glory mostly govern their own promotion.
The UFC does have its own president, Dana White who calls the shots, however the UFC has to operate under the State Athletic Commissions who ‘sanction’ their events and Glory provide their own titles but are sanctioned now under WAKO after dropping ISKA.
Read our articles about the different kickboxing and boxing belts here.
A ring girl is a woman who enters the ring between rounds of a combat sport, carrying a sign that displays the number of the upcoming round. Ring girls are often seen in boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts.
However, a few years ago there were campaigns to ban ring girls and promotional girls from sports. However, most ring girls also train and compete in the sport and it is a way of making extra money.
For more info about women fighters, read our article ‘Fight like a girl’ here.
Who is the best boxing promoter?
There is always debates in the U.K to who is the best promoter and it generally is between Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren. They both have their own way of doing things, but to be classed as the best promoter, they would need to tick all the boxes for the best production, most consistent and the best signed fighters with great match-up fights. So, even though these two are rivals, each can host just as good as show as the other.
- Eddie Hearn – Eddie Hearn is the son of Matchroom chairman Barry Hearn. Eddie has established himself as one of the the best boxing promoters in the U.K and has started to expand in to other countries through the partnership with the streaming service DAZN. He hosts some of the most prestigious boxing events and has signed many boxing stars like Anthony Joshua. Eddie is a very charismatic guy who certainly doesn’t take himself too seriously with his banter and humorous social media videos.
- Frank Warren – Frank has definitely seen it all when it comes to boxing, with over 40 years of promoting under his belt, he has been shot, sued by Don King and had a run in with Mike Tyson. He initially got in to boxing to help manage his second cousin Lenny McClean also known as “The Guv’nor” with some unlicensed boxing matches. Today, Frank has become one of the most successful boxing promoters in the world as he is the owner of the boxing promotion Queensberry Promotions and was also a founder of the British boxing television channel BoxNation. Frank has also managed world champions and top ranked fighters including Naseem Hamed, Frank Bruno, Tyson Fury, Josh Warrington, Joe Calzaghe, Nigel Benn, Billy Joe Saunders, Steve Collins, Chris Eubank, Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton.
The life of a promoter is sometimes a tough one. With the investment and the organisation of fight shows, to finding great fighters to bring in an audience, promoters have their work cut out for them.
However, with a love of the sport as well as knowing how to make money using fight shows through earning a percentage of the ticket costs, TV promotions and much more, a promoter can make money using fight shows as a platform to show off professional and amateur fighters alike.