100 Most Influential People in British Boxing

influence
ˈɪnflʊəns
noun
1. the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.
“the influence of television violence”
synonyms: effect, impact

Influence is taken to mean the ability to impact on the financial and/or career development or path of both individual protagonists and on the sport as a whole within the United Kingdom. As always I hope that this list informs the decision making of people entering the industry.

This listing is a dynamic one that will be updated regularly as individuals become more or less influential within the British boxing industry.

Latest Ranking Update: 29 September, 2016

Latest biographical update: Sporadic (higher listings updated more regularly)

  1. Eddie Hearn – holder of 68% market-share in ticket revenue in 2014 & 69% in 2015. Holds the only viable television contract in British boxing through 2021 – signing with Hearn’s Matchroom makes careers & everyone knows that or should know that by now. Many on this list can thank their proximity & good relations with the younger Hearn for their prominence on these rankings.
  2. Barry Hearn – several of the older established ring scribes I know believe that Barry still pulls all of the strings at Matchroom. I don’t fully subscribe to that view but the elder statesman of British boxing promoting & promoting in general in the UK certainly still wields substantial influence as and when he chooses to exert it.
  3. Barney Francis – Managing Director, Sky Sports. Francis, in theory, can green light the further progression of the sport under the mighty Sky platform for a generation to come.
  4. Al Haymon (yes, you read that right) – DeGale vs. Groves 2? Frampton vs. Quigg? Selby vs. Warrington? One guy on this list can snap his fingers and make any or all of those fights happen & that man isn’t Eddie Hearn.
  5. Robert Smith – the General Secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control has the power to make the lives of promoters, managers & fighters very easy or very hard. The landscape has changed dramatically since the unfortunate scenes from 2012 which opened the door for other commissions which have for the most part failed to gain credible traction in the British Isles.
  6. Kugan Cassius – in an era where selling out a 12,000 Arena is a major accomplishment having 102,295 plus YouTube subscribers makes you a person of high influence in the industry. A young prospects equivalent of an industry screen test is now landing their first interview on Cassius & Helder’s revolutionary iFL TV (formerly known as iFilmLondon).
  7. Tyson Fury – a fighter seeking the Mayweather model of financial self-determination. Possesses similar levels of self-belief. Elite level fighters of the future should study this guys carer if they need an example of how to make yourself unmarketable by the tolerant socially progressive mainstream sports press without working for the BBC in the 1970s or 80s.
  8. Tony Sims – Sims is both a trainer & manager of several significant fighters in the South of England. He is to the South what Joe Gallagher is to the North & frankly there is precious little to separate them in terms of aggregated influence & whilst Gallagher probably runs with more British to World level fighters at any one moment the Joshua factor almost single handedly pushes Sims into a lead.. just.
  9. Joe Gallagher – stratospheric rise for the Manchester based trainer who holds a size-able chunk of Matchroom’s client roster within his stable of fighters.
  10. Dave Coldwell – Coldwell wears several hats as a trainer, promoter & manager of several of the land’s leading fighters of the day & has increasingly featured as part of the Sky Sports boxing coverage as a colour commentator.
  11. Anthony Joshua – A once in a generation talent in the heavyweight division with once in a generation marketing potential to match. In the words of Tom Petty, “the future was wide open.” Anyone with the future potential to put on a million plus PPV fight on both sides of the Atlantic is influential by default.
  12. Barry McGuigan – receding in influence, perhaps, as a result of entrusting his major superstar’s career to an American music mogul but still a major player from various perspectives on the British scene.
  13. Frank Warren – on advice from my legal council I decline to answer on the grounds that I may incriminate myself.
  14. Adam Booth – Adam is a cerebral man who fulfils roles as a celebrated trainer; a manager & a promoter although insists his primary focus is on training elite & exciting fighters – with Ryan Burnett ‘the most talented fighter I’ve ever worked with’ a project of special significance. that ushers in a second era of prominence for the highly respected trainer.
  15. Ambrose Mendy – amazingly still a major player three decades on. Mendy has masterminded the most profitable period of James DeGale’s career in a steering masterclass. Its not often you see such a one sided loser in the parting of a manager/adviser & a fighter but DeGale’s loss will be whoever Mendy choses to take on next’s gain.
  16. Mick Hennessy – holder of a television contract that could have done a great deal to re-frame the sport in the eyes of the wider public. Could free-fall from this list on the back of just one high profile defection. But for the time being holds one of the biggest chips in world boxing.
  17. Bill Ives – has put millions into a television channel devoted to boxing only. One wonders how long his patience will last in the face of Sky’s continued and escalating dominance of the market.
  18. Chris Eubank Senior aka English – one of the few boxers of recent decades to forge, establish & maintain a brand within the wider sports entertainment-mainstream cultural complex. His son’s career provides him with the perfect canvas with which to showcase his eccentricity all over again.
  19. Steve Goodwin – emerging King of the London small hall scene. One of the few modern promoters who has invested in the future in any tangible sense.
  20. Alex Morrison – long standing & well established component of the fabric of British boxing still wields significant clout north of the Border.
  21. Neil Bowers – Matchroom’s matchmaker holds the power to forge career-paths toward world level fights for all of the promotional company’s prospects.
  22. Adam Smith – nominal ‘Head of Boxing’ at Sky Sports which is a position with more ceremonial than executive or actual decision making functions. Is, though, central to the company’s coverage of the sport.
  23. Nisse Sauerland – the British boxing scene awaits the Sauerland’s next major UK signing after two high profile steps into the market in recent times.
  24. Jamie Sanigar – as few as 3 and no more than 5 people on this list have ever met the most important man in world boxing – Sanigar is one of them.
  25. Anthony Leaver – Anthony is head of Matchroom’s media operations and as such is the gateway to media access to the company’s biggest names.
  26. Steve Wood – if the North West provide 40% of future British World Champions there is a 90% chance they will pass through a Steve Wood show at some point in their early careers.
  27. Oliver Harrison – trainer & promoter with some of the North West’s top talent under his tutelage.
  28. Amir Khan – waning importance globally… look for a concerted effort to make Khan vs Brook 2016’s second PPV show. Khan without Brook or perhaps only Pacquiao is a tough sell on UK PPV.
  29. Johnny Nelson – the perfect respected boxing man to translate his enthusiasm for the sport & knowledge of it to the casual fans tuning in on Sky Sports.
  30. Carl Greaves – exceptionally busy & sure to see a good few future belt holders pass through his shows and/or management as a result.
  31. Clifton Mitchell – promoter, manager & owner of the company that provides security for the majority of major promotions in Britain. The guys that can throw you out the building are nothing if not influential!
  32. Jon Pegg – Birmingham’s Mr. Boxing has cultivated a growing and enviable stable of potential superstars at his Eastside Boxing Gym. He also enjoys the ear of people toward the front end of this list.
  33. Josh Warrington – anyone who can literally print money for his promoter & himself  3 times a year is influential by default in the current climate.
  34. James Helder – see #6
  35. Nicole Sapstead – Chief Executive Officer of UK Anti-Doping since February 2015. She previously worked as Director of Operations and was responsible for the delivery of UKAD’s testing programme, intelligence and investigations function, and science portfolio. She has worked in anti-doping since 1998, as Assistant to the Director and Legal Advisor at the Drug Control Centre at King’s College, and in various roles at UK Sport.
  36. Billy Joe Saunders – Makes the list this high in large part because of his status as one of the very few major names & talents not currently signed to Matchroom. One can only wonder what any such move in that direction might mean for the industry at large.
  37. Carl Froch – Any fighter who can still, theoretically, make a globally significant fight by uttering one word (“Yes”) is nothing if not influential.
  38. Tommy Owens – an impressive example of how small hall promoting can work as a business. Will see many future stars from the Midlands come through his shows in the years ahead one suspects.
  39. Chris Sanigar – as important a figure as there is in West Country/Welsh boxing at the sharp end of the industry.
  40. Ian John-Lewis – increasingly the most prominent referee in British boxing today.
  41. Dennis Gilmartin – Area Secretary of the Southern Area Council & WBO supervisor & I don’t need to tell you how popular the WBO are around these here parts – saw 7 of their ‘title’ fights on one card I did!
  42. Richard Poxon – less visible than in earlier years but still a mover & shaker behind the scenes.
  43. Dennis Hobson – ambitious but limited by the realities of market conditions at present.
  44. Dominic Ingle – trainer & manager from a fabled boxing dynasty. A man with those variables is always influential.
  45. Ricky Hatton – has not enjoyed the promotional success he’d have wanted to have achieved by now but remains an icon of the British scene with huge name equity.
  46. Neil Marsh – manager of several mid-range domestic prospects. Possesses a great deal of energy.
  47. Timothy Langdale – Chairman of the Board’s Stewards of Appeal – when things get contentious this guy gets important.
  48. Paul Smith – fighter nearing retirement but a lively presence on Sky’s coverage of boxing as a continuity and colour commentator.
  49. Peter Fury – trains his nephew who will be one of only two British fighters to bank a million pounds in pre-tax earnings in 2015. Now training the heavyweight champion of the world.
  50. Ed Robinson – another member of Sky’s broadcasting & media team.
  51. Errol Johnson – promoter whose level of activity has accelerated in 2015.
  52. Tony Bellew – should go on to a successful post-career sojourn as a media personality within the sport. The numbers his fight with Cleverly did underscores his brand status within the sport.
  53. Jim McDonnell – trainer of 2015’s best paid British fighter to date. Jimmy Mac is a much loved institution within the sport & after DeGale’s win over Dirrell is no longer lifetime alcohol-free – wetting his whistle for the first time in his mid-50s to celebrate James’ world title victory.
  54. Charles Giles – President of the British Boxing Board of Control. Supervisor most notably for the WBC in recent times.
  55. Jamie Moore – becoming an accomplished trainer & much used broadcaster on Sky of late.
  56. David Haye – Given his rumored financial troubles it was not unexpected to see him announce a comeback – how he plans on filling the 02 remains to be seen given the underwhelming status of his first opponent. Will be itching to land a shot at Tyson Fury (belatedly) but now the shoe is firmly on the other foot & I can see Tyson relishing the chance to withhold a big payday from a man he will see as having done the same to him not that long ago.
  57. Chris Aston – manager of 11 fighters most notably, perhaps, Tyrone Nurse. Has interests in both prospects & in career journeymen.
  58. Gareth Davies – boxing slash MMA writer for the Telegraph. Boxing’s most prominent writer in the mainstream broadsheet press.
  59. Mark H Dunlop – promoter of much of the emerging talent coming out of Northern Ireland. Manager of a handful of the area’s top young talent.
  60. Tommy Gilmour – long time manager and promoter. Currently manages the soon to be forgotten Gary Cornish.
  61. Kevin Campion – right hand man to Steve Goodwin & an integral part of his organization’s success in recent times.
  62. Richard Vaughan – Midlands Area Secretary.
  63. Rob McCracken – no longer training Britain’s #1 fighter but is still an important part of the supply line of future talent via his work with Britain’s Olympic set up.
  64. Martin Bowers – manages fighters & runs the iconic Peacock Gym in Canning Town.
  65. George Groves – best days in the ring, aged just 27, are probably behind him but could be a future opponent for a range of leading 168lb contenders who’d view his sculpt as still of value.
  66. Alex Matvienko – probably the most talented young, emerging, trainer out there. Shudder to think what this guy could do with some of the elite talent at Matchroom.
  67. Peter Sims – Manages one blue chip Matchroom prospect in Lucien Reid. More big name signings could be around the corner.
  68. John Jarrett – Northern Area Secretary.
  69. Mark Tibbs – talented trainer working out of West Ham. Platinum DNA to boot.
  70. Ed Draper – part of Sky’s secondary boxing coverage online.
  71. Christine Morrison – runs the day to day operations of the Morrison boxing organization in Glasgow.
  72. Shane McGuigan – trainer given by birth the opportunity to enter the industry at a rarefied level. Be interesting to see what he makes of that chance.
  73. Keith Mayo – Swindon based small hall promoter.
  74. Glyn Rhodes – Manages some mid-level talent in & around the Sheffield area.
  75. Mervyn Turner – Norwich’s Mr. Boxing..
  76. Michael Marsden – trainer and manager to 12 fighters .
  77. Les Potts – Central Area Secretary.
  78. Jason McClory – see #10.
  79. Jimmy Tibbs – legendary trainer of a more significant era for boxing in the eye’s of the wider public Tibbs still operates at a very high level training the mercurial talent of Billy Joe Saunders toward world honours.
  80. Stefy Bull – 5 years post retirement from the ring Bull has been putting on shows at the Doncaster Dome regularly since 2012.
  81. Ben Doughty – some of Facebook’s most informed debate on the sport’s past & present takes place on the former Repton trainer’s page.
  82. Derek Waddell – Matchmaker with vast contact book on the Continent.
  83. Steve Wraith – the North East’s #1 boxing promoter. Would probably figure higher if he dedicated all of his working life to the sport but has other business and career interests including literary ones.
  84. Nicholas Piper. Marketing Associate to the British Boxing Board of Control. Likely Dariusz Michalczewski’s only former opponent who is a member of MENSA.
  85. Howard Foster – no longer the nation’s premier referee but does tend to make himself a person of influence, one way or another, often enough.
  86. Alan Smith – a trainer with an encyclopedic knowledge of currently active fighters. Extremely knowledgeable about the inner workings of the industry.
  87. Kevin Mitchell – the Guardian’s boxing slash tennis writer is a direct line to the broadsheet press for a sport that dearly needs access to the wider public.
  88. Mark Bateson – Yorkshire based promoter who has been largely inactive in 2015 with just 2 shows during the calendar year.
  89. John Swanson – Scottish Area Council Secretary.
  90. Mark Warner – Welsh Area Council Secretary.
  91. John Campbell – Northern Ireland Area Representative.
  92. Ray Clarke – Chairman of the Board’s Charity/Grants Committee.
  93. Graham Everett – Manager of 12 fighters most notably the Walsh’s & Sam Sexton.
  94. Colin Bellshaw – Manager of 7 fighters of varied quality & aspirations.
  95. Matthew Hatton – Matthew has been largely unheard from in retirement but has the makings of a solid media personality should he chose to go down that route.
  96. Matt Christie – editor of Boxing News. Hoping to revive the circulation of the publication.
  97. Gary Lockett – trainer with the potential to become a staple of the high end of British boxing in the years ahead if his work with Dale Evans is anything to go by.
  98. Andrew O’Kane – manager of 8 fighters most notably perhaps Danny Butler who, aged just 27 still, has the potential to be an exciting domestic level operator in the years ahead.
  99. Kellie Maloney – for anyone unfortunate enough to have attended Maloney’s last press conference a placing of #98 might seem charitable but the backlog of contacts the promoter formerly known as Frank still holds makes her a person of potential if not current influence.
  100. Brian Powell – a manager of domestic championship level fighters in the past.