Joe ‘The Moroccan Machine’ Elfidh – a two-weight Central Area title contender who shared the ring with English, British, Commonwealth and World champions – is now an established promoter with regular shows in the South East, Yorkshire and East Midlands with an ever-expanding roster of champions.
The head honcho of Boxing Connected takes time out every week to write a column exclusive to BBN:
Grant Dennis (15-2, 3KOs) had been inactive for all this time, around 16 months in total not including his one little four-rounder this year, yet he still went over there, away from home, to challenge the no.1 Russian middleweight Andrey Sirotkin (19-1, 7KOs) in October's Kold Wars 2 event in Belarus.
'Go-Getter' Grant reached the Prizefighter middleweights final on May 2019, then was sat on the sidelines with an injury for the rest of the year. He bounced back with a four-round win over one of the best journeymen in the country in Jordan Grannum (5-72-2), who has never been knocked out in almost 80 fights.
Grant is a top bloke, trains so hard, but he couldn’t have gotten off to a worser start in that fight when he was knocked down in the first minute. It was then an uphill climb from thereon. He battled back bravely and mixed it with him for most of the fight, but there were more knockdowns and eventually the fight was stopped in round eight, but I couldn’t be prouder of him.
The Everlast MX gloves he wore in that fight can’t be worn in England; this is not me making any excuse by any means, but that was definitely a factor that went against us. They are not used over here for a reason.
I’m taking nothing away from Sirotkin, who has only been beaten by John Ryder (28-5, 16KOs) in his career. Fair play to him because he got the win fair and square. We lost because we were beaten by the better man, but it was getting dropped quite heavy in that first round that was the start of things to come. Always so hard to rally back from something like that.
However, Grant was back in the gym straightaway and I’ll be looking to confirm his next big fight very soon!
It’d be nice to get Lenny Fuller (10-1, 1KO) back out before Christmas.
26 from Maidstone, also a Prizefighter finalist like Grant Dennis, he had such a great win in his last fight when he defeated Berman Sanchez (29-13-3, 21KOs) in his first step up to eight rounds. The plan was to follow up on that victory with other tough tests to land a Southern Area title shot, but the pandemic postponed those plans for now.
Regardless, he was straight back in the gym when lockdown first lifted and he’s been working hard on lots of new things, ready for a bg fight next.
Personally I’d like to see him and Harley Benn (8-1, 1KO) fight. Two southern fighters, so there’s a bit of a local rivalry, with very similar records, almost the same in age, so it would make for a great fight.
Since lockdown, there’s been an abundance of 50-50 match-ups and this would be another great addition to any card coming up.
We are sitting by the phone ready for a call for Lenny, who has said he will take risks in his next fight.
I had venues booked in for November and December but obviously ticket sales won’t cover the costs of the shows by any stretch.
In a realistic world, what can we do? There’s little chance of any small hall promoters being able to host any boxing events for the foreseeable future.
Maybe the big TV promoters could help out, but they’ve obviously got their own stable and costs to think about
Why don’t they put on an am and pm show where they have an all-day boxing bonanza? The earlier show can whet everyone’s appetite for the bigger evening show. It’s a chance to showcase some of their lesser-known, fledgling talent and they can test the boys against some of the small hall promoter’s prospects.
I’ve looked at the idea of approaching some of the YouTube channels, but I’m not convinced the viewership will generate enough money to cover the costs still.
Not all pro boxers rely on their purse at first because they often work full-time jobs, but the sport is in danger of losing many of these young talents because of what’s happening. A lot of my fighters will fight for free because they have jobs, so they’ll fight for nothing because they’re about glory not the money.
It’s the same for me as a promoter, I earn my living from working as a PE teacher in a secondary school, but I want to continue my life in boxing after being a fighter because it’s my passion.
We all need to do something for boxing to survive.
There’s not been that many COVIF-19 cases in my area of Kent; a few, inevitably, but we’re not overrun.
My nephew’s school in Yorkshire all got sent home before the Ovtober half-term, but it’s colder up north so perhaps more susceptible to it spreading.
I have been following the government guidelines, and my place of work has one-way systems, social distancing in place, so everybody is sticking to the rules, but it’s hard to do.
I’m going to sit down with the Boxing Connected team this week and suggest pencilling in shows for April and May next year. It might not come off, but it’s still good to have a date for the boys to focus on and work towards.
Dennis Hobson had a great idea with the UK’s first ever drive-in boxing event in a car park in Sheffield, so I really hope that goes well for him. There’s a possibility that we could look to do the same thing around Kent, as there’s plenty of available places to suit, such as Detling showground.
Whatever happens, the work will still go on, and, hopefully, so will the shows!
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