Belfast’s latest promotional outfit has big plans for the Northern capital’s fight scene and Martin Rogan is entrusted with the job of spearheading a fistic revival. JRL Promotions want to build a scene where local talent are afforded the chance to showcase their potential to domestic crowds rather than being pitched in too deep on cards across the water.
“If we see boxers with talent then we aim to develop them, rather than having them thrown in without enough experience,” said spokesman Shane King, a former GAA star with Fermanagh and Down. “Rather than having our Belfast talent go across the water and fight for peanuts on hotel shows we want to see them fight here. Our ultimate goal is to produce a world champion.”
JRL first came to prominence last month when Rogan signed for a WBU scrap in the Odyssey Arena. That show fell through and a fight with Matt Skelton was swiftly arranged for November 12 in the famous old King’s Hall venue. A Saturday night in the King’s Hall makes more logistical sense for my money and King generally agrees.
“The Odyssey Arena was booked up and it was a holiday weekend [Halloween] so we thought it would work out well,” he said. “Saturday night in the King’s Hall is steeped in tradition. We are capable of taking on the Odyssey and will look at that in the future. Each opponent takes his own stage of training on and logistically this date and venue suits us. Ticket prices start from £30 on Ticketmaster.ie with 3,500 seats available and every pound’s golden at the minute to people and we understand that but it will be a great exhibition and the local fighters will be on board.
“We want to showcase talent and everybody needs to get paid but long term we would like to get a deal with the networks and sign a good quality fighter. There’s a number of options available. The WBU falling apart was a massive disappointment but we are in negotiations with TV companies and local media and we want to work with various intermediaries. If local media do the production then perhaps we could sell it on. Whoever wins this will hopefully get a shot at a title or a TV fight.”
The undercard is shaping up nicely with Lurgan’s Stephen Haughian aiming to put aside the disappointment of not facing Junior Witter last month and face a live opponent. A fight with the likes of Jeff Thomas or Chris O’Brien would do nicely for Stephen, who is eager to push back into title contention.
Back to the main event and even though a fight between Martin Rogan and Tyson Fury now appears further away than ever, JRL wish Tyson well and Shane King reckons that the ever-popular Rogan will have the fans out in their droves should the pair ever meet in the ring.
“Martin is probably the best supported fighter across Ireland and we wish Tyson Fury the best of luck – he will follow his own path. The people of Belfast would love to see Fury fight Rogan in Belfast. Whether that opportunity comes up again then we shall just wait and see what happens.”