Goodwin Boxing - Review of the Season

“We’ve cultivated a fantastic stable; it’s taken time, but we have progressed people at the right speed.  That’s the important thing that a lot of people miss, is being able to plan longer term.”
 
So says Steve Goodwin, the head of Goodwin Boxing and without doubt one of the most influential individuals with the sport in the UK today.  He’s right, it has taken time.  Nearly seven years in fact, since Steve and his family took their first foray into boxing.  But the effort and patience from all involved have paid off.  At the end of this boxing season, Goodwin Boxing are sitting pretty in the so called ‘small hall’ circuit – the Leighton Buzzard based Promoters and Management group have now got one British champion, four English champions and four Southern Area champions. 
 
It is a huge achievement.  Roll the clock back 12 months and they were in a position where the barrier of a first English champion had just been overcome.  “This time last year we just had our first English title holder, when Johnny Garton beat Ryan Fields.  That was a breakthrough for us, we’d had two attempts before with Lawrence Bennett and Menay Edwards.  We moved then as a Managerial outfit from Southern Area to English level” Steve reflects.
 
In boxing, as in life, time will not stand still.  With the building blocks of area and national titles come ambitions to move on again.  Steve, with a rich history in the game of chess, has lined his pieces on the board and is ready to start his next attacks.
 
“We have ones that can move up to British, and ones that can move up to English.  It’s all about making sure the timing is correct for them, but that is what we excel at.  There’s a wealth of talent just waiting to come through.”
 
As much as the titles are flowing through the stable, so too are new additions.  Four were signed in the last week alone, including former Southern Area light heavyweight champion Miles Shinkwin.  The boxing season may have come to a close, but that only means that Steve Goodwin now turns his attention to the next stage.  Already plans are afoot for a huge return card in September, promoted by Josh Goodwin, that will kick off the new term with panache. 
 
September 9th sees a card that is due to feature English champion Joel Mcintrye defend his title against Liam Conroy, Rakeem Noble fight an eliminator for the English title against Philip Bowes, Leon McKenzie take on Alan Higgins for the Southern Area super middleweight title as well as a cracking cruiserweight contest between OSsie Jervier and Jack Morris.  Those bouts are all in the bank with almost two months to go, with more being lined up in the buildup.
 
That standard of card is indicative of the standard that Goodwin Boxing have raised to.  That level of card, stacked with exceptional talents and well matched bouts at differing levels, is becoming the expected norm from the ever increasing returning fan base.  A unique environment is brewing during their York Hall shows; not just the family and friends that support the boxers, but genuine hardcore boxing fans too, attracted by the product that the Goodwin Boxing brand has built.
 
September 23rd they will also run a show from the home of British boxing, as the aforementioned Shinkwin takes on Chris Hobbs for the Southern Area light heavyweight title on a show promoted by Jack Green under the Goodwin Boxing banner.  It is an opportunity not just for Shinkwin to reclaim his old belt, but for Steve Goodwin to make history.  “If Miles beats Chris Hobbs in September then we will have the British, English and Southern Area champions at light heavyweight.  I think that would be the first time ever a Manager has had the three champions at the same time in any weight division” says Steve proudly.
 
The British champion was another new addition during the last 12 months.  Frank Buglioni, former world title challenger and current light heavyweight British title holder, signed management terms with Goodwin Boxing and has seen his opportunities flourish.  As with all of Steve’s charges, the plotting of future bouts is something Steve takes great enjoyment in. 
 
“He has Callum Johnson now.  Frank is also ranked by the WBA in the top 15, so there are options there for him and he may be moved towards a world title shot.  We plan on having a meeting with Eddie Hearn (Promoter) over the next 10 days to plan a path for him.  It’s still possible that he will go on to defend the British title two more times to win it outright, it all needs deciding.”
 
Steve takes as much satisfaction in helping a young and unfancied fighter to an area title as he does in guiding an established star like Buglioni.  Only this month, Jumaane Camero came from seemingly nowhere to write his name into boxing’s history books with the help of Goodwin Boxing.
 
“That’s a success story.  Jumaane has gone from being an unlicenced fighter to winning a Southern Area title in six fights under us, and that includes a loss on the way.  That’s in a competitive division as well.  Seeing him win that title made me so happy.  His Trainer, Barry O’Connell, was so happy that he kissed me on the cheek and told me he owes me one.  Delivering those chances and that success is such a nice part of the job.” 
 
There are plenty of other success stories too.  Josh Kennedy picked up an English title this season, with aims now at solidifying his place in the super bantamweight division.  “We’re working on either a Commonwealth title shot or an English title defence.  We’ve asked Chris Sanigar about a shot at Robbie Turley and he’s coming back to me next week.  Realistically he could be fighting for a British in 12 months.”  For English welterweight title holder John O’Donnell, he is due to face Tamuka Mucha in a defence that will also serve as a final eliminator to challenge for the British title.  Then there is the case of Joel Mcintyre, holder of the English title in an ever changing light heavyweight division.
 
“Joel Mcintyre, we can wait to see how the land lies.  Hosea Burton vs Anthony Yarde has been called as an eliminator but I’m not convinced it will go ahead.  But if one of them pulls out then they will be out of the picture for the British title.  We can take our time with Joel, let the carnage happen while he takes his defence with Liam Conroy.  As long as he wins that, he will be in a really strong position and we will know the plan with Frank Buglioni by then.”
Reece Macmillan
The aim for the 2018 season is to up the number of champions.  Steve states that he hopes to have seven or eight Southern Area titles in the stable in 12 months time, complimented by some of the higher level belts too.  He wants more English title holders, as well as having ambitions of at least one more British belt winner.  “I want the bigger titles for the fighters” he states with purpose.  “The next challenge is plotting the assault at the different levels, like we have with the light heavyweights.  But I think it’s possible, I’m very good at that.”
 
The talent within the stable is equaled by the standard of fighter that is being developed underneath.  This, in itself, can raise challenges as Steve acknowledges.
 
“The problem we have is that a lot of the lads we have are so super talented but are still very young.  Someone like Deano Richardson, he is such a good prospect but we want him to have some development fights before we take him to title level.  Brad Pauls will be 8-0 at the end of July all being well and could win a Southern Area soon in my view, but we need to time it along with his trainer Terry Steward.  Same with Linus Udofia.  They’re all talented but you don’t want them fighting for titles until they are ready.”
 
One division that Steve is excited about is at cruiserweight, where plenty of options await.  “We have Danny Couzens up there in the Southern Area after winning the Fight Cup.  It’s down to the Board now as there’s also Robin Dupre, but we’re hopeful we can get Danny a shot.  We have Arfan Iqbal as English champion, but then Hasan Karkaldi is back soon along with Jose Lopes.  Realistically, we could wipe out most of the southern cruiserweights and above that level.”
 
Iqbal himself is a phenomenal talent.  Having this month stopped Wadi Camacho to take the English belt, he has set his eyes on taking apart some of the illustrious names in the division; starting with one Matchroom fighter who brought up his name on social media. 

“Isaac Chamberlain has mentioned Arfan Iqbal on Twitter today, so I have contacted Eddie Hearn and told him we can do the fight in September.  It can be on his show, our show, whatever show he wants.  As soon as Arfan heard about it he rang me and said ‘anybody that mentions my name can have their lights put out’.  He told me to get onto Eddie, and once Isaac has had it then Okolie can have it as well.  Arfan is a man who will fight anyone.”
 
For all the positives that have come of the last 12 months, Steve is also wise enough to stop and reflect upon where improvements can be made on a personal level.  He is keen to ensure that he makes improvements himself in his style of handling fighters, and those changes start now.
 
“My one failure as a Manager is that I don’t have enough contact with the fighters at times.  I recognize that, and it’s the big improvement I am going to make over the next 12 months.  I want to be in more gyms, have more contact with the boxers as that is the enjoyable bit for me.  It starts in August, when I will be travelling around to see them, it’s really important to do that.  I like to give them the encouragement, a little chat here and a chat there does them the world of good.”
 
The team at Goodwin Boxing are also pivotal in ensuring the success and avoiding pitfalls.  “What I do, in terms of generating the title fights, I am very good at.  As a team we improve all the time and we’re stable.  Josh (Goodwin) and Kevin (Campion) are fantastic at their work and we build each year.  The experience that we gain in doing what we do makes us better all the time.  Kevin now doesn’t promote, he is purely matchmaker and Events Manager and he is brilliant at that.  Our matchmaking works well, we avoid a lot of banana skins.”
 
Some of the commercial linkups that Goodwin Boxing have made have also opened doors for their boxers.  Opportunities to appear on undercards for the likes of George Groves, David Haye and Chris Eubank Jr have presented themselves, each giving up-and-coming prospects a taste of the larger scale of boxing.  There is potentially huge news coming over the next 3-4 weeks, an opportunity that could open even more doors in the boxing world and help move Goodwin Boxing to another level.  With nothing in stone yet, Steve is not counting any chickens.  However it could be another building block towards establishing Goodwin Boxing amongst the top tier of UK boxing.
 
Part of what makes Goodwin Boxing stand out is their innovation.  Bringing large scale production to small hall boxing has proven a great success.  A successful live weekly show on Facebook ran for a long time, but proved difficult logistically to keep going.  “We are looking to restart those, but doing them once a month” says Steve.  “We had it once a week but it was logistically very hard to keep getting the boxers on.  It was good though, and a load of people keep asking me what happened to it.  But I think we just need to change the format of it and keep it fresh, which we are looking at doing.”
 
Other plans to help fighters as part of the unique management and promotion that Steve and his team are in the hopper of ideas, including social media growth and education.  It is all part of what makes them successful, treating fighters with the respect they deserve both in and out of the ring.  Steve may not be able to climb through the ropes to help them, but him and his team make sure that they are as well prepared as possible before they make their walk to the ring.
 
Promotional opportunities, career management, title chances.  They are all things that Goodwin Boxing have proven that they can deliver time and again for a stable of fighters that are fast emerging as not just prospects, but champions.  With Steve Goodwin and his team in place, the new season promises to once again build on the success of the previous year for those at Goodwin Boxing.  With potentially exciting news to be announced in August and the show-stopping card on September 9th, there has never been as good a time to be excited about what Goodwin Boxing are delivering.