Big Plans Afoot at Goodwin Promotions
  
Nine o'clock on a Sunday morning may not be a time associated with boxing - those involved may be out treading the roads in preparation for an upcoming bout, but otherwise there is little to be up for in the boxing world at that time of the weekend. But at Goodwin Promotions, there's work to do.

Exciting plans have been laid down for their shows out of York Hall. Already they have looked to change the way fighters are responsible for ticket sales by introducing a Season Ticket system, attempting to reduce the burden on the participant in the lead up to bouts. Now there is a revolution coming to their shows - a brave new era of production values that will make the spectacle feel different, more glitz and glamour than is typically associated with small hall shows. Today is the foundations for the upheaval, dedicated to putting time to each of their available fighters, creating a new showcase for their talents.

The day is split over two locations, one in the business office and one out on location filming. At the helm are the engine of Goodwin Promotions - owner Steve Goodwin along with son Josh and daughter Olivia, with Head of Boxing and Matchmaker Kevin Campion. The four of them make a slick unit, Steve and Olivia handling affairs office end while Josh and Kevin handle the location work - which is where I have based myself for the day. There are cameras out, large spotlights, green screens and filming equipment at the ready. 

The purpose, as you may have guessed, is to get some footage committed to film (or hard drive these days). The reason why will be revealed on October 17th at York Hall on the 'We Never Stop' card. With what is possibly the biggest non televised card in years, there will be 5 major title fights as well as a huge supporting cast made up of members of the ever growing stable of fighters promoted or managed by the Goodwin team.
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'We Never Stop' is the mantra by which the Promoters work, and it is on full display from the moment I arrive. Various fighters are already at the venue and others continue to be shuttled between the two locations throughout the day. For now though, Josh bustles about directing as Kevin gets the pads in place ready to double up as trainer (a role he is evidently more than qualified to take on). Before any action can take place though, the illusion of a hard workout needs to be created.....enter the bottle of water for faux sweat. The first of many highlights comes as I witness as fully grown man who earns a living being punched in the face recoil as the cold water meets his skin. His ability to take a punch may be unquestioned - his resilience to aqua less so. 

The pads take a pounding - for the fighter it may be only ten minutes of his day, poor Kevin will have 25 more of these to handle through the next ten hours. He thrives on it, making fighters slip, jab, roll. "Go under my shoulder as I come in, make me look a mug" he says to one pugilist who happily obliges, leaving Kevin chasing shadows.

More fighters arrive as the originals depart, something that continues throughout the session. The door is less revolving, more trying to prove its part amongst the 'We Never Stop' ethos. I lose track of names - some I am familiar with and some less so. Interviews are undertaken in various states of fighter undress. I grab five minutes of their time between in ring action, green screen posing and H2O abuse. 

For entertainment purposes a pool table is available. It proves a leveller - no need for a catchweight situation here as cruiserweights battle lightwelters without a hand wrap in sight.  It may not tune up their in ring abilities, but it provides a chance to sharpen up the fighting talk over the green baize - bravado and banter are fired across the table. There are chinks in the armour shown though, game faces dropped; "I've not played in years" as chalk is added to wood. It provides a chance for fighters to reminisce over times gone by, as I become privy to stories of amateur boxing clubs and many crossed paths reminding me what a small world boxing can be.

Back in front of the bright lights the stars of the show prove they are happier in front of the crowds than the cameras. There are multiple takes needed as what should be a simple turning motion proves tricky in front of their peers - not helped by the verbal abuse hurled at each unlucky participant, trying to hold it together as each take adds to the pressure. "I'm directing, you just say it" jokes Josh as one more fighter passes in front of the lens. 

The energy is kept up through a long day by Kevin, repeatedly taking the opportunity to offer light hearted digs at previous performances, or remind them about upcoming weighins that require strict dietary planning. Some fighters have decided to bring their own coaches with them, taking advantage of the opportunity for a short Sunday workout.  Some of the pad hitting is ferocious, glove on pad making a satisfying sound reverberating around the walls. The temperature picks up through the day, offering less excuses to avoid the water ritual pre workout.


 
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As well as pool lessons being handed out, grammar insights are freely available too.

"I ain't afraid of getting in with nobody"

"That's a double negative mate, so who are you afraid of?" fires back Floyd Moore, displaying his penchant for the English language.

A sharper wit perhaps than boxers are typically associated with, and I fear this barb was lost on the victim, but it continued the light hearted nature of the day. Leon Mckenzie took the opportunity to take photo bombing to the green screens, donning a black afro wig and placing himself front and centre of an unsuspecting video star.

The day went on, fighters arrived and left en masse - some proving more natural than others in front of the camera, some happy to show off more in the ring than others, perhaps fearful of giving away new gym tactics to the lens.  Interviews were on tap, fighters happy to give up another few minutes to hand over sound bites. The voice recorder was put through its paces as much as the fighters and providing plenty to write up in the build up to a busy few months for the Goodwin team.

The plans are ambitious, what fans will witness on October 17th is different to anything that has been seen at York Hall before. It re-asserts the industry view that Goodwin Promotions are happy to invest in their fighters. That can be done in many ways - one piece of evidence sees Lawrence Bennett have his English cruiserweight shot come on October 17th after Steve won the purse bids, an impressive feat against a Frank Warren fighter and subsequently dragging champion Matty Askin out of his home comforts of Blackpool.  But today has been about more than just money. Although clearly the new plans and layout haven't come for free, this is also an emotional investment from the team.  Many man hours outside of the standard week are being put in here - and unwittingly every fighter is already benefitting. Those I have met before bounce with confidence today - this is huge for them. This reiterates their status as professional fighters and gives a platform that many of them suspected they would never have. A fiscal value cannot be put on confidence - but you sense that every fighter under the Goodwin banner will now walk a foot taller with their new setup.

Ambitious plans are afoot for the promoters from Leighton Buzzard. October is the first time we will see the evidence, but then each subsequent show will benefit from this investment.  Five years in to their involvement in boxing this is a huge leap forward, the likes of which haven't been seen in small halls over the years. It is fitting that it all comes together on such a huge show which is already sold out - there will be plenty of other opportunities to get a view of it in the future.