By Jackie Kallen
Roy Engelbrecht is a fixture on the boxing scene in southern California. He started promoting fights alongside Don Fraser back in 1985 at the Irvine Marriott. The names of famous fighters who started there is endless.
“Thirty nine current or former world champions have fought for me over the past 27 years. Johnny Tapia fought his first seven pro fights, Shane Mosley, Israel Vasquez, Carlos Hernandez, Mia St John, Edwin Valero, Danny “Little Red” Lopez, to name a few.” said Engelbrecht.
Because he has been so successful, people often asked him for his advice and mentoring. He decided to start a school for aspiring promoters.
“I saw too many wannabe fight promoters in California, who had the best of intentions, but very little knowledge of the promotions business, do their first show and lost $30,000! Because I have been blessed over 25 years to make a nice living in the fight promotions business I felt I had an obligation to give something back, so I started FPU.”
The first session had 29 students and Roy is hoping for the same amount for the new, upcoming term. This is the eighth session. Several of the graduates in LA, Atlanta and Toledo are promoting fights and using the tools they were given in FPU.
Why isn’t the promotion business taught in regular colleges?
“I don’t think many people wake up one morning saying “Hey I want to be a fight promoter”, so there’s just not the interest. But it can be a nice business if done correctly and if you follow the template that we teach at FPU!”
The boxing business is not what it once was, and with so many fledgling promoters losing their shirts, Roy feels they need his course.
“It’s very hard for a club promoter to make it, unless they are in a market with no competition. That is why I call myself a Fight Promoter, and not a Boxing Promoter, as I am one of the few that combines boxing and MMA bouts on the same show. That is why a new promoter needs to attend Fight Promoter University.”
When asked to name the top promoters, in his opinion, he cites UFC, Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank. He is modest and won’t say it, but he is one of the finest promoters at his level.
“I have always believed that If a promoter gives their customers good fights, at the right price, in a clean environment, and says ‘thank you’ and means it, they can be successful. Just leave your ego at the door, and treat it as a business.”
Roy doesn’t feel that MMA is killing the sport of boxing. He feels there is still plenty of room for an ambitious young promoter to be successful at both boxing and MMA.
“A rising tide raises all boats, so do a good job on your show and it helps others. Remember, bad promoters hurt all promoters!!”
The upcoming session will be available online as well as in person.
“We can reach and teach more people the template of how to be a successful promoter by offering it online. Can it be taught equally well that way? Being at a FPU session in the flesh is the best way, as you also work one of our Fight Club OC shows, but if it is a problem to travel, or funds are limited, our FPU Online University course is the way to go.”
For more information, go to www.Fightpromoteruniversity.com.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen