By Ezio Prapotnich
Only the strong survives in boxing. On either side of the ropes. It takes a special individual with strong determination and self-belief to stay afloat in this business. Frank Maloney, along with Frank Warren, belongs to that generation of young promoters who took over the British scene after the end of Mickey Duff monopoly in the early eighties. Mostly recognized for his association with Lennox Lewis, he is still standing as a pillar of the UK domestic scene. And he is not planning to retire anytime soon…
BoxingInsider.com: Although the logic behind it is unclear, there were quickly dismissed rumours recently claiming that, because you collaborated with them on a number of occasions, you were considering retiring and handing your business onto Hatton Promotions. Your comments?
FRANK MALONEY: It came as news to me. I will only retire when I produce another heavyweight champion of the world. It is true I spoke and worked with Hatton Promotions, putting our fighters on each other shows, but that was only in order to produce good fights for the general public.
BoxingInsider.com: Do you have an exclusive partnership with Hatton?
FRANK MALONEY: Not really. I did and would work with any promoter. I had my British Super Featherweight champion Gary Sykes headlining a Matchroom event and Stuey Hall defending the British Bantamweight title on Haye-Harrison card. One promoter on his own does not get enough room for his fighters. We have to work with each other rather than against, or in the end boxing will lose.
BoxingInsider.com: What is your relationship with Warren? Back in the days, you worked with Frank when you were a professional trainer, then moved into management/promoting after splitting with him. Was it an acrimonious separation?
FRANK MALONEY: Not at all. It was just a business decision: I felt the time was right to go on my own. We have a good working relationship these days. I had McKenzie fighting Warren’s Commonwealth Light Heavyweight champion Tony Bellew and John McDermott fighting Larry Olubamiwo.
BoxingInsider.com: Do you think that joining forces with the other “big boys” you will be able to bring boxing back on terrestrial tv in this country?
FRANK MALONEY: Except for a couple of Lennox Lewis fights, I have never been on terrestrial tv. I have been brought up on Sky, actually providing their first ever world title fight: Lewis vs Bruno. I think boxing, among all sports, is the one that suit pay per view best. Nothing generates as much money and interest as a world championship fight. See Haye-Harrison.
BoxingInsider.com: Rendall Munroe and Jason Booth aside, to which fighter in your current stable do you give the best chances to become a world champion?
FRANK MALONEY: Either David Price, who has been already in training camps with professionals like Odlianer Solis and Albert Sosnowski, or Tom Dallas. In my opinion, the heavyweight division is still the flag of boxing. The heavyweight champion is the ace card in the pack. From a promotional point of view, it makes you strong in negotiations.
BoxingInsider.com: The British Boxing Board of Control has decided Mc Dermott and Price will have to face each other in an official eliminator for the British title. Whoever loses, you still win. Are you happy about it?
FRANK MALONEY: No, I would have never made that fight, but it will happen, because the Board wants it and both fighters crave a shot at the title. I rate McDermott a lot. He is very talented and underrated. I think he is one of the best heavyweights in Europe. All he lacks ismore self belief. He doesn’t realize how good he is.
BoxingInsider.com: Are you afraid that McDermott might end Price unbeaten run?
FRANK MALONEY: I am not making a pick in this fight, but if it did go that way, it would not be a big deal. A loss is not the end of a fighter career. If you are a fighter, you are paid to fight and you should not be afraid to face anyone. On the other hand, if David gets past John, it means he is ready to take on any heavyweight in this country, including Chisora, who I am sure will beat Fury. ,
BoxingInsider.com: Where you surprised when McDermott, coming off two losses with Tyson Fury, destroyed Larry Olubamiwo in 95 seconds to become Southern Area champion?
FRANK MALONEY: People forget Larry turned professional with me. I matched him and wathced his sparring. I knew he used his strentgh to intimidate his opponents and never got hit hard. I told John a week before the fight and in the dressing room exactly what was going to happen and it turned out that way.
BoxingInsider.com: Before facing McDermott, David has a tune up on the 27th of April. Did you select an opponent yet?
FRANK MALONEY: It will be his first American opponent. We are in negotiation with 3 different names at the moment.
BoxingInsider.com: Going back to Rendall Munroe, do you think that he went as far as he possibly could in his career fighting Nishioka? Does he really belong to the world stage?
FRANK MALONEY: He met the wrong champion at the wrong time, but he is still in contention and will definitely get another world title shot
BoxingInsider.com: Would you put him in a rematch with Nishioka?
FRANK MALONEY: Honestly, not unless Nishioka gets stopped first.
BoxingInsider.com: What is your opinion on Prizefighter? You had Gary Sykes knocked out in the Super Featherweight edition, but John Lewis Dickinson won the Light Heavyweights. Is that a platform you advise for your boxers?
FRANK MALONEY: When I get offered a fight, I sit down with my boxers and tell them exactly what I think the outcome would be, then i let them take their own decision and support them 100%.
I knew that Dickinson has a trainer with great amateur background and the 3 rounds format would suit him, but I did not want Gary to enter it. Champions are used to fight 12 rounds. But, at the time, he had not fought in a while and I was short of dates, so his management team pushed for it. Overall, I have to admit I am not a fan of Prizefighter. It’s a circus and it’s bad for boxing, It matches over the hill fighters with ones who are not good enough to fight for a championship that end up get title shots undeservedly. See Audley Harrison. Or Gary Buckley, the guy who knocked my Gary out, who was not a genuine Featherweight and ended up being destroyed in a Lightweight title fight.
BoxingInsider.com: Who do you rate as the best current British world champion?
FRANK MALONEY: Carl Froch is a great champion. Also, I take my hat off to Ricky Burns. When he was beaten by my fighter Joanhesson years ago, I would have never thought he could win a world title. This proves the point I was making about losing a fight. Unbeaten records are the work of trainers who want to save their reputation and are not really willing to invest time into their fighters,
BoxingInsider.com: What was your greatest night ever as a promoter?
FRANK MALONEY: When Paul Ingle won the IBF Featherweight title against Manuel Medina the same night Lennox Lewis won his rematch with Holyfield. It was great also because before Lennox fight in Vegas, we were watching football in a casino and England beat Scotland to qualify for Europe.
BoxingInsider.com: Along with your boxing career, you are also actively involved in politics. Are there any similarities between politicians and promoters?
FRANK MALONEY: In both fields, you have to be able to communicate and get along with people. I am passionate about my country and my beliefs and through politics I am able to get my opinions across. If you don’t stand up against what you think it’s wrong, then you have no right to complain. In boxing as well.
British Bantamweight champion Stuey Hall and former European champion Rendall Munroe will be back in action at Rainton Meadows Arena, Houghton-le-Spring on Saturday April 9. Tickets priced £30 and £65 are available 0871 226 1508 or www.frankmaloney.com