Tommy Hearns and Jackie Kallen Want to Bring Big Time Boxing Back in Detroit
By: Bryant Romero
Tommy Hearns and Jackie Kallen have finally kicked off a venture that’s been in the long making as “The Hitman” is finally taking a swipe at boxing promoting. Something he’s been contemplating doing since he hung up his boxing gloves over a decade ago. Hearns recognizes how good boxing has been to him and only wants to give back to a sport that has made him a boxing legend. He is hopeful that with this new endeavor, his name recognition and with the support of the boxing fans in the Detroit that both he and Jackie could bring in more boxing shows on a consistent basis in the Motor City.
“The people of Detroit have always been so supportive of me and have been in my corner from my pro debut on,” the Hitman said.
“I really want to give back to my city and bring them the best up and coming fighters around. Our goal is to hopefully get a couple of TV dates next year,” he said.
Not only is Tommy Hearns looking to bring some of the best up and coming talent to his city, but he also wants to give young fighters not only from Detroit but from other cities as well an opportunity to build their records, staying active, and a chance to work with a honest promoter who’s not going to throw them to the wolves. The Hitman wants to be a promoter that gives young fighters the same opportunity that he had in the 1970’s when he was climbing up the professional ranks.
“When I started out, I had the good privilege of being able to fight often,” Tommy said. “I know that times are different, but I want to give some young talent a chance to stay active and develop their skills.”
Tommy and Jackie’s first joint show together will be on June 2 in Detroit at the Atheneum hotel where they plan to showcase two additional cards here in August and October. But how this did venture finally came about which was long overdue?
“Tommy and I have worked together for 40 years,” Jackie told me.
“I started as his publicist when he was 19 years old and we have worked together throughout the years. And he’s always wanted to get into promoting.
“Once he stopped fighting he wanted to start promoting, but it was always just talk. And then fairly recently a lovely dentist here in town, Dr. Reginald Jewell came up to us and said ‘I would like to start a promotional company with you guys and I like to back it and be part of it.
“We hold three dates so far and we’re going to try our hand in putting on some shows for the people of Detroit,” Jackie said.
The duo plan to put on at least 8 fights for their first card in Detroit and both feel that the prospects they plan to showcase have the talent to attract a local following and help with getting some TV dates from a network such as ESPN in the near future.
Who are the prospects they plan to showcase for their first card in Detroit?
“We have Taylor Duerr (6-0, 6KOs) he’s a light heavyweight and he’s got a huge following here so we’re real excited about him,” Jackie told me.
“We have Derrick Colemon Jr. (3-0, 3KOs) and the fans here love him, he’s only 18. He’s really good looking, cute kid and he’s a dynamic fighter.
“We have a guy Isiah Jones (6-0, 3 KOs) who’s also undefeated. I have a fighter out of LA named Oluwafemi Oyeleye (5-0) he’s signed with Mayweather but we’re hoping that together we can work to bring him here for June 2nd as well,” Jackie said.
Both Tommy and Jackie are aware of the challenges ahead now that the boxing business has drastically changed since the 1990’s. But with the talented pool of prospects they plan to showcase in the coming months, they are hopeful that they can deliver more boxing shows to the city of Detroit with more regularity, something that has been lacking in the Motor City for the past few years.
“Our team here is really tight. Detroit has always been a big boxing city,” Jackie said.
“Unfortunately, we had sporadic boxing in the last few years. A fight here, a fight there, no regularity, no consistency in location or regularity in dates.
“So people never really know when there’s a fight and who’s fighting. So we’re hoping to make boxing a regular thing again, where people get used to coming and get used to seeing the same kids each time so they can build a following.
“We want to build certain kids so that these fighters have followings and help them build a solid career,” Jackie said.
You can contact and follow Bryant Romero on Twitter @BoxingTruth88