Promoter Ben Shalom hosts the Lawrence Okolie vs David Light fight card this weekend for the WBO cruiserweight world title. His undercard features five talented boxers, who have all fought regularly on Kevin Maree’s Oldham Leisure Centre shows, four of them are signed to Kevin personally.
The Lawrence Okolie Undercard
Those members of the Maree Boxing stale include; one of the world’s hottest prospects, Callum Simpson, who has recently signed to Boxxer, Mikey Gomez Jr, who is going for the English Super-Featherweight title, Linzi Buczynskyj, who takes on Olympic bronze medalist, Kariss Artingstall and unbeaten middleweight, Shakiel Thompson. While, Brian Phillips is not signed to Kevin, but fought Gomez Jr in a war for the central area title at an Oldham show, last October and fights Rhys Edwards.
As a regular attendee of boxing shows in 2022, I always looked forward to my trips up North to Oldham with great anticipation. Aside from supporting my friends Billy Deniz and Callum Simpson, who were featured in my ‘Life of a Fighter’ series, the prospect of witnessing the next generation of talent at a leisure center in Oldham was thrilling.
Ben Shalom’s Talent Hotspot
Boxing enthusiast Ben Shalom was also present at one of these events, where he saw Shakiel Thompson deliver a powerful performance against Yailton Neves in March. Following the fight, Thompson was signed to Boxxer, and Shalom explicitly stated that the company wanted to bring through the local talent that they deemed “special” during an interview with BBTV about the upcoming Okolie undercard at the AO Arena in Manchester, a short drive away from Oldham Leisure Centre.
Kevin Maree’s Oldham shows serve as a conveyor belt for rising stars and help Shalom and Boxxer on their mission to find and nurture talent to fill Manchester cards. Boxxer is based in the city and frequently hosts fight nights there.
The packed crowds, positive feedback from fighters about Kevin, and buzz within the industry surrounding Callum Simpson suggest that Oldham Leisure Centre could be the perfect launchpad for up-and-coming Northern prospects to advance and become stars with Sky Sports.
The secret of these Oldham nights could soon be revealed to the world, with the Okolie undercard on Saturday night.
By Harry Duffy