Fightzone: Join The Revolution
By Ian Aldous
Six months since I was last at a fight, in a desolate television studio in Redditch, it was good to be back at ringside. Last Friday, I was in Sheffield to watch the latest instalment of Fightzone’s series of open-air fight nights, in the car park of Sheffield Arena. Staged by Dennis Hobson’s Fight Academy promotional outfit, this was the second event of their seven events over consecutive Fridays (and one Saturday) between May 21st and June 25th.
For those not aware, Fightzone is the ambitious new platform aimed at the dedicated fans of British boxing. The app is planning on broadcasting fifty fight nights a year, with Hobson producing the first seven. Future shows are expected in London, Aberdeen and a venue in Wales. It is a vital lifeline for boxers not attached to Eddie Hearn, Frank Warren or MTK Global, who haven’t been able to fight competitively since the pandemic’s genesis in early-2020.
As well as veteran promoter, Hobson, who has likened Fightzone to being their version of DAZN, fight figures Sam Kynoch, Kevin Maree, Steve Wood and I understand, Mo Prior appear to be uniting for the good of the small-hall scene. The £4.99 (or approximately £1.25 per show) that hardcore fight fans will pay to watch all the weekly action, won’t be lining the pockets of fat cats attempting to milk every penny they can from the public – it will be going towards sowing the seeds of grassroots boxing in Britain.
It’s an app for the fans who want their boxing fix every Friday night, although it might be a hard-sell considering the riches required to already watch our sport on the many expensive networks that fragment the game, but Fightzone is attempting to bring managers and promoters together.
This past Friday, talented and underrated heavyweight, Kash Ali knocked out Tomas Salek in the entertaining main-event, for the IBF’s European belt. An epic ten-round Midlands welterweight title fight saw Conah Walker claim the vacant belt by a solitary point over Levi Ferguson. Expect a multitude of area title fights on the platform – the ten-round championship contests often producing competitive classics which are the lifeblood of the small-halls.
The previous week’s main-event was separated by a razor-thin margin in a nip-and-tuck encounter, as Myron Mills defended his English lightweight championship by scores of 96-95 (twice) and 96-94. Supplementing the title fights have been a whole host of prospects, novices and debutants looking to ply their trade on this brand-new worldwide platform, not just their loyal ticket-buying fans in attendance. Mostly known only to sports fans in their local area, these boxers now have the capability of international recognition.
Former two-weight world champion, Ricky Hatton recently gave his blessing to Fightzone, believing there is a gap in the market for it. The brand might not be grooming every single boxer for a future world title fight, but they’ll be providing weekly entertainment for those of a pugilistic persuasion.
Upcoming headliners in June on Fightzone include: Charlie Schofield and Mickey Ellison colliding for the English super-middleweight title; Marc Leach and Thomas Essomba vying for a British title shot in a super-bantamweight eliminator; a vacant Commonwealth light-flyweight championship bout between Matt Windle and Neil McCubbin; Sheffield’s own talented flyweight, Tommy Frank looks to right the wrongs of his only loss in a tantalising rematch against Hugo Guarneros for the IBF intercontinental title, and the undefeated Hamed Ghaz vs. Liam Shinkwin rounds out the month.
All of those events will be held at the open-air venue in Sheffield by June 25th, such is the rapid regularity of fights being broadcast live on Fightzone. At just £4.99 a month, it’s a small price to pay to view weekly boxing from the comfort of your own home, and at the same time, support the grassroots of the sport we so dearly love.
The dreams and aspirations of a plethora of young fighters, before probably out of reach, might now be a possibility. Fortunes of a small-hall generation just became considerably brighter.