Martin Horgan – Jump starting a boxing revolution down by the banks of the Lee

It’s great to see professional boxing back in the Neptune Stadium and Cork this summer. Leeside Revolution debuts this July 20th with a card that is an intriguing mix of professional Boxing and Muay Thai fights. Leeside Revolution is the brain-child of Martin Horgan of Siam Warriors in Cork. Martin is no stranger to putting together Martial Arts events, specifically big Muay Thai shows although this is his first foray into professional boxing as far as I’m aware.

” What I’m normally associated with is Siam Warrior Super fights. Over the years we have brought in big , Superstar Thai fights……my Muay Thai background goes back over 25 years. I was probably the first person in Cork to have Thai fight you know..”

Horgan has been developing these big shows for the last 10 to 15 years so he is well placed to make the move into boxing promotion. If you take away the match-making elements the organisation of any large martial arts promotion has a lot of the same headaches and costs.

Safety, medical and emergency costs are pretty much the same standard across all the martial arts at the professional levels. In Ireland these costs are a lot higher than say in the UK especially in the last 24 months. Insuring an event like this has seen insurance premiums double and triple in the last 2 or 3 years. There also security costs for managing the event on the day itself. This is not to mention that the majority of the card is professional and they all have to be paid.

I saw earlier in the summer, that there was a young newly minted professional, who if memory serves, started complaining about the purse he was offered for this event. I thought to myself you have lot to learn my young friend. Getting a run of 10 fights together in the first two or three years as a professional is key. When the rare one in Ireland lands on your lap – take it would be my advice. But each to their own I suppose.

Almost all fight purses at this level of the professional game are a combination of purse and a percentage of ticket sales. There is probably an over-demand for tickets from fighters for this one due to the novel nature of the event and the popularity of the man on the main-events of both the boxing and Muay Thai cards.

As outlined above the costs of putting on a show like this in Ireland with a venue that has a capacity of only 1,600 are huge. There is a massive risk for the promoter and you have to remember that the total number of fighters on this card at the moment is about 40. That number may fluctuate down by a couple with last minute drop outs and injury, but that is an awful lot of people that have to get paid from a gate of 1,600 people.

The motivation for this event was not monetary though and more to do with getting a homecoming fight for a popular Cork professional plying his trade in the United States.

“I got the opportunity to work with Noely Murphy (headliner) who is really popular in Cork. He has been out in America doing the hard fights, he’s not been doing the journey-man fights. He really wanted to get a fight in Cork in his home city and I’m delighted to work with him on that “

Leeside rEVOLUTION

Martin isn’t telling a lie with regard to the Murphy fight record. He recently fought for a WBC intercontinental title which he lost narrowly on points. Everyone he’s fought in his last 6 fights had a winning record with 3 of them undefeated. 15 fights into his pro career Murphy is rapidly approaching the crunch where he will ideally make the jump to that next level.

The fight on July 20th was initially to be a BUI National Welterweight title fight but due to a couple of Irish fighters dropping out, it’s now listed as an International fight against Hungarian Adam Mate. It gives Murphy a Cork homecoming and I have seen first hand, at Ray Moylette’s Castlebar show, at the tail end of 2018, how powerful the atmosphere can be at these type of events.

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Martin Horgan is kicking off Leeside Revolution with 8 Thai Fights which will be topped off by a WBC world title fight at the end. The WBC expanded into Muay Thai 4 or 5 years ago and it has been growing rapidly year on year. It’s a vacant title and Sean Clancy is representing Irish hopes in the fight having won the WBC intercontinental title not so long ago. Horgan is big on Clancy’s chances in this one and some of the opportunities coming that man’s way.

” He picked up the WBC International title, which is just a step below the world title and he also has a big fight Las Vegas coming up with America’s biggest promotion Lion Fight. They are contracted with CBS in the States which means the fights go out across the country”

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The boxing card is 12 fights and Horgan explains that they really tried to make it for the Irish title fight.

” We tried in vain to do the Irish title fight. Talk was cheap really. Everyone was saying that they wanted but we just could not get it together no matter what we tried. They pulled..they pulled out…they pulled out and we were left with no man standing. Noely was prepared to fight anyone you know”

I was interested to find out if there were any differences when it came to matching and agreeing fights between Boxing and Thai.

” A lot of Thai fighters are prepared to jump in a give it a go. Boxers or boxing is a lot more tactical. Like take Sean Clancy it takes an awful of Thai fights to get recognised by any creditable organisation, like the WBC or any big promotion in Japan. it could take 40,50 or 60 fights. This side of the world the money isn’t huge for Muay Thai but it can still be significant.

To get up to that level in boxing they need a pretty clean record. For example they can rarely fight for a title after a loss most of the time. So the Irish fighters would be trying to get a Celtic title after 4 or 5 fights as a pro and then maybe an Irish title after 7,8 or 9 fights all the while needing to keep their record intact for that “

Horgan has done a great job selling the fight to the public despite not having the resources or backing of a TV deal or big-time sponsorship. As he points out Cork has been starved of professional boxing for 10 years and there is a definite appetite in the Rebel county of seeing it’s return. Those heady nights in Millstreet of the world title epics between Collins vs Eubank  while a long way off are nights Corkonians remember well.

Horgan has gone the direct route in terms of the ticket selling. Rather than using one of the online ticket selling companies the tickets are split between fighter allocation and sales and buying direct from Martin himself.

” There is a huge demand there for this event and I’m certainly not worried about filling the stadium but I guess filling it doesn’t always mean covering yourself!! “

Anyone interested in the last few tickets can contact Martin Horgan here

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