As always, Boxing Social Managing Director Rob Tebbutt is on the move. This time it’s from the podcast studio to another interview, as he ramps up content building ahead of Wasserman Boxing’s Development Series, streamed exclusively on Boxing Social’s YouTube channel in the UK & Ireland. That may sound like an advert, and I guess it probably is, but it’s more of an observation and an acknowledgement of the progress that’s been made during Tebbutt’s tenure.
“I certainly didn’t think we’d be where we are now and having the success that we have had. And obviously, we’re still a start-up. We’re still in the early stages of things. It’s always nice to hear people being very complimentary about what we’re doing as a company, but there’s so much more that we are going to do, that we are doing, that’s just not quite in the spotlight yet and stuff that we’ve been working on in the background,” Tebbutt explains proudly, as he puts the finishing touches on multiple videos including the stars of this evening’s Wasserman card.
“When I came in, I guess I had the bit between my teeth, and I was full of bluster, and I was going to do this, and I was going to do that. And it was never something that you never really sit and stop to think about anything. You’re always thinking about the next thing. Finish a show on a Saturday night, then you’re thinking about the Sunday reporting and videos and editorial and blah, blah, blah. And then Monday comes around, it’s fight week. So, you never really get to stop, really. It was only recently, when I had some health issues, that I was able to stop and see where we’d come as a company.”
While many will recognise the growth of Boxing Social’s presence in and amongst its peers, Tebbutt is always hunting innovation, including the special edition eMagazines which featured interviews with some of the biggest names in the sport, and themed content at little expense. But now, it’s the streaming of events that takes centre-stage, and the excitement around York Hall’s card is building: “I’ve been speaking to Kalle and Nisse Sauerland about where they see the vision for the Development Series. It’s obviously their kind-of-boutique boxing shows. And I feel like we’ll be able to play a part in the production and put a Boxing Social stamp on it moving forwards. But I think it’s something that we’ve always looked to do, and it’s just the right opportunities with the right promoters. There’s obviously ticket revenue and it’s become a lot more feasible for us to do it now. But I think for us, this first one is Wasserman’s bun and our oven, I suppose, and there’s a lot of talented fighters on this card.”
“On this show tonight, you’ve got Hosea Stewart, who’s an absolute monster. He’s a big fella. Matty Harris as well, who was highly talented as an amateur, he makes his professional debut as well. Harvey Horn’s in a fight with, in fact a guy who dropped Andrew Selby a couple of times, and we all know what a good fighter Andrew Selby is. And he also has his younger brother Louis Horn opening the show. We’ve got Chloe Watson there, of course, who is looked after by Ricky Hatton. And so, look, it is a development show where you’re going to have a lot of prospects. It’s for talented debutantes. It’s an opportunity for them to showcase their abilities.”
With Wasserman entering boxing’s arena with its own promotional vehicle, they were expected to sweep up a host of domestic prospects and fringe contenders, and they have delivered. Alongside the names mentioned by Tebbutt, they’ve signed middleweights Linus Udofia and Brad Pauls, both knocking on the door of the British title, heavyweight bogey man Filip Hrgovic, German sensation Sophie Alisch, and the slick, Adam Booth-trained Abass Baraou. Of course, there’s a distinctly Sauerland Brothers taste to their operating model, with their acquisition of the Team Sauerland stable boosting the initial push, but all parties involved have high hopes.
First up, it’s York Hall on a winter Thursday, and a show headlined by Harvey Horn. And while we discuss the fighters, most of whom will feature on Boxing Social’s famed podcast sofa – perhaps with a themed mug – Tebbutt also takes the time to pay his respects to sporting talent agent Wasserman on a wider scale, understanding the breadth of their footprint on a variety of sports: “Wasserman are a massive company. I don’t think certainly, in British boxing, I don’t think people understand the scale of Wasserman’s overall global operations. They look after some of the biggest names in Premier League Football in this country, but they also look after some of the biggest names in American sports, like NFL, NBA, etc. As well as musicians and artists worldwide.”
“We know the guys from Wasserman boxing anyway,” he explains, benefitting from his recent years at the pinnacle of the sport’s coverage. “Damian McSorley, Dean Baker, Duncan Ross, all from Wasserman who we’ve enjoyed a great working relationship over the years when they’ve worked with people like George Groves, Anthony Ogogo, Conor Benn for a period. So, we are familiar with them. And of course, at Sauerland, we know them from a boxing point of view, from an operational point of view. And it works, it’s been really easy because they are all experienced in working and covering boxing – so are we.”
“We’ve spent this week getting a lot of the guys who are going to be boxing tonight on the podcast, and that’s all been nice and easy. There’s always overlap with people in boxing where you’ll always work around each other and you kind of know how things work. And yeah, that’s definitely been helpful. If we were to enter into a partnership with people who we don’t necessarily know, then I’m sure there will be probably more teething issues to start with, but everything’s been very, very simple. And obviously thanks to Wasserman Boxing for the way in which it’s been so easy. We’ve kind of come together nicely. I think tomorrow is going to be the start of a beautiful relationship.”
… Just like that, Tebbutt is on the move again. On his way to interview the Horn siblings, topping and tailing this evening’s show and determined to provide fireworks for those in attendance, and those streaming via Boxing Social. The Development Series this evening is a testament to two things: Wasserman’s determination to hit the ground running within boxing’s convoluted marketplace, and the exponential growth of a company that started with under 5,000 YouTube followers at the time of Tebbutt’s arrival.
Thankfully though, for everybody involved, he has promised one thing ahead of his visit to Bethnal Green: “I’ll probably have to wear proper shoes or trainers – no sliders. Maybe I’ll have to buy a suit actually. We’ll see…”