Chatting with the champ: Tim VanNewhouse
UCNLive recently sat down for a chat with boxing manager Tim VanNewhouse, who has some exciting prospects in his stable who might be turning some heads before too long.
One of boxing’s brightest and best new managers Tim VanNewhouse is starting to make a name for himself, as he works on guiding one of the game’s hottest prospects Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin, and others, to an eventual title shot.
VanNewhouse is quickly getting a reputation as a sharp boxing man with a character that is beyond reproach. He genuinely cares about his fighters and works tirelessly to advocate for their best interests in and out of the ring.
VanNewhouse grew up in poverty in Cleveland’s west side. Like a lot of young kids, life on the wrong side of the tracks was confusing and difficult. But, at age 12, when he discovered boxing, everything changed. He knew what he wanted to be and that was a fighter.
Fighting out of a gym sponsored by the late, Detroit boxing legend Emanuel Steward, VanNewhouse was able to start fighting in national events, as he developed through the amateurs.
During this time, VanNewhouse met Joe Delguyd, who became a father figure to him. (The two have remained close to this day and Delguyd, a successful Cleveland lawyer and trainer of Antonio Nieves and Ryan Martin, still works with VanNewhouse.)
About 10 years and 100 amateur fights later, VanNewhouse decided to turn pro under the tutelage of Delguyd. He recorded his first win and was looking to jump right into the pro mix.
However, that never happened.
VanNewhouse discovered his longtime girlfriend, whom he dated since their teens, was pregnant. This wasn’t expected and it threw a curveball into their plans; she wanted to go off to college and he wanted to be the next world champion.
While VanNewhouse had been a sought-after amateur, and had some interest from some strong managers, he was struggling to see the bigger picture at a time when felt he needed more immediate help in his life.
Surprisingly, VanNewhouse went to speak with an Air Force recruitment officer. With strong scores on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test and a clean record, VanNewhouse qualified to be a medic in the Air Force Academy. Next was a quick wedding to new mother Nikki and it was off to Colorado Springs for the young couple. While professional boxing was on hold, they were in a brand-new apartment, had a bouncing new baby girl and they were receiving full benefits.
Life was good.
VanNewhouse started working with the Air Force boxing team and also began managing top Cleveland, Ohio, super featherweight prospect Mark Davis.
While promoters were reluctant to invest in Davis due to his reputation from the streets, VanNewhouse stuck with Davis, a characteristic that would reveal the character and commitment VanNewhouse would bring his fighters down the line.
After being honorably discharged from the service, VanNewhouse was looking to get into managing fighters full-time. He was passionate, dedicated and excited to get started.
UCNLive caught up with VanNewhouse, as he was preparing for fight week in Los Angeles, readying his super flyweight Antonio Nieves for his first major world title shot against WBO beltholder Naoya Inoue on the Wisaksil Wangek (Srisaket Sor Rungvisai)-Roman Gonzalez “SuperFly” undercard at StubHub Center, in Carson, California, this Saturday evening.
Bill Tibbs: Hi Tim; thanks for taking a few minutes to chat.
Tim VanNewhouse: No problem Bill, my pleasure.
BT: So, after leaving the service, you decided you really wanted to invest in getting into the full-time side of boxing management?
TV: Yes, I had always been around lots of different aspects of the fight game, however I wanted to learn promoting first. I wanted to understand that side of the sport, so it would better prepare me for management. My plan was to fuse together the things I loved into a rewarding entrepreneurial lifestyle. Boxing was just that.
BT: You worked with Leon Margules and Luis DeCubas and eventually they signed Mark Davis and Antonio Nieves with you.
TV: Yes, I would go down to their shows and I was doing my own shows in Cleveland at the time. I was trying to learn as much as I could and they were a great help and very good to work with and learn from.
BT: Antonio eventually signed with (New York businessman) David McWater and you are now working full-time for his management group?
TV: Yes, I started off as an independent contractor for his company Split-T Management. Now I’m working for him and building an equity-based portfolio within his firm. It’s been rewarding learning from David. He has a talent with numbers and data. He’s developed software to help him make projections on the success of fighters. He’s sort of replacing traditional expert recruiting methods with new-school data practices. He’s working on some big stuff for the company.
BT: You are still based in Cleveland. Is that how you connected with Ryan Martin?
TV: Well, there is a little more to it than that. I have known Ryan for years and years. He was only about 10 or 11 years old. I got to see him grow and develop into a young man. I actually remember saying to my girlfriend back then, “I’d like to work with him later on in the pros, if he ever decides to fight pro.” He made quite an impression on me. I always felt he was special.
BT: Does it get harder to match him as he gets closer to a title shot because a loss is such a setback at that stage? Or does the pool narrow as a title shot appears, in terms of whom he can realistically fight?
TV: I don’t think it gets harder now. This is the vision I always had for him. He’s been groomed to be at this stage and I’ve afforded him the time to properly grow and mature into his profession. Don’t get me wrong; he’s still learning every day. That’s the exciting part. However, the majority of the fighters within the Top 10 of the four major sanctioning bodies, I think he’s ready for.
BT: You walked away from a promising career after your own debut in the pros. You were a good amateur and there was some buzz about you, at the time. Do you ever look back and wish you had given your own fighting career a chance?
TV: At the time I did what I thought was right for my life. It took me a while to get over it because fighting, and the lifestyle, had been my whole life for so long. But I eventually was able to move past it. There was a time when I struggled with the thought that I didn’t give myself enough of a shot but I did what was best for me in my personal life at the time. I was a new father; my wife was a new mother. She wanted to return to school. We now have two more children (two sons) in our family, along with our daughter. My wife returned to school and attained her Master’s Degree and is now working in Special Education programming in the Cleveland area.
BT: You hear of some fighters feeling a bit left out if they sign with a manager who has a stable that is too big; they never feel like a priority. Can a manager have too many fighters or is that more of a problem for trainers?
TV: That’s a tough question. I debate this often with David (McWater). I think a larger stable isn’t as special as a smaller one; however its not just the size. It is more of a case of who you have. It is important to choose the right type of fighter. You have to make sure it isn’t a fighter that is going to hurt the chemistry that you have with your other fighters. Egis Klimas says that one bad egg can spoil the whole omelette and that is so true.
BT: Tell me about your relationship with K2 Promotions and Managing Director Tom Loeffler?
TV: Tom has been a great source of support and help to me. I used to call him all the time when I was getting started and ask him questions and seek advice on things. He eventually started to take my calls when he got to know me a bit (laughing) and has been a great friend and a great help to me with his knowledge of the game. He’s a good person to have in my corner, as he knows how much I love my clients and boxing. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to enjoy working with about everyone in the sport but I’d say Loeffler is one of my favorites. I admire his work ethic and the relationships he has.
BT: You have been working with veteran boxing agent and matchmaker Sean Gibbons. How did that come about?
TV: I actually met Sean at a party at 50 Cent’s house. We both used to work with him. We knew of one another but just never met. Since that night, we talk at least twice a day (laughs). He has been like a big brother to me and has been a great help and a great source of knowledge. He is very passionate about everything he does and is definitely passionate about boxing. You see his love for his family and friends. Relationships are so important and it is so important to be around positive people who you can learn and grow from. I value the relationships I have made in boxing and am lucky to have been able to learn from him.
BT: Obviously having contenders and world champions in your stable attracts others to your services. Is there anything in particular you look for in fighters, not just in the ring but out of it? And what is most important thing for your fighters to know about you?
TV: By no means, I’m no expert but I think it’s important to look at the whole team. Who is promoting them? Who is training them? Who are they getting advice from? You can have a fighter with all the ability in the world but if he doesn’t have a good professional team around him, there will be problems. Today you can’t only look at a fighter because of their ability; they have to be marketable too. We are in a tough marketplace right now with our American kids. Hispanics are showing they have far larger followings and they bring TV (viewers). It’s going take some special kids to change that and I’m hoping to find them (laughs). For me, I want to be the manager that I would want if I was fighting. I want my fighters to know that they’d be a big priority. I’d work closely with them to eventually understand all their hopes, dreams, fears and limitations so I can help get them as far as they can possibly go.
BT: You’ve done a great job in moving Ryan Martin. Is he going to fight for a title in the near future?
TV: Thank you, Bill, for noticing. I feel like I haven’t slept since signing him. (laughs) We have a lot more work to do yet but, yes, I think so. I think we could see him in a title fight sometime next year. He’ll be 25 in February and emotionally and physically he’s maturing. We should be ready by then.
BT: Great chatting with you Tim; thanks.
TV: My pleasure, Bill; thank you again.