Thompson Boxing celebrates its 15th anniversary
This Friday night from the DoubleTree Hotel in Ontario, Calif., Thompson Boxing Promotions presents “Path to Glory,” which features the likes of Danny Roman, Efrain Esquivias and Juan Reyes. This is a landmark card for the company as it celebrates its 15th anniversary in the business.
Where does the time go?
“Yeah, absolutely; it’s been quite a ride,” said Alex Camponovo with a chuckle, the general manager and matchmaker for the company. Camponovo has been with the company from the very beginning in May of 2000. In fact, he was the right-hand man of Ken Thompson – who made millions in the construction business – before they opened up shop as a promoter.
Camponovo, who originally went to college to study broadcasting had been working for Thompson’s construction business and as Thompson got involved as a vice president of the World Boxing Hall of Fame, a career in boxing was hatched. And soon they were in the promoting racket as they held a card to benefit a gym in San Bernardino that was behind on its bills and fighting to keep its lights on.
He says that show “was a near-disaster but we were able to patch it all up at the last minute. Something you probably can’t do nowadays because of all he medicals and stuff.”
The goals at that time for Thompson and Camponovo were modest.
“Honestly, when we did that first show, we had very little expectations other than just being able to put some shows on. We didn’t sign anybody for about four years. We kinda got the lay of the land, figured out how the business worked and we also saw some guys that we featured a number of times come and go and that wasn’t enticing to us,” he explained.
“So at the beginning, it was just to try to see if we could entertain the crowd and hold events for a little while and then it developed into what it is today.”
Long ago, Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions said – as only as he could – regarding failed promotional entities that tried to set up shop on Bash Blvd., “The desert is strewn with bleached bones.” Well, Thompson Boxing is still alive and kicking. Camponovo admits, “I never thought this would develop into what we’ve been able to accomplish, which, for a small company, a modest company our size, it’s been pretty great.”
From the very beginning, they realized that they were not Top Rank or Golden Boy Promotions but they have more than carved out their niche as something well beyond your garden variety club promoter. They aren’t just putting on six and eight-rounders with local talent but they are also developing talent to a point in which you see some of their boxers on premium cable shows. Case in point: Timothy Bradley, Mauricio Herrera, Yonnhy Perez, Chris Arreola (of whom Camponovo says, “Because of the situation we had with him, where we featured him a number of times, we decided to start signing fighters because he moved on.”), Josesito Lopez, Darleys Perez, Juan Carlos Burgos and Jhonatan Romero are all boxers who were, at some point in their careers, promoted by Thompson Boxing and won world titles and/or were featured on major cards.
“If I would tell you the formula for it, I’d be stupid to say it because there’s really not a specific formula,” admitted Camponovo of their success in developing boxers. “All we’ve had is continuity and the drive to move forward and we’ve been lucky and fortunate to get the right people to nurture all those relationships through the years. There’s not a specific formula; the only thing that we worked on is to keep going and be as independent as possible.”
That said, Thompson Boxing has forged strong alliances in the past with the likes of Gary Shaw, Artie Pelullo and Goossen Promotions as well as solid working relationships with Top Rank and Golden Boy. It’s not unusual for them to be part of up to more than two dozen cards a year throughout the country – many of which are nationally televised.
But the foundation of their program has always been – and will always be – the DoubleTree Hotel.
Camponovo says, “We’ve never walked away from there; that’s our home-base. We have great fans there; we’ve been able to develop a following in that area. We’ve done over a hundred shows there already, throughout the years, been fortunate to sell out every one of our events. It’s so good that people don’t even know who’s fighting anymore. They don’t even care to ask – they just know we’re going to be there and buy their tickets. They go and have a good time.”
It’s a cozy and intimate setting that seats around 1,000 patrons and as you go there a few times, you’ll start to recognize certain faces. This is the Inland Empire’s boxing foundation.
The cards at the DoubleTree Hotel are done without television footing the bill. Thompson Boxing has to make ends meet the old-fashioned way: with ticket sales and sponsorships.
“A lot of people say, ‘We do it all for the fans’ – we really do it for the fans,” states Camponovo. “We want them to be entertained. We want them to remember the last fight; we want them to say, ‘Oh, that last show was great,’ because we know that they’re going to come back. They’re going to be there with their family; it’s a nice family atmosphere and we just want everyone to have a good time. We base our business on the fans, selling tickets and we’re lucky. We’re in an area where there’s lots of talent, Mexican-American mainly. They love the sport; they support it.
“The fighters themselves have moved into the area the last 10 years. There’s tons of gyms. There’s plenty of talent and there’s still plenty more talent that’s going to come out of that area.”
The DoubleTree Hotel is located on 222 N. Vineyard in Ontario, Calif. Tickets are priced at $40, $60 and $100 and can be purchased at ThompsonBoxing.com or by calling 714-935-0900. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Now, if you happen to attend, make sure you get the nachos. It’ll be the best $6 you’ll ever spend. Seriously, to me, these are the real main event every show.
On the opposite of the promotional spectrum is 50 Cent’s company, SMS Promotions, which reportedly filed for bankruptcy, according to TMZ.
OK, based on his overall net worth, there’s no need to throw Mr. Curtis Jackson a benefit or anything. He knows where his next few meals are coming from. The real concern are his fighters who had entrusted him with their careers. What happens to them now?
Ryan Martin, a promising lightweight with a record of 13-0 (8), is someone who might have a future and it’ll be interesting to see what his status is.
Diego Magdaleno will now face Jose Gonzalez in the WBO lightweight title eliminator as the opening bout on June 26 on truTV. This means Oscar Valdez has been moved to the Tim Bradley-Jessie Vargas undercard at the StubHub Center the following evening…Sergey Kovalev-Nadjib Mohammedi tickets go on sale this morning (10 a.m. PT) and are priced at $300, $200, $100, $50 and $25. They can be purchased at MandalayBay.com or Ticketmaster.com…Going to Memphis to call the Lateef Kayode-Nick Kisner fight for CBS Sports Network. Save a spot for me on Beale Street…Yeah, I held my breath as Steph Curry landed on his head on Monday night. I’m not a Warriors fan but I love watching him play…That flooding in Houston was unreal, geez…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.