Tim VanNewhouse: ‘It’s a good time to be in the boxing business’
Tim VanNewhouse is fast building his portfolio of fighters at Split-T Management and gaining a reputation as a great advocate and steward for the fighters he represents.
Great fighter-manager relationships are built on trust and talent. The fighters need to believe in the managers behind their careers and, in turn, the managers need to be able to maneuver the fighters into the best spots in their careers with the talent they have.
Timing, tenacity and, most importantly, talent certainly can play a role in the success of a boxer. But make no mistake; it is a business. A good manager and promoter are vital, essential pieces of the equation.
VanNewhouse is quickly gaining a reputation in the industry as a man who brings it all to the table for his clients.
UCNlive.com last spoke with the Cleveland, Ohio-based manager a year ago and decided it was time to catch up with him and the ever-busy world of boxing.
Bill Tibbs: Hi Tim; thanks for taking a minute to chat.
Tim VanNewhouse: No problem, my pleasure.
BT: We haven’t chatted for about a year. Time flies by, maybe even faster in boxing. (laughs)
TVN: I can’t believe it’s been a year already, Bill. It goes by pretty quick when you’re staying busy. And it’s even faster when you’re constantly thinking ahead for your career and fighters.
BT: You aren’t the new guy on the block you were a while back. How are things changing for you, as you gain more experience in the industry?
TVN: This past year I found myself always wondering how my relationships are better off because of me. I’ve been coming up in an industry driven mostly by guys a lot older than I am. I see I’m the one asking a lot of the questions or always in need of something. I want to be the shoulder someone leans on at times too. (laughs) So I’ve been keeping that in mind a lot.
BT: Getting the opportunity to work with guys who have extensive experience in handling fighters, along with promoting and matchmaking, is great as well. You’ve been working with some of the best.
TVN: Yes, I’ve been fortunate to work more closely this year with Top Rank’s Bruce Trampler. I really enjoy his input on the business. I’ve always sought out advice from him throughout the years, being we share some good friends, and Ohio is dear to his heart, so it was natural for me to reach out to him all the time. But this year, it was little different. He called me and said something like, “Hey kid; you’re up! You’re in the batter’s box and don’t strike out.” It was his way to tell me I’m able to do some business with him and Top Rank. That was a good day for me. Anytime a Hall-of-Famer calls, you pick up the phone; you answer and you listen. (laughs)
BT: Obvious business moves aside, do you, as a manager, have a certain philosophy you take into your work with your fighters?
TVN: I’m still designing my philosophy with fighters; more will come to me with time. But the obvious is to always care about the welfare of the boxer and put their needs first. I will never forget my past experiences as a fighter. Those experiences drive a lot of my decision making. I didn’t enter the fight game for money or notoriety; I entered it because I fell in love with the sport and I couldn’t leave it behind. (laughs) I just wanted to offer fighters protection and I’m fortunate to be a steward for some in the business. I endeavor to represent the sport’s best clients and help pave the way for them to have a successful career.
BT: Talk about some of your fighters.
TVN: Yes, we have some great things happening. Well, towards the beginning of the year, we signed Brian Ceballo, who is a former amateur standout from New York. I paired him with (Los Angeles-based promoter Tom) Loeffler and he’s doing well. He’s 5-0 (3) and you can see he’s getting more comfortable in the ring as a pro. (Co-manager) David McWater and I have a lot of high expectations for him. He’s fought this past Saturday on the undercard of (Gennady) “GGG” (Golovkin) vs. Canelo (Alvarez). Although he fought really early and there weren’t many people in the arena, it’s more for the experience I want for him. Matching him competitively on that platform and affording him the chance to see all the fight week festivities will complement his development as a prospect.
BT: You have a great prospect in Ryan Martin.
TVN: Tom and I went to Russia in August, where we made the official announcement that Ryan Martin would be in the World Boxing Super Series. All fighters are competing for the Muhammad Ali Trophy and seven-figure prize earnings. The WBA and IBF (junior welterweight) titles will both be in the tournament. It’s going to be a big deal for all the fighters, as there’s a lot at stake. They just announced the fight date as November 3rd, in Scotland. Ryan’s facing Josh Taylor and it will be for the World Boxing Council “Silver” title. This is his chance to make a big statement in his division. Artie Pelullo told me many years ago that fighters don’t become great fighters until they beat fighters they’re not supposed to beat. Consensus believes Taylor is the favorite. Obviously we all think otherwise.
BT: Who else are you working with right now?
TVN: I have about 10 guys now but most recently, I added welterweight Eddie Gomez to my roster. I plan to have him back on the schedule in an ESPN co-feature in the fall. I should have that wrapped up shortly with Robert (Diaz, matchmaker for Golden Boy Promotions). I also signed (undefeated super middleweight) Tyler Howard. I paired him with Top Rank and we announced that deal last week. He’s going to appear on the undercard of (Alex) Saucedo vs. (WBO junior welterweight titlist Maurice) Hooker in Oklahoma. He’s an exciting compact puncher and will compete at 160 pounds. I’m also thrilled about an exciting amateur I’m bringing into the company too. He’s ranked number one in his divisions and I think the world of him. I should have an announcement out soon.
BT: You can certainly see that life as a manger gives the passport a workout.
TVN: (Laughs) Who knows where I’m at next month? But I just got off the phone with Mr. X (Sean Gibbons) and he said we should fly from the World Boxing Organization Convention in Panama straight to Scotland for Martin vs. Taylor. I told him, good idea.
BT: It seems boxing is very healthy right now. There are great broadcast deals being signed by various promoters and the sport has the chance to really expand its audience.
TVN : You know there may be a lot of pressure and responsibility in this industry and it can get real tough, at times, but I try to enjoy it and just live in the moments. Our sport is in a great space right now. More people are working together. Top Rank, (Matchroom Boxing Group Managing Director Eddie) Hearn and (Al) Haymon all just did record-breaking deals, even Frank Warren’s new landmark deal with Top Rank. It’s a good time to be in the boxing business.
BT: Thanks for the chat Tim.
TVN: No problem, Bill, my pleasure.