BEN SHALOM is experiencing a reversal of fortune after a successful start to his time with Sky Sports in 2022.
The Boxxer CEO promoted fights such as Chris Eubank Jr-Liam Williams, Amir Khan-Kell Brook and Claressa Shields-Savannah Marshall last year. As well as those Shalom played his part in helping Natasha Jonas have the best 12 months of her career.
Fast forward to June 2023 and fighter pull-outs is playing havoc with the Boxxer schedule. Tonight, at York Hall Frazer Clarke headlines against Mariusz Wach. That bout replaces the original main event of Adam Azim against Aram Fanyan. An infected left hand forced the super-lightweight talent to pull out.
Liam Smith has pulled out on two occasions from his rematch against Chris Eubank Jr and prior to that Josh Taylor-Jack Catterall 2 was scrapped when the Scot suffered a foot injury.
“It sums up our six months really,” Shalom said of Azim’s injury when speaking to Boxing News.
Another fight to bite the dust recently was the British cruiserweight title fight between champion Mikael Lawal and challenger Isaac Chamberlain. A medical issue forced Lawal to pull out of their clash which had been scheduled for the Lawrence Okolie-Chris Billam-Smith undercard in Bournemouth last month.
“I think that fight still happens,” Shalom told BN.
“I’m not going to get into what happened, but it has to happen next, or Mikael will be asked to vacate. We want to see that fight. We’ve had Mikael since he won a tournament in 2018 or 2019 and he’s won the British title. He’s done really well but this was a really big fight for him and a huge fight for Isaac Chamberlain who must be the unluckiest cruiserweight that I know.
“[He] takes fights whenever you offer them. Took Lawrence Okolie possibly at the wrong time. Took Chris Billam-Smith at the wrong time after a layoff then gets his opportunity at the British.
“Fighters get injured [and] you [are] left with a decision. We take a lot of flak for fighters getting injured but ultimately, we have to keep the shows on. We have duties to our fighters. Fighters like Isaac Chamberlain through no fault of their own have gone through a camp and don’t get that opportunity. Luckily, we managed to get Dylan Bregeon in for Friday night which is a very good opponent at late notice.”
Shalom added that he expects Lawal-Chamberlain to take place in September.
The British title scene at super-middleweight faced its own disruption recently when Mark Heffron was ruled out of his first defence against Zak Chelli. Their potentially thrilling encounter had been slated for July 1 in Manchester, but Shalom received news that the champion, who won his belt 11 months ago, is out.
“He’s had an issue with his foot and something’s gone in his hamstring and it’s just impossible,” Shalom revealed.
“We take that at face value. We work with them [Team Heffron] well and that fight will get made for a later date. Zak Chelli will fight on that [Manchester] card. We think we’ve got a very decent option for Zak Chelli because it was a fight everyone was looking forward to.
“So, again, you gotta roll with the punches and I think the past six months for us has been really tough if I’m honest. Really tough. So many pull outs, so many injuries. No fault of the fighters but the key is, and what I’m proud of is the team because they’re the ones that put in the work. I’m hoping the next six months we don’t see as many injuries.”