Proving it’s not a man’s world
Miranda Carter woke up one day last summer and announced to her husband she was going to be a boxing promoter. The mother of three (all grown up – 26, 20 and 17 – and stunned and proud of her move into boxing) told me he just laughed. But she wasn’t joking and emphasises her husband, who likes the sport, has been more than supportive. On June 15 at York Hall, Bethnal Green her dream becomes a reality. Miranda stages her first solo show, having done a few with WSO to learn the ropes.
She juggles promoting with her other job, part-time head of the Accessibility and Equality unit for the Department of Transport. Her 16 years there suggest she has staying power. But Miranda admits boxing is “a lot more stressful”. She adds: “I now understand a bit better how things work. Roy Hilder, my matchmaker, helps me out a lot. I’ve got boxers from the TKO Gym on my show. I met Johnny Eames and Peter Swinney and instantly wanted to work with them. The same went for Roy. I liked the way he operated.”
Tickets are going pretty well, she said, explaining that she spends weekends wearing her promoter’s hat. “I’m quite energetic,” she emphasises as if to help me understand how she juggles the time in her life, though admits everything about the job is challenging. “The language [of the people] is very different,” she admits, laughing. And although women’s boxing is now more established, there haven’t been many promoters of her gender.
“I’m learning more about the rules and getting to know the people better and what motivates them,” says the born and bred Londoner (in the south but now living north of the river). “I’d like to put on some women’s fights, too, but I know there’s a difference of opinion about that.”
Miranda hasn’t signed any fighters. The boxers who appear on her show do so on a fight-by-fight basis. But she’s keen to establish herself as a successful small hall promoter. There’s a decent line up on her debut bill: Ashley Theophane, Paul Halpin, Iraqi Olympian Najah Ali, Turkish super-middle Gokhan Kazaz.
Ojay Abrahams was supposed to finally have his 100th fight, but the Watford veteran, who has waited over a year to complete his century, is now off. “We couldn’t agree on an opponent,” she explained. “It’s really disappointing. I really wanted to put the fight on. But I wish him well as a trainer.”
Already, Miranda is learning that promoting, especially without television, can be a sink-or-swim business. She obtained her licence in January and set up Left Jab Promotions. Not one to be easily intimidated, Miranda admitted the interview with the Boxing Board was the toughest she’d experienced. “You walk into this big room with a long table and these tough-looking people at the end of it,” she recalls. The interview lasted 30 minutes. “I wasn’t sure I’d passed,” she confesses. “But they hinted at the end that I had.”
There’s a pleasant tone to her voice, but at the same time a feeling that Miranda has some iron behind the charm. She will need it. Ten years as a trade union rep suggests she can handle herself. Maybe it’s in the family. Her father, Frank, did some boxing in his time, first as a youngster, then in the Navy and on the unlicensed circuit. Miranda never saw him box, but recalls him talking about his career (he passed away in 2006). She doesn’t have any brothers and her only sister wasn’t interested in the fight game. Miranda was all ears.
“I recall my father talking about what a difference boxing made to his life,” she says. “He was an aggressive man, but boxing helped him to control his emotions. He had 17 (unlicensed) fights, but quit as soon as he lost. He couldn't go back in the ring. He went into the Civil Service."
Although Miranda shares her father’s passion, she didn’t attend her first event until December 2006, the night Audley Harrison bombed out Danny Williams at the ExCel and more memorably to her, Amir Khan won a 10-rounder against Frenchman Rachid Drilzane. But she has no ambition to challenge the major players. “I want to concentrate on York Hall for now,” she states. “There’s nothing better than a Friday or Saturday night at York Hall watching boxing. It has an excellent atmosphere.” It's ironic then that her first show should be on a Sunday afternoon (4pm start), though that wasn't the intention. She had booked for the previous night, but agreed to move her date to accommodate a televised Sports Network show. Miranda is dedicating her card to her father, especially as it’s Father’s Day. I suspect he would be proud.
6th June 2008
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