Monday, March 20, 2023  |


Promoter Greg Cohen: Still room to thrive on planet Haymon?

Promoter Greg Cohen (L) with Austin Trout. Photo: Greg Cohen Promotions

Promoter Greg Cohen (L) with Austin Trout. Photo: Greg Cohen Promotions

An embarrassment of riches, really, all this boxing content becoming available on all these different platforms, or, as we used to call them, “channels.” And not all of them are featuring content furnished by Al Haymon, either, did you not know?

No, fr’instance, on April 17 CBS Sports Network will screen fights promoted by a gent named Greg Cohen, a guy who’s had a few decades in the sport and is now taking a deeper dive into the pool with a fight series which kicks off with a “Hurricane” Dennis Hogan (20-0-1, 7 knockouts) junior middleweight clash against Philadelphia’s Tyrone “Young Gun” Brunson (22-4-1, 21 KOs), set for ten or less.

I chatted with Cohen, a New Jersey guy, to get a better sense of the sort of fights we will see, and what he hopes to accomplish.

First, I told him congratulations, because I’d heard that Haymon had in fact asked to buy the dates he’d put on hold at CBS, and he’d said thanks, but no thanks, I’m good. Cohen chuckled, and said that yes indeed, he’s keen on working off this time-buy concept, purchasing air-time on the channel and sustaining it with some stellar sponsors.

“We’re going to do a minimum of 12 shows in the next 12 months,” the deal-maker told me. We discussed the importance of having a variety of people promoting and putting shows together, and how that competition keeps a near-monopoly situation from occurring, from having any one person holding too much power.

The main event April 17, Cohen said, should be a solid scrap, as it features a kid with a solid amateur background, a national champ in Ireland, who has fought mostly in Australia. “Hogan is like a John Duddy in Australia,” he continued. “A huge ticket seller. Some guys have that ‘it factor,’… he does.”

Yep, it’s a wide world, and there’s a lot of talent out there. Yes, Haymon has 200 boxers under adviser deals, but the globe is large, and diamonds can be found in pockets on all continents. “Boxing champions are world champions, not just American champions,” Cohen noted.

Cohen seeks to do 15, maybe 20 shows, so that should be good news for fight fans. “I was a little ahead of the curve,” he explained, telling me he’d been working on this time-buy deal for over a year. Then, Haymon came out of the blocks hard with his flurry, but yes, Cohen has been thinking of new ways to market the sport. The promoter learned his craft under the late Cedric Kushner, he told me, and started in boxing around 1989. His cousin Marc Roberts managed solid hitters like Ray Mercer, Charles Murray and Al Cole, so Cohen saw how things were handled on big stages. “Me and Cedric had a long run together, I loved Cedric, he was a dear friend who taught me the promotion business.” Cohen has done other things, and did well with boxing as a side-line, of sorts, though the last six or so years it’s been all boxing. He had Hasim Rahman when Rock upset Lennox Lewis. He was with Shannon Briggs for most of his career, with Roberts, and with Kushner, did deals with Shane Mosley and Joel Casamayor. Austin Trout was his most recent champion, the promoter told me.

The first set of scraps will unfold at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota.

Minnesota, I wondered why there. The casino setting will be hopping, Cohen told me, as the card will be a big deal there, and run in a 3,000 seat venue. “It’s a big deal for us and for them, our interests are aligned,” he said.

Another show, site TBD, will run May 29. Next, June 18 in San Bernadino and June 26 in Seneca, New York.

We can expect to see guys like Antoine Douglas, who just won on ShoBox, as Cohen partners up with promoters like GH3. Gerry Odom, another GH3 guy, could see air-time. Tony Luis (19-2, 7 KOs) will look to impress in Minnesota, as he did when he stopped Karl Dargan in his last outing.

Also, Brooklyn heavyweight Jarrell Miller, co-promoted with Dmitriy Salita, will get a big push, as Cohen and Salita believe in his athleticism and his personality. “I think he’s the best young American heavyweight, and there will be a big effort to get him exposure on national TV,” Cohen said. “Plus, he can talk!” Salita chimed in.

Viewers can expect to see Ron Kruk doing blow by blow, with Steve Kim and Patrick Ortiz adding color on the shows, Cohen informed me.

“It’s very important to have different players in the game,” said Cohen in summation. “The more boxing there is on TV, the better.”

Cohen said he’s happy to have landed some big name sponsors, and will roll out this names soon. No, it’s not easy to hustle and grind and do it this way, but I admit, I admire his pluck in not looking for checks from the cable companies, but going about it a different way. “I believe our series will be very similar to the original ShoBox series,” he said, “where you have really good prospects and you see them soon after fighting for titles, emerging into real contenders.”

Woods is a Massachusetts-born, Brooklyn-based writer, who worked at NY Newsday, and then ESPN Magazine. He is editor of