Former world champs Joe Calzaghe and Darren Barker throw their hats into the management ring
Former world champions Joe Calzaghe and Darren Barker have joined forces to form a management company called International Sports Group.
The two friends have long mused about the idea and finally unveiled their plans last week.
“Over the years, I was looking to get back into boxing, but it wasn’t the right time – timing is everything,” Calzaghe told The Ring. “Now’s the time for me to get back into boxing.
“Being good friends with Darren, we have the same ideas. We believe what we can bring to boxers is different to other managers – our experience in the ring, out of the ring, our connections, what we can bring to the table.”
Barker admitted to missing the buzz of boxing and felt this was his best way of helping the sport he loves dearly.
“There’s lots of good people out there but we’re not just good people, we understand the sport,” said the former IBF 160-pound titlist. “We understand what it’s like to be in the ring and be punched; we get it and we were world champions.
“We’ve experienced the business side of things, the ups and downs, the negotiation side of things. We’ve got strong connections with lots of brands we can partner up with. With mine and Joe’s contacts, enthusiasm, knowledge, it’s all the right ingredients to manage fighters. We just feel it would be an injustice if we didn’t do this company for the sake of the sport and the young aspiring champions.”
ISG have already signed their first fighter, decorated American amateur Jesus Martinez.
“It was right place, right time, I saw this young lad pop up on Instagram with a knockout at the national championships,” explained Barker of his introduction to the young fighter. “I sent him a message. I didn’t know a great deal about him. I loved how explosive he was.”
Things quickly progressed, the two sides had chemistry, and they were able to broker a deal.
“I had a Zoom call with him and his dad,” said Barker. “Straight away the story’s there; the comparisons are instantly there with Joe and his dad. Jesus is trained by his dad, Jesus Sr.
“I’ve no doubt in my mind he’ll not only be a world champion, but a multi-weight world champion – he’s that good. He’s a special talent. That shows our intent from the off.”
Barker and Calzaghe are also passionate about helping fighters who have fallen on hard times.
“The British Boxing Board of Control have a charity where they help not only current fighters but past fighters that are struggling,” said Barker. “They also invest money into different health benefits and ways to improve the safety of the sport.
“We’re going to give a percentage of every penny we make from any purse towards the charity to help. It’s important we give something back; the sports been so great to us.”
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright
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