Although he has previously kept a lower public profile, Greg Cohen, Founder and CEO of The Empire Sports and Entertainment Inc., has long been a major player in boxing. The former majority owner of Cedric Kushner Promotions (CKP) and partner in Duva Boxing has been promotionally involved with a number of heavyweight champions and top contenders, including former WBO Champion Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs from the very first day of his pro career.
He’s also had promotional ties to such boxing luminaries as Chris Byrd, Jameel McCline, David Tua, Hasim Rahman, Samuel Peter, Ike Ibeabuchi, Kirk Johnson, Larry Donald, Jesse “Boogieman” Ferguson and Oleg Maskaev, as well as future hall of famer “Sugar” Shane Mosley and former cruiserweight champion Alfred Cole.
So why did Cohen, along with his partner, well-known South Florida-based Venture Capitalist Barry Honig, decide to come out from behind the curtain and form The Empire?
“I view the boxing game right now as similar to the real estate market,” he explains, “It’s a great time for someone to step in and make something happen. The only major players are Golden Boy and Top Rank.”
Cohen and Honig have already begun amassing an impressive roster of fighters including two former heavyweight champions. “Shannon Briggs and Hasim Rahman are not only fighting for us, they’re also business partners of mine. And they’re both very noticeable and charismatic guys. In addition to being our first two marquee names as fighters, they’ll also be recruiting new talent for our stable. I’m very excited about having them both aboard.”
Briggs is fighting in the main event on March 16 at the Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida.
The Empire also has its share of young and promising talent including an undefeated (21-0, 14 KOs) 23 year old from Queens, New York, who has already proven himself a bankable television commodity. “We’ve signed future world champion ‘Mean’ Joe Greene to a promotional agreement. He’ll be fighting in late march early April.”
“And we’re very proud to announce we’ve signed several fighters from the Dominican National and Olympic Team including Juan Carlos Payano, the highest decorated amateur of all time from the Dominican. He lost by one point to (current WBA Featherweight Champion) Yuriorkis Gamboa in the Pan Am Games — his life’s mission is to avenge that loss.
Plus we’ve signed Jennefel Vicente (16-0, 10 KOs) and several other members of the Dominican Olympic and National Team. We’re doing a series of shows with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing at the Paradise Theater in the Bronx, New York, and we’re going to have Payano and all the Dominican kids featured on the show.”
A world-class roster needs world class trainers to put it over the top and Cohen says he’s ecstatic at the two men who have agreed to join his team. Emanuel Steward of Detroit’s Kronk Gym fame has signed on as The Empire’s Director of Boxing and former light heavyweight champion, and now highly coveted trainer, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad will serve as Vice-President of Boxing Operations. “I can’t think of two better trainers to have on staff,” admitted Cohen. “In addition to their front-office jobs, they will evaluate talent and lend their formidable training skills to our fighters.”
The Empire will look to do 20 to 30 shows per year and form strategic alliances with other promotional firms. Cohen says he’s excited to be taking center stage and expects his company to take a top spot in the boxing promotional world. “What we’re building at The Empire is very similar to what Golden Boy Promotions are doing…. only we’re going to do it better!”