By Jose E. Santiago
Photo: Andrew Snook
The two top active boxing promoters in Georgia, Greg Barckhoff of Sports Fan Properties and Shea Bailey of Shea Bailey Promotions join forces in an effort to solidify the best boxers in the first ever Georgia Boxing Championship series. The series is slated to begin on February 25th and will be hosted at the newly renovated Macy’s building at 200 Peachtree in Atlanta. Future fight cards have already been slated for April, June, August, and December.
Bailey, a prominent figure in boxing promotions in Atlanta for years says “For me it was the fact that Greg reminded me a lot of my partner Aaron Jacobs in Florida. Greg is very detail oriented and business minded. The people that I have found that make it in this business are not one dimensional. By that I mean either boxing people or business people, they are both. Greg has that, and though young as far as boxing years go, he is a very fast learner and is picking it up very well.” Although most would think that two promoters in a relatively small boxing market would not be able to collaborate, Bailey and Barckhoff have shunned the idea that they could not coexist in the past. Both promoters would respect each other’s fight dates and would often assist in promoting one another’s events via online and media outlets. Bailey continued, “I have been to all of his shows and his production quality at those events is very impressive. Not to mention his corporate event background gives him an incredible strength at securing corporate sponsors even better than me.” Bailey’s summation of the deal is simple and to the point “This promotion will maintain a large corporate presence, an elegant venue and some of the top fighters our region has to offer. When it is all said and done our goal will be to mainstream boxing in this city for now and future generations.”
Barckhoff has made an impression in just four promotions titled The Big Rock Out which started back in December of 09. In all four promotions he has delivered with quality and competitive fights along with great venues culminating in his most recent event which was held at the Georgia World Congress Center. The event was highlighted with an extremely entertaining matchup which pitted local favorite Paul “The Truth” Delgado vs. Chris “The Gentleman” Gray for the IBF/USBA Southern Region Welterweight Title won by Delgado via a ten round decision.
Barckhoff’s approach is a bit more tactical. After recognizing that he and Bailey share similar goals he says “We both love the sport, but to spend the time needed and take on the risks involved with promoting professional boxing, we need to shake up the current model and leverage every angle possible. Atlanta has been a good boxing town for quite awhile now, but we both want to make it a great boxing town.” Barckhoff says that making the move to join forces with Bailey was easy. He continued, “For this to happen, we have to continue to do quality shows on a consistent basis. So basically when it came right down to it, joining forces seemed like a no-brainer. In addition to everything else I mentioned, we finally seem to have one thing going in our favor and that is momentum.”
In an effort to assist in building that momentum Barckhoff has launched an online poll and for the last two months has requested media members and prominent boxing figures rank the top boxers in the state within their respective weight divisions.