Promoter Mike Le-Gallez discusses the Contender VIP concept in depth, the inspiration of legendary Mancunian Phil Martin and plans going forward

By Chris Glover

Contender VIP has already established itself as one of the most exciting up and coming promotions in British boxing, having had an explosive opening event at Manchester’s Hilton Hotel, Deansgate, which saw a night of evenly matched fights that included the beginnings of Contender VIP inaugural tournaments at middleweight and light heavyweight.
The first event, which also included an evenly matched undercard throughout, was a glamorous affair, which saw boxing fans mixing with the elite of local business and sport at a fabulous setting in Deansgate’s Hilton Hotel. Le-Gallez opened up on his thinking behind the Contender VIP events from both boxing and entertainment perspectives.
Le-Gallez stated, “Contender VIP has been set up to cover many bases that people look for in society today when it comes to an evening of entertainment. From a boxing standpoint, I feel that for a long time boxing fans have drifted away from the sport because of seeing the traditional prospect vs journeyman format to matchmaking. In my opinion, I had to do something to change up this cycle and our shows have specific matchmaking so that all the fights on the show are entertaining.
“The Contender VIP tournament itself was inspired by the life and the great work done by Phil Martin. Phil left a profound legacy in Manchester and British Boxing that is still very visible to this day and Maurice Core and the team at Champs Camp and I are really dedicated to prolonging his visions on boxing and we believe the exciting format of our shows is what Phil would have wanted for pro boxing in Manchester.”
Le-Gallez continued, opening up about the ideals about what Contender VIP events will provide outside of the ring.
He said, “Contender VIP events are based that of balls. It is an event that sees every part of society come together for a glamorous event to celebrate those in the ring. Our events are quite formal in terms of dress code, with ladies in ball gowns and men in suits, and there is first-class entertainment and food and drink on hand with a top-class afterparty at the magnificent Manchester 235 Casino.
“In my opinion, this format of sports and entertainment is what is needed in boxing to help draw crowds which all in all help fighters develop as it makes it easier to sell tickets and gain sponsorships when they are boxing on events that people put in their calendar when they are announced.
“For us, at Contender VIP our priorities are the fighters and delivering first-class entertainment in and out of the ring and that will be no different on Contender VIP’s next show on December 21 at the Hilton Hotel, which will see the middleweight and light heavyweight finals and an undercard that will be as exciting as the main events and I believe we will only go from strength to strength going forward.”
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