Craig Thomson announces his three boxing shows for 2020
Craig Thomson started promoting professional boxing back in 2006; since then he has promoted 45 shows in New Zealand, two shows in America, and one show in Brazil. He has also been the matchmaker for over 100 events across the world, most regularly on Shane Cameron's shows. Outside of promoting he is a part-time undefeated professional boxer (11-0-0), generally only competing in one fight a year at most.
When asked about his return to boxing competition, Craig stated: “George Foreman says boxing is an easy sport to get into but a hard sport to give up. He’s right. Having said that I may be punching again in 2020”.
And when you think he has done everything, he has also been a referee, a judge and a representative for the World Boxing Union. He has managed boxers including the legendary Gunnar Jackson, Panuve Helu, Anthony & Jonathan Taylor, Adrian Taihia, Zane Hopman and many more.
In his first event of the year, he will be returning his events to Sportscave, Stanmore Bay on the 14th of March. This is a smaller show that he generally does to start off the year's events.
The headliner will feature two returning boxers, Nikolas Charalampous (18-3-0) and Zane Hopman (7-3-0).
“It’s a fun venue and a bit different from your usual. We did a show there February last year and it was a great night so we are looking at doing it all again.” Craig Thomson said.
Nik 'the Greek' Charalampous took 2018 off but came back last year to fight in the biggest fight of his career, taking on Jai Opetaia for both the WBA Oceania and WBO Global titles. Even though Nik lost the bout he went the full 10 rounds, which proved how tough he is, given that Jai has knocked out all his opponents since early 2016. Nik began his professional boxing career at the age of 18 back in 2013; now 7 years later has competed in 4 different weight divisions and has had 21 fights. Of all the weight divisions he has fought in, Nik has been at his best when he has fought in the light heavyweight division. This year he is hoping to capture his first professional boxing title.
Zane Hopman - who is more well known for his kickboxing career as a world champion - is returning to boxing after being mostly inactive in 2019. He made his return in November 2019 after a 16-month hiatus from boxing. He took on Mike Letoi on Shane Cameron's televised show at the lowest weight he has fought at in boxing. He is slowly going down in weight as he gets ready to fight in the light heavyweight division. It is to be believed that he will fight for a New Zealand title sometime in 2020. It is also well-known that he has been wanting to fight Robert Berridge and Adrian Taihia. This fight will be his warm-up for the 2020 year.
Craig Thomson - who manages Zane - said “We'd certainly like to promote a title bout or two this year. Zane Hopman is very keen to get his hands on his first NZ professional boxing title and there are a couple others keen also. With boxing, it's all about timing.”
When asked what his plans are for the year, Craig Thomson stated “2020 we are going to look into trying a few new and different things. So we are excited about seeing how it all goes and in which direction, and we hope the fans join us for the ride!”. Thomson's second show for the year will be on the 25th of July at a venue yet to be announced. This event will mark a big milestone for Craig Thomson's promoting career as this will be his 50th boxing show: the most a New Zealand boxing promoter has ever done. “Apparently we will reach 50 events in 2020 which is a nice little milestone to tick up. We're only just warming up, however”.
His third and last show for the year will be held at Ellerslie Event Centre on 14th of November. Both shows will feature Craig Thomson's newest boxer to his stable, Viliami Liavaa (1-0-0). “Viliami is an exciting young talent, If he can dedicate himself keep training hard and keep himself on track will go a long long way in this sport.”
Since his debut last year, Craig has had a difficult task in matchmaking Viliami after his debut win against undefeated boxer Alex Va. After his win, Viliami had three fights booked, but due to people not wanting to fight, they weren’t able to find him an opponent for each show. This year Craig hopes to have Viliami to have a better year. “Vili has time on his side so there’s no need to rush things, he has time to work on his craft and the fights will eventually come.”
Craig finished his 2019 with the 4-man tournament, but the big question is: will it return? “I love the format but not the organisation of it, haha. In our inaugural middleweight 8-man we had a last-minute pull-out on the day of the show which left us with only 7 competing. This year’s heavyweight tournament was by far one of the worst shows we have had with fighter pull-outs, police permit issues, and it goes on and on. I’m a firm believer in never say never but it’s not a priority for us right now”.
As for the winner: Semisi Kalu, Craig is open to the possibility of promoting him. “I'd like to see Semisi progress and work his way up the ladder, he’s a genuine humble hard-working guy. We have had no formal discussions about ongoing promotion/management but of course, if he were interested I'd happily talk with him and his team about it”