Antonio Tarver was in Houston over the weekend to announce his first boxing promotional venture. Tarver the promoter will host a boxing event at the Ayva Center in Houston on Sunday, June 15, 2014.
“It will happen on Father’s Day. We don’t have a title for it yet. But it’s going to be on Father’s Day, right here in Houston,” Tarver (seen in Rachel McCarson photo) told TSS. “We have a beautiful venue. We’re here to just bring the people together.”
Tarver said he wants to focus on smaller, regional shows in the south for two reasons. First, he said he wants to provide high value entertainment. He said he considers the shows an extension of himself, and he wants to put everything he’s learned from his own career as a fighter into promoting others.
Second, Tarver said he’s from the south, and he’s felt more support from there than any of the other places he traveled during his fighting career, particularly where he plans to do quarterly boxing shows: Houston, Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta and Memphis.
Tarver said he feels a special connection to those cities.
“Those cities, because those have been the cities that have really embraced me over the years…I feel like these are my homes away from home, and I want to bring something and give something back…”
Tarver is partnering with ThinkZilla, a public relations firm in Houston. Moreover, he’s looking to bring into the fold local Houston celebrities and business leaders as well as top-notch entertainers.
“I talked to my good friend Tracy McGrady this morning. He’s excited about lending his efforts and helping me, and we have a lot of connections.”
McGrady is a former NBA basketball player for the Houston Rockets who still lives in the area.
Tarver said he’s looking for insight from Houston’s biggest boxing icon, too.
“But there’s one guy I really, truly want to reach out to, and that’s Big George Foreman, man. He’s Mr. Texas, you know? That would be a really big opportunity for me to just get all the experience and knowledge that Big George has here in Texas.”
Tarver said he would not be fighting on the card, but that his career as a fighter would continue just as soon as he can get the fight he wants. He said he plans to start training camp this week and hopes to announce a bout against a top five heavyweight soon.
Tarver said his goal as a promoter will be the same as it is for him as a fighter: entertainment.
“I’m going to be promoting the fights. I’m going to be hosting the fights. It’s going to be Team Tarver, ThinkZilla and everybody else that’s affiliated with us, giving the people a nice night of entertainment with your host of stars, and just a great night out.”
Tarver said he was inspired from a similar-style event he attended recently in Atlanta.
“It was just the best time that I’ve had in a long time.”
There, Tarver was impressed with how the fans got behind two local fighters who were out there giving it their all. He said sometimes, boxing is just guys with lots of heart that won’t quit.
“It was good boxing. That’s what we want to bring to the people.”
He talked at length about the importance of boxing in local communities, its unique history of keeping kids off the streets and out of trouble, as well as the sport’s high entertainment value.
“Boxing is, I’ve found to be, one of the best and most entertaining sports.”
Tarver seemed genuinely excited about his new plans. Moreover, he said he hopes to debut his son, Antonio Tarver, Jr., as a professional fighter for the first time on one of the cards.
Tarver said Junior has an impressive physical physique and a deep love for the sport. He said he did not do a good enough job as a father supporting his son’s wish to become a fighter back when the kid was growing up.
But Tarver Jr., age 26, is now focused fully on following his father’s footsteps, and this time, he has his father’s full support.
And don’t worry. Tarver promised he wasn’t going to be one of those boxing dads who tries to overload their sons with how they would have done things. He isn’t training his son, and he said he only tries to offer advice when warranted and appropriate.
Tarver has always been great at promoting himself. He has the gift of gab and seems to be an ideal fit for the promotional side of boxing so long as he has the right people behind him.
For more on Tarver’s new role as a boxing promoter, click through to the Boxing Channel.