European Business: Mr. Holyfield, your name is a synonym for the best in boxing: heavyweight champion, cruiserweight world champion and one of the greatest boxers of all time – a legend as “The Real Deal”. What’s it like to be Evander Holyfield in 2018?
Evander Holyfield: Thank you. Right now I am excited about a new chapter in my life as a promoter. It’s a chance to help guide young fighters and treat them the way they deserve to be treated. It’s a great feeling to be able to provide opportunities for these young men and women in the sport that gave me so much.
European Business: You now work as a boxing promoter trying to find the “Next Real Deal”. What is different about being on the other side of the boxing ring?
Evander Holyfield: Well for starters, you don’t get punched as much! [laughs] But in all seriousness it’s a great honor to be guiding these fighters’ careers and it means a lot to me that they’ve chosen The Real Deal Boxing to be their home.
Many great business owners have experienced multiple failures before finding success. Evander Holyfield
European Business: What qualities can be transferred from boxing to the field of entrepreneurship?
Evander Holyfield: The ability to keep moving forward when no one thinks you have it in you anymore. Many great business owners have experienced multiple failures before finding success. In business, boxing and life, you’ve got to be able to get up when you’re knocked down and never give up.
European Business: What is your relationship with boxing right now – besides your role as a promoter – and what do you tell kids who want to go into an individual sport?
Evander Holyfield: Well, being a promoter is my main role in boxing but I always tell kids competing in the sport to live right, train hard, believe in yourself and put your faith in God.
I always tell kids competing in the sport to live right, train hard, believe in yourself and put your faith in God. Evander Holyfield
European Business: You can look back on a hugely successful boxing career with both highs and lows. What is it that motivates you to keep working and what are your goals for the next 10 years?
Evander Holyfield: I honestly want to make The Real Deal Boxing one of the premier boxing promotions in the world. With our talented young roster and the emphasis we put on competitive fights and some of the new aspects we’re pushing, from fighter safety to better scoring conditions to using instant replay, we can change the sport for the better for the boxers and the fans.
Interview: Andreas Detert | Pictures: Real Deal Boxing