Briton on a mission to promote boxing in Singapore
Briton O'Farrell is on a mission to elevate the sport of boxing in Singapore
He grew up watching the likes of Frank Bruno, Nigel Benn, and "Prince" Naseem Hamed shoot to fame and elevate professional boxing in England in the 1980s and 1990s.
Now, Scott O'Farrell wants to help Singapore find its own boxing heroes.
To do just that, the 45-year-old Briton left his job in sales and recruitment and founded Ringstar Management five months ago.
Ringstar Management is a Singapore-based professional boxing management and promotion company, and its first local event will be the Roar of Singapore at the Foochow Building on Feb 17.
O'Farrell, who moved to Singapore for work two years ago after spending the previous eight in Malaysia, is confident Roar of Singapore will be the catalyst for local boxing to blossom.
"I've known a couple of the local guys in boxing - like (local fight sport coach and promoter) Arvind Lalwani since about 2012," said O'Farrell.
"He has this objective of building boxing heroes for Singapore, and I really like that.
"So I've aligned myself and said, 'Okay, you've got these great local boxers who can be fantastic'.
"What can I bring? I can bring the bigger stage. The TV. International fighters, to step up the level of boxing."
Headlining the Roar of Singapore event is a Universal Boxing Organisation (UBO) world title fight between New Zealand's Samuel Rapira (15 wins, 3 losses, 0 draws) and undefeated Canadian Ryan Ford (9-0-0).
The card will also feature Singapore's top three boxers - Ridhwan Ahmad (5-0-0), Nurshahidah Roslie (4-1-0), and Rafi Majid (3-0-0) - all signed to Ringstar.
Come Feb 17, Rafi will also aim to become Singapore's first male boxing champion, when he takes on Indonesian Jonathan Simosora (23-29-5) for the vacant UBO Super Middleweight Asia Pacific title.
Also under the Ringstar banner is Chad Bennett, the Australian once ranked fifth in the world and former holder of the World Boxing Foundation (WBF) welterweight world title.
O'Farrell said he has also developed working relationships with boxing organisations that include the UBO, IBF (International Boxing Federation), WBA (World Boxing Association) and the WBC (World Boxing Council).
He has dipped into his savings to launch Ringstar and is confident his leap of faith will be rewarded. He said that sponsors are already coming on board.
Lalwani, who owns the Juggernaut Fight Club gym, welcomed O'Farrell's enthusiasm.
- Event: The Roar of Singapore
- Date: Feb 17
- Time: 5pm-11pm
- Place: Foochow Building
- For more information and ticketing details, please visit theroarofsingapore.peatix.com.
"The more promoters there are, the better it is for local professional boxers," said the 36-year-old former national amateur boxer.
"Our local boxers will have more avenues to fight, and the more the sport is in the public eye, the more positive that is."
O'Farrell said that Singapore's infrastructure and famous landmarks - such as the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) hotel - make it ideal for the glitz of top professional boxing.
Legendary American boxing promoter Bob Arum had planned to hold an event at MBS in 2014, but it eventually fell through.
Indonesian boxer Chris John defended his WBA world featherweight belt twice at the MBS convention centre, although the last time was in November 2012.
O'Farrell, who was an amateur boxer himself with about 30 amateur and unsanctioned bouts under his belt, said: "I want to meet MBS and say, 'Look, let's get involved in Singapore boxing'.
"The (MBS) is an iconic building, and I want to elevate an iconic sport in Singapore. The two should go hand in hand.
"I would love MBS to be like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It's got the potential. In fact, look at the scenery... It's better.
"If I was offered a world title fight and had the choice of either Las Vegas or MBS, and someone showed me a picture of MBS, I'm going there!"
He is such a believer in local boxing that he plans to donate a portion of ticket proceedings from the Roar of Singapore event to the Singapore Boxing Federation.
This is because he wants local fighters to have sound amateur boxing backgrounds, like his countrymen, current IBF world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and IBF super-middleweight world champion James DeGale, both former Olympic champions.
"I want this sport to grow, and I think we can bridge a connection from amateur to professional boxing," said O'Farrell.
"(Local boxing) needs enthusiasm, and people who can drive it. I've left my business and gone 100 per cent into Ringstar Management.
"We'll build the sport, we're not quitting. No matter how tough it gets, we're going to get tougher."