After a record crowd descended on Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, for the unification bout between Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, promoter Lou DiBella looked to the future, inking promotional deals with 2016 American Olympian Charles Conwell, Conwell’s half-brother Isaiah Steen, and former amateur champion Ardreal Holmes. The trio, who are managed by Split-T Management’s David McWater, will be co-promoted by Oklahoma-based Holden Productions.
Conwell, of Cleveland, OH, who will make his professional debut on April 21 at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, OK, amassed a record of 132-14 as an amateur before representing the United States in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Despite Conwell losing to eventual two-time Olympic gold medalist Vikas Krishan Yadav, it was clear to many that he would have a promising future in the professional ranks. The 19-year-old welterweight will join Holden’s “Four State Franchise,” a team of boxers that boasts a large and passionate following in Oklahoma.
“Signing with DiBella Entertainment and Holden Productions means everything to me,” said Conwell. “I know they really care about their fighters. With them guiding my career, the sky is the limit. They will help make sure that I am not only a champ, but a legend. I love my fans in Cleveland and can’t wait to make new fans and family in New York City and in the Four State Franchise.”
Boxing is a family affair for Conwell, who, like all eight of his siblings, was enrolled in boxing at a young age by his father, Charles Conwell, Sr. Charles Jr. and his older half-brother, super middleweight Isaiah Steen (6-0, 5 KOs), were the only two to stick with it. “It is good to have my brother next to me as I go into the next phase of my career,” said Conwell.
“I’m excited to be with DiBella Entertainment and Holden Productions,” said Steen. “I know they are great people and meeting Mr. DiBella was very exciting. I could tell right away he cared about his fighters. I can’t wait to start this next chapter in my career.”
Junior middleweight Ardreal Holmes (5-0, 3 KOs) also signed a promotional pact with DiBella and Holden on Saturday. The 22-year-old southpaw hails from Flint, MI, and is a four-time Michigan Golden Gloves champion, a 2015 USA National Elite champion and 2016 US Olympic Alternate. He has since relocated to Lansing, MI, to train with Joe Bermudez. There he splits his time between boxing, a part-time job and caring for and mentoring his 15-year-old brother, who also has aspirations to become a professional prizefighter.
“Aside from winning world titles, and unifying all of the belts at 154, then moving up to 160, my goal is to return to my home in Flint, and bring whatever success I have back with me. I want to be a positive role model for the kids in Flint,” said Holmes. The young fighter hopes to use the platform that boxing provides to keep attention on the water crisis in his hometown. “Everyone I know has been affected by the water crisis in Flint. I want to help make sure they aren’t forgotten.”
Holmes describes signing with DiBella and Holden as the high point of his boxing career thus far. “I can’t thank God enough for blessing me with this opportunity. Rest in peace to my brother and I love you to my family, Split-T Management, Flint and my whole state of Michigan for standing behind me 100 percent. It’s been a long road for Team Holmes and we have plenty miles left in us. I’m grateful that Mr. DiBella is giving me a chance to showcase to the world what I’ve been working on for almost half my life. I’m definitely going to make the most of it.”
“These three fighters are phenomenal additions to the DiBella Entertainment family,” said DBE President Lou DiBella. “All three guys are well-grounded, family-oriented and have the talent to become champions. It’s great to expand my relationship with Tony Holden, who I have worked with for years.”