As winter weather approaches in the Northeast and 2019 draws to a close, boxing insiders have taken notice that the activity out of Kings Promotions is heating up.
The company closed out 2019 by promoting a pair of back-to-back shows in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA that featured some of its top talent, including world ranked contenders Mykal Fox (22-1, 5 KO’s) and Marcus Bates (11-1-1, 8 KO’s) along with recent acquisitions Alycia Baumgardner (9-1, 6 KO’s), Carlos Vidal (16-0, 15 KO’s) and Michael Coffie (8-0, 5 KO’s).
While the history and success of Kings Promotions can be attributed to its hard-charging founder and CEO Marshall Kauffman, it has caught a second wind in its new junior partner Andrew Foy, a medical doctor out of Hershey, PA. Foy officially merged his company, the Harrisburg-based Titans Boxing Promotions, with Kauffman’s in July of 2019 and settled under the KP banner. On the surface, the pair could not seem any more different.
Kauffman is a grizzled veteran of the sport whose reputation has been forged by years of making it the hard way in the industry; first as a fighter, then as a trainer and gym owner, followed by manager and lastly, as a promoter and matchmaker. His personality is gregarious, warm and welcoming but can change in an instant to intense and fiery – a trait that has generally served him well over the years. In a sport where the line between good and bad business is often blurred, standing up for one’s own interests is vital for success.
Foy, on the other hand, is reserved and soft spoken but carries a quiet confidence. At only 38 years of age, he is regarded as a thought leader in the world of academic medicine. With over 50 peer-reviewed publications, several appearing in the world’s leading journals, he has challenged the status quo on the overuse of medical tests and treatments, particularly in his field of cardiology, and has penned highly influential papers that call for a sea-change in how the medical profession approaches patient care.
He is also a featured speaker in the Penn State College of Medicine whose lectures and seminars involve medical decision making, critical thinking, evidence appraisal and scientific skepticism. He is the recent recipient of a “New Innovator Award” grant from the Penn State Department of Medicine for an ambitious project that looks to apply novel approaches to determine whether results from landmark clinical trials in cardiovascular medicine apply to patients with multiple medical conditions.
If you think that Foy should stay in his Ivory Tower and out of the seedy underworld of the boxing business, you would be like most others who have heard his story – a contradiction he revels in. In fact, his first real conversation with Kauffman over 3 years ago involved Kauffman advising him to stay out of boxing.
While Foy partially resented it, he understood Kauffman’s perspective that a doctor shouldn’t get involved in the sport to make money because that is highly unlikely to occur at first, if ever, and there are far better ways to turn a buck. But making money was never Foy’s primary intention and Kauffman, along with many others, have come to appreciate that.
Interestingly, Foy doesn’t view himself as that different from Kauffman. He recognizes the stark difference in personalities between them but otherwise, thinks they are a lot alike especially in terms of their resiliency and work ethic. In fact, he thinks he might have gone down a similar road had his family not detested his participation in the sport and strongly encouraged him to attend a liberal arts college that would take him away from his hometown gym and the boxing culture he grew accustomed to during his high school years.
But since returning to boxing as a promoter in 2017 he’s been one of the busiest in the area, promoting 8 solo events and participating in several other co-promotions, all the while continuing to excel in his full-time gig. When asked why he began promoting, Foy just smiled before saying, “It just kind of happened. One chance occurrence lead to a series of events and 6 months later I found myself agreeing to promote a boxing event.”
At first he knew nothing about how to do it but learned quickly. The hardest part for him, he admits, was being tough about the business-side of the sport. It wasn’t that he didn’t understand it but he found it challenging to separate his desire to help fighters advance their careers and put on great events with being able to say “no” to things that he knew were bad business.
Reflecting on his run with Titans Boxing, Foy believes that most people who paid attention probably thought he was more successful than he really was, particularly from a financial standpoint. He acknowledges that “perception is reality” and he staged the events in such a way that they really came across as something special in places like the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex and the Zembo Shrine Arena but the cost of the venues and the staging that went into them, along with the small population size of Harrisburg, was ultimately prohibitive to financial success.
Foy says he lost a lot of money, which is not something he regrets and his income from medicine allowed him to continue on without a hitch. He viewed it as a personal investment on a grand experiment that he was determined to succeed at and if not succeed, at least learn. And he enjoyed it too.
His greatest satisfaction came from working with Jamaal Davis (18-16-1), a rugged journeyman from Philadelphia who moved to Harrisburg and looked to rekindle his boxing career around the same time Foy promoted his first event. Davis would go on to have success fighting as the main event on Titans shows, winning two regional titles, and more-or-less becoming the face of professional boxing in Harrisburg. Foy not only promoted Davis but participated heavily in training him and the two developed a tremendous friendship.
But after Davis’s one-sided loss to Tyrone Brunson in March of this past year in Philadelphia on an event that was co-promoted by Kings and Titans, in a show that saw 3 other Harrisburg fighters suffer devastating defeats, Foy thought long and hard about his own future in the sport. He wanted to be involved outside of Harrisburg, but knew he couldn’t handle the work of promoting events by himself outside the immediate area where he lived and worked full-time.
He first decided to try his hand at management, a role he was already serving in unofficially for several of the fighters he promoted. But after making an unsuccessful run at a top-flight Philadelphia prospect, the opportunity to officially pair with Kauffman presented itself and Foy took it.
Despite the tension of their first conversation, Foy and Kauffman went on to develop a close working relationship over the time Foy led Titans Promotions, often exchanging fighters for each other’s shows. The two regarded each other as honest and reliable figures in the sport and were impressed with the other’s events as well as ideas for how to improve. Prior to officially merging companies, they had even started a podcast as a way to speak directly to fans and fighters and promote upcoming events.
Merging companies made a lot of sense to Foy, who immediately recognized the value of collaboration based on his work in medical research. According to Foy, “I’ve found that I’m much more successful when I collaborate with other investigators. There’s always ways to improve what you’re doing or how you’re thinking about a problem and hearing the perspective of another voice that you trust and respect is often what is needed to nudge you in a better direction or to even change course altogether. I don’t see why it should be any different for running a boxing promotion company. Marshall and I each have separate strengths that we bring to the table and so far, the collaboration has been a success. Plus, I’m finding that I personally enjoy doing this more with a partner than on my own.”
Since officially joining forces the pair have promoted more events than any other company on the East Coast. They have made major investments in acquiring new talent including the likes of Alycia Baumgardner, Carlos Vidal and Michael Coffie. They are also making strong attempts to boost their social media imprint, engage new forms of advertising, and find creative ways to present themselves as the face of boxing in Pennsylvania and a major player on the national scene. They even officially re-branded and launched their podcast “In the Ring with Kings”, which is viewable live on Facebook and welcomes audience interaction and participation. And the pair believes they are only just getting started.
2020 will see Kings Promotions open strong with being part of a major event on January 18th as Julian Williams defends his WBA/IBF Junior Middleweight world titles against Jeison Rosario at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia and live on FOX.
Then on February 8th, King’s Promotions will be a co-promoter on a SHOWTIME Championship Boxing show that will feature WBC Featherweight champion Gary Russell.
Just six-days later, King’s will be a co-promoter on a ShoBox: The New Generation card at The 2300 Arena in Philadelphia that will showcase the national television debut of undefeated super bantamweight Raeese Aleem.
King’s Promotions has been the most active promotional company in the United States by promoting a staggering 89 cards since 2014.