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ITRBoxing Catches Up With Tim VanNewhouse

photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing

You might have seen him in photos inside the ring or thanked by fighters, but the 34-year-old Cleveland, Ohio native, Tim VanNewhouse is not one for the limelight, despite working with seemingly all the major promoters in the sport, VanNewhouse hasn’t received much attention from the media as his focus has been put more so upon his fighters and less so upon interviews or quotes to the media. As a power player in the industry, the insiders know him, yet the general fan might not, this is simply an introduction. Originally scheduled to be on my podcast, but the manager shyly passed at the opportunity, yet I was able to track him down for this story

A former amateur standout, who began training in middle school, winning the Washington, D.C. Mayors Cup, the National Platinum Glove Championship, and the Cleveland Golden Gloves Featherweight Championship rounding out his 86 fight amateur career. In fact, he won his first professional fight by knockout, only to leave professional boxing altogether.

VanNewhouse turned pro on October 10th, 2007 with Joe Delguyd as his head coach as he stopped Lee Kreisher in the second round. During the bout, VanNewhouse earned the nickname “Reload” as the commentary lamented the saying after he dropped Kreisher. 

Despite a promising professional boxing career, VanNewhouse left the sport and joined the U.S. Air Force as he served as a medic at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was honorably discharged in 2009, when VanNewhouse returned to Cleveland, Ohio, he worked with Mark Davis, a long-time friend while promoting some local shows to help with communal causes such as helping veterans who were not being taken care of and other civically-based community events. 

“I began the business 14 years ago when I brokered Mark Davis’  first professional contract with Prize-Fight promotions [EDITOR’S NOTE: VanNewhouse was only 20-years-old at the time]. I then formed my own company at the age of 24 and began promoting and advising fighters mostly from the Cleveland area. Fortunately, I was known by a lot of the promoters as a decent fighter so the majority of them took my calls. They sort of supported my initiatives as an aspiring manager in the fight game and I haven’t stopped since.” said VanNewhouse reflecting on the past.  

All of this is before, the man who you know now, the one who is a part of the Split-T Management group which is signing a slew of talented fighters, headed by their crown jewel, Teofimo Lopez. 

“David McWater [headhoncho of Split-T Management] just hired Ron Rizzo who worked very closely with Lou Dibella for close to 15 years. Rizzo has always been good to me throughout my years coming up in the game. So instantly there’s been good collaboration and chemistry between us. I’m excited to accomplish big things for Split-T with him and our other team members. We all work well together.” said VanNewhouse when reflecting upon how he ended up with the management supergroup, Split-T Management, which has mentioned above a lot of talented fighters.  

VanNewhouse is working with a lot of up-and-coming talents including Brian Ceballo, Diego Pacheco and Abraham Nova to name a few, as he is on the cusp of managing his first world champion. 

“You know I was really close with Mark Davis Jr, and despite his nonsense outside of the ring he was very talented and I guided him all the way to his world title elimination bout against Michael Farenas. I really thought Mark would’ve been my first World Champion. Same with Ryan Martin, you know out of the amateurs I guided him all the way to the WBSS for the WBC silver title.” said VanNewhouse. “I thought he would’ve been my champion too. But things happen and I’ve learned I can’t fight for my fighters. I know I will get my chance soon enough. I have some good prospects coming up now.”

VanNewhouse takes pride in his fighters like a good manager should. Bragging and boasting about them, and playing up each fighter’s strengths. Recently he sent out a scouting report on two of his youngest signees, bantamweight Asa Stevens and lightweight Dalis Kaleiopu, with tons of details to add depth to any writer’s stories or analysis. For VanNewhouse, this is simply par for the course, in terms of what he does for his fighters.

“At the end of the day I will always take pride in maximizing our fighter’s career earnings but I’m always thinking ahead on how I can be a better manager. I notice that a lot of our clients want so much more than us just handling their in-ring business,” said VanNewhouse. “So I want to expand the services we offer at Split-T to help our clients build their brands in-and-outside of the ring through endorsements, marketing, public relations, and social media.  There’s a lot of ways we can do this, it’s just going to take some time forging the right partnerships.“ 

Yet as he looks across the landscape of boxing in the COVID-19 era, in which nothing is certain, to expect a world we have never seen before and more than likely lives lost with a pending economic depression looming and new cultural norms that will emerge, VanNewhouse has some thoughts about what young fighters with promising careers should take heed of.

“This is a crucial time for kids to have a good management team behind them if they are considering turning professional,” said VanNewhouse. “These times are challenging for any young fighter as most leading promoters have an overfilled roster and there’s a big backlog of events and world title fights to be made.”

In short, a wealth of talent that might be coming to the professional realm might see promoters needing to see top-tier talent in order to fit them into an already crowded schedule. Boxing has a lot of talent at the top, and some of the fighters who could be world champion might be occupying spaces young prospect would’ve had in years past as COVID-19 has pushed back the calendar on boxing, well the world, at least six-month, in the best-case scenario. 

“With this time off I‘ve done some reflecting on where I’m at in my career. I believe that when it comes to negotiating deals for our clients I’m one of the best people to do it. I’m very comfortable in that space at the moment, but in order to grow you have to step out of your comfort zone and develop new initiatives.” said VanNewhouse very candid and honestly. 

Then we have the fact that the Olympics are pushed back until 2021 in Tokyo, which for now is in concrete, and set in stone, but as of any moment, could be changed.

“There’s not that many ‘can’t-miss signings’ in America coming out of this year’s Olympic class, so I’d imagine a majority of the Olympic Team and alternates will remain amateur,” said VanNewhouse explaining the current entry point for fighters looking to earn a paycheck from their passion, but might be met with the harsh reality of life itself.

Which leads us to know, we’re in the waiting game as fighters, managers, and promoters, watch as the service they provide, entertainment to the general public, is currently on hiatus for the global good at this moment. 

VanNewhouse is one of the power brokers in boxing, a major player behind the scenes, but someone who has done few and far interviews, in fact rarely speaking at press conferences. VanNewhouse is someone the average fan should get to know since he is the opportunity creating for a lot of young fighters, a pillar of communication between major promoters and the fighters, as talent can only go as far as the relationships built and facilitated will allow. 

VanNewhouse is the new emergence in boxing of the next generation of boxing people who will reshape the next decades worth of boxing, if we ever see boxing, again. 

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle