Thursday, April 18, 2024

Man Behind Celebrity Boxing For 18 Years Says Critics Have It Wrong

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Pictured: Rodney Burton (left) and Damon Feldman (right), promoters of Official Celebrity Boxing.

Damon Feldman/Official Celebrity Boxing

Celebrity pugilism has made headlines in recent years, with many crediting the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. exhibition, and the advent of the Paul Brothers, for its proliferation and resurgence.

But most don’t know that Damon Feldman first touted the concept eighteen years ago. Michael Woods of The Ring said in June 2021 that “he [Damon Feldman] should probably receive credit for being the most fervent driver of the concept in the world.”

According to Feldman, celebrity boxing isn’t a ruse, it’s an opportunity for redemption.

Feldman, who founded Official Celebrity Boxing, is brothers with David Feldman, who founded Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. Their father, Marty Feldman, a former professional boxer, was inducted into the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.

Last June, Feldman orchestrated a match between former NBA star Lamar Odom and 90’s pop-star Aaron Carter, and in years past, setup matches featuring Coolio, Rodney King, Jose Canseco, “Octomon,” and others.

ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY – JUNE 11: (L-R) Aaron Carter, Chuck Liddell and Lamar Odom during the … [+] celebrity boxing match at Showboat Atlantic City on June 11, 2021 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Bill McCay/Getty Images)

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Although Feldman and the concept of celebrity boxing get criticized, Feldman views it differently. “People laughed at it years ago. [But critics miss] what can stem from this. Those few minutes in the ring may give them the confidence to move forward in other parts of their life, to change their life,” Feldman said.

Feldman and his business partner Rodney Burton believe in the redemptive nature of the promotion because it’s what they sought during their low points in life.

Burton spent five years in prison for drug dealing. “No one wanted to give me a job or help me because of what I went through,” Burton said. Meanwhile, Feldman battled alcohol addiction for years and spent 13 months in prison for assault in 2016.

“I saw a picture of my son having dinner, and I broke down,” Feldman said. “I prayed to God and said I’ll never drink again.” Feldman hasn’t had a drink since, he told me.

ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY – JUNE 11: (L-R) Coco and ICE-T announcing during the celebrity boxing … [+] match at Showboat Atlantic City on June 11, 2021 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Bill McCay/Getty Images)

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Feldman and Burton hosted an event at the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey last Saturday, on March 26th, hosted by Public Enemy co-founder Flavor Flav.

This summer, Feldman and Burton will have Caitlyn Jenner step into the boxing ring on June 11th at the Charles F. Dodge City Center in Miami as a guest host for their upcoming event.

Jenner will join guest referee Rashad Evans, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, and guest commentator Omarosa, a contestant on NBC’s The Apprentice and former political aide to former U.S. President Donald Trump.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – OCTOBER 24: Caitlyn Jenner attends the screening of Summit Entertainment’s … [+] “Hacksaw Ridge” at Samuel Goldwyn Theater on October 24, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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