Name: Brian Young
Nationality: US American
Hometown: Southaven, Mississippi, USA
Promoting Record: click
Prize Fight rising in rankings
Robert Morales; Long Beach Press-Telegram Article Launched: 12/26/2007 11:41:06 PM PST
Prize Fight Boxing has only been around since 1999. The Memphis-based company run by brothers Russ and Brian Young has for the most part been flying under the radar, but its evolution is such that it appears on the verge of making some serious noise. Prize Fight will promote a card a week from Friday that will be televised by Showtime from the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, Miss. It will feature brothers Anthony and Lamont Peterson putting their respective top 10 world-rankings and undefeated records on the line in co-main events. Anthony Peterson (25-0, 18 KOs), a No. 1-ranked lightweight, will take on Guadalupe Rosales (25-2, 15 KOs) of Mexico. And Lamont Peterson (23-0, 11 KOs), a No. 3-ranked junior welterweight, will square off with Antonio Mesquita (34-0, 26 KOs) of Las Vegas via Brazil. Brian Young, 41, was a personal trainer for Main Events Inc. in the 1980s and early `90s. The New Jersey-based company had such fighters as Michael Moorer, Evander Holyfield and Pernell Whitaker. At the time, Main Events was run by the late Dan Duva, who in 1996 died of brain cancer at the age of 44. "(Brian) had learned a lot from Dan as far as the promotional end of boxing," Russ Young, 36, said Wednesday via telephone from Atlanta, where he and his brother grew up. "And he just wanted to start his own promotional company." The die was cast. With both brothers in possession of a college degree - Russ Young has an MBA - they went
about starting Prize Fight. In nearly nine years, it has done quite well. Prize Fight promoted Mike Tyson's fight against Lennox Lewis in 2002 and Tyson's 2003 fight with Clifford Etienne - both in Memphis. The company also co-promoted Roy Jones Jr.-Glen Johnson in 2004 in Memphis and Antonio Tarver-Johnson in 2006 in Memphis. As the local promoter, Prize Fight also had a hand in two Memphis fights involving then-now-former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor - against Winky Wright and Cory Spinks in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Prize Fight, which promotes former welterweight champion Zab Judah, also co-promoted Judah's world title challenge to Miguel Cotto in June in New York City. Not too shabby for a company less than 10 years old run by two unknowns. "We certainly paid our dues," Russ Young said. "We started out doing smaller-level shows and really worked from the ground up. We started out doing casino shows, hotel ballroom shows and we've grown into now, obviously, working with HBO and Showtime and ESPN ... and we've really got a good stable of fighters. "So it's been a pretty good progression." Aside from the Peterson brothers and Judah, Prize Fight promotes No. 2-ranked flyweight Rayonta Whitfield and No. 8-ranked light heavyweight DeAndrey Abron. Making sure Prize Fight has a good mixture of talent, Russ Young goes on scouting trips. He attended this year's U.S. National Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo. Partly because of what he saw there and the subsequent Olympic Trials, Young signed Mark Davis and Fernando Guerrero to professional contracts. Young said he is hopeful that the Peterson brothers as well as Whitfield and Abron will all get their first title shots in 2008, and that Judah will get another. That would bring even more notoriety to Prize Fight. "I think when we get the world champions and then we're constantly on HBO and Showtime, then people will recognize us more and more," Young said. But that doesn't mean the Youngs will forget about what got them there. They are on a streak of 69 consecutive sellouts at Fitzgerald's Casino & Hotel in Tunica, Miss., just about a 30-minute drive from Memphis. "We've got a very loyal fan base out of the mid-South," Young said. As for the Peterson brothers, they are currently bringing Prize Fight as much attention as any of its fighters. They grew up in the streets of Washington D.C. One day they walked into the gym there run by Barry Hunter. Anthony Peterson, now 22, and Lamont, 23, were 9 and 10, respectively. "He's just basically been their father figure ever since," Young said of Hunter. "He has trained them ever since that first day and still continues to and it's just a great story." The Petersons are ready to improve upon that story a week from Friday. "Every fight right now for us is a stepping stone," said Lamont Peterson. "Even though we don't look past our opponents, we hope whoever we fight will pose a threat to us so we can prove that we're up for the test when we get our world title shot."