Vbet News exclusive interview with French boxing promoters Sebastian Acariès and Michel Acariès.
Sebastien Acariès: Our story began even before my father and I became promoters; my uncle was already a boxer, but my father will tell this story better than me. The story begins in the time of my uncle Louis.
Michel Acariès: Even earlier, it started in Algeria in the forties аnd fifties. My father was already a boxing promoter, he was promoting very high profile fights in the region, champions like Halimi Yamaya took part in the amateur fights he was organising back then. Of course, my younger brother, Louis, and I entered the boxing world. From a young age, my father noticed Louis’ extraordinary boxing talent, he sent us from Marseille, where we were living then, to Paris.
But let’s start from the very beginning, it started during the Algerian “Pied-Noir” exodus, yes we were migrants too, we left Algeria after the independence in 1962, we went to Marseille and spent most of our youth there, my father discovered Louis’ extraordinary boxing talents there. That’s how we decided to go to Paris, my father told us to pack up and to go to the capital to start our careers, this led us to my brother’s first World Championships and after he was done we decided to start promoting our own championship. The many acquaintances that he acquired all over the world during his run in the World Championships gave us the opportunity to do our own promotion.
Sebastien wasn’t born yet back then, but boxing became our family’s sport. We started it all, my brother and I. Our first promotion was the Parc des Princes Championships in 1985, its success led us to many other regional and international championships. Afterwards, the Acaries family name became world-renowned.
A year earlier, in 1984, Sebastien was born, he became at a very young age, just like my grandson now, a world champion. And I believe that he (Sebastien) was also born with the boxing virus in his veins, proven by the fact that he has become one of the top promoters in the world, he makes me very proud. His achievements gave me the opportunity to just rest, sit back and watch him work (laughs).
The future of boxing in France, the future is yet to come.
Sebastien Acariès: The future of boxing in France seems very positive to me, we have champions like Goulamiryan and Michel Soro who are in our team. But there are many more talented boxers on the french scene who are also world champions – french world champions which is very important, like Nordine Oubaali.
In our own team, we have many great boxers that will probably take part in the 2020 and 2021 World Championships, like Louis Toutin, Dylan Charrat and Ahmed El Mousaoui, they are our team’s future, boxers of a very high calibre. Let’s also not forget Souleymane Cissockho and Christian Mbilli who are amazing boxers, so we have some great people who will develop their skills in the coming years.
But of course, even after them, we’ll get a new generation of boxers, young men who are just now starting their careers and who might grow into exceptional boxers.
Michel Acariès: Let’s not forget that we also have a heavyweight Olympic champion who will probably reach even greater heights, indeed, we expect great things from him.
Sebastien Acariès: For sure. I was going to talk about the Olympics, they take place every four years and in 2016 we had an Olympic champion who was wearing french colors and who is now at the forefront of the french boxing scene. I am talking obviously about Tony Yoka, and if he is able to also become a World Champion that would confirm his status as an extraordinary boxer and would mean a lot for our sport, for the scene in general and, he would become a huge motivational factor for every single french boxer.
All of this is very important, every single boxer has a role to play, we have a great dynamic, and I am very happy as a promoter to be a part of the scene during this fascinating period.
It’s a job I’ve been doing for years and I can tell you that 10 years ago boxing wasn’t as popular or interesting as today, and it has been very hard to get here, I worked very hard as a promoter, I organised and supervised many boxing events to try to convince many partners and sponsors to stay with us, to keep their support. It was hard, but today we can finally reap the rewards of those days of hardship.
The meeting with Arsen, more than a partnership
Sebastien Acariès: Everything happened very naturally, it is my belief that it’s always better when things happen naturally (jokingly). I discovered Arsen through a bunch of videos, and I felt that he has enormous potential. I wondered about his name: “Arsen Goulamiryan” I guessed that he probably is French-Armenian, and when I asked around I learnt that he was in the French national team, so I understood that the boy has lived in France, that he was basically french despite his Armenian roots. I started to analyse his boxing style and realised that he has exceptional boxing skills.
Then we had the occasion to watch him fight, I believe that it was in 2015 during one of our events, the people who were managing him back then let us meet, the first impressions were good, we started to build our professional relationship upon our friendship and we managed to go forward and accomplish a lot, and we still have a lot to do.
In any case, the bases of our partnership are very strong, and I think that to build a good career you need strong a strong team and a good promoter, which I am (jokingly), but I believe that I am much more to Arsen, a partner, a friend and an associate.
Nowadays we’re building his career in France, we’re presenting him as a champion to the french people, but I can see an international career opening up for him, we’re going to go all around the world while we continue to develop his boxing persona and at the base of it all is our strong relationship. It has been quite a ride already, Arsen is at the top, he’s a World Champion, but we are going to go further, we’re going to the stars together.
The next fight, maybe in Armenia?
Sebastien Acariès: Yeah, after the fight on the 28th, the idea was to go to Armenia for a multitude of reasons. First of all, Arsen wanted to show me the country, he’s been telling me that for a while, he talks about Armenia all the time – about the country, about his roots, about the place where he grew up. He wants to show me all of it.
Secondly, I believe that there are a lot of people who are following him and his fights from Armenia, and it’s important for Arsen to be near the people who are watching him and supporting him from home – he should be able to meet them and to celebrate his victories with them.
Finally the third reason: we might think about organising the fight for the defence of his title in Armenia, why not in 2020? He’s told me once that his dream is to fight in his home country, and I told him: “you know it’s not a problem if we can get the right people to organise it”. My father has taught me that there’s never a lack of good ideas for projects, but you always need the right people to realise them. So if we have the right people and the will to do it, we can do it.
As it happens, our partner: VBET, with whom we’ve already had a great experience the 15th of November, and the 28th for the gala in Paris, and with whom we might decide to promote an event in Armenia, why not?