Meet Michael Ofo, The Man Behind Dillian Whyte’s Return And The Reason For Sunday’s Carty Party

It is 7.30pm on the Monday of fight week and Michael Ofo is still sat at his desk pouring over his first professional fight card.

Ofo is the man behind Platform Sport and promotes his debut show in Castlebar, Ireland on Sunday. It has been an eventful few days. There has been one high profile late addition to the card and a couple of opponents have proven hard to nail down. 

“It’s still a headache. I’m sitting in front of the board going through it all right now,” he told boxingscene.com with a laugh.

The amount of work won’t have come as a surprise to Ofo, who has been around boxing for years. He was there at the beginning of the famous Sunday Smoke training and sparring sessions at Miguel’s gym in Brixton and is now the Head of Boxing at S.O.S Management. Ofo has seen the sport at every level and knows how hard the business of boxing is.

It begs the question as to why has he decided to throw himself into the world of promotion?

“I’ve been in the corner with Chris Eubank Jnr, Dillian Whyte, Chris Kongo, Richard Riakporhe, Isaac Chamberlain. I’m an osteopath. I’ve got a Masters degree in strength and conditioning. I’ve been backstage for a long, long time,” he said.

“The name – Platform Sport – is about giving the fighter the platform. I’ve been involved in boxing for many years and in many capacities. It’s not my goal to be in the front. It’s for the boxers to be in the front and take the limelight. This is about giving those guys the platform they deserve and want. To be able to build their fanbases and get to the position they want which is ultimately world honours for most boxers.”

Ofo assembled a quality cast for his first show.

S.O.S Management clientele Thomas Carty and Sedem Ama will appear while local hero Ray Moylette makes his farewell appearance and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan returns to the ring for the first time since getting stopped by Erislandy Lara in a WBA middleweight title in May 2022.

Carty is the poster child for Ofo’s vision and until the late addition of Dillian Whyte’s fight with Christian Hammer – more of which later – the show was built around the unbeaten heavyweight’s fight with Pavel Sour. 

“The show came about because we’re involved in the management of Thomas Carty,” Ofo said. “We felt it was not only important for him to build his name on this side of the pond in the UK but also to develop in Ireland. He’s been involved in some really big shows but the problem that we’ve had with a lot of our young fighters nowadays is activity. I think he previous generation you’d see them fighting six or seven times a year. It’s really seemed to slow down.

“Stay busy and learn. He’s still a novice. He’s still got a lot of mistakes to make. It’s hard for these young fighters going on these big platforms and performing in a fashion that the fans want and expect. We thought this’d be great for him to learn and make mistakes where there’s not as much pressure so that when he does have those opportunities to be on big shows, he can do what we see him do in the gym day in day out and be effective.”

The show looked like being an interesting but low-profile entry into the business for Ofo but the news that the card would host Whyte’s return to action has given the event a whole different complexion.

The 35-year-old hasn’t boxed since outpointing Jermaine Franklin in November 2022. The following August, the former world title challenger was forced to withdraw from a rematch with Anthony Joshua after returning an adverse analytical finding in a pre-fight VADA test.

Last week, Sky Sports reported that an independent investigation, conducted by a forensic expert, concluded that the adverse finding was the result of contamination of a nutritional supplement.

“[M]y expert view is that Mr. Whyte was the victim of a contaminated supplement that did not disclose [the contaminant] among its ingredients and he did not ingest the [contaminant] intentionally,” he said.

Whyte wasted little time in scheduling his return to action. Sunday’s show will be overseen by the Boxing Union of Ireland and Whyte will fight using the licence he obtained from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation some time ago. He is not licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control, and has not been for some time.

The BUI told boxingscene.com that a request has been made to Sport Ireland that both Whyte and Hammer be tested by an anti-doping team immediately after the bout. Both fighters agreed with the request.

Ofo and Whyte are close friends but the show hasn’t been staged as part of a convoluted plot to accommodate Whyte’s return to action.

Boxingscene understands that Whyte was on a fight-by-fight deal with Matchroom. With the heavyweight division exploding in Saudi Arabia, he was keen to get this name back into the mix as quickly as possible and this was the first available show.

“That just came about once he was clear. It’s not hidden how close of a relationship I have with Dillian Whyte,” Ofo said. “Dillian wanted to help and wanted to be active. He will be active over the next couple of months. Over the next year I’m sure we’ll see Dillian out quite a bit. This was almost him giving back.

“‘Get me on the show. I don’t need a big show to come back. I’m a fighter. I’m a warrior. Is there a slot? Get me on the show and get me the biggest name we can get. I’ll help you promote the show and help you push the show.’ That’s just a part of his nature.”

Given the late notice and the size of the show, Christian Hammer is a reasonable opponent for Whyte’s return to action. The German has actually been inactive for longer than Whyte – his last appearance was a July 2022 stoppage defeat to Joe Joyce – and loses whenever he steps up a level but he at least carries some name value. 

“Christian Hammer is no joke. He’s no mug,” Ofo said. “I think it would have been easier for all of us to have a lesser opponent but Dillian is a warrior and he wants to fight the top guys. If he can’t beat Christian Hammer, in his mind then what chance has he got against the top, top level guys?

“He wants to challenge himself. He wants to push himself. He wants to be in the mix for fighting the best. Win, draw or lose he’s willing to fight anybody. He’s never shied away from fighting anybody. It doesn’t matter the platform. He’s ready to go.

“I don’t want to say too much but I think we’ll see what he can do on the night. We’ll see what he’s been doing in the dark. He’s back and he’s looking for blood.”

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