“It’s not just about boxing, it’s about life.”
That’s what boxing manager Peter Kahn told me recently when we spoke about his role and his approach to dealing with the fighters he works with.
Few martial arts executives had a more successful 2022 than Kahn. According to the Boxing Writers Association of America, no executive has had a better year in sweet science.
Kahn was voted Manager of the Year in 2022, capping a banner campaign in which he negotiated George Kambosos Jr.’s two fights with Devin Haney. The former split those fights and briefly held the undisputed lightweight title.
Kahn also guided high-profile contender Xander Zayas through 2022 as he is now ranked 6th by the WBO ahead of his April 1 bout against Ronald Cruz. Zayas is on track to be in the top 10 by all four governing bodies before the end of the year and he won’t turn 21 until September.
Another of Kahn’s fighters, Franchon Crews-Dezurn, further established herself as a trailblazer in women’s boxing by becoming the first undisputed super middleweight in history. I had the opportunity to speak to Zayas and Crews-Dezurn about their future and working with Kahn.
Zayas spoke about his faith in Kahn to guide him throughout his career, noting the success the latter has had in helping guys like Kambosos and others achieve their championship aspirations.
Crews-Dezurn expressed similar confidence in Kahn, but also spoke about her fashion and music endeavors.
According to Crews-Dezurn, Kahn not only encouraged her to pursue those additional passions, but also took the 35-year-old under his wing in business.
“Franchon is a very talented person outside of the ring,” Kahn told me during our interview, sitting just outside his home in Miami, Florida. “In addition to music and fashion, she even gets into management. So it’s more of an honor for me to represent people like her and to be able to work with people like Xander from the ground up.”
While Crews-Dezurn has only been with Kahn since December 2020, Zayas and the 51-year-old manager return to the promising Puerto Rican fighter’s amateur days. When you speak to them individually or together, their connection seemingly goes beyond boxing.
“The word manager can now be used very narrowly or in a very broad sense. I like to think of it in the sense that I’m here to help them get ahead in their boxing careers, but I’m also here to help them grow beyond that. [I want] to help them prepare for the secondary and third careers that sport may bring; Especially when it comes to the fact that they have a very specific window of time to make a name for themselves or cement a legacy in order to earn enough income to carry into the future. One of the things I express is financial literacy so they understand that unless they become a mega mega superstar with generational wealth like I was able to do for George Kambosos Jr, it’s unlikely. We’re talking about helping set them up to put their money to work for them outside of boxing, including other business ventures.
Is the focus on the financial aspect stronger than looking at the prize in the ring? Not if you ask Kahn or his fighters. Crews-Dezurn and Zayas reiterated this concept during our conversations.
“I mean, of course, first and foremost it’s about helping them achieve success and achieve their goals in the ring,” Kahn said. “But I see it as a very all-encompassing job.”
Here’s a look at the entire interview with Kahn:
Next, on April 1st, Zayas will do the work in Kahn’s warehouse. On the same map, another fighter from Kahn’s stable, Nikoloz Sekhniashvili (8-1) of Georgia, will face off against undefeated American welterweight contender Jahi Tucker.
We’ll see if 2023 brings Kahn’s camp as much success as 2022.