Up-and-Coming Boxing Manager: Ryan Roach

Ryan Roach established Fighter Locker in 2019, as a comprehensive sports agency that manages professional boxers and three years later, he has signed/advised twenty-two fighters (nineteen are professionals or going pro) from six countries (not including the United States), eight are undefeated, and two have yet to make their professional debut. He is an adviser to three Olympians (Leonel de los Santos from the Dominican Republic, and Yuberjen Martinez, and Jorge Luis Vivas from Columbia) who are fighting/fought in the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, as well as Kazakhstan National Team light heavyweight Alexey Sevostyano.

Photo: Boston ManMag

Santos, a twenty-six-year-old, two-time Olympian (he has already turned pro and is 3-0 with three first-round knockouts) lost to Bakhodur Usmonov from Tajikistan 4-1 in the round of 32, preventing him from becoming the third fighter from the Dominican Republic to win a medal at the Olympics in the lightweight division. He is ranked third by the AIBA (International Boxing Association) in his weight class.

“Santos is going to be a superstar. He has amazing hand and foot speed,” said Roach. “A lot of boxing managers were after him, but I talked with him for about eight to nine months and built up the trust with him until he signed with me.”

Martinez, a flyweight, defeated Rajab Otukile Mahommed of Botswana 5-0 to advance to the round of 16 to face Amit Panghal of India tomorrow, Friday, July 30th. The twenty-nine-year-old won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil as a light flyweight. Martinez is ranked fourth by the AIBA in his division.

Vivas, a thirty-three-year-old light heavyweight, lost to Benjamin Whittaker from Great Britain 4-1 in the round of 32. He won a silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games as a middleweight.

“My goals this year are for the three Olympians, who I am advising to win medals at the Olympics, and for one of my professional fighters to win a world championship,” said Roach, who spoke to me before the Olympics started. “I have a couple of boxers who are close to a title shot, so I have to give them the right opportunity and then for them to do their job and win. I also want to have a successful year with all my fighters, setting them up and matching them well, and racking up as many wins as I can.”

The thirty-eight-year-old Massachusetts native has quickly built a company with a talented stable of fighters because, in large part, he treats his fighters like they are his family and he always has the boxers’ and their family’s best interest in all the decisions that he makes.

“Open lines of communication are very important to me and I can open up to fighters and they feel like they are on a family level. We are family. They can tell me anything. I am honest with them. I do what is right for them. Any decision that I make is in the fighters’ best interest,” said Roach. “I also have a smaller company, so I can touch base with all of my fighters, which they like, and I am on the younger side, so I can relate to them better than other managers can, especially with social media. If I do right by them, then they will stick by me. Word of mouth has spread that I am a good manager, which speaks volumes to what I can bring to the table.”

Word of mouth of Roach’s talents has spread overseas, as he has added nine boxers to his company from the Dominican Republic, Columbia, Kazakhstan, Ireland, Canada, and Ukraine. His international professional fighters include three-time Irish National champion Paul Ryan (1-0), who is competing as a welterweight, former IBF Youth World super lightweight titleholder Juan Carlos Abreu (23-6-1, 21 KOs), who is from the Dominican Republic, Canadian welterweight Jeff Tabrizi (8-3, 7 KOs), and Ukraine super welterweight Stanyslav Skorokhod (20-2, 17 KOs), whose two split decision losses were both extremely controversial, one of which was in the semifinal of ESPN’s 2015 Boxcino Tournament and the latter was for the WBO International super welterweight title.

His most recent signing is twenty-three-year-old Irish light heavyweight prospect Thomas O’ Toole, who captured top honors at the 2019 Irish Elite Championships, as he upset pre-tournament favorite Tony Browne in the semifinals. He finished runner-up in the tournament to Emmet Brennan, who is representing Ireland in the Olympics. O’ Toole is tentatively scheduled to make his professional debut on September 25th in Boston.

In addition to building a dominating stable of fighters, Roach wants to bring boxing back to New England, like it was in the 1980s when boxing events happened regularly. Therefore, he teamed up with Vertex Promotions, who is presenting “Fight Night on the Charles at Moseley’s” this Saturday, July 31st in Dedham, Massachusetts, to have two of his fighters box on the fight card. ABF American West super lightweight champion RayJay Bermudez (12-0, 9 KOs) will fight in an eight-round main event against Bergman Aguilar (15-8-1, 5 KOs), for the vacant NBA Continental junior welterweight title. Featherweight Troy Anderson Jr. (1-0, 1 KO) will box in a four-round bout against Lucinei Santos, who will make his professional debut. This is the first professional boxing card in Massachusetts in about a year and a half and the first boxing event ever held in Dedham.

Roach became a licensed manager sort of by accident. He was at a video shoot supporting a friend, welterweight boxer Mark DeLuca (27-2, 15 KOs, who will fight undefeated Charles Conwell on August 29th) in 2018 when he and welterweight Khiry Todd (10-1, 8 KOs), who was coming off his first loss, had a productive conservation. Six months later, he signed Todd to a co-managerial contract with Steve Feder (a veteran boxing manager and a mentor to Roach, who works with his uncle Freddie), making him his first client.

“I always wanted to get into boxing but I did not know what angle I was going to take to get into the sport,” said Roach, who never boxed because his father was strongly against it due to the violent nature of the sport. “I initially did not know a lot about being a manager, however, I am business savvy and have been around the sport my whole life, so I knew I would be fine.”

As Roach makes his way into the boxing world, he has a difficult act to follow because he comes from a famous boxing family. His grandfather Paul was a 1947 New England featherweight champion, his grandmother Barbara became the first women judge in Massachusetts, a rarity in the sport, and his uncles Allen, Paul, and Pepper all boxed as amateurs, with Pepper winning five Golden Gloves titles. His father Joey (who died from a heart attack in 2009, at the age of forty-seven) had over 200 amateur fights, qualified for the 1976 Junior Olympics, and fought fifteen times as a professional (9-2-3, 3 KOs), and Freddie went 40-13, 15 KOs as a professional and became a seven-time Boxing Writer Association of America Trainer-of-the-Year (2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2014).

“It is tough being a Roach, especially being related to Freddie. I want to accomplish what he accomplished. He is in the Boxing Hall of Fame as a non-fighter and I want to be in the Hall of Fame as a non-fighter. He has close to forty world champions and I want to catch up to him. He has a special relationship with his fighters. He treats them like his children and I want to treat my fighters like my brothers and if I get a woman fighter, like my sister,” said Roach. “I do not want to ride on his coattails. I have a lot riding on my name. I got big shoes to fill. I want to make my own way in this sport.”

If Roach was not busy enough being a boxing manager, raising a family with his wife, and working full-time as a Lieutenant in the Boston Fire Department, he is also the president and founder of Punch 4 Parkinson’s, a nonprofit charity for Parkinson’s disease, which he started in 2018. Punch 4 Parkinson’s started with assisting fifteen fighters (people dealing with Parkinson’s), now it helps a hundred fighters. Punch 4 Parkinson’s gives grants to boxing gyms to give their fighters boxing lessons, which can help some of their fighters’ Parkinson’s scores drop by twenty points in a year when they consistently take boxing lessons. Last year, they had their most successful year of fundraising, as they raised over half a million dollars. October 23, 2021, is Punch 4 Parkinson’s fundraising night and they hope to take it on the road and do three more fundraising events per year in the future.

He also started another nonprofit charity Boxing 4 Kids just before COVID-19 started which donates boxing equipment and helps to pay for children’s gym memberships and USA boxing fees to underprivileged children who live in the Dominican Republic, and other overseas countries.

“I have to be good with time management and write everything down, so I do not forget anything,” said Roach. “My job in the fire department has flexibility, so it allows me to travel. I usually get up at 4 a.m. and go to bed late and do whatever it takes to get the job done.”

Fighter Locker’s growing stable of diverse professional boxers also includes light heavyweight Robert Daniels Jr. (4-0, 4 KOs), super middleweights, Shawn McCalman (8-0, 4 KOs), and former WBA NABA US light welterweight titleholder Marvin Cordova Jr. (23-2-1, 12 KOs), super welterweight Gabriel Duluc (15-3, 4 KOs) pro-debuting welterweight Juan Solano, super lightweight Ignacio Chairez (8-1-1, 5 KOs), lightweight Gabriel Chairez (4-0-1, 3 KOs), super bantamweight Daniel Bailey Jr. (7-0, 4 KOs), and super flyweight Rocco Santomauro (21-1, 6 KOs).

He also manages former WBC USNBC welterweight champion Jimmy Williams (18-5-2, 6 KOs), who upset former world title challenger Yuri Foreman in mid-June via an eight-round majority decision.

For more information about Roach and the latest updates on his company Fighter Locker, friend him on Twitter @RoachRyan and Instagram @RyanRoach82, add him on Facebook: /fighterlocker, and check out his websites, fighterlocker.com and punch4parkinsons.com.