How Top Rank's Melissa Takimoglu went from the UK garage scene to looking after Tyson Fury

  • Tom Ward
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Top Rank’s head of UK Media Relations Melissa Takimoglu will be sat ringside for Tyson Fury’s WBC world heavyweight title clash with Dillian Whyte.

But unlike the vast majority of other people who will also be in attendance tonight, the PR representative won’t be sat there twiddling her thumbs.

If you’ve ever seen Takimoglu on fight night, the first thing that you’ll notice is that she never sits still – she’s always doing something.

Whether that be shepherding one of her fighters through a throng of media or dealing with a last-minute request from a boxing reporter trying to push their luck, Takimoglu – or ‘Mel’ as she is known in the industry – takes great pride in her work.

After all, it’s why she is where she is today.

Takimoglu cut her teeth representing a number of different clients in the UK garage scene before making the transition to sport.

The PR guru has worked with a host of A-listers during her career but perhaps arguably none more so famous than the Gypsy King himself.

It’s not always easy dealing with Fury but Takimoglu has been one of the very few to gain his trust over the years.

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Top Rank’s Melissa Takimoglu has opened up about what it’s like working with Tyson Fury

So much so that he once walked barefoot with her to stop her feet from hurting after his trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder.

“We were walking to the press conference, Frank Warren and everyone else was behind us, and I hate having the attention on me like I’m holding things up,” Takimoglu told GiveMeSport.

“As a woman in boxing, you don’t want to be the problem because they’ll be straight away like ‘Oh it’s because it’s a woman’.

“We were in Vegas, you could see I was limping, I was genuinely limping.

“I was trying to hide the pain in my feet but Tyson stopped me.

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Melissa Takimoglu is often seen standing beside Tyson Fury

“He goes, ‘Stop, take your shoes off’.

“It’s on camera, you can find it on YouTube somewhere.

“I said, ‘No, stop, please, everyone is looking at me’.

“He said, ‘Take them off’.

“And he goes, ‘You’re not going to take them off? Fine’, whisks off his shoes, and scoops them up.

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Melissa Takimoglu pictured with Top Rank promoter Bob Arum

“And if the heavyweight champ says take them off, you’ve got to do it!

“We were laughing our heads off as we walked and I couldn’t believe I was walking barefoot through the MGM Grand with the heavyweight champion with everyone staring at us.”

But on a more serious note, what is it really like looking after the Gypsy King?

Takimoglu added: “Tyson and I don’t sit and talk on the phone, Tyson and I don’t meet up out of work, we don’t do that.

“We’re not friends, but it’s a very professional relationship, and we have the utmost respect for each other.

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Melissa Takimoglu is the head of Top Rank’s UK Media Relations

“I think that he can see that I genuinely do care about what I do.

“I’m good at what I do, and he appreciates that, because it’s hard looking after Tyson during fight weeks especially.

“I’ve earned his trust somewhere along the way, I can’t be specific on one point, but you know what I think it is? Being consistent.”

Takimoglu also works with other high-profile names such as Mikaela Mayer and Josh Taylor.

But she insists that none of this would have been possible without the help of Top Rank exec Brad Jacobs.

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Josh Taylor is another one of Melissa Takimoglu’s clients

“After Isaac Dogboe lost to Emanuel Navarrete the second time, I was ready to walk away from boxing,” she continued.

“Two weeks later, I get a call from Brad Jacobs, who really is the reason why I’m here.

“He said, ‘Would you be able to do a press conference for us? Terence Crawford and Amir Khan in London. We want you to do a press conference’.

“I’d never done a press conference in my life, I mean, I’d been to them, and I kind of knew who everyone was.

“And I literally had one week to plan it.

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Melissa Takimoglu will be ringside at Wembley Stadium tonight

“My house was getting decorated at the time, I was literally like a crazy Albert Einstein, and I got a pencil and drew over my entire living room door and wall.

“I learned on the spot, not on the job, on the spot, but you ring people in boxing and obviously people in boxing are friendly so we put this press conference together.

“The press conference day comes and I swear I’ve never seen so many people at a press conference.

“Everyone who came to that presser said that was probably the best presser they had ever been to.

“And then I thought, why aren’t UK media going to Top Rank shows? I mean it’s different now right, thanks to the work that we’ve done.

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Melissa Takimoglu in action

“So I said to Brad, ‘there’s about 36 media here that I’ve spoken to that said they’d come to New York for this show Brad’.

“He said, ‘Well if you can get the majority of those people to come we’ll bring them over’.

“So we worked out the logistics, and it was amazing, it was a great experience.

“And that’s what opened the doors. That’s why you guys are now coming to all our shows in America. That’s why there’s this big bridge between Top Rank and the UK.

“There’s a huge fan base that loves our fighters, we’ve got the most exciting pound-for-pound kings and queens in our stable, and now it’s built up and built up and built up to a deal being signed with Sky Sports, which was being discussed way before I even existed.

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Melissa Takimoglu watches Josh Taylor in sparring

“I mean, that was all Todd DuBoef, that is all Todd’s work, but I think the work that I did allowed Top Rank and the boxing world to see that we have a home here, and that’s how we basically got it to where we are today.”

Boxing is generally seen as a man’s game, which is something Takimoglu is all too familiar with.

However, as she alluded to earlier she is more than happy to buck the trend, although this has not come without its challenges.

She revealed: “I can’t say not being appreciated because Top Rank appreciate me more than anyone could ever imagine.

“I get treated very, very well, I have no complaints with my employers or my fighters, and a lot of people in the industry.

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“But there were challenges in the beginning when I first started my business, there were challenges during, and there are challenges now.

“The challenges don’t get any less, there’s challenges everyday in this job, right?

“Because you are a woman, but because you are also good at what you do.

“Unfortunately being good at what you do comes with a price in this industry because it makes other people not look good who then don’t like it and then make it personal.

“So you’d think if you’re good at something, life is going to be great, but it doesn’t work like that.

“I speak to many people, male and female, when you’re good at what you do you stand out because it’s like disorganised chaos as we all know, right? We laugh about it all the time but we make it work.

“So the challenges are not getting any less, it’s just getting easier for me to manage them.”

Follow @MeltPR on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date with all her daily shenanigans.

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