Cirillo: Super Sweet Science PR


Brought Boxing Back to Mecca with Oscar

In 1995, as Senior Vice President at Madison Square Garden, John Cirillo was the visionary and guiding force in returning boxing to the Garden after a long hiatus. Negotiating with legendary promoter Bob Arum and HBOCirillo signed a contract for Oscar De La Hoya to face “Jesse” James Leija for the “Return to the Mecca” promotion. which media and public relations experts called one of the greatest MSG boxing promotions since the days Ali and Frazier.


JC with Smokin’ Joe recalling the heyday

Thus began Cirillo’s two-decade success-story in the sweet science as pugilist publicist. Within one year, six cards were promoted at the Garden under his watch, featuring the sport’s greatest stars including De La Hoya, Roy Jones, Jr., Arturo Gatti, Lenox Lewis, Tim Witherspoon and Riddick Bowe, just to name a few.


Game Gatti was a favorite

In 1997, the longtime Garden executive launched Cirillo World, and boxing became the company’s centerpiece for more than a decade. First, Arum contracted Cirillo as Top Rank’s East Coast representative, serving as lead publicist for Oscar De La Hoya’s pay-per-view and HBO championship bouts against Hector Camacho, Wilfredo Rivera, Patrick Carpentier, Julio Cesar Chavez, Oba Carr, Ike Quartey, Felix Trinidad, Derrell Colley, and Shane Mosley during three-year, 9-fight run, as well as publicizing rising Top Rank stars including Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Erik Morales.


Publicized Floyd in early years

The launch of Lou DiBella’s DiBella Entertainment in 2000 was the next focal point, putting a series of Olympians headed by future champ Jermain Taylor, a bevy of local New York products including future champ Paulie Malignaggi, veteran great Bernard Hopkins, and champion Andre Berto during a decade-long tenure to place DiBella and his fighters on boxing’s international radar screen.

Klitschko And Haye Promote Upcoming Heavyweight Bout

Took Wladimir to great heights, including Empire State Building

Such promoters as ‎Tom Loeffler and Bernd Boente of K-2 Promotions, Dino Duva, Joe DeGuardia, and the late Cedric Kushner knocked on the Cirillo World door to publicize and market their fighters, and Cirillo World delivered its customary knockout coverage. The group of top fighters included such standouts world heavyweight champions as Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, former heavyweight titlist Samuel Peter, top contenders David Tua and Kirk Johnson, and champion Shane Mosley, just to name a few.


Cirillo in ring with Tua-Man after KO win in AC

Particularly notable were the Klitchko Brothers, who appeared on such networks as CNN, the Jim Rome Show, and Conan O’Brien.


Knockout PR on Conan O’Brien


Duddy was a cover boy

Cirillo enjoyed a long and successful run with Ireland’s John Duddy during his undefeated middleweight campaign at New York City venues including the Theatre at Madison Square Garden in 2006-07, fighting under the Irish Ropes banner.

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Jim Houlihan (left) and Cirillo teamed for electrifying awareness of Fighting Irishmen exhibition

James J. Houlihan, curator of the Fighting Irishmen, brought Cirillo World aboard to publicize the premier of the exhibition at the Irish Arts Center in New York City in 2006. Following great acclaim, the exhibition continued on a national and international tour, which concluded at the University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland in 2011.The exhibition featured as its central piece, the late, great Irish fighter Dan Donnelly’s mummified right arm and an array of robes, gloves, boxing bags, prints, photographs, paintings, and film footage of Celtic prize-fighters from 1820 to the present day. Intriguing objects on display will include pieces from sporting greats such as Barry McGuigan, John L. Sullivan, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Freddie Gilroy, Bobby Cassidy, Gerry Cooney, Billy Graham, and Billy Conn.

Houlihan Mummified Arm

Legendary boxer Dan Donnelly’s arm goes on display


Brought Golden Gloves to Empire City

In 2011, Cirillo was the key player in bringing the iconic ‎New York Daily News Golden Gloves to Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway, and the 2016 semi-finals of the fabled amateur boxing tournament will be hosted for the sixth consecutive year on March 30. The oldest and most esteemed amateur event in the U.S., celebrating its 89th anniversary this season, has produced generations of legendary boxers including Sugar Ray Robinson, Emile Griffith, Floyd Patterson, Riddick Bowe, Gerry Cooney, Mark Breland, Jose Torres, and Zab Judah. “We are proud that the Daily News Golden Gloves has become part of the great sports tradition at Empire City Casino, and is now in its sixth year,” said president & CEO, Timothy J. Rooney. “Two New York institutions are once again teaming up for what we know will be an exciting event for fight fans.”


Star Boxing’s Joe DeGuardia and late dad with champ Algieri‎

Most recently, Cirillo World has worked closely with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing to publicize the Bronx-based promoter and company’s fighters including such stars as former champions Chris Algieri and Demetrius Andrade, a big winner against Willie Nelson on Showtime on June 11, as well as such standouts as Zac Dunn, Cletus Seldin, Joshua Clottey, Yuniesky Gonzalez and Joe Smith, Jr., who just scored a major upset with a first round TKO of heavily favored Andrzej Fonfara in primetime on NBC’s PBC on June 18.


Cirillo World was publicist for Joe Smith, Jr.’s upset of the year  over Fonfara


Dino’s Dynasty is Z-Man!

In 2014, Cirillo worked with ‎Dino Duva’s latest venture – Dynasty Boxing – to introduce Chinese silver medalist Zhang Zhilei to the media, gaining international attention when covered prominently by the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Business Television, as well as other major outlets, including his pro debut announcement alongside former champ Evander Holyfield, who was named in an advisory capacity.


Former champ with future champ

In 2014, ESPN brought Cirillo aboard to assist in coverage of its 30 for 30 film “No Mas” which told the story of the Duran-Leonard trilogy, and in 2015 Alan Swyer’s award-nominated documentary ‘El Boxeo’ gained prominent attention.


Cirillo had handled public relations for fight trainer and ESPN “Friday Night Fights” analyst Teddy Atlas and the Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation for a decade. 

Bob Papa headshot

Papa pugilist play-by-play

Cirillo served as publicist for blow-by-blow broadcaster par excellence Bob Papa for several years during his run as voice of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.

14th Annual "Teddy Dinner" For The Dr. Theodore A Atlas Foundation

Teddy at Foundation gala with Phil Simms

Press and media coverage from the Associated Press to USA Today to the New York Times, as well as boxing’s prolific websites, have resulted in print, while radio and television bookings have included CNN, FOX & Friends, Conan O’Brien, and many more significant outlets.

The company’s significant long term clients have gone beyond boxing to be sure. With sports marketing powerhouse Steiner Sports, Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway, Fairfield Athletics, the Grand Central Oyster Bar, and the venerable Thurman Munson Awards Dinner (for AHRC New York City Foundation) as the company’s centerpieces, Cirillo World brings better branding and heightened awareness to its clients on a daily basis in every form of media imaginable – from television and radio to major daily print, wire services and magazines to the internet, websites and blogs.

Cirillo World’s sports, news and business media contacts combined with its athlete and broadcast relationships provides a unique combination for media coverage and creative special events.

John Cirillo is respected as the industry leader in sports, entertainment and culinary public relations, marketing and event management.  So much so, that he has been an adjunct professor in sports media studies at his alma mater, Fordham University, for two decades. He appeared on Bloomberg television to offer his commentary on Tiger Woods’s national public statement which aired worldwide. And was the lead quote in USA Today’s article on the fall of Tour De France champion Lance Armstrong.

A former three-time NBA PR Man of the Year award-winner as vice president of public relations for the Knicks and senior vice president of Madison Square Garden, Cirillo operates the public relations and event management firm Cirillo World, established in 1997, exceeding client expectations for almost two decades. The relationships with the print and broadcast media, as well as athletes, agents and public relations specialists throughout New York City and nationwide are both invaluable and renowned.

Previous clients have included: Baseball Hall of Famer Gary Carter, Emmy Award winning sports broadcaster Bob Costas, five-time world boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya, Fordham University’s new Westchester campus, Yankee legendary closer Mariano Rivera’s restaurant Mo’s New York Grill; and the Atlantic 10 Conference basketball championships at Barclays Center; and has served as agent for Spero Dedes, the former voice of the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks, who now is a prominent CBS Sports play by play broadcaster on NFL and NCAA basketball games.

It is plain to see why Cirillo World should be your agency of choice: better branding; great awareness; Cirillo World.

Contact: John Cirillo, 914.260.7436,

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