Will the World Boxing Super Series Change the Sport?
Last updated: July 14, 2017 by Leon Marshal
When Carl Froch competed in the Super Six Series (which culminated in defeat against Andre Ward after two years of intense competition), many thought that we were about to enter a new era for elite-level boxing.
The format never quite caught on, however, but this has not stopped organisers trying again to revolutionise the sport of boxing. The latest attempt is the so-called ‘World Boxing Super Series’, which will see eight fighters at both super-middleweight and cruiserweight compete for glory, the Muhammed Ali trophy and an equal share of the lavish $50 million prize fund.
With the quarter-final line-up nearly confirmed and scheduled to take place in September and October of this year, we ask whether this will ultimately change the sport and create a template for other divisions to follow?
Who Will Face Off in the Tournament?
The draw for the quarter-finals took place in Monte Carlo earlier this week, with the current WBA super-middleweight champions George Groves selecting fellow Briton Jamie Cox as his opening opponent. His ferocious and unbeaten compatriot Callum Smith will take on Erik Skoglund at the same stage, while the precocious Chris Eubank Junior will most likely face Turkey’s Avni Yildirim if he defeats Arthur Abraham on July 15th.
These fighters had the chance to select their opponents as they were seeded, while the last quarter-final will be between Jurgen Brahmer and Rob Brant.
In the cruiserweight section, veteran Marco Huck will compete against the talented Oleksandr Usyk, while Murat Gassiev will do battle with Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in the second quarter-final. In the final two contests, Mairis Briedis will face off against Mike Pepperer, while Yunier Dorticos will take on Dmitry Kudryashov. The relatively unknown nature of these fighters and the obscurity of the division has made for a difficult sell, although it is hoped that the unique nature of the tournament will help to pique global interest.
What Should We Expect from the Series?
It is clear that the super-middleweight clashes will dominate the Series, although the decision to allow seeded fighters to select their opponents has drawn criticism from some. It is hoped that the real action will commence in the semi-finals, however, when proven champions like Groves, Smith and Eubank Junior will be forced to do battle with one another in a series of compelling fights. The fact that all belts will be put on the line during these contests is also something to be celebrated, as we could well see unified and undisputed champions emerge once the Series is complete.
This series undoubtedly has potential, as it builds on the format of the Super Six and the shorter-form ‘Prize-fighter’ series’ which helped to breathe new life into the domestic heavyweight division in the UK. It is also refreshing to see fighters place their belts on the line while competing against the best competitors in their division, as the creation of a single, linear champion can help to enhance the integrity of the sport in an age of multiple organisations and ranking bodies.
Above all else, this format can be easily replicated across all divisions, potentially revolutionising the sport and ushering in a brand new era of competitiveness.