Thursday, June 10, 2010

World Series of Boxing: A Strike Out or Home Run for Amateur Boxing?

Baseball’s is the most famous, poker’s is one of the most recent ones to gain traction with the viewing public. Now, in September 2010, the “World Series of Boxing” begins throughout the world. What is the “World Series of Boxing”? Well, if all goes according to plan, the World Series of Boxing (hereinafter the “WSB”) will be, according to its official web site, “an annually recurring, global competition featuring franchises in three regional conferences: ASIA, EUROPE, AND THE AMERICAS. Each region will initially be comprised of FOUR CITY-BASED FRANCHISES, and each franchise will field a SQUAD OF 10 BOXERS across FIVE WEIGHT CLASSES designated by AIBA.” Yes, AIBA, the hand that rocks the cradle of international amateur boxing, along with the international sports marketing agency IMG, is doing its part to bring a team element to professional boxing. But that is not the only twist that the WSB is bringing to professional boxing; the salaried participants in these professional boxing team competitions will not only be select professional boxers who competed in the 2008 Olympics, but also some of the top amateur boxers in the world. However, all of the participating amateurs will retain their eligibility to participate in the Olympics. Thus, if the WSB gains traction, it could eventually result in a sea change in the relationship between amateur and professional boxing. A quick analysis of the current rules concerning Olympic eligibility for professional boxing, and the potential implications of allowing amateur boxers jump between the amateur and professional boxing worlds follows...

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