By David Johnson @mrdaj.
|The ever-growing stable at Matchroom Sport.|
Are we witnessing a change in the way we choose who we follow on the boxing scene?
In years gone by we've tended to follow the boxer who is local to us, has a cultural fit to our views on life or in many cases the kind of personalities the boxers have (I don't think I need to touch on our love for a warrior or explosive fighter)...
The Tony Bellew's / Paul Smith's / David Price's have all spoken about their pride of representing the city of Liverpool and the fans love it, but their appeal reaches so much further than that great city, the nation loves them and their fellow liverpudlian fighters - Many people follow their local hero, and long may it continue.
Amir Khan has done much to champion the communities that he represents and has been a strong advocate of his religion and the respect that it deserves - Amir has surely encouraged new fans into the sport of boxing and gained an enviable global following too.
Your Floyd Mayweather's / Chris Eubank Jr's / Adrien Broner's court attention and contempt of their personalities and brashness - Maybe you follow them to see them beaten or maybe in envy of the personality you wish you had.
*These are all examples and I have an immense respect for all of the aforementioned fighters. They all represent a unique reason SOME fans MAY follow them.
Promoters have no doubt cajoled and nurtured these fan bases over time and found ways of building each fighter.... it works, and it will continue to work. It brings fans in and breathes life into an amazing sport.
I believe the reason we may change, will because promotion companies will change THE BRAND.
I personally don't get too offended by any one promoter. They all play a part, through their personalities, budgets, TV platforms and ultimately their stable.
Here lies the change for me.... The stable will become the attraction.
You would be hiding from reality to say that Matchroom and Eddie Hearn are not forging an admirable artillery of fighters and are on the hot streak. As a group they cover:
Local reach: Scotland / Ireland / London / Liverpool / Sheffield etc
Style of fighter: Yafai / Froch / Barker / Burns / Brook
Personalities: Bellew / Ochieng (Amazing styles too)
We know that by investing in Matchroom we are going to get what we want and more than likely all on one card. They are innovative purely for Prizefighter alone.... One way of summing it up would be to say they are a safe return on investment - They also appear to listen to the ideas of fans and where logistically possible, implement them.
Another innovator is Frank Warren. Yes Frank Warren. BoxNation is quite simply one of the best platforms / ideas to be generated in recent years. The brilliant Steve Bunce and Steve Lillis add to the mix too. The current concern may be who their UK fighters will be, to continue to whet the appetite.... You won't see me miss a Cleverly, Mitchell, Saunders fight that's for sure. Great international route to market too!
How can we not mention the Hennesey camp.... Tyson Fury, Chris Eubank Jr and James Degale alone are solid, talented and on the rise. It would be fair to say these guys sit in the 'Brash' section too, but I'm sure Channel 5 exposure can show another side to these guys.
We also have Hatton, Coldwell (massive shout out to another innovative Promoter / platform) - Dave Coldwell for me will play an ever increasing role in the UK promotion game, as will Spencer Fearon (aka The Oracle). Frank Maloney is to be respected too for the longevity and energy he brings and a class operator in Price.
I see value in all promoters, platforms and fighters from our shores... no doubt they'll have conflicts, legal battles and things you agree or disagree with.
This is no longer a sport run by one or two promoters. Its new school and old school, all are welcome and I think it pushes the standard up and the fans are the winners.
The interesting part... When their main guys start fighting each other....
Frampton v Quigg
Bellew v Cleverly
Murray v Barker
Fury v Price
Saunders v Eubank Jr
Etc etc etc....
I don't know about you... but I'm loving British boxing right now.... roll on the next couple of years, it's gonna be good!!
Until next time.....