bet365 are proud to bring you exclusive news and insight from BOXXER CEO, Ben Shalom. Ben will be bringing you his thoughts on all things Boxing throughout the year, offering insight into a broad range of topics.
In Ben's first column, he discusses the BOXXER Series events thus far, the importance of investing in grassroots boxing and what fans can expect from this innovative and unique format....
I don’t think anyone could argue that the two previous editions of the BOXXER Series have both delivered. It’s a real privilege to bring competitive, short format boxing, generating one night fairy tales to prime time Saturday night TV.
Cori Gibbs and Dylan Cheema, our winners in Liverpool then Coventry, both epitomise the essence of the series: life-changing opportunity. I am delighted that they will both be signing long-term deals with us, receiving the full backing of BOXXER and Sky Sports as they look to make waves in the super-lightweight and lightweight divisions. You can expect to see both at the back end of June in the Midlands.
It is a great time for Midlands boxing…we’ve got Frazer Clarke, Ben Whittaker and now these two out of nowhere, particularly in Dylan’s case. I’m not sure anyone had Cheema to win and I must admit, when Dylan told us all week that he would win, I didn’t take him too seriously…
But that is the beauty of the Series and its highly unpredictable nature. Genuine 50-50s, frantic 3 round intensity and the promise of untold riches; the Series, we think, creates the perfect blend for consistently captivating action. This was personified in the Lightweight final, last time out in Coventry. Both Dylan Cheema and Rylan Charlton were electric. I’m not sure just how many punches were landed during the three rounds, but I felt as though I’d witnessed a twelve round fight come the final bell. We have been seriously impressed by a number of fighters over the course of the Series, and there will definitely be opportunities with us those who may not win, but demonstrate real potential and craft on the big stage.
I think British boxing is on the cusp of a transition period. We have become accustomed over the last decade or so to superstars such as Anthony Joshua, Amir Khan, Kell Brook and Tyson Fury…
But all are either now announcing retirement, looking set to retire or in the twilight of their career. It is a real shame that we will never see Kell in the ring again and both Fury and Amir look set to hang up their gloves. I firmly believe that the antidote to the loss of these British PPV stars is to simply uncover some more. And that is what the Series is all about…
Through giving inexperienced prospects, local heroes and late bloomers an opportunity on prime time television, fighters from all regions and weight classes are being given the chance to tell their story and perform to a massive audience.
Too often, careers are shortened and potential is wasted due to a lack of talent spotting. Demand does not meet supply. Each promoter can only look after a handful of fighters….There are therefore only a very limited number of fighters who receive promotional backing and regular TV slots. Without being shown on TV, it is nigh on impossible for fighters to earn a proper living and therefore sustain their commitment to pursuing championship dreams.
Fighters need opportunities and there are none bigger than a Saturday night live on Sky Sports. I am confident that there are British, European and World Champions to uncover and the best solution to creating opportunities for as many fighters as possible is short format, competitive boxing. I am extremely passionate that we see this come to fruition and I believe the Series can deliver some of Britain's next generation of European and World champions.
Not only is the Series a great opportunity for fighters, I think it makes for fantastic viewing. It is absolute mayhem. Eight guys fighting for life changing money, who all undeniably think they’ll win…it just makes sense.
It is the only fight night offering in the UK in which you can go on a three fight journey with a small hall fighter and see them emerge with life-changing money and huge earning potential. It is so simple to understand and get stuck into as a product. I hope the format and stories the Series can generate will help get more people into boxing.
The stories have been and will continue to be central to what we are trying to achieve with the Series…
Dylan Cheema had only ever fought twice at a wedding venue before the Series. He was working as a Wholesale Unit Manager, as well as training and working in his family’s shop on Saturdays…Three hours later, he had £40,000 in his pocket, a contract with us and Sky Sports and was dancing around the ring to his beloved Punjabi drums, live on Sky Sports Main Event.
I would challenge anyone to find me a better story to unfold on British TV that night.
You can watch all the action unfold from Manchester on Saturday night, May 14th, in BOXXER's Cruiserweight Series.
Eight-fighters, one prize...Life changing opportunity.
bet365 are proud to be the official betting partner of the BOXXER Series.
Final remaining tickets to the Boxxer series are available from BOXXER.
Odds available here.