By Marcus Bellinger (@marcusknockout)
With HBO exiting the boxing business after their final card on December 8, US boxing is in an intriguing spot with 3 main entities jockeying for supremacy.
Top Rank has a long term deal with ESPN and the ESPN+ App also streams shows from the US and abroad, the PBC has extended its agreement with Showtime and inked a deal with Fox and streaming service DAZN has Matchroom and Golden Boy as their boxing providers along with the World Boxing Super Series.
For those outsiders there are actually some fabulous opportunities with the 3 above entities looking to snap up any available world class talent so as to fill the many dates and provide the best possible boxing content. One of those is World of Boxing, founded by Russian businessman Andriy Ryabinskiy, with well-known manager Vadim Kornilov managing the day-to-day operations. Their stable includes Alexander Povetkin, Denis Lebedev, Eduart Troyanovsky, Dmitry Kudryashov and Sergey Kuzmin amongst others. Hardcore fans, especially those in the UK where it was broadcast on Boxnation may remember the November 2015 Wednesday marathon afternoon of action from Russia which provided plenty of thrills and spills. You can view the show I’m referring to
Arguably the company’s biggest star Dmitry Bivol defended his light heavyweight title this past weekend in Atlantic City, out pointing Jean Pascal over 12 rounds. With his contract with HBO now expired, Bivol is a free agent and there surely won’t be a shortage of takers in an interesting 175 lb mix.
Adonis Stevenson defends his WBC belt against Oleksandr Gvozdyk this weekend with Stevenson aligned with the PBC and Gvozdyk signed with Top Rank. The rematch between Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev will take place on ESPN in February whilst IBF titlist Artur Beterbiev plies his trade on DAZN.
On the Bivol Pascal undercard, 3 of the brightest prospects in world boxing featured as a trio of Uzbeks all scored knockout wins.
Murodjon Akhmadaliev won medals at every major tournament which was no mean feat given the truly elite bantamweight mix in the amateur ranks. He notched up his 5th professional win, breaking down Isaac Zarate in 9 rounds and he is already world ranked at super bantamweight and has a very fan friendly style which viewers in the US should enjoy.
Shakhram Giyasov won Olympic silver in 2016 and gold at the 2017 world championships and was a flashy stylist with plenty of charisma as an amateur. In his 6 pro contests he really has adapted extremely quickly and he blitzed Miguel Zamudio inside a round in Atlantic City.
Making his debut was Israil Madrimov who stopped Vladimir Hernandez in the 6th of a scheduled 10 rounder. As an amateur Madrimov won gold at the Asian Games and Asian Championships and when in full flow his relentless attacks are a joy to watch.
Whilst it’s fair to say that Povetkin and Lebedev are at the tail end of their careers, the likes of Bivol, Akhmadaliev, Giyasov and Madrimov are supreme talents and if either of the 3 major networks can strike a deal with World of Boxing then it will only enhance their quality of product.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features