As we head towards a new year we've decided to look into our glass balls, our tea leaves and our palms to come up with 20 predictions which will be posted over the coming weeks for what we think will happen in 2020. So far our predictions haven't been the best though they've not all been wrong.
In 2013 we predicted that Naoya Inoue, his brother Takuma and Kosei Tanaka would all win world titles. Between them they've won a few world titles, though Takuma has yet to win a proper world title. That same year we also predicted a growth in Chinese boxing, and this arguably happened despite the fact the Macau side of things has died off. We also predicted a growth in Asian fighters making a name for themselves in the US, this was before Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Naoya Inoue or Kazuto Ioka had fought on US soil, and before the wave of Uzbek's had began to attract US attention.
Unlike the past, where we have made all of our predictions in 1 article, we'll be spreading these ones out with 1 prediction per article, and going more in depth than we have in the past.
Prediction number 5 - NHK to become a major player in boxing
Way, way back in Japanese boxing history national broadcaster NHK were a major broadcaster of the sport, showing many of the early champions of Japan. As the years went on domestic commercial TV put money into the sport and repelled NHK from the market place, with the channel rarely showing professional boxing afterwards.
They weren't totally done with the sport, but they had quickly gone from a major player to a minor player, showing occasional amateur tournament finals and little else, in fact only a few days ago they showed the the 89th All Japan Boxing Championship on their BS1 service.
Things began to change in 2019 when NHK showed 8K coverage of the WBSS Bantamweight final between Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire, and they will repeat the 8K experiment in December when they show Ryota Murata's bout with Steven Butler, also on their 8K channel BS8K.
The WBSS Bantamweight final was the first ever bout to be shown live in 8K and whilst that was partly a gimmick it did come with suggestion to the media that NHK would be getting back into the boxing game properly in 2020. If that happens, and we now have every reason to believe it will, then TV boxing in Japan is set to have a massive change.
Unlike every other TV channel in Japan NHK is publicly funded, similar to how BBC is run in the UK, and has notable international arms, with their NHK World service. They also run both terrestrial TV, NHK General and NHK Educational in Japan, and satellite TV, NHK BS1 and NHK BS Premium, also with ultra high definition channels NHK BS4K and NHS BS8K.
Their service, potentially, offers a fighter a chance to appeal right across the country in a way no other service does. If a fighter can fight on NHK General they are instantly going to be given the largest potential audience of any fighter in the country. When we already know that Naoya Inoue and Ryota Murata can draw multi-million viewer audiences in Kanto, we can only begin to imagine what a fighter could, potentially, draw on NHK from across Japan.
Two other things also help back up the prediction of NHK becoming a major player. One is that they have certain high ranking officials who now believe sports can be a major part of their programming. The other is much bigger and more obvious. They have the Tokyo 2020 rights, and can obviously help a young fighter from the Olympics roll that momentum into professional success.
If a fighter wants to make an immediate, national impact after the games then NHK are surely the way to go, and they could quickly become a massive force for good for Japanese boxing.
Our prediction is that by the end of 2020 NHK will have shown professional boxing on both a terrestrial channel and a satellite channel, as well as their amateur boxing content, which will include the 2020 All Japan Championship and the Olympics.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces