We've not had many fights so far this year. Lets be honest the year has been a very slow one to get going, though that was expected given how hot 2019 ended and how many big names were in action during the final few months of the year. Despite a lack of fights there was some huge news for British boxing fans, as Premier Sports announced they would be teaming up with Boxnation to keep the "Channel of Champions" alive. It was a rather unexpected turn of events with Boxnation looking like it was already in the casket and about to have the soil tossed over it's corpse. It was unexpected, but great news.
Part of the press release to announce the new "strategic partnership" saw them announce "Premier Sports will be actively looking to increase live content on BoxNation with discussions underway to secure long term output agreements with PBC, Top Rank and Golden Boy along with a number of small hall UK promoters." Essentially trying to do what the channel once did, and again missing out on a lot of potential content to fill their schedule, whilst targeting only 2 potential time windows.
The problem with chasing just US content, for international content, is that the channel is relying on fight fans staying up late, week after week, often for mismatches. A lot of the US shows start well after midnight and finish in the early morning. Whilst they are often entertaining, even if the real standout shows are few and far between, they do depend on people watching things well after many are asleep. And that's coming from us, and we have insomnia!
Mexican shows have the same issue of simply being too late in the day for many fans, who will watch on delay, rather than live. Despite how good Mexican cards often are.
The small hall UK cards are at a better time, but rarely do they have top level fighters on. They are often the fighters without a big name promoter, and whilst those promoters often put on solid shows, especially the likes of VIP Promotions Steve Wood, there is still a lot of the day, or rather the week, where the channel will have free time. These shows also tend to clash with the more polished productions from bigger UK promoters, such as Matchroom Boxing.
What the channel should be doing is looking to spread it's wings, and look at working with promotions outside of the US and UK. The channel had previously shown bouts from Russia, South Africa and the Philippines and this was certainly more a positive than a negative. The Russian shows mixed good names, with solid production values and some great fights, the South African shows gave fans something they rarely got, and the Filipino cards were a wonderful, and cheap, touch through MP Promotions when the channel appeared to be stumbling towards it's death.
Whilst the Filipino cards were on early in the day, they filled a void in the morning, whilst the Russian and South African cards gave fans some great action in the afternoon. Those partnerships were ideal for fans, and helped establish new names with fans. The channel, which was obviously targeted at hardcore boxing fans, seemed to often fail to embrace those fans who wanted to see those fighters.
With Japanese promoters like Teiken, Hatanaka, Ohashi and Watanabe having some sort of output deal in Japan those promotional companies would also be excellent to be working with. The fans getting up early on a Saturday morning could do a lot worse than getting a Dynamic Glove show, or getting the chance to see Kazuto Ioka and Kosei Tanaka around mid-day UK time.
The Japanese bouts obviously won't attract casual fight fans, but will keep subscribers of the channel onside, keep them with regular content, and help expose fans to a new market, a market that is full of young fighters that will be around for years to come. A working relationship that gets the Shigeoka brothers or Shokichi Iwata and Mikito Nakano onside now, will reap big rewards down the line when those fighters are mixing at world level.
Needless to add the Japanese schedule in the last couple of weeks of the year would also keep fans well and truly tuned in, for things like the Rookie of the Year and, of course, the New Year's Eve show, which has grown into a big annual event for fight fans.
It's also worth considering that as there's no bidding war for these shows in the west they will come at a relatively low price, keeping costs down and delivering exciting content to boot!
If Boxnation is going to survive, grow and have success, it needs to appeal to the hardcore fans, it needs to fill it's schedule, and it needs to look off the beaten track whilst planning for the future. Getting together with promoters that have a stock of young prospects, as well as those with established names, and being able to target different parts of the day will be invaluable long term.
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