Another week has passed us by and it's time, once again, to look at the good, the bad and the ugly from the last week! And this has been a week where the good have outweighed the bad and the ugly. It's not been a perfect week, but it's certainly been a week that has started the see things move forward for the year.
1-Boxing is back under way!
It's fair to say that 2020 has moved slowly, we might only be 12 days into the year but after the hive of activity to end 2019 it sort of feels like boxing fell off a cliff after the clocks rang in the new year. Thankfully the last few days we have seen normality resume and we've had some great action, some fantastic performances and we have so much more to look forward to. It's take a little while, bot boxing is back baby!
2-Guts Fighting set to bring us Shigeoka Vs Loreto
Whilst it was a huge shame that TBS didn't air the New Year Eve's bout between Ginjiro Shigeoka and Rey Loreto, especially give that they could have put it on one of the satellite channels that TBS run, it's now been confirmed that the bout will air on free to air TV later this month! The bout, along with Miyo Yoshida's world title defense, are set to be aired in just over a week. As a bonus it appears one of the TBS sister channels is also set to air Yoshida's world title win from the summer at the end of January! Infact TBS have been great so far, showing a number of semi-recent bouts on TBS and doing a special "Chihara Junior Presents Boxing Champion Legend Revived Great Game! KO Collection" last Friday on BS TBS. They might not have given us Shigeoka live, but credit to them for pumping out a lot of stuff since the new year.
3-Female Fights shine in the US
The last few years we've seen a lot of female fights on TV, and we've seen a general backlash from fans who were "sick of having them forced down our throats". We've always taken a different view on female boxing. We are sick of mismatches involving female fighters. This weekend we had two excellently matched bouts, with Elin Cederroos and Alicia Napoleon Espinosa giving us a sensational bout on Friday night before Alejandra Jimenez and Franchon Crews Dezurn followed up with a cracking fight the following night. Female boxing can be great, genuinely female fights can be amazing. But they need to be well match. These two were well matched, and they were great fights. They will have done more to improve the standing of female boxing than almost anything else in recent years. More of these please folks! Less trying to force fabricated records down our throats and more giving us evenly matched bouts.
4-Boxnation is given a life line!
The best bit of boxing news this week came from the UK when it was revealed that British boxing channel Boxnation had been given a life line thanks to a new strategic partnership with Premier Sports. Fingers crossed the channel can be run profitably going forward, and can help give British fans a wider outlet for international fans. The British fans need a third player in the game after being let down in recent years by Sky Sports and BT Sports, so fingers crossed Boxnation, with the backing of Premier Sports, can play a major factor in getting more eyes on the sport and giving an outlet to shows that would otherwise not be picked up.
1-Knock Out Dynamite Tournament gutted
When the Knock Out Dynamite Tournament Final card was announced we were really excited. We were set to get 3 tournament final bouts, the return of Shuhei Tsuchiya and an interesting bout for Shohei Omori. Sadly though one of the finals was cancelled, Omori's replacement was an under-sized Filipino, who proved to be tough nut not particularly competitive, and Tsuchiya's bout was cancelled due visa issues in regards to his opponent. With this being the first Japanese card of 2020 it wasn't a good sign, and will hopefully turn out to be little more than a stumble to begin the year, than an omen for the year to come.
1-Speculation regarding Alejandra Jimenez's gender
Sometimes boxing fans are complete dicks! We've all seen it over the years, and unfortunately a small number of fans have shown this again this past week suggesting, with some confidence in some cases, that Alejandra Jimenez's is a man. Whilst she might not look like the most "girly girl" out there, speculation like this doesn't help the sport and in fact helps makes fans in general seem like cave men. Lets stop being stupid, stop making forum posts stating she's a man, or that she used to be a man (as we saw on one forum), and realise people look different to each other. She put in a great performance and credit to her for it.
2-James Kinney's scorecard
Whilst we find the comments made about Jimenez genuinely disgusting there was one man who certainly wasn't commenting on the looks of Mexican Super Featherweight. That was James Kinney, who seemed to be blind on Saturday night whilst scoring the Jesse Hart vs Joe Smith Jr fight. He was almost certainly the only person who, some how, found a way to score it to Jesse Hart and we need to question how he managed to get the 95-94 score in favour of Hart. This wasn't like two fighters looked the same or could be easily confused. This was a judge who really needs to be quizzed, and potentially kicked out of the sport. The card was absolutely terrible from Kinney, and leads to a lot of questions, questions the commission should be asking Kinney in the coming days.
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