If there is one thing about boxing that I love, it’s that the sport is truly global. In no other sport do we have world class competitors from every corner of the globe. Just think about it for a moment, we have world champions from Cuba, Indonesia, Japan, USA, Jamaica, Argentina, Russia, Britain, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mexico and Thailand amongst a number of other countries.
Unfortunately a number of us only consider fights from the US, the UK and to a lesser extent Europe to really matter. This has seen some fans miss out or not only great fights but also legendary fighters.
Thankfully it now seems that fighters from other countries are getting more exposure on US TV. Who would have thought just a few years ago that HBO would be headlining a card with a Russian, a Haitian, a Brit and a Ukrainian in a doubleheader?
Thankfully it seems that HBO and Bob Arum,surprisingly, are being very progressive in recent years.
GoldenBoy Promotions, effectively the only promotional company on Showtime right now, have gotten a number of the high profile American’s under their banner. They obviously have Floyd Mayweather Jr, Adrien Broner, Devon Alexander, Bernard Hopkins and Victor Ortiz. They have added to this by snapping up many of the US Olympic team from 2012 further bolstering their American stable.
Though outside of their American contingent they’ve only really looked at adding fighters from the UK and Latin America. Of course this has left Golden Boy with talented fighters like Amir Khan, Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares, Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse and Anthony Ogogo but they have become a bit too centralised.
USA, Latin America and the UK maybe 3 of the biggest markets in world boxing but they are fully developed markets.
When you compare what Golden Boy have with what Bob Arum has been doing recently you see two companies heading in very different areas. Arum seems to have ignored the supposed boxing markets and has instead signed talent.
Since the 2012 Olympics Arum has signed up 4 of the Gold medal winners. That’s 40%of the men who won Olympic gold medals in London. Better yet they have come from all over the planet.
The 4 Olympic Gold medal winners Arum has signed have come from China (Zou Shiming), Ukraine (Vasyl Lomachenko), Japan (Ryota Murata) and Russia (Egor Mekhontsev). Arum has also snapped up an Olympic silver medal winner from Latin America (Esquiva Falcão of Brazil-incidentally Esquiva’sbrother Yamaguchi has signed for Golden Boy).
This movement away from US fighters has been seen by some as the final move of a man in charge of a sinking ship. If you take a step back however and look at what Arum has at his finger tips you will see that he’s realised something very specific. Boxing is a global business.
Not only does he have a certified global superstar in Vasyl Lomachenko, he has one of Japan’s most popular athletes in Murata and he has a key to the untapped Chinese market in the form of Shiming. This isn’t the move of a desperate man, this is instead the movement towards accepting what some of us already know, boxing is huge and the US only scratches the tip of a massive iceberg.
Arum has already showed a willingness to go to Macau to host big shows, he has shown that he wants to penetrate the gigantic Chinese market, he has close allegiances to both ALA gym in the Philippines and Teiken in Japan and he may well have the best record of promoter in creating stars.
I’m sorry for all those wishing that we were on the verge ofthe demise of Top Rank, but instead we’re probably heading to a golden age for the company. Arum’s demise may be inevitable but he’ll certainly be leaving a very healthy looking global company behind him when he finally goes. By then Golden Boy will be playing catch up and realising that there is more to boxing than the few markets that they seem to be so focused on.
You can read more by Scott Graveson at his site: AsianBoxing