By Robson Sharuko
Financial implications of Charles Manyuchi’s shock defeat in Singapore – including blowing the possibility of becoming a millionaire this year – could be felt as early as June should the welterweight category emerge among two weight categories whose top boxers will battle in the inaugural $50 million World Boxing Super Series.
A televised draft gala in June will pick the two weight categories whose top eight boxers will battle in elimination bouts that will culminate in the crowning of the champion in a glitzy boxing series that will offer the participants a chunk of the $50 million prize money that is being dangled by the sponsors.
Long-time promoters – Richard Schaefer and Kalle Sauerland – are the brains behind the glitzy money-spinning tournament whose Season One will start with quarter-finals in September with the semi-finals set for either January or February and the final battle for a $10 million cheque for each winner of the two categories scheduled for May next year.
Winners in each category will also receive the Muhammad Ali trophy that was created with the co-operation of the legendary boxer’s family and was designed by Silvio Gazzaniga, who also designed the FIFA World Cup trophy.
All the 16 participants in the series will get a chunk of the pot of the gold and, crucially, for a boxer like Manyuchi who has always wanted to take his talents to the big league, and big money, which is presented by American promoters, he could have been fighting at New York’s Madison Gardens, Barclays Centre, the Staples Centre in Los Angeles and other major venues around Europe where the promoters want to take their show.
Of course, there is no guarantee that the welterweight category will be picked in the draft draw for the two categories whose top boxers will battle for gold this season.
But what can’t be dismissed is the fact that, had Manyuchi defended his WBC welterweight silver title in Singapore, as was largely expected, he could have kept himself in the frame for a possible appearance – should his category be picked in the draft – in this revolutionary money-spinning World Boxing Super Series.
And, without even stepping into the ring, Manyuchi could have been guaranteed more than a million dollars – his biggest pay cheque in his career – and, more importantly, the opportunity to showcase his talent to a global audience and the movers-and-shakers who hold the key in transforming him into the superstar that he has always wanted to be.
However, Manyuchi’s shock first-round loss at the hands of challenger Qudratillo Abduqaxorov in Singapore, which saw him relinquishing his WBC welterweight international belt, means that the Zimbabwean boxer is unlikely to be considered among his category’s top eight boxers in the event that welterweight is picked from the draft.
Manyuchi went into his fight against the Uzbekistan fighter ranked sixth in the WBC welterweight category and considered one of the rising stars of boxing, but a poor show in Singapore, in which his showboating in the very first round exposed him to a barrage of punches that sent him tumbling to the canvas twice in the first round, before the referee stepped in to stop the fight, could come at a very huge cost.
He is likely to drop down the rankings even though the WBC, by the time the boxers are picked for the World Boxing Super Series, even though the WBC, somehow, still had him as their welterweight international boxing champion on their official website as of yesterday.
The World Boxing Super Series has received the blessing of the major international boxing bodies and was launched in New York three weeks ago.
Schaefer is a former chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions, one of the biggest boxing promoters in the world, and founded Ringstar Sports last year while Sauerland has long been one of the most influential boxing promoters in Europe.
Comosa AG, a Swiss company with interests in marketing, entertainment, broadcasting and boxing are the parent firm in the deal and have guaranteed a series that will initially run for three years.
“The tournament will set new standards, ensure coherent storylines and provide top-class boxing throughout the year,” Comosa executive Roberto Dalmiglio told reporters after the series launch.
“It is Comosa’s ambition to turn the World Boxing Super Series into the world’s biggest and best boxing tournament.” Schaefer said it was a win-win situation for the promoters and the boxers.
“The promoter makes money, the fighter makes money and the promoter doesn’t have to chase TV deals,” Schaefer said.
“If [the promoter’s fighter] wins he gets back a fighter who has been exposed on a global scale.”
His partner Sauerland said they were not in the game to divide boxing.
“We are not here to conquer and divide. We are here to add (to boxing). This is about putting the best fights on, and ultimately, we are talking about a sizable check, which is better for all promoters.”
“I have been involved in the sport for a long time and boxing has really been missing a big tournament like the World Boxing Super Series. Every major sport has one. This is a fascinating project and I am thrilled to be involved. The quality of the people behind this tournament ensures it will be a success.”
Meanwhile, Alexander Shah, the promoter who organised Manyuchi’s fight in Singapore, has been feasting on the success of the event and even joining the Malaysian stable, which is the home of Abduqaxorox, as a part of him.
“As promoter I would like to say congrats to #qudratillo and #vladamirboxinggym for your success We are now @WBCBoxing silver champion,” the promoter tweeted.
He also revealed he will receive an award as the ‘WBC Asia Boxing Promoter of The Year 2016 award on 24 May 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand’. The Herald