World Champs Evander Holyfield, Sean O'Grady and Others Weigh-In on World Series of Boxing
(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) Six weeks into the inaugural season of the World Series of Boxing (World Series Boxing) and the experts are beginning to weigh-in on what they are seeing as some of the world's best amateurs tackle the rigors of modified professional boxing within a unique team format.
Article posted on 20.01.2011
"This sport is going to advance now the way it should have advanced 25 years ago," former boxing world champion Sean O'Grady explained to Maxboxing's Gabriel Montoya recently. "It's a great bridge [to the pros]. It's kind of what the sport needed. Supply and demand, I guess. The sport really needs something that gives you something different, something unusual, out of the ordinary."
O'Grady has been ringside calling the action for VERSUS alongside veteran ringside announcer Alan Massengale since the Series began in Mexico City on November 19. The former lightweight world champion spoke at length with Montoya for a feature currently running on the maxboxing.com website about the WSB. To see that article, click HERE.
"I foresee this," adds O'Grady. "When this tournament goes on, these kids are going to start sharing ideas. They are going to start talking on Twitter and Facebook about how they are caring for their injuries. They are learning more about their own bodies. In my opinion, this is going to raise the game of the entire sport. When they blossom out of the amateurs, whether they go to the Olympics or they turn pro, then they're going to carry this into the pros with them. I think that it's going to make the sport much more fair, much more advanced. I think the fighters that we are seeing ten years or three years from this are going to be so much better than they are today."
O'Grady is not the only world champion excited with what he sees thus far in the WSB. Five-time heavyweight world champion and 1984 Olympian Evander Holyfield, who fights this Saturday against Sherman Williams, was equally impressed after attending the LA Matador/Miami Gallos bout last week at Nokia Theatre.
"These guys fight a lot faster than the pros," Holyfield said. "Most U.S. fighters fight a slower style when they fight internationally so they get beat. Now that the U.S. has the World Series of Boxing, I'm sure we'll win a lot of medals because this is giving us an opportunity to fight international opponents."
Longtime boxing promoter Dan Goossen also was in attendance to watch the Matadors handle the Gallos and secure their first-place standing in the WSB.
"I think the World Series of Boxing is great," Goossen said. "It's a whole different look then what you're used to seeing in amateur boxing. Whenever you get this type of competition at this level it can only help the future of Olympic boxing in the U.S."
Donovan Dennis (Davenport, Iowa) of the Miami Gallos (pictured right) is one of the promising young heavyweights competing in the WSB. He's one of four WSB Americas boxers ranked in the top-three overall with all competitors vying for a shot at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Boxing fans can catch WSB action on VERSUS throughout the season as the cable network will air all 24 regular-season matches for the WSB Americas to determine qualification for the finals of the World Series of Boxing.
Previously, the WSB announced that U.S. Spanish network Vme had acquired the rights to broadcast the WSB in the U.S. Hispanic market and Puerto Rico. Carriage of the WSB is the first sporting event to be broadcast by Vme on an ongoing basis. Vme began broadcasting WSB coverage on November 20 and will continue to carry weekly matches throughout the first season. The network has also created a WSB news and commentary program, Sexto Round, which is airing weekly on Thursday nights.
Televisa Deportes Network (TDN) is broadcasting WSB events in Mexico featuring the Mexico City Guerreros. TDN is a all-sports pay-TV network with a subscription base of 23-million plus and it is owned by Televisa, the worlds largest producer of Spanish language television content.
The World Series of Boxing is a groundbreaking, international sports league with teams from three continents competing for five spots - bantamweight, lightweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight, in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The Americas franchises include Los Angeles, Miami, Mexico City and Memphis, and those four teams will battle over the next two months to determine the winner from the Americas division, which will advance to the semifinals to compete against winning teams from the two other divisions.
Through six weeks of the season, the Matadors stand atop the Americas standings with a 5-1 overall record having won 23 of their first 30 bouts. The Mexico City Guerreros (3-3) sit in second place followed by the Miami Gallos (3-3) and the Memphis Force (1-5). Week seven of the WSB will take place January 27 for all teams as the Matadors once again host the Gallos while the Force get set to host the Guerreros once again.
The individual WSB champions will be determined when the top two boxers in each of the five weight categories at the end of the regular season face each other over seven rounds in the individual championship final in May.
Seventeen WSB Americas boxers currently sit in the top-10 of the WSB individual rankings, led by the emergence of Brazilian Everton Lopes, the Matador boxer who leads the lightweight division worldwide for the WSB with his 3-0 start. Three other boxers including two more Matadors are ranked as high as No. 3 after last week's action. Bantamweight Fernando Martinez (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and middleweight Russell Lamour (Portland, Maine) are the other highly-ranked Matadors while heavyweight Donovan Dennis (Davenport, Iowa) is also ranked third for the Miami Gallos.
All boxers earn an annual salary for participating in the World Series of Boxing. In addition, there is prize money for each bout they participate in as well as each boxer being provided health insurance along with living accommodations and expenses. Boxers are free to continue with any other work they may have outside of boxing as long as it does not interfere with their WSB commitments.
"All these boxers want an Olympic gold medal," said O'Grady. "This provides them an opportunity to stay and play while earning a living, learning about professional boxing and a chance to go for the gold medal."
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