Unlike the hugely popular World Boxing Super Series, ULTIMATE BOXXER was launched to establish an overnight boxing star. The Sauerland's WBSS has proven to be a hit because of three reasons: the quaity of the participants, shorter times between fights than previous tournaments like the Super Six, and the impressive production of the events.
UB has utilised all of those winning combinations to form the brand new concept that will begin in Manchester in April with eight boxers, all currently unbeaten, fighting each other in four quarter-finals, two semi-finals and then a final. It will take place ten years exactly after Barry Hearn launched Prizefighter at York Hall in London’s East End.
The UB events are designed in the same format as the aforementioned Prizefighter Series, which last featured in 2015 with Tom Doran winning the 35th and final instalment - The Middleweights III. The competition will feature round robin fights of three three-minute rounds with the traditional sixty-second break.
This is where the comparisons to previous formats ends, as the UB event promises to enhance the profile of all the boxers through “online power and flexibility.”
There will be innovative strategies, music on the night and a very different feel. It’s about creating a brand and using existing broadcast and online companies to build the product; it’s Prizefighter for YouTubers and that is a welcome addition to a phenomenally successful British boxing business.
The eight unbeaten boxers in the line-up are aged between 21 and 28 and have had no more than ten paid bouts. They will each receive a guaranteed fee of £2,000 and will not have to sell a single ticket to get paid.
For a fledgling pro that's not on a TV deal with Matchroom or Queensberry, that is a game-changer. Take away the hassle of selling tickets and putting up posters in the local area, promoting their fight endlessly on social media, and the fighters have got an even playing field where they can all get their heads down and focus on their training. The eventual winner will take home £16,000 for winning three times in a two-hour period and have their profile raised overnight, which would normally take around three years to do.
It was way back in 2008 when Eddie Hearn put together the first Prizefighter with eight hungry, obscure heavyweights at the iconic East London venue. It was hugely successful and turned part-time taxi driver Martin Rogan into an overnight star, when he won the trophy and walked away with £25,000 in prize money.
It was followed by another 34 tournaments over the next seven years, and several Prizefighter winners went on to fight for world titles, such as Manchester’s still Terry Flanagan, who aims to become a two-weight world champion in April.
With modern social media campaigns and outlets allowing sport to be more accessible than ever, it's likely the audience will be diverse and not just consisting of core fight fans.
Ben Shalom is the mastermind behind ULTIMATE BOXXER, dreamt up by three former world champions and the likeable Carl Greaves, a boxing promoter, manager and former professional boxer.
The concept is not entirely unique or revolutionary, but it has all the ingredients to be a hit with a big audience, with a sprinkling of their own added spice to make it interesting, exciting and, ultimately, hugely successful.