World Boxing Super Series still has no U.S. TV home, but Richard Schaefer hopeful
LANCASTER, Calif. — The World Boxing Super Series offered some scintillating fights in the quarterfinals, and the semifinals shape up to deliver far better matchups.
Unfortunately, American fans may be shut out from watching the cruiserweight and super middleweight tournaments on television.
There remains no deal in place to showcase the single-elimination tourneys on television, Richard Schaefer told RingTV, but the former Swiss banker is hopeful he’ll be able to consummate something soon.
Some of the quarterfinal matchups were offered to Americans via free stream, with a couple of other bouts broadcast on DirecTV’s Audience network.
With just five bouts left, Schaefer is banking on some network picking up the rights.
“There are a couple of networks interested and hopefully something gets finalized soon,” Schaefer said. “Because the fact is these are amazing matchups. These are some of the best fights you can make in the sport.
“I mean, (Yunier) Dorticos and (Murat) Gassiev must be one of the top, top fights irrespective of weight class you can make. And (Oleksandr) Usyk-(Mairis) Briedis as well, biggest fight for Usyk (so far). I’m hopeful that a network will showcase it and that’s all I can do.”
Gassiev and Dorticos, two massive cruiserweight punchers, will meet in Russia on February 3, with the winner set to fight the victor between Usyk and Briedis in the finals, set for May in Saudi Arabia.
Usyk-Briedis, another battle of big, undefeated punchers takes place one week earlier on January 27 in Latvia.
The super middleweight bracket is less attractive, but Chris Eubank Jr. vs. George Groves promises to deliver action in a truly big British event, set for February 17 in Manchester.
The other 168-pound semifinal bout, Callum Smith vs. Juergen Braehmer, doesn’t have a date or location yet.
With the bout between Usyk and Briedis fast approaching and no TV outlet to showcase it, Schaefer isn’t worried just yet. “You run out of time the night before,” he said.
He remains hopeful a “network with wide distribution will pick it up,” and the license fee being sought for the entire five-fight package is reasonable.
Boxing fans have their fingers crossed as well. The sport has yearned for a tournament of this caliber, and now that it’s here, the disinterest from networks is puzzling to say the least.
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger