THE future of Australian boxing will be showcased on Wednesday night, when Tim Tszyu headlines his first pay-per-view card at The Star.
The national title fight, which pits the unbeaten Sydney-resident against Melbourne slugger and reigning titleholder, Joel Camilleri, could usher in the start of a new era for televised fights featuring Australian combatants.
A six-fight card, put together by regarded promotional firm No Limit Boxing, forms a wider broadcasting model with plans to take the sport to new heights domestically, according to leading media authority, Ben Damon.
“Tim and his promoter have an aggressive strategy to not only propel him into major events, but world title fights as well,” Damon told Aus-Boxing.
“They also have a plan to invest the Australian sporting public in his journey. By starting with this difficult Australian title fight against the more experienced Joel Camilleri, they are inviting the fans in at the ground floor.
“If the journey can live up to their expectations, Tim’s fights will soon be must-watch television, and we’re all in for a remarkable ride.”
By its own nature, professional boxing in Australia is a segmented industry, often with many floating parts.
This includes a difficulty from a promotional perspective to match fights between the best fighters in the country, primarily due to a lack of coverage and funds to adequately compensate the athletes.
As Damon reveals, the pay-per-view model enables promoters to strengthen their cards with a platform unlike any other in the country.
“We’re a sport without a centralised governing body and as a result we don’t have the luxury of being supported by a TV rights deal like the footy codes and other sports,” he explained.
“Good fights are expensive to make, and that money needs to come from somewhere.
“Sponsorship and ticket sales play their part while pay-per-view sales provide promoters with the finance to create the match-ups we all want to see.
“Further, the pay-per-view system gives viewers the power. They can choose to buy or not to buy – to support or to abandon – so the pressure is firmly on the promoter/s and Main Event to create great fights and quality shows that attract an audience.”
In a small industry, with occupants that are equally compact by comparison, athletes and promoters alike are required to work together for the greater good.
This includes catering to a wider sporting audience, which perhaps has an appetite for boxing beyond the traditional combatant, culminating in fights between athletes from other sporting codes.
Although controversial, the amalgamation produces an end product that proves to be mutually beneficial for all parties involved, including the more traditional and colloquial boxing audience.
“The modern crop of Australian promoters understand that, for the good of boxing, big fights need good undercards,” he concluded.
“Whatever the fight is that’s attracting the audience should be supported by bouts that give that audience the best glimpse into the quality of Australian boxing. That’s how we build the sport.
“Boxers need exposure to build their brand and to be in a position of power as they seek to develop their careers. There’s no greater exposure than televised shows, particularly Main Event broadcasts.”
Photo: Marty Camilleri