Saudi Arabia Eyeing A Boxing Takeover

The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) is having talks to create a boxing league, with boxing fans worried its impact.

Reports indicate the Saudis have begun discussions with Matchroom Boxing and Golden Boy Promotions over a $4-5 billion deal. The aim is to allow the best fights, with the PIF having a minority stake. The news would shake up the boxing industry, which is currently governed by the four main sanctioning bodies: the IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO.

“PIF is looking to invest in a joint venture with some of the sport’s stakeholders that would feature more boxing bouts. PIF wants to create a venture that would bring the main sport’s organizers together,” source

The proposal has several implications. It could lead to a centralized system like the UFC, creating a monopoly. It may ruin the traditional, decentralized model where diverse promoters and grassroot organizations contribute to the sport’s accessibility. This new league could also marginalize smaller promoters who need more financial clout to compete.

Moreover, the focus on high-profile, financially lucrative fights risks sidelining emerging talents and competitive matchups that don’t promise immediate profitability, thereby diluting the sport’s competitive integrity. It could also reduce the frequency and variety of fights.

Promoters may prioritize blockbuster events over consistent, grassroots-level competitions that are vital for the sport’s development and for nurturing new talent. With more fights going to Saudi Arabia, fans can see fewer of their favorite fighters live. Former Unified Super Middleweight Champion/Hall of Famer Carl Froch has expressed concern about Saudi Arabia’s involvement in boxing.

“It’s being ruined by Saudi Arabia at the minute. The money’s killing it. There’s a lot of money floating around and not enough getting put back into grassroots boxing, and not enough going into the aftercare of boxing and retired fighters and injured fighters. Some of the hundreds of millions being invested could go to the [British Boxing] Board of Control and be used to look after fighters,” Froch said 

The news has also gotten many fans concerned.

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