What Is Showtime’s Long-Term Plan For Boxing Return?

This past week, Showtime and Premier Boxing Champions announced its return to action in a big way. Stephen Espinoza unveiled a series of fights (nine cards in total) that will be taking place from August to December.

One of Showtime’s last big events was Claressa Shields v. Ivana Habazin. Due to COVID-19, Showtime and PBC had to cancel several fight nights.

“We’re thrilled to announce what we believe is the strongest and most comprehensive schedule in all of boxing. Meaningful fights, competitive matchups. This is what boxing fans have been waiting for ever since the sport shut down in March,” Espinoza stated. “Between that March date, our last event on ShoBox, and August 1 will be 141 days that we’ve been down. Like everyone else, we’ve spent a tremendous amount of time coming up with protocols – but also a tremendous amount of time coming up with this schedule.

“From highly regarded prospects to emerging stars and big-time champions, we put them all in tough matchups. This lineup really delivers on our promise to boxing fans with the biggest fights, the most exciting fights, and the highest quality presentation in the sport. We’re doing nine telecasts with what are unquestionably the most significant fights in the sport since boxing has restarted.”

Before Showtime returned to action, the combat sports world managed to hold events over the past few months. Top Rank has been holding events in Las Vegas since June, while Golden Boy is set to return to action this Friday, July 24. Matchroom will be joining Showtime by hosting events with big-name fighters, whether on the streets of Tulsa or the backyard of Matchroom’s UK office. Showtime will be producing events with Bellator from inside the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.

While many assumed the promotion would slowly make its way back, Showtime announced fight cards featuring Gervonta Davis, the Charlo brothers, David Benavidez, and more.

“We weren’t going to come back just for the sake of coming back,” Espinoza went on to say. “We wanted to come back at a high level with meaningful fights – with fights which would remind the public why they’re excited about the sport of boxing. So, we put together a schedule week after week of competitive fights, with big names, with meaningful fights. Before we know it, this sport is going to be back where it should be in terms of momentum and positive energy.”

For the next five months, Connecticut will see high-profile fights that will look to shape the landscape of the boxing world. Will they get a chance to return to the west coast? Top Rank has been controlling Vegas as well as the UFC, thanks to the Nevada Athletic Commission. The California Athletic Commission just approved of MMA and boxing to return, just before Golden Boy’s return.

Due to several spikes in cases of COVID-19 in both states, Espinoza is playing it safe for now. He believes in due time the promotion will be back home.

“Our initial few fights are going to be at Mohegan Sun,” Espinoza stated to the media this past week. “They’ve been a great host so far, and we expect to work really well with them. Having said that, these (fighters) and the fans want a chance to interact, so we’re going to monitor the situation and try and figure out if there’s an opportunity to go outside of Connecticut, especially in front of a crowd.  As long as we can do it safely.”

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