The Globalization of Boxing

By Tom Donelson
Updated: May 17, 2005

NEW YORK — Joe Calzaghe is the world recognized best Super Middleweight fighter and he is from England. One of the Heavyweight leading contenders is a Nigerian fighter named Samuel Peters and Mexican fighters dominate many of the lower weight divisions .

Boxing is an international sport and the Junior Welterweight division is the perfect example of the globalization of Boxing.

Kostya Tszyu is the king of the 140- pound hill and he is from Australia by the way of the former Soviet Empire. Vivian Harris is a native of Guyana, who presently resides in New York. Arturo Gatti is Canadian.

Least I forget; Britain has Junior Witter and Rick Hatton. The leading American fighter is Floyd Mayweather, Jr. These are the top 140 pound fighters in the world.

With the decline of United States Amateur programs and the end of the cold war, boxing has seen an influx of foreign fighters from behind the Iron Curtain. Many European fighters earn a good living fighting in Europe and find that they don’t need to go to the glaring lights of Vegas to earn the big money.

Ricky Hatton sells out every time he fights in Manchester and Tszyu is defending his championship in Hatton’s backyard simply because that is where the money is. Why would Hatton fight in America when he can make as much money fighting Tszyu in his back yard? Frank Maloney is one of boxing premier promoters and his influence has strengthened British boxing. His stable includes Hatton and Calzaghe.

For many years, the Klitschko brothers fought in Germany to full houses before coming to the United States and many of boxing’s best still toil in Europe. Some of world’s best boxing is happening overseas and at the moment, boxing has yet to figure out how to market it’s worldwide appeal. As boxing is losing its appeal in America, it is going through a revival in Europe and in the States; boxing remains strong among Hispanic fans.

In division from lightweight on down, Mexican fighters dominate many of the rankings and various world championship. Interesting enough, many Mexican fighters have adopted United States boxing style to augment their straight ahead Mexican style.

Juan Marquez is a slick boxer and Erik Morales defeated Manny Pacquiao by boxing and fighting from the outside. As boxing becomes more globalize, many styles become infuse with each other.

Many Europeans bring a technical skill derived from years of amateur fighters and many Mexican brings an aggressive go for broke style that excites boxing fans. Fuse these styles with American boxing skills and you have a new boxing phenomenon.

Boxing is going through a transition. The big money is still located in the United States due to the PPV market. However, the day that a fighter needs come to the States to make the big money is over.

Many Europeans can sharpen their skills and make even more money fighting in Europe as oppose to scrambling up the boxing ladder in America. While America is still the needed step to hit the upper elites and the big dollars, many leading European fighters just as Middleweight contender Felix Sturm learned their trade in Europe.

Europe is challenging America when it comes to boxing. European promoters like Frank Maloney has established their own stable of excellent fighters and they have learn to promote those fighters to full houses in England and on the continent. Boxing is going international.