Stars professional boxing are starting to sort things out on the Russian ring. The air smelled big money. Scented this domestic sports management.
In the most prestigious weight category - heavyweight - came the "Slav revolution": Russian Oleg Maskaev captured the world leadership in the WBC, Wladimir Klitschko - champion IBF, Russian Nikolay Valuev and Belarusian Sergei Liakhovich - Former world champion of WBA and WBO respectively. And on the way new stars. As you know, the next contender Wladimir Klitschko fight for the title of world champion heavyweight version of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) can become a Russian athlete - 27-year-old Alexander Povetkin, who does not know defeat is 13 fights - 13 wins. But before you get the right to meet with Klitschko, he and three candidates will hold a tournament together. To begin Russians came into the fight with Chris Byrd in Germany. Site selection is not random: sometimes is much easier to arrange a meeting somewhere in the West than in Moscow, where there is a full experience of similar shows. Meanwhile, the current success of Russian boxers demand and improve the management system. The correspondent of "Itogi" Try to understand Are our sports managers to the new situation and that promises Russia rise of interest in boxing in general.
In the ring and around
According to Victor Rybakov, vice-president of the Amateur Boxing Federation of Russia, in our country, this sport has always been popular. Since the Soviet boxers made their debut at the Olympic Games in Helsinki in 1952, they are not inferior to anyone leading position in amateur boxing. Perhaps the only serious competitor for us was Cuba. Until the 90s thank our fans blared, but professional boxing has not been successful. As there was no normal sports business. And only when the boxers have the opportunity to live, say, in Germany (as did Klitschko), Australia (Kostya Tszyu) or US (Maskaev), went to the first significant achievement and victory. Over the past ten years in the post-Soviet space "sprouted" capitalist relations, and there were many young boxers (the same Valuev, who came from the amateur boxing), which with proper management and are able to hold a full-fledged promotion "clearing».
"Our goal - to make boxing mass and popular," - says "Results" immediate prospects Yury Fedorov, head of Yuri Fedorov Sports Laboratory, held in December 2006, the first battle for the world title of the WBC in Russia (Fyodorov himself, by the way, graduate of the Faculty of GITIS producer, for about ten years in the organization of concerts of international stars). Then, we recall, Oleg Maskaev retained his title, beating Peter Okhello of Uganda. Fedorov said that in Russia there are many talented boxers that can enter the elite in their weight categories.
The country has more than ten years, there is the federation of professional boxing. Engaged in it, however, mainly the formal aspect of the sport: the observance of rules and other international standards, licensing boxers pro referees, judges, security of athletes and so on.. But boxing today, and it is obvious to everyone in the first place is very profitable business. In Russia, everything seems to understand it, but it, nevertheless, is stopped. Cause? "So far in the country do not appear competent, honest promoters capable of, as the Americans say, to build an athlete - to prepare him to pick opponents, that is, make it a superior fighter, the case will not budge," - said Vladimir Gendlin, sports commentator, authoritative expert on boxing.
But the fact that the situation is slowly beginning to change, indisputable fact. At least the same Alexander Povetkin of the country is not going to leave. "Sasha was born and lives in Kursk, trains in the Moscow Chekhov and wants to spend his fights in Russia, - says his manager, Vladimir Hryunov. - The country has a lot of class boxers who also want to always fight in the homeland. " But to move forward, you need to create an infrastructure in Russia, similar to the one that exists in professional boxing in the West, and this ultra-modern training facilities, and the staff of various specialists. Finally, we need to learn how to attract public attention to the fight, said Hryunov.
In America there was a culture of sports spectacles for a long time. "Fights are usually held on Saturdays from 19 to 23 hours. Those who came to the room, want to relax, it is interesting to spend these four hours. That is why it is important to make the match a vivid picture, not just a show - told the "Results" Wladimir Klitschko. - At the boxing all highly realistic, unvarnished. I do not want to offend anyone, but you can play football, hockey, basketball, boxing But do not play! »
The fee statement
"Sometimes you can hear that people have lost interest in boxing. Yes who only dares to say so! "- Outraged Ross Greenburg, head of the TV channel HBO Sports, immediately after the broadcast of the recent fight in Las Vegas for the world title in the junior middleweight title fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Meyuezer. Sixteen thousand tickets at the MGM Grand Arena were sold like hot cakes, for a couple of hours. In the hall gathered, it seems all color of Hollywood: Jack Nicholson, Russell Crowe, Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lopez Fight broke all records that existed until now: and the number of viewers, and the amount of money collected. According to official statistics, on television being watched 2, 15 million people. Each of them has paid for the right to show the fight on the commercial channel Home Box Office (HBO) Sports 54 dollars 95 cents. Revenue from TV sales amounted to thus about 120 million dollars. In fact, the battle saw millions eight - ten viewers, because those who bought the right to watch the system pay per view, watched the fight, of course, not alone, but with friends.
The previous record, by the way, belonged to the infamous Bite Fight - «Boy with a bite" between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, followed by 1, 99 million people. And in London already rumored that after six months Meyuezer and charismatic De La Hoya will gather at the new Wembley Stadium and Manchester, about 60 thousand people, and set a new attendance record with all the attendant consequences for the pocket pros. The victim failed to Las Vegas, Golden Boy, the public's favorite Oscar De La Hoya, was, by the way, an incredible fee - $ 45 million. Pro boxers, though, say they squander money faster than women. That there is a Tyson, who was able to earn in a career of 500 million pounds, and then everything is easy to go down ... Yes there Tyson or De La Hoya: a recent bout with Jose Luis Castillo British star Ricky Hatton easily earn 10, 5 million dollars: 5 5 million was received from the broadcaster HBO, 4 million by Setanta Sports (the company is engaged in broadcasts on the Internet) and another million from various sponsors.
The product under the brand name
It is clear that all these financial gains do not arise out of the blue - professional superstars have a special magnetism that attracts the audience. Yet even the most famous athletes do not exist by themselves - they operate a management company, creating a "product" under the name "Klitschko" or, say, "Hatton." So, in preparation for a fight De La Hoya - Meyuezer the first time in the history of professional boxing on the eve of the fight was shown on TV reality shows, which have become the heroes of the future participants of the battle, their families and coaches. "The ratings on the show exceeded all expectations - admitted Ross Greenburg. - Floyd Meyuezer, for example, met in the studio with his father, who left the family when he was a boy ... »
The role of management in today's boxing great as ever. Most athletes have personal promoters. The most famous among them - American Don King and Bob Arum, the Germans Klaus-Peter Kohl and Wilfried Sauerland, the Englishman Frank Warren. They actually share the 70 percent of the market. The remaining thirty promoters account for a smaller caliber. The number of boxers, working with a particular promoter is different. Klaus-Peter Kohl, for example, more than seventy, Wilfried Sauerland have - a little more than twenty. The promoters, however, do not work alone. Each of them have their own training facilities and a staff of highly qualified assistants. "The Sauerland, for example, even has its stool for rest boxers between rounds, calculated on any weight, including the weight of Nikolay Valuev," - ironically he told Vladimir Hryunov, remembering how to break a recent bout with American Larry Donald in the "Olympic" under Povetkin broken stool.
Five years ago, a promoter Klaus-Peter Kohl worked Klitschko brothers, but then decided to give up its services to as Klitschko said, "everything was exclusively under our control." Continuing on the company of brothers "K2" are eight people: the director, the match-maker, man, pick up a pair of boxing, a lawyer, a press agent, manager in Europe and the United States, seeking, in particular, rooms for fights and attract sponsors. It is not surprising that the sponsorship money in boxing are second only to the proceeds from the sale of television rights and the rights to broadcast on the Internet.
Klitschko brothers have already accumulated considerable experience in organizing fights. "In preparation for this or that battle, everything is important, even the way to the ring and is exposed to the lighting in the room - told the" Results "Wladimir Klitschko. - Before my fight July in Cologne with Lamon Brewster we had left three months. Without wasting a minute, we immediately began working with the media on a massive advertising battle in a radius of 150 kilometers from Cologne installed billboards, announcing the upcoming meeting. The hall was full as a result - nineteen and a half thousand people arranged for tickets from 30 to 850 euro ».
Give only the term
In principle, no special "Russian specificity" in this business there, says CEO Yuri Fedorov Sports Laboratory. "Everything is the same as everywhere: sound, color, lighting - no difference with show business. No problem and gather a full house - 15 thousand spectators, and for this purpose activated standard set of tools - billboards, banners, radio ads, promotions on television. The main thing that was intriguing, but the fight itself - spectacular. " However, unlike the US or Western Europe, where the lion's share of income is the proceeds from the sale of television rights and the rights to broadcast on the Internet, we have a "hierarchy" of other income. In the first place - a ticket program (see the "scuffle" of VIP-orchestra worth 15 to 75 thousand rubles), then sponsorship and only then - the money from the sale of television rights. This rating show in Russia turned out to be quite high: about each of the nine homes watched boxing. The usual fee for Maskaev speech in the US is one and a half million dollars, and to see it in Russia, had to pay twice as much. Ohello earned million (after all, he is given a chance to beat the world champion). The total budget is estimated to match $ 5 million. According to experts, the upcoming October fight Sultan Ibragimov - Evander Holyfield will be twice as expensive.
As in the rest? Give a deadline and all we get, say people who are interested in the development of boxing in the country. There will be promotional company, will have new opportunities for athletes. And then Moscow will act as prestigious as, for example, in Las Vegas. In any case, this should strive for. When properly aligned relationship pro - boxing promoter in Russia can be not only a truly popular national sport, but also one of the most popular sights. Prerequisites for this are. After all, we have always loved, not only to fight wall to wall, but also to watch over those who do it skillfully. And high rating TV show "King of the Ring" perfect proof. Boxing we will love, just do us nicely.