Does Triller really have a place in Boxing?
By Andy Hayes: In light of this weekend’s showdown between 58-year-old veteran of the ring Evander Holyfield and hard-hitting UFC legend Victor Belfort, I find myself asking the same question I asked when YouTube sensation Jake Paul stepped in the ring only two weeks ago. Does the multimillion-dollar powerhouse network Triller now have a permanent home in the sport of Boxing and more importantly, a place in the heart of boxing fans?
The first question seems to be a lot easier to answer because it certainly already feels like Triller is here to stay and these nights of entertainment centered around a boxing ring are quickly gaining more and more attention. And who better to push forward these nights of entertainment than Hollywood producer and Triller’s main man Ryan Kavanaugh who has a wealth of experience in the entertainment business, however very little in the boxing business.
Kavanaugh has made his views very clear, he’s not here to change boxing as the purists know it, he’s simply there to add something to the sport and approach it from a fresh angle. Celebrity performances, famous commentators and in-ring performers from all walks of life are the recipes for Kavanaugh’s vision and regardless of what boxing fans think, it’s working! When Matchroom Boxing CEO Eddie Hearn took his company to DAZN and started using a streaming platform, he said the aim was to now start reaching out to a wider audience, notably the younger viewers watching their favorite fighter from their mobile phone in their bedroom. Kavanaugh has also discovered this gap in the market, however wants to also expose the viewers to their favorite singer, rapper, UFC fighter, and youtube sensation in the process.
This leads nicely into the second question because it’s Trillers approach to a night of boxing that has existing fans of the sport upset and question whether or not this is good for their beloved boxing. One of the biggest reasons fans are struggling to attach themselves to Triller’s vision is because of the manner in which they’re broadcasting fights, seemingly taking the emphasis off the fighters themselves and deemed to be “not taking themselves or the sport seriously”. Another reason might be the disregard for the potential harm the fighters are likely to incur by stepping into the ring, either for the first time or after many years of previously soaking up damage.
I think boxing fans want this to work because it drives competition, the money thrown at the upcoming Teofimo Lopez v George Kambosos Jr fight demonstrates Triller’s commitment to the sport, with both fighters walking away with more money than they could have ever received elsewhere. The platform is also drawing more and more viewers to the sport which can’t be a bad thing right? Triller’s model will be successful that’s clear to see, however, it will need to rely on fewer fights involving Evander Holyfield and more fights involving Teofimo Lopez for boxing purists to consider tuning in and taking it seriously.
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