World Boxing Super Series chooses divisions

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The cruiserweight and super middleweight divisions will be the focus of the forthcoming World Boxing Super Series, organizers announced Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Comosa AG announced plans for two eight-man single-elimination tournaments in which 16 fighters will divvy up $50 million in prize money with the winner of each tournament also receiving the Muhammad Ali trophy.

However, when the plans for the tournaments were unveiled in March by promoters Richard Schaefer and Kalle Sauerland, who were enlisted by Comosa AG to promote the event, the divisions in which they would be contested had not yet been decided.

Now they have been.

“We are thrilled to kick off the World Boxing Super Series in style with two of the sport’s most exciting divisions,” said Roberto Dalmiglio, head of Comosa AG’s management board. “The tournament will create never-seen before drama for fans around the globe.”

Initially, the promoters were making plans to put on the tournaments at super middleweight and junior middleweight but ultimately decided to go with the underexposed but exciting cruiserweight division over the junior middleweights.

“The cruiserweights and super middleweights have time and time again thrown up thrilling contests, but nobody has ever pitted the top fighters against each other in a fan-friendly, easy-to-understand way within a short period of time,” Schaefer said. “Our revolutionary KO tournament will take less than a year and deliver the crème de la crème in these weights with a blend of past, present and future from the world’s finest fighters.”

The tournaments are supposed to kick off in September with quarterfinal matches in each weight class. The semifinals will take place in early 2018, and the finals are scheduled for May 2018.

The field of boxers has not been determined, but Sauerland said that is next on the agenda now that the weight divisions have been selected.

“We have an exciting format, two exciting divisions and now we will sign exciting fighters,” said Sauerland, who was deeply involved in Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic, an eight-man round-robin super middleweight tournament that ran from 2009 to 2011 and crowned Andre Ward as the winner. “These weights give a great opportunity for us to deliver a huge geographic spread. On top of that, I can imagine champions and challengers from other divisions, such as light heavyweight, stepping up or down in weight to join the quest for the Ali Trophy.”

Tournament organizers have set Monday as the start date to sign fighters for the tournaments with the hopes that titleholders and contenders will apply, which would seem like a good bet considering the amount of money available to participants and the fact that their promoters will not have to turn over any future rights to the fighters once the tournaments are over.

Comosa AG said that “enrollment closes on May 26. All applicants will be verified and evaluated by the board of Comosa. The Comosa Sports Division will then contract eight fighters per weight class as well as potential back-ups. In early July, Comosa will stage an official presentation gala in Monte Carlo to publicly announce all 16 participants and determine the draw. In each weight class, the four top seeds will select their quarterfinal opponents from the four unseeded boxers in a live TV show.”

The promoters’ plan is to hold half of the 14 cards in venues in the United States with the other half taking place elsewhere in the world, though Europe will be the focus. Sauerland and Schaefer said television rights to the tournament have been sold around the world, although no American broadcaster has come on board yet. However, Showtime, which has been in talks with Comosa AG, is the probable U.S. outlet, according to the promoters and network.

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