IBF China, LeSports ink PPV deal in Beijing

By Lu Wen’ao Source:Global Times Published: 2016-5-23 23:53:01

The International Boxing Federation's (IBF) China branch signed a five-year online broadcasting deal with LeSports on Monday, as the IBF holds its convention this week in Beijing.

After the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight in May last year, which saw the duo bag $410 million in revenue in online views, LeSports wants to cultivate China's own pay-per-view system.

But developing professional boxing in China still faces an uphill climb as the world's most-populated country doesn't have a reigning world champion.

However, IBF President Daryl Peoples said he is very optimistic with the Chinese branch's development.

"There's a lot of potential boxers in China, we just want to give those boxers the opportunity to fight professionally," Peoples told the Global Times. "There's great talent here, we got big plans in China. It is developing faster than I thought."

The convention will climax with four bouts Wednesday night, including one where China's Xiong Chaozhong will be vying for a chance to challenge for a world title.

Xiong was mini-flyweight world champion in 2012 but lost the title in 2014. He has vowed to fight back for a world championship, saying he is "well-prepared" than in 2012 before he fought against Javier Martinez Resendiz of Mexico.

Xiong, 33, ranks third in the IBF mini-flyweight ranking and will face eighth-placed Jose Jimenez of Colombia in the IBF world 105-pound (47.6-­kilogram) elimination bout on Wednesday.

Female boxer Cai Zongju will also take the stage Wednesday night against Samson Burmas. A win for Cai would raise hopes that a Chinese woman could challenge for the IBF mini-flyweight title.

In the marquee match, IBF world flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand will face John Casimer of the Philippines.

Ruenroeng stopped another Chinese world title hopeful when he beat China's former Olympic champion Zou Shi­ming in Macao last year.

"It may take a little bit more time before you see big stars emerging from China, but there's a great amount of talent here, I suspect the next two or three years we will have more than one person fighting for the world title," Peoples said.

IBF is not the first world major boxing organizing body to hold its convention in China.  The WBA staged its annual meeting in Chengdu in 2007 while the WBC held one in Kunming last year.

Posted in: Boxing

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