Chinese Fighter Making Pro Debut

Published on Author caplan

The WSJ has a very cool article about boxing and its emergence in China.  I already wrote an article about foreign investment and China’s attempt at creating a super league for soccer (and their failure to do so).  While soccer requires commitment from a fan base by going to numerous games and buying the teams’ jerseys, boxing can be followed more passively.  The promoter, the well-known Bob Arum, believes that boxing will successfully grow in China in the coming years.  On Saturday China’s best boxer will be fighting in a fight that “will be the most-watched telecast in the professional sport’s history.”  Pay-per-view fights in america often draw mainstream news attention for the large fights.  People watch the fight or the highlights of the fight and then forget about boxing until the next blockbuster fight.  It will be interesting to see where China goes from here.  This fight is being aired for free in China, presumably to try and muster up a following.  I don’t think the model of charging $60 for a fight will work in China but will pay-per-view style boxing matches work in China?  They very well could seeing as there are so many people; the promoters could charge lower prices and still make a ton of money.

I think that boxing is indicative of the changes that China is going through as a country.  Mao outlawed boxing during his reign and like a number of markets and activities, the regulations have been relaxed in the past couple of decades.  It really goes to show the crazy effects of globalization.  A Chinese fighter will fight in Macau after training in Las Vegas to fight Eleazar Valenzuela, a Mexican. Boxing truly is a global sport and we’ll see if China’s most marketable sports individual will shine come Saturday.

3 Responses to Chinese Fighter Making Pro Debut

  1. It’s interesting to know that Mao didn’t allow boxing during his time. While I don’t think this can be considered a monumental change in China, it certainly is symbolic to say the least. China is undergoing changes and slowly integrating more aspects of a market economy into their system. Hopefully this effect of globalization will spread throughout the rest of the country.

  2. This is a very interesting article. I agree that The pay-per-view model will not work in China. If they try to integrate this, I feel like the sport will die before it even gains a large following. I do see the sport being very popular, and China such a large population.

  3. Are kick-boxing and other Asian-derived fighting sports aired on Chinese TV? Second, are satellite and cable important? (I don’t know – there is satellite TV but I don’t know whether ppv is available, it would in principle require a foreign exchange transaction and it might also run afoul of censors, so I suspect not, but don’t know.)

    If the former, then there’s a certain base. If not for the latter, then straight advertising has to foot the bill, or carry the hit.