World Series franchise plan unveiled

Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:54pm EST
 
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By Mark Meadows

MILAN (Reuters) - Amateur boxing is attempting to steal a march on the professional ranks by launching a World Series from late 2010 which will pit franchise teams against each other in a league format.

Officials want to spice up boxing and find new audiences and funding by making it look more like a team sport.

With professional boxing splintered because of the array of different governing bodies and weight classifications, the amateur version hopes the new World Series of Boxing (WSB) can strike a chord with disaffected fans.

In Milan last week, the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) signed a World Series agreement with sports marketing agency IMG.

"There has already been a lot of work put into the World Series of Boxing and this illustrates the confidence both AIBA and IMG have in the WSB and with each other in making the project a great success," AIBA President Ching-Kuo Wu told AIBA executive committee members.

"Now we look forward to an exciting two years ahead building up to the launch."

The proposal has not been finalized but the idea is to have 12 franchise teams, each made up of 12 fighters, who will contest 'matches' consisting of a set number of bouts.

Teams from across the world will be grouped into American-style conferences, which may be split up by continent.   Continued...

 
<p>Alexey Tishchenko (top) of Russia punches Daouda Sow of France during their lightweight (60kg) final boxing match at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, in this August 24, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won/files</p>