India is fast becoming the hub for commercial sports leagues. Next on the cards is a league for boxing – the Super Boxing League. The league, being scheduled from July 7 to August 12, is being promoted by two-time world champion boxer Amir Khan and Indian-origin British businessman Bil Dosanjh, who is among the promoters of the other combat sport, mixed martial art Super Fight League in India.
The SBL, being launched in association with international boxing association’s AIBA Pro Boxing (APB), will be a franchise-based model. The League will comprise eight franchisees, each team will have six players – five male and one female – with a backup another six boxers. There will be competitions in six different weight categories with bouts of 4 rounds of 3 minutes each. The league will have a unique point scoring system — similar to SFL — which is being introduced for the first time in the history of professional boxing wherein a boxer can claim six points for knock-out, according to an Economic Times report.
“India has always done well in boxing, and yet after 11 leagues (there may be more), we don’t have a boxing league in India. We see a big opportunity here. And while sports like MMA and boxing are individual sports, we have found good success in making SFL a team sport. We are doing the same with boxing, turning it into a team sport,” ET quoted Dosanjh as saying.
Dosanjh, in association of Khan, can create a history for the business of leagues in India. If they manage to pull of SBL, the duo will become the first to create two sporting leagues in India. If promoted well, there is a market for combat sports in India.
Sony Pictures Networks India has reportedly signed a broadcast deal with SBL. The bouts will be contested on Friday, Saturday and Sunday every week. Sony will air live action on Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD between 7 pm and 9 pm prime time. The bouts will also be streamed live on Sony Liv.
The promoters, as part of their marketing strategy, are also planning to set up pro boxing gyms -12 Rounds. The gyms will enable fans and aspiring boxers to interact with the SBL players, train with them and learn from them.