SHOWTIME Sports and six of the best super middleweight boxers in the world converged in New York City on Monday to announce an unprecedented new boxing tournament to be presented by SHOWTIME in the United States and throughout the world on various television networks. The inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic is a round-robin, six-fighter tournament featuring the class of the super middleweight division from home and abroad. The world renowned fighters have a staggering combined record of 161-4-1 with 117 knockouts. There are four undefeated fighters, two current world champions, two young, unbeaten, world-ranked contenders and one former undisputed world titleholder.
The field is comprised of IBF middleweight champion Arthur Abraham (30-0, 24 KOs), of Germany, who will move up to challenge at 168, plus U.S. Olympic medalist and top-ranked contender Andre “The Matrix” Dirrell (18-0, 13 KOs) of Flint, Mich., WBC super middleweight champion Carl “The Cobra’’ Froch (25-0, 20 KOs) of England, WBA 168-pound champion Mikkel “Viking Warrior’’ Kessler (41-1, 31 KOs) of Denmark, former undisputed 160-pound world champion Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor (28-3-1, 17 KOs) of Little Rock, Ark., and U.S. Olympic gold medalist and No. 1-ranked contender Andre “S.O.G.’’ Ward (19-0, 12 KOs) of Oakland, Calif.
“The stars have truly aligned,” said Ken Hershman, Senior Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports, who was instrumental in pulling the fighters, managers and promoters together. “It began as an intriguing concept, and through a tremendous amount of hard work on everyone’s part, we are going to pull off one of the most exciting events in boxing history.
“The 168-pound division is the most talent rich in boxing right now. And the Super Six tournament structure will deliver one compelling matchup after another. And to deliver all of this directly to our subscribers on SHOWTIME is a fight fans dream come true. I can’t wait to get started.”
In another unprecedented occurrence, five of the world’s top boxing promoters have collaborated with SHOWTIME Sports to facilitate this epic tournament. Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment, Dan Goossen of Goossen Tutor Promotions, Mick Hennessy of Hennessy Sports, Wilfried and Kalle Sauerland of Sauerland Event, and Gary Shaw of Gary Shaw Productions, LLC will promote the tournament which begins in October 2009 and runs through spring 2011.
The dangerous and talented six fighters have signed on to fight any, and potentially all, of the five other contestants in the tournament. All bouts will be scheduled for 12 rounds. Froch’s WBC title and Kessler’s WBA championship will be on the line at the start of tournament competition.
In the first three Group Stages of the tournament, each fighter faces three different opponents over the next 12 months in a points-based competition.
Scoring will be as follows:
Win – 2 points (with a 1-point KO/TKO bonus)
Draw – 1 point
Loss – 0 points
Based on the point standings after the third Group Stage, the top four point scorers will advance to the Semi-Finals with the lowest two being eliminated. (In the event of a tie on points, a tie-break mechanism is in place)
The Semi-Finals will match the point leader against the fourth place fighter and the second versus the third. (In the event of a draw in the Semi-Final bouts, a tie-break mechanism is in place)
The winners of the respective Semi-Final bouts will advance to the Final, which will be contested in early 2011 for the inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic trophy.
Fights will be contested on both American and European continents. Dates and venues will be announced in the coming weeks. Group Stage 1 matchups are as follows:
GROUP STAGE 1
CARL FROCH vs. ANDRE DIRRELL (for WBC World Championship)
JERMAIN TAYLOR vs. ARTHUR ABRAHAM
MIKKEL KESSLER vs. ANDRE WARD (for WBA World Championship)
Group Stage 2 and 3 matchups will be announced.
For information on all SHOWTIME Sports telecasts, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries from its events and complete information on the Super Six World Boxing Classic, please visit the website at http://www.sports.sho.com