World Boxing Super Series boss Kalle Sauerland tells Umbreen Khan why the Regis Prograis vs Josh Taylor card is well worth paying for
Often, when a show is announced to take place on a Box Office platform, the confirmation sparks a by-now common debate regarding just what constitutes a pay-per-view event. These discussions have been rare since this Saturday’s Matchroom card at the O2 was scheduled for Sky Sports Box Office. So mouthwatering is the Regis Prograis vs Josh Taylor main event – two unbeaten world champions unifying in their prime and in the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament – that few would have complained had the undercard been somewhat lacking. The supporting cast is far from disappointing however, with Dereck Chisora vs David Price, Ricky Burns vs Lee Selby and Lawrence Okolie challenging for a European title, to name just three intriguing clashes. It has left fans in little doubt about the value of the bill, and WBSS head honcho Kalle Sauerland agrees with them.
“I mean it’s one of those ones which has a lot of components to it,” Sauerland explains. “You’ve got the depth of the card, obviously you know Burns vs Selby on the undercard and the co-feature in Chisora vs Price, which is one of those heavyweight fights that just generally creates huge interest. Everyone knows David, of course you know both big British names, there’s only one that can go on from this fight and put themselves in line for a world title shot, so the loser will walk away, probably go into retirement.
“I think it’s a massive co-feature and of course the main event itself which normally would have been in the States, so you have to look at the economics of boxing, you want to do something over here, you’re always going to have to use the pay-per-view element to it and you know you’re attracting a real Fight of the Year contender which normally you’d see in Vegas, so you know I think it’s great news we got it to London. It’s the caviar of boxing, two undefeated guys, they’ve come here beating world champions, they’ve come a long way in the last year, getting through two very tough fights, quarter-finals and semi-finals to get here of course and it doesn’t get bigger than that. You know for both guys, there’s so much at stake and ultimately the greatest prize in boxing we believe in the Ali Trophy which crowns the best in the division.”
One of the most common criticisms of boxing’s place on pay-per-view in the UK is that many fans already pay a significant monthly fee for the various subscription channels that show the sport. While Sauerland sympathises, he also believes this model is indicative of the evolution of media consumption as a whole.
“I’m not a UK promoter so I can’t answer those questions but I can tell you I also have a subscription at home,” Kalle says. “And unfortunately in a day and age when you don’t go to your video shop anymore, you buy a film online, you buy content online, you don’t really watch TV anymore do you? You know whether you’re buying it in terms of Netflix or whether you’re buying it in terms of the Sky service, I don’t know what you’re paying at the moment in the UK for a football package and what boxing costs on top, but what I would say is that it is commonplace now that you pay for not just boxing content but any content that you watch on TV, whether it’s through subscription or another service; that’s the future.”