FRIDAY, December 24th, 1999, 12:00 PM
The Time Is NOW For KICKBOXING & TV!
By Steve Fossum IKF President
As we approach 2000, it's clear to see that if there were ever a time for any TV to get involved in Kickboxing, That time is NOW! If there were ever an Organization to associate with for ANY TV Programing, that Organization is the IKF.
OK, so you say I only say this because I'm part of the IKF WORLD TEAM ? Well sure, some of that's true. However the fact is, is that we on the IKF WORLD TEAM have built an organization that "WILL" be the first ever WWF (In terms of popularity and marketing) of KICKBOXING!
I don't just say this to give the IKF points, I say this with supported facts.
#1: The IKF has clearly built a STRONG Worldwide Organization.
#2: The IKF is Organized!
#3: The IKF is Recognized around the globe.
#4: The IKF is Credible to it's peers in the sport and the fans.
#5: The IKF is the ONLY organization with updated Rankings weekly.
#6: The IKF is the ONLY organization offering current NEWS on a news page!
#7: The IKF web page is the most active page in kickboxing today.
#8: The IKF web page offers more to EVERYONE than ANY other Kickboxing web page today.
#9: The IKF has more promoters WORLDWIDE than Any other organization today.
#10: The IKF sanctions more events around the world than ANY other organization in the World.
There are so many more points to consider but I'll stop there since 10 is a nice round number. The IKF has been built by a dedicated group of kickboxing people around the world which make up the IKF WORLD TEAM. From fighters and trainers to promoters and fans, heck, even the critics of the sport have helped us out in pointing out things we needed to improve on, which we have always done. The IKF today has clearly become "THE" Organization for the Sport of Kickboxing WORLDWIDE.
We've always been a FIGHTERS Organization first and a Sanctioning Body Next. However over the years, we've also become a FANS Organization as well offering updated news and events, rankings and an unmatched worldwide events schedule. We're now a Fans organization as well, and the fans have spoke to us and said, "When will we see IKF Kickboxing on TV?
That Time "WILL" Come In 2000!
It's clear to many in the general media and TV industry that fight fans are looking for a new Ring Sport! Although Kickboxing has been said to have had it's best days back in the 70's and 80's with the old PKA Programing, that old thought has long been thrown out the window with other old time concepts.
For years, Boxing has been the #1 Ring Sport but as you can read from a recent article at the bottom of this post, boxing is now fighting it's own battle against the ropes in it's final round, down on all the judges score cards. Will Boxing make a comeback? Sure it will to some extent. It will ALWAYS be a sport for many to watch. However, the talk of Fixed Fights, FBI investigations and Overpaid Purses are just a few of the complaints many think about when the sport is talked about in circles around the world. These are things Kickboxing has never faced like boxing has.
Sure, we can see Kickboxing on ESPN 2. However, Board Breaking and Karate Demos have been more exciting the last few years than the fights on those programs. But I won't spend time here slamming the ol Strike Force program. It doesn't need me to do that anymore. With underpaid fighters and commentators that just DON'T Know the Sport OR the Fighters. Then we sit there and listen to them make the most ridiculous comments. It's time for a change and in 2000, as the car company DODGE has been saying here in the USA,
"The Rules Have Changed!"
In the past, those promoters seeking Cable PPV events have always lost money in the end. Another major flaw of those big time Cable PPV events is the promoters making purse promises they can't keep. Like other failed sports groups, their main cause of failure was "Overpaying It's Talent." Talent that hasn't sold tickets since only those in kickboxing know about them. We need these fighters to be seen more so they can become celebrities to many! Now I'm not saying I don't want to see kickboxers getting those million dollar purses, this is far from my thoughts. My point is one that promoters such as Duke Roufus, Rob Zbilski and others along with me have discussed many times before. It seems when kickboxing finds a promoter with some money, (Mass Destruction for example) they overpay some of the talent rather than try to look at the BIG PICTURE and build a foundation for future events.
Looking back at the Mass Destruction event which we now call the Mass LEARNING event, for the $150,000.00 that Don Wilson received for spanking Dick Kimber around in Massachusetts and the $50,000 that Dick Kimber received for his short performance, the promoters could have promoted "4" "GREAT" events. Heck, many promoters could have promoted "8" events with that money and STILL paid some good purses to fighters, then they could have promoted the next event from the first one and still have plenty of money left over for more events.
The problem is, is that past kickboxing events have NEVER BUILT any true STARS of Kickboxing like boxing has. We don't see any kickboxers doing commercials. Or talk shows, special appearances etc. Even stars "WE" in the business know have proved over and over again that they don't sell PPV shows. They include Rick Roufus (PKA Promotions, K-1 & Mass Destruction), Stan Longinidis(Mass Destruction), Dannie Steele(Draka), Curtis Schuster(K-1), Maurice Smith(Draka), Dennis Alexio (PKA Promotions & WMAC Las Vegas) and Don Wilson (Draka & Mass Destruction) and the list goes on and on. And these are SUPPOSE to be the sports BIG DRAWS? WHERE? On EVERY Kickboxing Cable PPV event, the numbers were TERRIBLE! Why? Because people want to KNOW what they're buying and the general public, or I should say, the general fans of the sport simply don't know these fighters.
So WHY do kickboxing promoters keep insisting on PPV? Who knows. It's been proven to be a DEAD HORSE! We need to get these fighters known to the public before we get big numbers PAYING for PPV to see them fight. The answer is NETWORK TV! Boxing started there. Wrestling started there. Kickboxing WAS there before the organizers of the sanctioning body involved all got greedy and lost their deal. This is something WE WILL NOT ALLOW with the IKF! Our concern is the fighters growth in terms of purses, exposure and sponsorship. The IKF is a SANCTIONING BODY, "NOT" a "Promotional Company. This is a TOTAL Conflict of Interest! that YES, that OTHER Group is doing now. We'll organize the events, help put everything together etc., but we want to see the fighters getting better purses and the promoters getting financial assistance for their events and TV gets GREAT PROGRAMING. This way EVERYONE WINS!
When we bring Kickboxing to the general public through IKF Kickboxing, the show will have some ZING to it as well. Our commentators will be able to HOLD the audience with FACTS from studying the fighters background and styles, not false opinions from their lack of kickboxing knowledge of the sport or those individuals fighting like we hear now on ESPN 2.
In the case of Mass Destruction again, Promoters didn't know what they should pay. They were talked into promoting the event by some other people who told them they were getting a good deal... (Wilson for $150K and Kimber for $50K...) However SHAME on the Promoters for stiffing the other fighters who STILL have not been paid yet. We've seen this same scenario happen in the past. Overpriced purses and fighters left without their pay, Draka, WMAC Las Vegas and many others. Mass Destruction wasn't the first time, but it was the first time for an IKF sanctioned event and it will be the LAST!. It was a valuable lesson learned on promoters purses and fighters pay "BEFORE" the event even starts.
In 2000, THINGS WILL CHANGE! The IKF "WILL" bring a new light to the sport of kickboxing with IKF Kickboxing Events. There will finally be ANOTHER show to watch. However our programing will LEARN from the mistakes others have made;
*Our programs will have great commentating with individuals who KNOW the sport.
*Our programing will feature MANY GREAT Fighters from all over the World.
*Creativity will be a key in our productions as well as it is with the WWF programs for example or K-1. There will be some Zing in the productions.
*Our programs will feature GREAT FIGHTS, not one sided fights to protect local draws.
*Our programs will have special features on fighters, trainers and even promoters so these people become known to their audience.
These are just a few things planned with our program along with exciting graphics, fighter stats and other things. It's AMAZING the talent that's out there around the world. Talent that NEEDS to be promoted in the best way by the best form of media in the world today, TV! So, are you Excited? Well, we sure are because once again, watch out kickboxing fans...
"The Rules Have Changed!"
Here's that BOXING Article we spoke of above...
Found at this link: CLICK HERE
Fri Dec 24 03:05:54 1999 PT
Another year, another series of disappointments for boxing
By Anthony Mormile - SportsTicker Boxing Editor
JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY (TICKER) -- The heavyweight title was unified for the first time in seven years. Oscar de la Hoya and Felix Trinidad met in the most anticipated non-heavyweight fight in 15 years. Fernando Vargas and Floyd Mayweather Jr. remained unbeaten.
Yet it was still a terrible year for boxing.
After a lackluster 1998 in which nearly every expert pointed to 1999 as a pivotal year for the sport, boxing once again failed to deliver. Sure, there were great fights such as Shane Mosley's thrilling debut as a welterweight, Vargas' war with Winky Wright and matchups between Erik Morales and Wayne McCullough and Paulie Ayala and Johnny Tapia. But for the most part, the hyped fights failed to live up to the billing.
Anytime you have a heavyweight title unification fight it should generate excitement. Throw in one of the most popular champions of all time in Evander Holyfield and the sport was able to garner mainstream media attention. But when Holyfield met England's Lennox Lewis on March 13, fans were treated to an example of everything that is wrong with the sport.
A very old-looking Holyfield clearly was dominated by the younger Lewis, outjabbed throughout the entire contest. But as Holyfield appeared ready to fade into retirement, Lewis let him off the hook.
The result should have been a lopsided victory, only the judges at ringside scored the bout a draw. Another mystifying result that was deemed so egregious by the public that governmental investigations were launched.
Fans felt cheated and when Lewis and Holyfield met again in November, interest was nowhere near as great. Holyfield was a tad more competitive but Lewis did enough to earn a close -- and boring -- 12-round decision.
Styles make fights and while Lewis and Holyfield did not mesh, then certainly the matchup between Trinidad and de la Hoya would provide fans with a memorable moment. Wrong again.
De la Hoya chose to box from the outside, keeping Trinidad at bay most of the fight. However, a calculated error by de la Hoya's corner resulted in him becoming too cautious too soon and Trinidad eked out a narrow decision to add the WBC title to his IBF belt -- and deal the "Golden Boy" his first career loss.
The controversial decision called for an immediate rematch but de la Hoya's and Trinidad's management teams have yet to find common ground.
Of course, controversy and boxing have one common denominator -- Mike Tyson. The former undisputed champion added another chapter to his sordid story when his bout with Orlin Norris was ruled a no-contest when Tyson hit Norris after the bell to end the first round.
The bout was halted, disarray ensued and Tyson's $8.7 million purse was withheld pending an investigation. Once the biggest draw in the history of pay-per-view, Tyson's star has plummeted so far that his next fight will take place in England against little-known Julius Francis.
The year also had its share of tragedy as Stephan Johnson died as the result of head injuries suffered in the ring on November 20. Former heavyweight contender Jerry Quarry also died this year, passing away from pugilistic dementia on January 3 at the age of 53.
"We offer our deepest sympathy to his family, his fiancee, her children and their friends," Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said of Johnson. "Stephan should not be remembered as someone who died fighting, but as someone who lived to fight."
As it always has, boxing moved on, providing memorable battles and thrilling moments. Vargas headed that list with his continued emergence from the shadow of de la Hoya.
The IBF junior middleweight champion put aside legal troubles to run his record to 18-0 with 17 knockouts by winning three times in 1999. He had an 11th-round TKO of Raul Marquez in July and survived a war with Wright earlier this month.
He will continue to draw mainstream attention and a bout with former WBA welterweight champion Ike Quartey on tax day in 2000 should push him further to the forefront.
Another fighter that enjoyed a highly successful 1999 was WBC super featherweight champion Mayweather. He posted wins over Carlos Rios, Justin Juko and Carlos Gerena and set himself up for some potentially big paydays in 2000.
No fighter put himself in position for a bigger 2000 than Mosley, who posted a pair of knockout victories before vacating his IBF lightweight title to move up 12 pounds and join the talent-laden welterweight division. He debuted with a 10th-round knockout of Wilfredo Rivera in mid-September to improve to 33-0 with 31 knockouts.
The victory put Mosley in line for a June pay-per-view date with de la Hoya. That fight, which is expected to take place in Los Angeles, is sure to draw major attention and dollars. One fighter who has no problem drawing attention is unified light heavyweight champion Roy Jones. The crossover star posted a second-round knockout in front of his hometown Florida fans in January, then unified the titles with a victory over Reggie Johnson in June.
While he has suffered from not having an opponent with a big name in the weight class, Jones remains atop most pound-for-pound rankings by thoroughly dominating lesser competition.
The sport heads to the new year with a number of undefeated champions, including cruiserweight champions Juan Carlos Gomez (WBC) and Vassili Jirov (IBF). Super middleweight champions Byron Mitchell and Germans Markus Beyer and Sven Ottke all are unbeaten, as is former Olympic hero David Reid (14-0).
Next year promises to have some big matchups as Trinidad has Reid and a possible rematch with de la Hoya in his sights. Mosley, Mayweather and Vargas all will continue to make waves, WBC "Prince" Naseem Hamed likely will be thrust into some more attractive bouts and the heavyweight picture can not get any worse.
Then again, fans of boxing should have learned from this year never to set their hopes too high.
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