Top Rank Boss Arum On Heavy Travel Sched, ESPN Ratings, Streamers’ Pricing



Top Rank Boss Arum On Heavy Travel Sched, ESPN Ratings, Streamers’ Pricing

Bob Arum gave two thumbs up to the upcoming slate of scraps from his Top Rank, and shared his impressive travel schedule which will bring him all over the globe as bouts unfold in Japan, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and good ole NYC. He also touched on the streaming scene, and compared ESPN+ to competitor DAZN.

The dealmaker went into the forthcoming batch of content from the Las Vegas based promotional body. “Fury versus Usyk (May 18) is real classic fight, Fury is a very hard out,” said Arum, who is looking forward also to trekking to Tokyo with wife Lovee, to see Naoya Inoue do his thing against Luis Nery on May 6. “It’s the first fight in the Tokyo Dome since Mike Tyson, right away tickets sold out, over 50,000 seats sold!”

Top Rank boss Bob Arum talks streamers’ pricing

Sales for Inoue v Nery sold very briskly

Next, after Japan, Arum and Top Rank hit Perth, Australia to take in the Vasiliy Lomachenko against willing but limited George Kambosos. The scrap runs on prime time in the US.

From Australia, Arum will jet to Riyahd, to be on site for Fury-Usyk. Him and the missus will also travel to London, to take in some theater.

The date for the Artur Beterbiev v Dmitriy Bivol is June 1, in Saudi Arabia, and yep, Arum will be there for that.

And he will make it to NY for Puerto Rican Day weekend; on June 8, Top Rank will do an NYC program, likely topped by a Xander Zayas match, with support from Brooklyner Shu Shu Carrington and others.

It struck me that this schedule for Arum resembles the go-go 80s, when networks footed the bill for cards in exotic locales, like Monaco. “Yeah,” Arum agreed, “it’s fun.”

He’s impressed with Riyadh, having been present for the Fury-Ngannou event. “It’s really great, the restaurants are good.” Is it kinda like a Vegas? “Not like Vegas. Very friendly people. Can’t get a drink.”

Tyson Fury congratulates his friend and sparring partner Joseph Parker after his win. Photo: Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing.

Tyson Fury congratulates his friend Joseph Parker after beating Zhang. Arum is psyched to hit Saudi Arabia again, for Fury v Usyk Photo: Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing.

Reefer is a no-no over there, not even gummies allowed. “I have friends, in London, who will replenish me,” Arum said.

Top Rank Boss Bob Arum: We Are Into the Meat of the Schedule

“Everything is good, our Top Rank ratings on ESPN are at an  all time high, our fifth year,” he said. “It’s good that streaming services are very interested in boxing. Netflix doing it, it’s boxing and a live event, the Jake Paul versus Mike Tyson, I think really great for future of sport. Amazon Prime, too, so there’s a lot more boxing.  All the naysayers out there, boxing is one of the leading sports on ESPN+, it shows the strength of boxing. Plus is in 25 million homes, it’s not 200,000 like DAZN.”

We talked about the fact that PPVs aren’t optimal to those of us looking to be frugal to make ends meet.

“Yeah, DAZN at $30 a month,” the Top Rank chief said, “you’re the second boxing person who has brought that up recently.  I met the new head guy Shea Segev and Len Blavatnik,  nice people. Len is a very smart guy, though I don’t understand raising the price. But, he’s smarter than me, he has a lot more money.”

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.