Power is everything in most walks of life – and boxing is no different – but who are the most influential people when it comes to the noble art?
It’s a fascinating question, and one that will incite raging debate on social media and beyond. It’s also something that can change very quickly.
The hugely respected UK publication Boxing News has provided its take on what the balance of power in the fight game looks like right now – and it is absolutely fascinating (full list is available in its subscription-based digital edition).
There are a number of major lines coming out of it – notably that Matchroom Boxing supremo Eddie Hearn – with the financial might of global streaming platform DAZN right behind him – is only #5 on the Boxing News list, which is hot off the press this week.
Hearn BEHIND Warren
Just to add salt into Hearn’s wounds, the Essex fight game magnate is behind arch rival Frank Warren, whose Queensberry Promotions of course look after one Tyson Fury among others. Warren of course was the trailblazer who really kicked off Saudi Arabia’s incredible ‘Riyadh Season’ with that Fury vs Francis Ngannou crossover event last October.
So if Hearn and Warren aren’t fighting for the top spot in the Boxing News list, who is at #1? Like we said, things can change fast in boxing and nothing changes it as fast as money. Unsurprisingly then your current ‘most influential’ person in boxing is none other than one Turki Alalshikh.
Chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, Alalshikh is the man behind the kingdom’s major move into boxing and the superfights we are seeing thick and fast.
Why Turki Alalshikh tops the list
He is bringing promoters together to make the fights which were previously impossible – first we had Fury vs Ngannou and then that INCREDIBLE ‘Day of Reckoning’ card which featured Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. Next up we get Joshua vs Ngannou in March followed by the rescheduled unification fight which puts Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk.
Then on June 1 we get that 5 vs 5 Hearn vs Warren showdown card, which now has an amazing main event – the long-awaited light-heavyweight unification between Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol. Astonishing stuff.
Legendary boxing trainer Teddy Atlas just this week hailed the way Alalshikh has made Saudi Arabia a ‘Costco for boxing’ – bringing together all of the distributors (promoters) and their products (fighters) under one roof.
So what about the rest of the top 10 on that Boxing News list? Well after Alalishikh we have veteran Top Rank supremo Bob Arum at 2, followed by his Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) rival Al Haymon at 3. Then it is Warren and Hearn at 4 and 5.
At #6 we have the first boxer on the power list – Mexican superstar ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. A man so powerful now that he doesn’t need a promoter and operates as a free agent able to get the best deal on a fight-by-fight basis. Like Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr before him.
Number 7 on the list is ESPN President of Content Burke Magnus – who is key to the ‘Worldwide Leader’ and its boxing strategy – notably the major deal with Arum and Top Rank. At 8 we have Usyk’s manager Egis Klimas, who hit the headlines for that spat with Fury only this week.
The top 10 is rounded off by Golden Boy Promotions head honcho Oscar De La Hoya at 9, and Fury’s manager Spencer Brown at 10.