Although the World Boxing Super Series has not had much of an impact in the United States in the first season, the second season has arrived with much more anticipation and is already a game-changer for the sport of boxing, according to Richard Schaefer.
Schaefer spoke with Fightful and mentioned the World Boxing Super Series is on its way to changing the sport for the better. The WBSS, called by Schaefer the greatest boxing tournament of all time, has already created an undisputed cruiserweight champion in Oleksandr Usyk and is en route to crown multiple unified champions at bantamweight and junior welterweight with the second set of tournaments and Schaefer said it's an opportunity for boxers to become huge stars..
“I think it elevated the sport. Look at what it did to Usyk when he defeated Gassiev. Nobody would be talking about Usyk the way they have been talking him now after just one year versus if there was no tournament. Usyk became one of the superstars of the sport, so the fighters will start to realize that for them to participate or be invited to participate in it, if they win that, it’s going to elevate their careers to new levels," Schaefer said.
The first season had its difficulties such as overall interest in the United States and everlasting doubts as to whether or not the tournament format is viable in the long run, but now the second season has been met with excitement from fans and fighters. Interest from boxers has increased with some lobbying to get into the tournament and Schaefer said fighters are understanding the potential rewards winning the World Boxing Super Series has in store.
"So for this second season, there was a substantially larger number of fighters wanting to participate, some of them being very outspoken, p*ssed off that they were not selected, but you can only select eight. You look at Sergey Lipinets and he was very p*ssed off that he wasn’t invited and he was outspoken about it. There was a lot of fighters who wanted to participate and I think that’s only going to increase because I think fighters are now thinking, ‘Sh*t, if I’m in the World Boxing Super Series, in a matter of a year, I can be the king of the division and be featured and exposed globally’ and that is why fighters today are asking to be included,” Schaefer said.
The second season of the WBSS kicks off on October 7 in Yokohama, Japan with two tournament fights: Naoya Inoue vs. Juan Carlos Payano in a bantamweight bout and Kiryl Relikh vs. Eduard Troyanovsky in a junior welterweight fight.