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Schaefer announces plan for $50M tournament

Promoter Richard Schaefer has some grand plans for a grand prize...

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Canelo Alvarez - News Conference Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Ringstar Sports promoter Richard Schaefer plans on making a big splash after returning to boxing following a two-year hiatus caused by a nasty split with Golden Boy. As reported by RingTV, Schaefer plans on holding a transnational tournament with fighters from two weight classes competing for a trophy named after Muhammad Ali - not to mention $50M in prize money.

“Those who know me, they know that I like to do things big,” Schaefer said, drawing out the words in his Swiss accent, clearly enjoying himself. “This is a big trophy,” he pointed to a golden-wrapped prize in front of the stage. “This is big money and this is a big tournament. It is the biggest tournament. It is the greatest tournament.”

The tournament will be called the “World Boxing Super Series” and will hold its first bouts this September/October, ending in two championship matches in May 2018. The tourney will feature 16 fighters, with 8 fighters in each weight class fighting in a bracket-style, single elimination format.

The former Swiss banker has partnered with promoter Kalle Sauerland to put on this tournament where the ultimate winners could earn $10M+. There are still some details to be hashed out though since the weight classes haven’t been determined. Schaefer mentioned that he’d like to highlight historically neglected divisions, with cruiserweight and featherweight discussed as potential options with reporters.

Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza was in attendance for the announcement and mentioned his interest in possibly working with the tourney once the details were finalized. Schaefer also plans on talking with Al Haymon about the possibility of including his fighters in the tournament while also not ruling out working with other promotional outfits.

“I have no problem working with other promoters as well and giving them opportunities,” he said, adding that options won’t be written into deals so boxers will not be tethered to tournament officials after they have fought. “No strings attached. How great is that?” Added Schaefer of his own situation as a promoter who has signed mostly young fighters, “I’m really not a threat to Bob Arum or to Oscar De La Hoya or to whoever. I’m a start-up, so they shouldn’t be threatened.”

The weight classes and participating fighters will be announced live on TV with the top four boxers being seeded and allowed to choose who they want to face in the opening round. Addtional paticipants will be kept on reserve too in the event injuries arise, with Schaefer hoping to avoid the problematic issues that hurt the Super Six tournament. The $50M in prize money is said to have already been secured from multiple revenue sources.

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