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Is this the reason Bob Arum is bringing two world title fights to Belfast?

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Breaking America has been the goal for fighters for many a decade.

The money, fame and notoriety on a global stage generally comes from success in the USA.

However, there is one major issue with boxing on the other side of the Atlantic according to Bob Arum, ticket sales.

Speaking ahead of the massive Madison Square Garden card that saw Michael Conlan defeat Vladimir Nikitn on Saturday the 88-year-old opened up about poor ticket sales Stateside in general.

“Look, here’s the problem in boxing,” Arum explained. “We have good, good [viewership] on the television [on ESPN], a lot of subscribers for boxing [on ESPN+]. We’re doing OK there. We can’t sell tickets to fights.

“Now, why can’t we sell tickets to fights? One, because I tell everybody if the Chicago Bears were playing the Tennessee Titans in L.A., in The Coliseum, it would barely be half filled. Because they’re not teams that Los Angeles fans care about. So, when you have two fighters, no matter how good a fight it is, it’s very hard to sell tickets.

“Now, you take Terence Crawford [to] Omaha, in a week we sell out, or virtually sell out. Because the fans there root for him like he’s the Nebraska Cornhusker football team.

“Now, the only way you change that is if you make 50-50 fights. Why? Because 50-50 fights, people are inclined to bet on them. Now people have a reason to go to the fight in person, because they bet on the fight, so they have a rooting interest in the fight.

“If not, it’s very hard to get a guy off his ass, when he can watch it on television or on a streaming service. Very, very hard. That’s the problem. So, we’ve gotta – I tell my matchmakers, I tell everybody, let’s shoot as much as possible for 50-50 fights. You can’t do it all the time. You’ve got these mandatories, where [they’re] never 50-50. But you’ve gotta try.”

While America may be struggling in terms of tickets sales the opposition can be said of the UK and parts of Ireland.

Large Arena’s and Stadiums have been sold out this side of the Atlantic and the atmosphere generated have made for a much better TV product, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed in America.

Interestingly Arum is looking to bring two big world title fights to Belfast in the September, where he can rely on the proven ticket selling ability of Carl Frampton and Michael Conlan.

The veteran promoter wants to promote Frampton in a world title fight with WBO super featherweight world title holder Jamel Herring in May- and has plans for Conlan to fight for a world crown come Feile time.

Could the potential to do serious tickets play a major part in those decisions. ? The fact Arum admits Herring would get more for fighting Frampton in Belfast than a fight in American suggests as much.



Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com