| CHENG DU, China
CHENG DU, China China is the next huge market
for professional boxing, four of the most astute brains in
fight promotion agreed on Friday.
The country's potential as an awakening pugilistic giant
dawned at the summer Olympics in August when two of their
amateur fighters won gold.
That Eastern promise has electrified the flamboyant and
loquacious Don King, who is promoting a professional boxing
show in Cheng Du as the grand finale to the World Boxing
Council's annual convention.
"China has 1.7 billion people, so content is king," quipped
the American promoter.
"China has given me the greatest reception of any country
I've ever been to in my life. It won olympic medals in
categories it had never done before.
"This shows dedication and commitment, so hopefully I can
be as good as they are. Anything can happen, now China is
opening its doors to the world."
King's optimism was echoed by fellow promoter Dino Duva.
"Professional boxing can become huge in China. If it keeps
progressing following the Olympic success there can be
professional boxing superstars," he told Reuters.
"Pay per view isn't at a mature stage yet in China. They're
still trying to work it out and get it going, but the
possibilities are unbelievable."
China's first professional boxing promoter Lin Gang is
eager to grow the sport in his homeland.
A former boxer who represented his country at the Sydney
Olympics and then fought professionally, based in Australia, he
is working towards realising his sporting dream.
"China has very good potential for professional boxing.
It's very new here -- only four years old, but I've put on 45
promotions," he told Reuters.
"The Government is giving me support through the Sports
Council and the shows are in the name of the people, who are
British promoter Frank Maloney was impressed by what he saw
"I've never been to China before, but if this is communism,
it seems to be working well," he quipped.
"It's really up to the Chinese Government. If they want it
to work, they'll insist it works. But do they want professional
boxing? It may be against what they call true communism, like
"If they do want professional boxing to work, they've
certainly got a massive market, and all of us promoters will be
trying to gatecrash in, because it'll be a market that we'll
all be looking at."
(Editing by Ossian Shine)