Most sporting events have been shut down due to the spread of coronavirus, and boxing is no exception. However, a new eBoxing tournament has been set up to keep fans entertained and it will feature some of the most legendary names from the history of heavyweight boxing.
The first bout sees the late, great Muhammad Ali face off against Evander Holyfield. The likes of Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson are also involved in the tournament.
Judging by the boxy graphics on show in the fight poster, fans will see the fight play out on and old edition of Fight Night, most likely the series’ most “recent” entry, 2011’s Fight Night Champion.
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The tournament has been put together by people behind The World Boxing Super Series (WBSS), a tournament that has repeatedly pitted some of the worlds top fighters against each other in reality. Now, the eWBSS will see some boxing legends go toe-to-toe in cyberspace.
Fans can watch live on Facebook, (on either the Boxing Social channel, or the WBSS’s own channel), with the first bout between Ali and Holyfield going live at 5pm GMT today, March 23.
Which other digital legends are entering the tournament?
Tomorrow’s match will see legendary Brit Lennox Lewis, face off against one of Muhammad Ali’s most-feared foes, ‘Smokin” Joe Frazier.
Then, on Wednesday, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson will step into the digital ring in a more comedic piece of match-making to take on Eric Esch, better known as Butterbean.
On Thursday, George Foreman faces David Haye, in a David vs Goliath affair. After all those bouts are completed, the eWBSS will progress to the semi-finals, due to be shown on Friday and Saturday. Every fight will be broadcast on Facebook live at 5pm GMT.
This follows similar moves from other sports, with F1 already holding a digital version of the Bahrain Grand Prix and some football clubs already set to participate in online FIFA tournaments.
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Some fans may be reminded of the digital fantasy fight that drew Rocky Balboa back into the boxing ring in the fictional film of the same name. This tournament combines fighters from different eras, (and qualities – what is Butterbean doing in there?) for a similar ‘fantasy fight’ feel.
Having watched some of the stream of bout one, it’s safe to say this isn’t going to take the place of normal boxing long term. There are some pretty dated game mechanics on show, but it’s all for a good cause as the eWBSS encourages people to stay at home and prevent the spread of coronavirus.