Timofey Kurgin, a Russian businessman involved in the promotion of sports projects, talks about the prospects in the fighting industry and the possible commercial relationships of its key figures – Leonard Blavatnik (investor of the streaming service DAZN) and Floyd Mayweather. In 2016, an event occurred that changed the alignment of forces in the field of broadcasting events from the world of sports – the streaming service DAZN was launched, allowing for $20 a month (initially – $10) to receive sports content on the Internet via mobile devices and computers.
Timofey Kurgin in the column for Forbes.ru notes that DAZN is investing a lot of money and this is a bet for the future – DAZN will spend $2 billion only on martial arts. For example, the best boxer of the world in several prestigious versions is Saul Alvarez will receive from DAZN 365 million dollars for eleven fights; Matchroom boxing, which also runs the business of the most popular heavyweight champion WBA, WBO and IBF Anthony Joshua, made a $1 billion deal; Gennady Golovkin, who has already signed a contract, allegedly for $100 million; in Bellator MMA promotion, when signing an agreement with DAZN, they talk about a digit with eight zeros.
According to Timofey Kurgin, a friend and partner of the Russian businessman Floyd Mayweather indeed got a proposal from the owners of DAZN, and several times we’ve heard the news that Floyd Mayweather was offered up to $500 million.
Timofey Kurgin notes that «there were contacts between Floyd and DAZN, although it’s too early to name the exact amount». If, as Timofey Kurgin suggests, Mayweather had contacts with DAZN, then the American friend of a Russian businessman would soon have to communicate with the billionaire, who, speaking English, is also a native Russian speaker. Leonard Blavatnik was born in Odessa, having moved across the ocean, worked in a management position at Macy’s department store, and in 1986 became the founder of Access Industries, an investment company. In the 1990s, Blavatnik was actively interested in the commodity industry, and in the early 1990s, a far-sighted businessman began to master the media industry. In 2014, Perform Group, which specializes in the production of sports content, accepted Access Industries (owner – L. Blavatnik) as a majority shareholder. And already in 2016, on the basis of the Perform Group, the DAZN streaming platform was launched, which was quickly dubbed Netflix from the world of sports. Timofey Kurgin notes that Blavatnik’s investments in DAZN are estimated at 700+ million dollars, and subsequently the billionaire can continue to invest in the project. Timofey Kurgin: «I think boxers will be changing weight categories more often» The founder of The Money Team Russia project Timofey Kurgin in the column for Forbes predicts more frequent changes of weight categories by the most popular boxers. Considering the financial possibilities of the DAZN streaming platform, which in a short time gained the status of «Netflix from the world of sports», Timofey Kurgin says that «the company plans to force boxers to take risks», to move more often from one weight category to another. According to Kurgin, this is necessary in order to aggravate competition in world boxing and capture a new large audience, and therefore increase the number of subscribers. It is known that DAZN, having serious initial investments and, as it is possible to assume, dumping prices, in the future focuses on profit from turnover. Kurgin’s assumption about the movement of boxers from one weight category to another for the sake of «big money and big fights» is confirmed now. Alexander Usik, the absolute world champion (WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO; 16 wins, 0 losses), defeating Murat Gassiev, said that he was giving up the WBA title and, accordingly, the fight with Denis Lebedev in connection with the transition to heavyweight category.
In the status of the absolute champion, he spent exactly 250 days, giving up the title on March 28, 2019. The Usik’s last opponent Murat Gassiev also announced his readiness to move to the heavyweight category. Former unified cruiserweight champion is in talks with DAZN (Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing head, reported on his Twitter account). Gassiev aims at a multi-year deal with DAZN with the condition of his transition to the heavyweight division. Timofey Kurgin, among those interested in changing the weight category, also highlights Gennady Golovkin from Kazakhstan, who, according to the contract with DAZN, can be offered a seven-figures for the fight and a contract for six fights. Golovkin competes in the 160 pounds weight class, but hypothetically can even move up to 168 pounds, where Saul Alvarez, who replaced zero by one in the «defeat» column of Golovkin, can move. Russian light heavyweight Dmitry Bivol, in the opinion of Timofey Kurgin, and a number of boxing observers on the contrary can descend to the 168 pounds weight category for the sake of the fight with Saul Alvarez.