BOXING’S Olympic existence is hanging by the most slender of threads but the man behind Saturday’s huge show at the 02 has vowed to keep it alive.
Ben Shalom, CEO of BOXXER, who promote the Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall and Mikaela Mayer vs Alycia Baumgardner unification world title confrontations, says his company will do “everything in our power” to avert the disaster.
As things stand, Paris 2024 could be the last time the sport features at an Olympic games.
With Tokyo stars Lauren Price, Kariss Artingstall and Caroline Dubois featuring heavily on the 02 bill, Shalom was keen to extol the importance of that path from the greatest sporting show on earth to the pro game.
“It is obvious how important the Olympics are to our professional sport,” declared Shalom.
“Three of the four of the main event fighters have had success at the Olympics.
“I know there is talk of boxing being removed from LA 2028, but you look at our card and say this has been inspired by the Olympics.
“There is no way we can lose that from our sport, we are going to do absolutely everything in our power to make sure that women’s boxing stays in the Olympics.
“This show is testament to that.”
Shalom highlighted how Price, Artingstall and Dubois all found fame in Tokyo, where Price struck gold, her partner Artingstall won a bronze medal while Dubois missed out on a place in the semi-finals in Japan by the most slender of margins.
“They are the future of the sport,” said Shalom, who signed the trio up to BOXXER and Sky Sports earlier this year.
“People don’t know as much as they should about Lauren Price yet.
“She’s the most decorated boxer we’ve ever had in this country, winning gold in every championship.
“Kariss is a multi-decorated amateur who’s going to take the professional game by storm because she has that knockout power that makes Savannah Marshall so popular.
“We think Caroline Dubois is a crossover star of the future.”
Price faces Hungary’s Timea Belik at the 02, where Artingstall says she is chasing her first KO win against Marina Shakarov, from France, while Dubois, who has won all but one of her three fights early, meets Berlin-based Bulgarian, Milena Koleva.