World Series of Boxing “restructuring,” fires L.A. front office, leaving venues


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The first season of the World Series of Boxing is unraveling, with an organization spokesman telling The Times on Thursday that all four North American teams will be leaving their venues, including the L.A. Matadors, which had their entire front office fired this week.

‘The season is still on right now, the dates are the same,’ World Series of Boxing spokesman Kevin Neuendorf said.

The Matadors, a gathering of amateur boxers who were to be paid in an international format that offered the most successful fighters 2012 Olympic spots, have been reduced to fighters and coaches, and it’s undetermined if their roster will be altered by the WSB financial trouble.


WSB Chief Operating Officer Ivan Khodabakhsh informed the Matadors personnel, including fired General Manager Jeff Benz, of the changes Wednesday. The boxers’ support staff were among those eliminated.

Neuendorf said the team will leave the L.A. Live campus of Nokia Theatre and Club Nokia and will stage its Jan. 27 card at another location, possibly the Hollywood Palladium. Neuendorf said he wasn’t sure if the Matadors were ‘current’ in fully paying the Nokia venues for the previous cards, which attracted former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield and celebrity Jenny McCarthy.

‘We’re looking at cheaper alternatives,’ Neuendorf said. ‘The team certainly did not have the sponsorship revenue or ticket sales we hoped for. We’re still in the growing process. This is nothing new. Promoters have a difficult time selling boxing.’

The Matadors are led by unbeaten Russell Lamour, Eric Fowler and heavyweight David Imoesiri of Long Beach.

Additionally, the Miami team is moving out of American Airlines Arena to Florida International University, Mexico City is leaving its convention center for a less expensive venue and Memphis is shifting from a civic center to a downtown Cook Convention Center, Neuendorf said.

‘We don’t want it to be one and done, or not even get through this first season,’ Neuendorf said. ‘We’re working feverishly so there’ll be no interruption to the business. This is the evolution of a product, the ebbs and flows of a start-up. We’re tweaking things now to be more stable.’

Neuendorf said he expects to know the Matadors’ new home by early next week.

--Lance Pugmire