Veteran boxing promoters Richard Schaefer of Los Angeles and Europe's Kalle Sauerland announced plans Thursday for a new single-elimination boxing tournament in two weight classes, with action beginning in September among 16 fighters who'll split up to $50 million in prize money.
The promoters have yet to settle on which divisions will be contested, but they're heading toward a June draft gala in which the highest-ranked participants will choose their opponents for quarterfinal-round action.
Schaefer said he's striving to fill the brackets with fighters ranked within the top-15 of the various sanctioning bodies, and will seek to have a world champion participating in each bracket.
Schaefer, the former CEO of Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions who, in his new role leading Ringstar Sports, has maintained close ties with powerful manager Al Haymon, said the 154-pound junior-middleweight and cruiserweight divisions could benefit from the tournament.
"We want to focus on weight classes that might've been a bit bored. We want to bring those fighters to the forefront and expose them," Schaefer said.
The competition in the World Boxing Super Series is modeled after the soccer Champions League in Europe, which brings wider exposure with competition among elite teams drawn from the Premier League.
Schaefer said he's in "advanced discussions" with Showtime/CBS to broadcast the bouts in the U.S., and he said the plan is to split up the 14 fights in venues between the U.S. – like Staples Center, T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, New York's Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center – and Europe.
Following opening-round bouts in September and October, semifinals will be contested around January-February, and the finals will be set around May, Sauerland said.
The thought is that rival promoters will be interested in placing their fighters in the competition, considering the prize money and global exposure and the fact that one loss returns the fighter to the promoter, who would be compensated for entering the fighter.
Sanctioning bodies have been consulted to avoid any conflict with mandatory challengers, Schaefer said.
Schaefer said the project is being backed by people with "deep pockets" and "a passion for the sport."
In a news release, it was announced "the tournament will be organized by newly founded Comosa AG, a Swiss-registered company with principal owners from the world of marketing (Highlight Event & Entertainment), broadcasting (Modern Times Group) and boxing (Team Sauerland)."
Boxing last staged a tournament when Oakland's Andre Ward won Showtime's "Super Six" super-middleweight competition in 2011.