In the video gaming industry, boxing has never enjoyed the kind of exposure, investment, or following that gives basketball and soccer its near-permanent place in the industry charts. Of course, games inspired by combat sport come and go but, other than the likes of popular titles such as EA Sports’ Fight Night and Nintendo’s Punch-Out!! (the latter of which has been a title since 1984), boxing has always served as something as a gimmick in gaming – especially as a means to sell motion controllers.
Joshua vs Usyk
Boxing is one of the richest and most popular sports on earth and one that’s never far from the public’s collective consciousness. As of September 2021, David Haye, Joe Fournier, and Hughie Fury are all doing the rounds on social media, especially Fury after claiming that he will eventually become the best in the world. This is a goal that isn’t so lofty on paper: at 26-years-old, Fury is 25-3.
Of course, the upcoming bout between Antony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk is a more present concern for fans. The Brit is currently 4/11 in the Joshua vs Usyk odds for the fight scheduled on September 25th, compared to an Usyk victory at 2/1. The latest boxing betting tips seem to be anticipating a finish in rounds seven or eight, though Usyk’s 13 wins by KO mean that he is 15/2 to defeat Joshua before the fight goes the distance. A Joshua win by knockout is the more likely at 5/6, however.
eSports Boxing Club
The excitement surrounding the virtual version of the sport is a little more muted at present, not least because a game that seems set to become a highlight of the release calendar, Steel City Interactive’s eSports Boxing Club, was sadly delayed indefinitely over the summer. While there’s still a chance that the title could come out before the festive season, eSports Boxing Club was still in a pre-early access state in July, hinting at a long road ahead.
The game, which features one hundred licensed fighters, including the likes of legendary icons such as Tyson Fury, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Jack Dempsey, will also include female pugilists and seven titles to compete for. eSports Boxing Club will take a distinctly modern approach to its content too, releasing it in seasons, in much the same way as games like Destiny 2 and Rocket League have filled out their own experiences in the past.
As the name suggests, though, eSports Boxing Club will also join the likes of Street Fighter and Counter-Strike Global Offensive in the world of competitive video gaming. From a purely financial perspective, eSports is arguably a richer sport than boxing today, with the former attracting more viewers than the NBA early in its TV career. eSports competition could drastically boost activity in several sport-adjacent areas like fan interaction, sponsorship, and even sports betting.
However, unlike Wii Sports and PS3’s The Fight: Lights Out, eSports Boxing Club won’t lead with gimmicks. The game has realistic footwork and feint movements, a character builder and career mode, and high-quality graphics and lighting. Of course, it’s still very early in the game’s development and it wouldn’t be unfair to say that early promises and trailers can be worth about as much to fans as the paper they’re printed on. Let’s be optimistic, though.
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