‘Jake Paul is an amazing person – I’ve learned a lot from influencer boxing’

Boxing is one of the world's oldest sports but that doesn't mean it's immune to new-fangled ideas to make it appeal to different generations.

The emergence of influencer boxing has breathed new life into a sport that's influence has been slowly dwindling for quite some time.

Individuals like Jake Paul, Logan Paul, and KSI have been at the forefront of the new space which has brought in an entirely new demographic to boxing.

Aiming to be a place where fighters are given the opportunity to showcase their extraordinary abilities, Ahmed Sheikh's Team Combat League plans to offer just that.

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Team Combat League is the world’s only boxing league with a franchise team format where both genders are featured on the same team as well as each match being just one three-minute round.

Sheikh, a real estate developer and investor, spoke exclusively to Daily Star Sport about his motivations for co-founding the league.

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"Coming into the industry and seeing that there's so much talent on the grassroots level but there really isn't any platform that supports the fighters," he said.

"Not every person gets an equal chance so we wanted to do something that equally accessible to anybody that feels that they're going to become a fighter.

"That was the biggest motivation – equal rights – to create something where the fighters come in and have the platform to showcase their skillset."

While the league are currently in its first year of existence, it wasn't an easy road for Sheikh to get to that point, admitting that he was faced with a lot of hurdles.

"When we started TCL, I got a lot of no's, I went to different commissions, different managers and the answer was no because they were used to the traditional format of boxing.

"The hardest part was getting the fighters in because you're signed to different promotions and managers, and I was fighting for their rights initially."

Sheikh said that the rise of influencer boxing is something he learned from as the demand for it showed that a younger demographic are looking for something different.

"Even in influencer boxing, we got to learn a lot from it given that the younger generation are looking for something exciting, they're looking for entertainment.

"Jake Paul is an amazing person, I feel he's pushing himself too much and putting himself and the other opponents he's fighting with in eight and 10 rounds of fighting."

Austin Trout, a former boxing world champion, now commentates and fights for Team Combat League as he sounded off on the potential that the organisation can reach.

"I believe this is something that can be as big as the Olympics were for the amateurs, but I think this can be even bigger," Trout said.

"The entertainment is there, the concept is there, once we get some other countries involved, it's going to be an international sensation in my opinion."

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