It's been awhile since boxing has had a major video game. 2011 was the last year that EA had 'Fight Night'. There is a new player in town as 'Undisputed' launched its early access on January 31. There will be a full-blown version of the game will be ready for all major consoles in the near future.
"Early access in video games, it gives you an idea of the potential success of the game," explained Jose De La Cruz, the V.P. of Business Affairs for Undisputed. "You also get to see if there's anything that needs to be fixed, anything that needs to be tweaked.
"For the fans, it was necessary to get this early access launched because they had been waiting for a long time."
Various YouTube channels have live streamed their experiences with the game.
So far, the reviews have been positive, according to De La Cruz, "We are 83-percent positive response, we want to be in the 90's, which for any game would be beyond spectacular. Boxing hasn't had a video game for about a dozen years, I believe, so it was important for the team that this particular early access was perfect."
For now, to play 'Undisputed'you go to Steam and download the game for PC.
For the time being there are 69 different boxers available, but that number will swell to around 300 by the time the game will be made available for retail for all playing consoles.
"We're looking to do that in the next six-to-nine months, and everyone can buy it anywhere they want," De La Cruz told SNAC.com, who mentioned that arena incorporations and sponsors are being worked into the game. In the future, there will be 'Undisputed' merchandise and global tournaments.
"The response so far as been phenomenal, it exceeded every expectations. I think that's a good thing," said De La Cruz.
On Saturday night in San Antonio, Texas, O'Shaquie Foster captured the vacant WBC 130 pound title by clearly out-boxing the previously undefeated Rey Vargas. Foster was the far superior technician and he executed a sound tactical fight over 12 rounds.
Foster won by the scores of 117-111, 119-109 and 116-112.
He now joins the likes of Hector Luis Garcia, Emanuel Navarette and Shavkat Rakhimov as belt-holders at junior lightweight.
Since he won a vacant title, under WBC rules he now has two mandatory defenses he must fulfill. Looking at their ratings the two highest rated contenders are 'Rocky' Hernandez and Oscar Valdez (who is slated to face Navarette for the WBO strap later this year.)
There's a lot taking place on DAZN this weekend, but the focus here will be on the bout from the Nottingham Arena in the UK between WBA featherweight titlist, Leigh Wood, and Mauricio Lara. Despite being the champion, it's Lara who is rated fourth in the division by Ring Magazine, with Wood coming in at six.
This figures to be an all-action affair. Lara is one that comes out of the gate quickly and chucks leather from the opening bell as hard as he can. He has quickly established himself as one of the most explosive and exciting fighters in the division. 'Mr. Mayhem' burst onto the scene in 2021 when he scored a ninth round KO of Josh Warrington in England.
As for Wood, he was victorious in one of the best battles of '22 as he came off the canvas and rallied to stop Michael Conlan in dramatic fashion in the 12th round last March.
Lara will come out charging, and it will be up to Wood to withstand the early onslaught. Wood has shown that he is an resilient boxer. It will be interesting to see how Lara performs if he pressed in the later rounds on Saturday night.
That evening on DAZN, Golden Boy Promotions has a card from the Fox Theater in Pomona, California that has a junior featherweight contest Luis Nery and Azat Hovinnisyan. Which will discuss at length in the next edition of K9's Corner.