The hotly anticipated eSports Boxing Club has had its release pushed back, according to developers Steel City Interactive. While most popular sports see multiple high-quality titles released each year, boxing fans haven’t seen a major release since Fight Night 2011. No less than their football counterparts, boxing enthusiasts are eager to relive epic moments from legendary matches like the 2012 Marquez vs. Pacquiao or GGG2 against Canelo in 2018. But, a decade on, the wait continues. A little longer at least.
The response from the fan base has been mostly one of patience and positivity, preferring the game to be bug-free on release. And eSports Boxing Club looks set to deliver big, with many popular fighters available to play with, from old school legends to current champions and up and coming prospects.
The game is planned to launch on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, and PC. With Steer City Interactive planning to do a phased launch with the first launch on PCs.
Let’s take a closer look.
Development and delay
Very little was known about eSports Boxing Club until the middle of last year, but the developers have been working on the project since early 2019. With the promise of a high-end boxing game for the first time in nearly a decade, boxing and gaming fans were both eager to get their hands on the new release when it came out.
But the project has been beset by delays, with Steel City unwilling to roll out a game that wasn’t up to scratch. Just recently we’ve seen a high-profile game launch go wrong with the release of Cyberpunk 2077 rushed out to thousands of excited gamers, culminating in a buggy and frustrating to play end product.
Steel City seems determined to avoid a similar fate and judging by many comments on social media, the gaming community favors getting the game right over an early launch.
As with most modern sports games, eSports Boxing Club comes with a detailed career mode. Heavy on the customization options, players can create their own fighter, develop their skill set, manage their training and fighting schedule, layoffs, weight, injuries, retirements, and comebacks.
Plenty of branded gloves, shorts, and boots are available to choose from, and players can develop their characters in other areas of the boxing game – trainers, cutmen, promoters, and judges.
It remains to be seen whether eSports Boxing Club will enjoy the same level of attention from bettors as DOTA or LOL do. It’s certainly possible, since the game covers seven championship belts to contend for, including the WBC World Championship. From 1974 with Smoking Joe vs. Muhamad Ali, through 1986 Thyson’s Berbick knockout, to 2019 with Saudi Arabia’s ‘Clash of the Dunes’, the sport has no shortage of events which bookies go crazy for.
Since the Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr match in 2019, even the more gambling-restrictive areas like Saudi Arabia – aren’t immune to sports betting taking place. This is evident from websites like Arabianbetting, which dedicate specific pages to boxing betting. In this niche, where fans want to bet on every of the sport’s 17-weight divisions, the demand for insightful resources is high.
The creators of the game are most likely trying to tap into two highly profitable things here. The first, the fans’ urge to rewrite history by replaying some of these legendary matches, and second – the potential to enter the e-sports betting market with a niche product.
Steel City has worked closely in consultation with professional boxers to make the footwork as realistic as possible, something boxing games have always felt a bit flat-footed on in the past.
A highly responsive feinting system is another area that lacked subtleties in games such as Fight Night. The action takes place in highly realistic settings, either lovingly replicated arenas or sweaty gyms.
The two trailers released by Steel City Interactive were very well received, and while they don’t give a lot away they do show fluid, realistic-looking movement and superbly rendered graphics.
A huge roster of fighters is playable. From fan-favorite legends like Ricky ‘Hitman’ Hatton, ‘The Dark Destroyer’ Nigel Benn, and ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier through to young, hungry contenders, and modern champions such as Scott Quigg, Josh Taylor, Connor Benn (son of Nigel), and Shane Mosely Jr. Amongst.
What’s more, there are also Arturo ‘Thunder’ Gatti and ‘Irish’ Mickey Ward! These two gave us one of the greatest trilogies in boxing history, with their first encounter producing the ‘round of the century’.
The game also features legendary trainers (including Joe Gallagher and Ben Davidson, who, until recently, trained Tyson Fury), as well as , cutmen, promoters, and commentators to pick from, allowing for completely tailored experience.
Good things come to those who wait, and fans of boxing and gaming may have to be patient for just another while before eSports Boxing Club comes out. From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like it’ll be worth it.