The internal adaptation processes of professional boxers during the Showtime Super Six Boxing Classic: A qualitative thematic analysis

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Objectives:The Super Six World Boxing Classic was conceived by Showtime Sports to feature the best six professional boxers in the super middleweight division (168 pounds) throughout a modified round robin tournament. The objective was to explore the adaptation and mal-adaptation processes of the tournament's original six tournament participants over time.Design:Media data in the form of documentary episodes (n = 12 episodes, ∼30 min each from the foregoing source were transcribed verbatim. Data included athletes' responses prior to their first bout and as each progressed or was eliminated. Boxers' post-bout explanations were also included.Method:The original six contestants (mean age = 28.8 years at tournament start) from the tournament, with a record of 157 wins and 4 losses, were included within the project. Data were analyzed via thematic analysis (see Braun & Clarke, 2006).Results:The following themes were identified: (a) pre-conditions: moving into the tournament (subthemes: positive anticipation, uncertainty), (b) outcomes: moving through the tournament (subthemes: tournament progression, tournament regressions), and (c) consequences: moving out of the tournament (sub-themes: responses of the defeated, the king's adaptation).Conclusions:This study highlights the adaptation processes of the six tournament contestants, demonstrating how one athlete adapted successfully and became champion through personal focus. The remaining athletes lost at least once, with pre-bout adaptation processes suggesting performance regression. These findings add to the adaptation literature, further contextualizing how adaptation meanings change and unfold over time.

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