Boxing fans in the UK will have to fork out for yet another subscription package to watch the big fights after Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom ended their 25-year long association with Sky Sports.
Instead, Hearn will take his stable of fighters onto the Dazn streaming platform, which is available for a monthly fee starting from £1.99.
The five-year deal will mean an end to boxing on mainstream TV in the UK, unless that is other promoters fill the void left behind by Hearn’s star-studded team.
The Matchroom chief has admitted he was concerned about the pay-per-view model currently deployed at Sky Sports, with many boxing fans alienated about having to pay a one-off fee on top of their expensive monthly subscription to catch the most exciting fight cards.
Hearn claims his fighters will now be guaranteed an income, rather than having to wait until their next contest, and would not be tied down to the traditional TV scheduling hours – enabling his team to have more opportunities all over the world.
While not elaborating on the terms of the new contract, Hearn admitted it was almost too good to be true.
“In the US no one knew who we were,” he said. “So we had to make a big splash. Over here we don’t need to be so vocal. But to prise us away from Sky it had to be a seismic deal.
“When they understood the actual deal I feel they had to shake my hand and say: ‘Good luck to you, son.’ It was too big an opportunity to make these big fights and to expand globally at such a rate. So they were very disappointed but we have a longstanding relationship with them that will continue in a multi-sport remit.”
Will Joshua vs Fury Be On Sky Sports?
Surely one of the great disappointments of Hearn’s career as a boxing promoter will have been seeing the undisputed heavyweight clash between his client, Anthony Joshua, and Tyson Fury fall through.
They were set to collide in Saudi Arabia in August, however Deontay Wilder – who Fury knocked out in February 2020 – emerged to put a spanner in the works.
He claimed that he had a contract for a rematch with the Gypsy King, and the courts of arbitration agreed – the duo will meet in their trilogy contest in July.
Joshua, meanwhile, is likely to defend his WBO gold against Oleksandr Usyk….and there’s good news for Sky Sports viewers on that front.
Hearn confirmed that AJ will not be part of the Dazn deal, and as such he will continue to fight on Sky – presumably on their Box Office pay-per-view channel.
“He [Joshua] has one fight remaining with Sky Sports,” Hearn confirmed. “There will be an announcement in due course about AJ’s relationship with Matchroom. I’m sure Dazn would love to welcome him to their platform. But he has a great relationship with Sky, and they will be keen to extend it.”
All parties are ‘hopeful’ that a deal will be agreed for a Joshua vs Usyk encounter in late summer.