AFTER DAZN dropped the bombshell that they’re now expanding into over 200 territories – including the UK – speculation over what this will mean for boxing in this country went into overdrive. Most of this was around Matchroom’s exclusive relationship with broadcaster Sky Sports, and whether the promotional outfit would move over to DAZN, who air their shows in the US.
Behind The Gloves spoke to Adam Smith, boxing chief at Sky, about the situation, and it was confirmed that their current contracts with Matchroom and Anthony Joshua expire next year. Naturally, Smith highlighted Sky’s desire to renew those contracts, but also tried to brush off any concerns about DAZN muscling in on their business.
It’ll be fascinating to see how this plays out; DAZN obviously have bundles of cash behind them and are embracing new technologies and ways of consuming content. However, Sky is a huge news machine in the UK and if Matchroom left, they’d no longer be able to plug their shows in advertisements on a major network and during Premier League games.
IFL sat down with DAZN’s John Markowski to get some more details, and Markowski revealed that DAZN will start at £4.99 a month in the UK for the first year, with a view to that price being increased should they pick up the rights to more sports. Their core focus – for now – will be boxing, and should they team up with Matchroom, fight fans will surely be falling over themselves to sign up for such a good price.
However, there are plenty who speculate DAZN are merely using boxing as a gateway into the broadcast wars and that once they have more of a foothold, they’ll shoot for their real targets; Premier League football here in the UK and the NFL in America. Such acquisitions would bump up their subscription prices considerably.
The biggest fight in British boxing history and the biggest fight in world boxing right now could be made this year, according to Eddie Hearn. He told Boxing Social that a deal could be put in place for Joshua and Tyson Fury to square off in December, and even went as far as to say broadcast conflicts could be resolved. Hearn had also told various outlets that he’s already had positive conversations about the fight with Fury’s side – but don’t hold your breath. Frank Warren, who works with Tyson, refuted those claims and called them “lies”, explaining that Bob Arum assured him no talks have taken place.
This could drag out for a while. If the two sides can’t even agree on whether or not they’ve spoken to each other about the fight, these negotiations don’t look promising – but we can hope. For now, Joshua has to face Kubrat Pulev and Fury looks set for a trilogy fight with Wilder. Pray to whatever god you see fit that they both win and then collide at the end of the year.
Speaking of which, Andy Lee – who was a part of Fury’s camp for his rematch with Wilder – revealed to Boxing Social that the now-WBC champion went to peculiar lengths in his mind games.
“Tyson messed around to see if leaks would happen,” he said. “[He] feigned injury… When he got aggressive at the press conference, Wilder was aggressive. When Tyson was nice, Wilder followed suit. Tyson was playing him the whole time.”
According to Lee, Fury would sometimes pretend to limp after sparring or fake other injuries to see if anything got leaked from his camp. That’s pretty mad, but I love it. Just like it would be almost impossible to predict what version of Fury you’d get if you were to fight him, you’d also have no idea what to expect in the build-up.
ITV aired the final instalment of their documentary series focusing on Fury, and it featured perhaps the greatest televisual moment of my lifetime. Tyson’s dad, John, couldn’t travel to the US and so watched the Wilder rematch on TV at home, with the ITV cameras filming him. After Fury dropped Wilder for the first time, John Fury grabbed his crotch and screamed, “That’s what come out of these balls!” If ITV don’t now commission a John Fury reality show, somebody’s doing their job wrong.
Tyson and his wife Paris also appeared on ITV’s This Morning show and Fury was characteristically honest about his struggles to return to normal life after a big fight, stating that it can take him a couple of weeks. There was once a time when you would watch Fury speaking on live television and find yourself tense with fear over what he might blurt out, but that’s no longer the case. He seems more at peace and certainly more comfortable in front of the camera.
Sky Sports’ card from Manchester might have shown us the last of Scott Quigg’s fighting career. After being stopped by Jono Carroll, the former super-bantamweight world champion heavily hinted at retirement, and later seemed to confirm it in an interview with IFL. If this is the end, he can be proud of a stellar career.
It’s not often you’ll hear Mike Tyson cry, but that’s exactly what happened on the latest episode of his Hotboxin’ With Mike Tyson podcast. Speaking to guest Sugar Ray Leonard, the former heavyweight king detailed his struggles with the man he used to be.
“I know the art of fighting, I know the art of war, that’s all I ever studied,” he said. “That’s why I’m so feared, that’s why they feared me when I was in the ring. I was an annihilator. It’s all I was born for.
“Now those days are gone it’s empty, I’m nothing. I’m working on the art of humbleness… That’s the reason I’m crying because I’m not that person no more, and I miss him.
“Because sometimes I feel like a b***h, because I don’t want that person to come out because if he comes out, hell is coming with him. And it’s not funny at all. I sound cool, like I’m a tough guy [but] I hate that guy. I’m scared of him.” That’s some pretty heady stuff, and another sign that Fury doesn’t just share a name with “Iron” Mike.