Anthony Joshua vs. Dillian Whyte on Sky Box Office PPV
By Scott Gilfoid: In a controversial move, Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn has made next month’s fight card on December 12th a pay-per-view affair on Sky Box Office. The fight card is headlined by the heavyweight clash between unbeaten Anthony Joshua (14-0, 14 KOs) facing Dillian Whyte (16-0, 13 KOs) at the O2 Arena in London, UK.
To be sure, it’s a controversial move by Hearn to make the Joshua-Whyte fight card a PPV event, because there is arguably only one competitive and interesting fight on the entire card and that’s the main event.
The co-feature bout between #1 WBA Chris Eubank Jr. and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan is little more than a mismatch at best. Eubank Jr. is fighting #6 WBA O’Sullivan, who has fought only one decent fighter in his career in Billy Joe Saunders two years ago and lost every round to him in a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision.
Eubank Jr-O’Sullivan is better than Eubank Jr’s recent mismatch against 39-year-old Tony Jeter, but it’s not much better. Sadly, the World Boxing Association has given the greenlight for the Eubank Jr-O’Sullivan fight to be a final eliminator bout with the winner becoming the mandatory challenger to WBA “regular” 160lb champion Daniel Jacobs.
There’s no argument from me for having Eubank Jr. involved in a WBA eliminator, but what have a real problem with is his opponent O’Sullivan. Eubank Jr. should be fighting someone higher ranked with a heck of a lot more talent than O’Sullivan, someone like Tureano Johnson, Arif Magomedov, Antoine Douglas, Willie Monroe Jr or Ryota Murata.
The WBA’s rankings are Mickey Mouse in my view, as they now have O’Sullivan ranked above those talents. I don’t O’Sullivan would win a round against any of those fighters. The only thing O’Sullivan has going for him is he appears to be more popular than those fighters.
Eubank Jr. vs. O’Sullivan isn’t Sky Box Office worthy in my view. I see it as a good undercard fight on regular Sky, but a first fight of the night type match and definitely not a co-feature bout. That’s just embarrassing in my view, especially with it being on PPV.
As for the rest of the Joshua-Whyte card, cruiserweight Tony Bellew will be fighting 28-year-old Mateusz Masternak in a 12 round fight. Masternak was recently beaten by Youri Kalenga, Johnny Muller and Grigory Drozd. Muller was stopped in 3 rounds by the talented 2012 Olympic gold medalist Oleksandr Usyk.
My point is if Masternak couldn’t beat Muller, then why in the heck is Bellew fighting him? Why isn’t Bellew fighting Usyk? I think I know that answer. Usyk is just too good. Bellew will be getting a world title shot in the near future against IBF champion Victor Ramirez if he can hold onto his belt long enough for that fight to happen. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see the Bellew vs. Maternak fight a good enough one for me to want to pay to see the fight on Sky Box Office.
The other fights on the Joshua-Whyte card aren’t completed yet. Luke Campbell, Josh Warrington Kevin Mitchell will all be on the card, but they still don’t have opponents picked out for them despite the fact that there is only one month to go before their fights. That suggests that they’re not going to be facing the best opposition.
The question then would be are you willing to watch those fighters involved in mismatches that you’re being asked to pay to see? I know that I’m not. If they were facing each other, then yeah, I’d be willing to pay to see that, but definitely not if they’re going to be fighting scrubs.
It’s going to be a really tough two months for British boxing fans with them being asked twice to dig deep to pay to see the Tyson Fury vs. Wladimir Klitschko on Sky Box Office on November 28th, and then the following month fans having to pay to see Anthony Joshua vs. Dillian Whyte on Sky Box Office on December 12th.
“This is a huge end to a great year for me. Headlining The O2 and being selected to fight on Sky Sports Box Office is another massive step in my professional career,” Joshua said. “I have been working hard in the gym so I am looking forward to delivering an early Christmas present to all my fans who will be watching at home or live in the arena.”
I’m sure Hearn’s justification for putting the Joshua vs. Whyte fight on Sky Box Office PPV is that he had to do it in order to assemble all the talent. But it’s no good in my view if all the talent is spread apart in being matched against no-hopers.
Like I said, we don’t know who Warrington, Mitchell and Campbell will be fighting yet, but it’s not a good sign that they still don’t have opponents one month out. That tells me they’re going to be matched against fringe level guys or more likely 2nd tier fodder opponents. I don’t like the Eubank Jr-O’Sullivan fight, and I hate the Bellew-Masternak mismatch. Why isn’t Bellew being matched against the guy that recently whipped Masternak in Johnny Muller or the fighter that recently beat Muller in Usyk? It’s just sad, sad match-making by Hearn.
Bellew vs. Masternak doesn’t interest me at all for a PPV fight card. It’s worthy of a nice shopping mall type fight card where shoppers drift by to see the fight and then walk away quickly when they see it’s just another boring match-up for Bellew.
We haven’t seen Bellew matched tough yet since he moved up to the cruiserweight division in 2014. He’s been put in with fodder. How about matching Bellew against Usyk, Ilunga Makabu, Olanrewaja Durodola, Marco Huck, Thabiso Mchunu, Ola Afolabi, Beibut Shumenov or Krzystof Wlodarczyk? Why isn’t Bellew being put in with those guys by Hearn?
“There’s been a lot of hype around Joshua but so far as I’m concerned he’s nothing special and I’ve beaten him before,” Whyte said to skysports.com. “I’m going to beat him again in December – this time I’ll knock him spark out. It’s my time to shine.”