Hearn to extend with Sky in 2021, regardless of DAZN arriving in UK

By Boxing News - 10/30/2020 - Comments

By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn and his Matchroom Boxing promotional company will be renewing their contract with Sky Sports in 2021 despite the streaming giant DAZN making their arrival in the UK. Hearn says he’s happy with Sky Sports, and he wants to stay with them.

Sky had faith in Matchroom from the beginning, picking them to show boxing on their platform over the other promotional companies, Hearn says. He doesn’t want to leave them for DAZN.

Hearn isn’t saying which of his Matchroom fighters will be on DAZN in the UK.

What’s unclear, though with everything Hearn says about re-upping with Sky, is what type of fights will be shown on DAZN in the UK? Hearn says Anthony Joshua is “exclusive” to Sky Sports, which means his fights won’t be shown on DAZN in the UK. They will be shown on DAZN outside of the UK.

With Hearn’s Matchroom fighters being shown on DAZN outside of the UK, does this mean that none of them will be shown on that platform in the broadcasts in that country, or will only some of them being shown?

Hearn’s most popular fighters from Matchroom are regularly shown on Sky, and that means they likely won’t be shown on DAZN in the UK.

Image: Hearn to extend with Sky in 2021, regardless of DAZN arriving in UK

If only Hearn’s less popular fighters are shown on DAZN in Britain, it could make the platform irrelevant to many British fans in terms of seeing local fights.

Hearn says Matchroom to renew with Sky in 2021

“I think anytime someone comes into the marketplace and gets interested. We’re a global promotional business and we have shows around the world,” said Hearn to IFL TV. “Our UK shows are all on Sky and that’s where we’re happy.

“There’s a lot of speculation about that contract ending next year. ‘Are we going to renew it? DAZN is coming in.’ I’ve made it clear so many times that are loyalties lie with Sky.

“Over so many years, they have consistently backed up, and we wouldn’t be the business that we are across all our sports without the investment and the loyalty of Sky. We’re already talking about extending that partnership and that’s what we expect to do.

“It’s a great pay-per-view platform, a great cross-marketing on other sports channels. The power of Sky Sports News, the great team that they have, the way their production works, the way that they understand the sport of boxing.

“We’re very happy. It’s been a long, long relationship. They were the ones that put their faith in me. They effectively turned their back to the other promoters. ‘This is the guy we believe in,’ and that means a lot.

DAZN’s arrival in the UK will allow many British boxing fans to see fights from outside of the country like Ryan Garcia vs. Luke Campbell, for example.

But it sounds like that the UK fans won’t see Hearn’s choice fighters from his Matchroom company due to those fighters being shown on Sky Sports.

It would be a mess potentially if Dereck Chisora or Dillian Whyte’s contests were shown both on DAZN and Sky on the same night in the UK.

That would split the audience, making it difficult for either platform to bring in the huge numbers it would if they were the only ones showing the fights.

It sounds like Hearn’s best fighters from Matchroom will stay on Sky, and the fights that will be shown on DAZN in the UK will either be his less popular fighters from his company or outside of the country events.

Joshua’s fights to be shown on Sky in the UK, not DAZN

“Anthony Joshua is exclusive with Sky Sports,” Hearn continued. “He won’t be boxing for that Fury fight in the UK. He may have a deal as Kubrat Pulev, he has a global deal with DAZN excluding the UK.

“So the bigger problem with that fight is actually Anthony’s exclusive deal with Sky and Tyson Fury’s first last with BT. And in the States, DAZN’s first last with AJ and ESPN’s exclusive deal with Fury.

Image: Hearn to extend with Sky in 2021, regardless of DAZN arriving in UK

“There’s got to be that if people want the [Joshua vs. Fury] fight, we’ve got to find a way. Is it a joint broadcast? I don’t know what it is. But ultimately, if we all can’t agree, there won’t be no fight, but everyone wants the fight. So I think we’ll find a solution.

“It’s documented,” said Hearn when asked how much longer Matchroom Boxing has left in their Sky contract. “I don’t want to talk about broadcast contracts. It’s disrespectful.

“As I’ve said, we’re very happy with our position and our relationship with Sky Sports,” said Hearn.

Joshua’s matches not being shown on DAZN in the UK really hurts the attractiveness of signing with the company.

DAZN’s low initial price tag in the UK makes it appealing for fans to sign up with it, but they’re not going to be happy if they counted on seeing Joshua fight.

Haye: Fans don’t want to see Usyk running

“Now people are starting to think, ‘what if Dereck can get on his chest? What happens?’ Usyk is the WBO mandatory for Anthony Joshua’s title,” manager David Haye said to IFL TV about Chisora’s fight with Usyk on Saturday.

“He is in the position to set the world alight now but to do that. No one is interested in him running around, jabbing, bouncing around, and no engaging in battle.

Image: Hearn to extend with Sky in 2021, regardless of DAZN arriving in UK

“They want to see him do at heavyweight. If he does anything other than to knock Dereck Chisora out, it’s a failed mission. He wants to put on a spectacular performance.

“But to do that, he has to get past the very best Dereck Chisora, the Chisora that hasn’t been seen before. People like what Dereck Chisora does. They watch the fights against Dillian Whyte, but he didn’t have 12 rounds of fight in him. Now he has a full tank,” Haye said.

Well, if Haye is counting on Usyk brawling with Chisora, he’s kidding himself. That’s not going to happen, as Usyk still uses his amateur style that he found a lot of success with in the past.

The lack of size and power of Usyk, who is essentially still a cruiserweight, makes it impossible for him to stand and slug with fighters like Chisora.

As a result, it’s quite likely that Usyk will run around the ring on Saturday, jabbing and boxing to win a points decision. Fortunately for Usyk, the fight with Chisora will be taking place behind closed doors.

YouTube video

Usyk won’t have to experience the fans’ booing as we saw in some of his fights in the United States. Still, the fans at home are probably not going to like what they see from Usyk on Saturday, and they’re going to be upset about it.

The fans in the UK, who are paying to see the Usyk-Chisora event on Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view, many of them won’t be happy at seeing Usyk run around the ring and avoid mixing it up with Dereck.

Oleksandr “spooked,” Chisora says Haye

“There was things that I was begging him to do,” Haye said about the training he wanted from Chisora in the past.

“There was always resistance. He gave me 85%, but he didn’t give me 100. I said to beat the world elite, you have to give 100%. Dereck always gives 100% in a fight.

“No one ever questions his heart, but how about a month before that fight? How about three months before the fight? Is he giving 100% like he does in fight night? The answer is no.

Image: Hearn to extend with Sky in 2021, regardless of DAZN arriving in UK

“He didn’t use to do that. But for this fight, for some reason, I think Usyk spooked him. So many people told Chisora, ‘You’re going to get knocked out, you’re going to get battered and you’re going to get beaten.’

“He’s said, ‘f*** ever session 100% and let the chips fall where they may.’ Here we are a few days away. There’s a heavyweight title shot for the winner of this one.

“I’m campaigning for Dereck to be the WBO mandatory if he’s successful here. Currently, Usyk is the WBO mandatory, but if Dereck beats him, theoretically, he should become mandatory.

“He wants to win that belt one day and challenge for that belt. It’ll be the biggest upset on British soil in any heavyweight fight that I can ever remember, and Dereck is going to do it,” Haye said of Chisora.

Obviously, Chisora saw what Usyk did to his friend Tony Bellew in knocking him out in eight rounds in 2019; he doesn’t want to experience the same thing. Chisora doesn’t want to get beaten in the same way,  and that’s been a motivating factor for him to work hard.

Besides the potential of being embarrassed by Usyk, Chisora has a lot to gain financially from the fight.

If he beats Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs), he’ll potentially earn the WBO mandatory position, and he’ll make a tremendous amount of money from fighting the winner of the Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury match.

Chisora could double his net worth in one night against the winner of the Joshua-Fury fights.