With Anthony Joshua blazing a trail through boxing’s heaviest weight class and Tyson Fury almost doing the unthinkable at the tail end of last year, it is fair to say that Britain is once again at the pinnacle at the sport.
Due to the talents that these two possess, they are able to command big money from promoters looking to schedule fights on their behalf and this no more evident than when Tyson Fury recently put pen to paper.
He now finds himself with an extra £85m in the bank – a windfall that comes courtesy of signing a deal with ESPN, one that means that the American network now possesses the television rights to Fury’s in-ring efforts.
While the first of these fights is scheduled for June 15 and, although Tom Schwarz will be hopeful of landing a damaging blow on the chin of the Manchester-based pugilist, this is a duel that represents nothing more than a tune-up fight for bigger things on the horizon.
It’s a feeling that is all the more evident when you look at the current boxing betting; bet365 have Fury at the incredibly short price of 1/50 on to win this fight. Such is the confidence going into this, thoughts are already focussed on what happens next for the 30-year-old
It’s a question that may well depend on a number of circumstances, and one of those will undoubtedly be the protracted negotiations that take place behind the scenes. These will have only become more complex now that Fury has joined the ESPN stable.
Although it gives the former WBC Heavyweight champion a hefty pay-day, it does now add an additional barrier when trying to agree a fight against either compatriot Anthony Joshua or America’s Deontay Wilder.
This is because Joshua is represented by Eddie Hearn, who himself has links with both DAZN and Sky, while Wilder is backed by Showtime in the States and this means there is no common ground when trying to establish who will win the right to screen any potential mega-fight.
At the same time, it is not an impossible hurdle to clear and, at the end of the day, money always talks. If the price is right, there is always scope for two opposing networks to share coverage, something that we have seen on a number of previous occasions.
It would be a shame if warring media factions stood in the way of either “Fury-Wilder 2” or “The Battle of Britain” between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, especially as the Heavyweight division is going through a real purple patch at present.
When big money deals are inked, the companies behind them will look to protect their investment. And, although arranging arguably the biggest contest the sport has ever seen will, in turn, generate even further sums of cash, it does also come with a huge risk.
It’s a risk that could see a fighter lose their undefeated record and, if that were to happen, the investment put into them would then see a massive decline. Therefore, the likes of DAZN and ESPN would rather keep their crown jewels far apart.
Their mindset is that it’s better to promote a crown jewel who beats everyone in front of them, as long as it’s not someone who could cause serious damage. A winning blueprint for the networks but, unfortunately, a knockout punch for the fans who are craving big-time boxing in the near future.
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