British boxing is growing and more than ever will be televised in 2017
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Until recently Sky was dominating the broadcasting of boxing, in conjunction with Eddie Hearn’s behemoth boxing promotion company Matchroom Boxing. While they’re still arguably ahead, the market is becoming a more competitive one as interest in boxing grows.
Frank Warren and BoxNation are the main competitors to Hearn, and Sky and have recently stepped up their efforts by signing a landmark deal with BT Sport. In 2017 BT Sport subscribers will receive BoxNation free of charge, and this could further push boxing back into the mainstream of televised sport.
Icons like Anthony Joshua and Chris Eubank Jr. have helped put British boxing back on the map and have increased the British public’s interest in the sport. Joshua has been commended for his consistent sportsmanship which, considering his meteoric rise and current high profile, has boosted the public’s perception of boxing, a sport sometimes considered a ‘dark art’ because of its brutality and history of erratic characters.
Soon BT Sport and Sky won’t be alone in the pantheon of boxing broadcasters though, as ITV plan to take to the ring with ITV Box Office. ITV’s brand new pay-per-view channel will launch with Eubank Junior’s world title fight against Renold Quinlan.
Eubank Jr. told ITV: “I feel blessed to have this opportunity to work with ITV after they first showcased my father 26 years ago. And I intend to deliver more of what my father did: speed, power, accuracy, showmanship and the will to fight and beat the best of the best. Maybe even with a little bit more swagger!”
ITV’s Director of Sport, Niall Sloane, commented on the importance of ITV’s re-entry into the world of boxing broadcasting: “Live coverage of this world title fight featuring one of Britain’s most exciting young boxers is an event we hope will appeal to sports fans across the country," he said.
"Many people will recall watching Chris Eubank Jnr’s father in action in some of his most memorable fights on ITV, so it feels fitting for the Eubank name to feature in the first broadcast on our new channel.”
Fight fans can prepare for more accessible, televised British boxing in 2017 and beyond. While BoxNation and ITV may struggle to keep pace with Sky’s big-name fights ITV’s launch-fight, a showcase of Chris Eubank Junior is a meaningful statement of intent.