Frank Warren says he does not want to see streaming platform DAZN “go bust” as the sport of boxing needs businesses like it to thrive.
DAZN made a huge entry into the United States market in 2018 with boxing at the very forefront of its strategy, signing a reported $1bn agreement with Warren’s rival promoter Eddie Hearn. It later also inked a $365m pact with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and also signed Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin among others.
But despite the UK-based company – funded by billionaire Len Blavatnik – reportedly now seeking a cash injection to secure its future – Warren takes no pleasure in the rumours of its struggles.
“Our sport needs to be relevant at the moment,” Warren told The Athletic. “We need to be out there so I don’t want to see DAZN go bust – I don’t want to see anybody go bust. These are tough times for people.”
The apparent revelation that Warren and Hearn – who would be on opposite sides if and when Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua finally meet to unify the world heavyweight titles – have never spoken stunned some fight fans. But Warren cannot understand the level of surprise.
He went on: “I’ve had no need to (speak to Eddie Hearn). I’ve dealt with his father (Barry Hearn) in the past. We were partners in snooker at one stage many years ago. But I’ve never had the need to speak to him (Eddie) and vice-versa. We’ve had fighters fight on Matchroom shows and I’ve won purse bids where some of their fighters have fought on our shows.”
With boxing about to start tentatively coming out of the COVID-19 lockdown, Warren says the last thing the sport needs is for him and Hearn to be putting on shows on the same dates.
“Of course it’s competitive – we all know that Sky and BT are competitive. It’s the same in any business,” he said.
“Barclays bank are in a war with Lloyds bank. Virgin hate British Airways. That’s how business is. I’m a competitive person and I’m not gonna roll over for anyone, but in this case, we need to ensure that a bit of common sense prevails. A simple matter of alternating the dates should not be a problem for any of us. And the TV channels need to be grown-up about it, too.”