ESPN is not known as the ‘Worldwide Leader’ for nothing – it is quite simply a broadcasting behemoth which has become a dominant sports player globally, and ESPN Boxing is a big part of that.
The Disney-owned network has been a really strong advocate for the sport even in its toughest times, and its coverage of the fight game – notably with analysts like Max Kellerman and writers like Dan Rafael – has kept boxing really in the news.
Now some of the sport’s top fighters show off their skills on ESPN through a seven-year contractual pact between the network and Top Rank (worth a reported $84million a year to the promoter), the behemoth owned by Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. These fighters include lineal, WBC and Ring magazine heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
ESPN has always been a huge deal in boxing circles – its reach is so big that fighters and promoters are always desperate for some love from the ‘Worldwide Leader’.
Never has ESPN’s support for boxing been more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic. The highlight being when it put up the cash to keep the huge Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Teofimo Lopez away from pay-per-view. Instead that bout – on October 17, 2020 – was shown on ESPN free-to-air and drew a terrific audience of 2.898million (peak).
Now ESPN is able to devote even more time to boxing (and other sports) courtesy of its relatively new ESPN+ streaming platform. The service – which has more than 12million subscribers already, has a mass of content available to viewers for a relatively cost-effective monthly subscription fee. More of that later…
ESPN Boxing schedule
ESPN has some great fights upcoming, and here is the latest schedule:
December 16, 2023 (ESPN+ – Turin, Italy)
Francesco Grandelli vs Stefan Voda
December 26, 2023 (ESPN+ – Tokyo, Japan)
Naoya Inoue vs Marlon Tapales
January 13, 2024 (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ – Quebec City, Canada)
Artur Beterbiev vs Callum Smith
January 20, 2024 (ESPN+ – Liverpool, England)
Natasha Jonas vs Mikaela Mayer
February 16, 2024 (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ – New York)
O’Shaquie Foster v Abraham Nova
February 17, 2024 (ESPN+ PPV – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk
March 2, 2024 (tbc – ESPN+)
Luis Alberto Lopez vs Reiya Abe
Otabek Kholmatov vs Raymond Ford
- You can also get boxing picks and predictions for major upcoming fights
As already detailed, ESPN has a huge contract with Arum and his Top Rank Promotions – probably the biggest promotional company in the world.
This means the following big-name fighters (to name but a few) all currently fight on ESPN in the United States:
Tyson Fury: The lineal, WBC and Ring magazine heavyweight champion, who is part way through a five-fight £80million deal with the network.
Teofimo Lopez: Now the unified lightweight king after that terrific decision victory over Lomachenko in Las Vegas last October. The Brooklyn star will face Australian George Kambosos next, but that bout WILL NOT be streamed by ESPN after Triller pulled out, leaving DAZN to stage the show on November 27.
Vasiliy Lomachenko: Known as ‘The Matrix’ and one of the greatest fighters of his generation. Had a stellar amateur career before winning world title after world title in the pros. Looked invincible, until Lopez…
Naoya Inoue: High on the P4P lists of most fight experts. ‘The Monster’ from Japan is one of THE most exciting fighters around. Crushed Jason Moloney on ESPN in Las Vegas late last year, showcasing his sensational talent to a U.S. TV audience.
Artur Beterbiev: Unbeaten light-heavyweight king who is the accepted superstar at 175. A fight with Canelo Alvarez would be intriguing, but it doesn’t appear to be on Canelo’s radar as yet.
Miguel Berchelt: Lost his WBC super-featherweight when suffering a crushing KO defeat at the hands of Oscar Valdez in Vegas in February.
Oscar Valdez: Unbeaten star who produced a highlight-reel knockout to defeat Berchelt and claim the WBC super-featherweight strap. That put the exclamation point on a superb performance.
Shakur Stevenson: Exciting star who stepped up to super-featherweight late last year. A match against the winner of Berchelt vs Valdez would be a beauty.
Emanuel Navarrete: Two-weight world champion who has big fights ahead in 2021.
Edgar Berlanga: Exciting middleweight prospect who has won all of his 16 fights so far inside the distance. Explosive and must-watch TV.
Efe Ajagba: Nigerian heavyweight prospect who remains unbeaten and is ranked in the top 15 by most sanctioning bodies. Not massively impressive though in his Top Rank/ESPN debut and will need to improve.
Jared Anderson: Another exciting and unbeaten young heavyweight who has a huge future per Arum.
Josh Taylor: Unified super-welterweight king from Scotland, and a hugely talented operator.
Kubrat Pulev: Looks to be on the downside now as he approaches 40 years old. Two challenges for world titles and two defeats now after being knocked out by the aforementioned Joshua in London last December.
Michael Conlan: The entertaining Irishman remains unbeaten as a professional and is one of the top prospects at featherweight.
Oscar Rivas: Top-15 heavyweight who has lost only once – to Dillian Whyte back in 2019. A match for most in the division.
Fury vs USYK on ESPN
At last, we have a world heavyweight title unification fight, with Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk set to get it on in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on February 17, 2024.
The bout will air on ESPN+ PPV in the United States, and it should crown the sport’s first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis all the way back in 1999.
ESPN Plus login
As already mentioned, ESPN+ is the streaming platform for the ‘Worldwide Leader’ with a ton of viewing options available – including a good amount of boxing that you can’t see on regular ESPN.
To access ESPN, you’ll need to get a login, and here is how the process goes:
- Go to the login page to set up an account, or download the ESPN app
- Input your details to register your account
- Set up your payment details and confirm your subsription (monthly or annual)
- You are now set up to watch ESPN+
In addition to boxing, ESPN+ offers UFC, college basketball, soccer, golf and more as well as a ton of original documentary shows.
ESPN Plus price: how much does it cost?
There are two subscription options and price points for ESPN+ – you can pay either monthly or annually.
The current price of a monthly subscription is $5.99 while an annual sub will cost you $59.99.
ESPN Plus free trial
Sadly ESPN+ does not currently offer a free trial but this may change in the future and we will keep you right up to date. So check back regularly for details, and of course for the updated ESPN Boxing schedule.
ESPN Plus PPV
ESPN+ does carry some PPV (pay-per-view) programming, headlined by major UFC shows. For example the recent Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier rematch.
You can purchase UFC PPV alone for $69.99 or as a bundle with ESPN+ for $89.99.
ESPN Plus customer service
The ESPN website does have FAQs and Member Services areas, but if these do not have your required intel, you can call instead.
The number to call is: 1-888-549-ESPN