Yep, pretty baffling headline, but it appears DAZN signing Anthony Joshua to that huge global deal did not come with UK rights to his next (and probably most important) fight.
Joshua’s rematch vs OIeksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia on August 20 is apparently headed instead to his old broadcast partner Sky Sports in a deal which is apparently worth a whopping £25million.
Sky wins bidding war for AJ rights
The Sun reports that the huge site fee the Saudis paid (approaching £100million) to stage the bout in Jeddah also came with the TV rights, which they were able to sell to the highest bidder. That led to a high-stakes auction between Sky, DAZN, BT Sport and the BBC. Eventually that became Sky and DAZN, with the former winning the race on Thursday night.
The development is likely to be a bitter blow for DAZN, which saw enticing first Eddie Hearn and his Matchroom operation and then AJ to their streaming platform as a massive step towards dominating the vibrant UK boxing market.
For Sky meanwhile it’s an unexpected boost after they endured the shock of losing Joshua after a long and successful association.
DAZN needs a Joshua win, badly
Now DAZN will be literally praying that Joshua scores an upset win over Usyk in that rematch (he will start the bout a definite betting underdog) or their global partnership could be off to a very bad start.
Should AJ prevail he would once again own the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles. And importantly DAZN would have a seat at the table for a potential all-British unification vs Tyson Fury.
Should Joshua lose again to Usyk though, that would be three defeats in his last five fights, two of them at the hands of the brilliant Ukrainian. Usyk would then likely go on to face Fury instead for all the marbles in boxing’s marquee weight class.