George Gigney examines the upcoming boxing schedule for each of the big three boxing broadcasters in the UK
AS things stand, it would be hard to argue against Sky Sports having the strongest upcoming boxing schedule in the ongoing broadcast wars in the UK, when it comes to boxing. This weekend they’ll air one of the best fights booked for the remainder of the year when Anthony Joshua defends his heavyweight titles against Oleksandr Usyk on pay-per-view.
The undercard is nothing to write home about – Lawrence Okolie marks time after a career-best win, while Callum Smith will venture into the 175-pound division for the first time – but the main event certainly has enough intrigue to pull in a significant audience.
What’s interesting is that this is Joshua’s last fight on his current broadcast deal with Sky, who have shown all of his professional fights to date. Should he move to DAZN, where the rest of Matchroom Boxing took their services, Sky Sports’ prospective schedule will take a big hit.
That being said, Sky’s new agreements with Top Rank and BOXXER have bolstered their offerings over the next few months. A week after Joshua-Usyk (October 2) they’ll air a show headlined by Chris Eubank Jnr, and while his opponent – Sven Elbir – is unheralded, Eubank’s name is enough to carry it. It has been whispered that the Brighton man could secure a scrap with none other than Gennady Golovkin in December if he wins. Plus, the undercard features a fascinating clash between David Avanesyan and Liam Taylor.
In fact, October is a busy month for Sky. Savannah Marshall fights on October 16, with Hughie Fury fighting Christian Hammer on the same bill, and a week later Jamel Herring and Shakur Stevenson meet in an excellent super-featherweight bout, courtesy of Top Rank.
There’s a BOXXER tournament scheduled for November 6, and then the next fight on the Sky Sports slate is world super-lightweight champion Josh Taylor’s homecoming against Jack Catterall on December 18.
Outside of Joshua-Usyk, that’s the best fight on Sky’s schedule. Catterall may be somewhat unproven at world level but he’s clearly very talented and will ask some difficult questions of the champion, who at long last will be back in front of a Scottish crowd.
While there are a few uninspiring matchups included in Sky’s timetable, there are enough standouts to put it above anything confirmed by any other broadcaster at the moment. There’s also potential for it to get better; Terence Crawford, a Top Rank fighter, is scheduled to take on Shawn Porter on November 20. Naoya Inoue is also expected to venture out before 2021 is over, with John Riel Casimero a possible opponent.
Sky’s is also the most robust schedule, with six confirmed shows for UK audiences, though DAZN is not far behind with five.