Anthony Joshua is closing in on a deal to stay with Sky Sports.
The broadcaster is now the clear favourite to land the British heavyweight star’s UK TV rights. Joshua, 32, had considered a switch to streaming giant DAZN – who broadcast his fights in the US and globally – but it now looks like he will stay with Sky.
The Watford warrior penned a ‘career-long’ agreement with promoter Eddie Hearn and Matchroom. Both Hearn and Matchroom now have an exclusive relationship with DAZN in the UK and US. That sparked talk Joshua could make the switch but it is now believed he will stay with Sky, pending the finalisation of details on the contract.
Joshua’s TV rights are not part of Matchroom’s exclusive agreement with DAZN. Nothing is expected to be signed until his rematch with WBA, IBF and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk is sorted.
Hearn is still negotiating a site deal for that clash, with Saudi Arabia the favourite to host on July 23. It is not clear if Joshua will sign a long-term agreement with Sky Sports or just secure a fight-by-fight deal.
Joshua’s five-fight deal with Sky Sports came to an end when he lost to Usyk back in September at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. But he is still a huge draw on pay-per-view so the leading UK broadcaster has been keen to retain his rights.
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Meanwhile, Tyson Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum reckons the Gypsy King will be ‘stirred’ into making a comeback to face the winner of Usyk against Joshua. The WBC heavyweight champion insisted he was retiring from boxing after knocking out Dillian Whyte last month.
Fury, 33, is unbeaten and still seen as in his prime but he is adamant he is walking away from the sport. But Arum believes his man may be tempted back once he sees the outcome of Joshua’s rematch with WBA, IBF and WBO champion Usyk.
Arum, who runs Top Rank in the US, told Fighthype: “I’ll meet with Tyson [Fury], we’ll have dinner together, and whatever he wants to talk about. It doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll talk any further about his retirement. I mean, with Tyson Fury, you’ve got to give him space about what he wants to do.
"Again, I’m not going to push him for answers or anything. There’s no reason to. We’ll just have a nice conversation. When he says he’s retired, he means it now. But whether he’ll mean it two months from now, that’s problematic. I think once the Joshua vs. Usyk fight happens, I think the blood will stir in his body.”
Arum may not be involved in Usyk against Joshua, but he still believes it will be an exciting event when it does take place. But he has backed Usyk to hand Joshua another defeat after he outpointed the Brit back in September in their first fight.
He said: “I’m sure it’ll be a very good fight, and I’m sure he’ll be able to place it where he wants. I think Usyk-Joshua will be a very good fight, and I frankly look for Usyk to do the same thing as in the first fight.”
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