Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin title tilt to kick off DAZN’s U.S. launch on Sept. 22
Eddie Hearn’s initial roster of U.S. fighters set to compete on the DAZN may be underwhelming, but the promoter has his major fight to kick off the new streaming platform with a splash.
Hearn announced at a news conference in New York on Tuesday that the Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin heavyweight title fight previously announced for Sept. 22 at Wembley Stadium will be streamed exclusively on DAZN in the U.S.
Joshua’s last six fights have been televised by Showtime in the U.S., and with his contract expired, the heavyweight champion was being heavily courted by both HBO and Showtime. Instead, he’ll be the face of the fledgling streaming platform, which will launch Sept. 10 and cost subscribers $9.99 a month.
With TV rights to all the major sports league gobbled up in the U.S., Perform Group is diving in head first with combat sports, and they’ll also stream Bellator MMA on the platform.
The eight-year deal with Hearn calls for 32 fights to be streamed (16 in the U.S., 16 from the U.K.) and will pay the Brit $1 billion over the life of the contract to buy fights. However, there’s a option after the second year, making it essentially a two-year deal.
Joshua (21-0, 20 knockouts) is the biggest global star in the sport, and his arrival on the DAZN immediately gives the platform some clout. When Hearn announced his partnership with DAZN in May, he was adamant that Joshua’s fights wouldn’t be a part of the platform. But he claims they came forth with a strong offer in the months that followed.
The Ring’s No. 1 heavyweight will meet Povetkin, a dangerous Russian puncher who has twice been popped for using performance-enhancing substances. The 38-year-old is also an Olympic gold medalist, and he shapes up as Joshua’s toughest test since the Brit knocked out Wladimir Klitschko in 2017. Povetkin is currently rated No. 3 by The Ring.
When Joshua and Povetkin faced off at tail-end of Tuesday’s presser, Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller interrupted. The heavyweight contender was a late arrival to the news conference, and he’s one of the American fighters Hearn added to his growing stable. He was actually in consideration to face Joshua this summer in New York before talks fell apart.
Miller and Joshua began mouthing off to one another, and the champ was visibly frustrated.
“You little bitch, who the f— are you talking to?” Joshua shouted. “You’re late, no respect. I’ll punch you right in your mouth. Shut the f— up. Running your mouth every minute, shut the f— up and get off the stage you little bitch.”
Joshua recently signed a deal to stage his next two bouts at the 90,000-plus capacity Wembley Stadium in England. The second fight is scheduled for April 13, and the public hopes it’s the long-awaited unification showdown with American puncher Deontay Wilder.
But following Tuesday’s histrionics, it would be far from a surprise if it’s instead “Big Baby” Miller who gets the call.
<em>Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter:<a href=”http://www.twitter.com/mikecoppinger”> @MikeCoppinger</a></em>