By Terence Dooley
Matchroom boxing are expected to be the big winners in Sky TV's latest round of contract dealings after securing an alleged, not to mention whopping, 20-plus fight deal with the subscription TV network. Frank Maloney will also keep his Sky spot, albeit with fewer shows, presumably so the station can continue to track the development of Maloney's heavyweight sensation David Price.
Furthermore, The Daily Mail today reported that there are no more TV dates in the cupboard for Hatton Promotions after their June 16 interim WBA super bantamweight showdown between Scott Quigg and Rendall Munroe. Indeed, the promotional outfit have confirmed that the Quigg-Munroe headlined show will be their last event of the current season, although this does not necessarily mean the end of their association with Sky. However, both Maloney and Hatton Promotions, if they are retained, will have fewer dates overall as Sky seek to tighten up their boxing coverage.
Matchroom have provide the network with whopping viewing figures via their hugely popular Prizefighter series as well as whipping up a huge amount of interest in the recent showdown between Kell Brook and Matthew Hatton. Eddie Hearn, Matchroom's Group Managing Director, billed the fight as “The War of the Roses” and it certainly captured the imagination of boxing fans here in the U.K – with the viewing figures reflecting this interest. Brook looks set to meet America's Carson Jones in an IBF final eliminator at Sheffield's Motorpoint Arena on July 7 as he continues his march towards a world title.
With headline names on the books such as Carl Froch, Darren Barker, Brook and Gavin Rees, not to mention a host of fighters coming through, Matchroom's boxing department is in a healthy position and their strength in depth has been rewarded by Sky.
Hatton Promotions put on a spectacular double header on Saturday night when Anthony Crolla versus Derry Mathews, for the British lightweight belt, and Matty Askin and Jon Lewis Dickinson, in a British cruiserweight title eliminator, lit up our screens. Unfortunately they have suffered some setbacks in recent times, most notably when Matthew Hatton's fight with Ismael El Massoudi was cancelled back in November. Defeats to Crolla and Askin, both Hatton fighters, on Saturday night was another body blow for the organisation.
Still, Ricky Hatton has always enjoyed a fantastic relationship with Sky's Adam Smith, their Head of Boxing, and “The Hitman” could wade in and win his stable a few more dates. As it stands, Matchroom's huge allocation and strength in depth means that the other promoters will have to jostle for elbow room if they want TV shows and the money that comes with them.
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