Sky Sports remain hopeful that their relationship with Anthony Joshua will continue beyond this month’s fight with Oleksandr Usyk , despite parting ways with Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
The WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF heavyweight title defense against Usyk on September 25 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London marks the end of Sky’s deal with Joshua, which was separate from their deal with Hearn’s Matchroom group, which took its stable of fighters to DAZN in July. Sky have broadcast every one of Joshua’s 25 professional bouts, all since he first won a world title on their Box Office platform.
Adam Smith, Sky’s head of boxing development, said that he believes Joshua will stay with Sky should he beat Usyk.
“We’ve had a wonderful journey with AJ we have been with him every step of the way,” Smith said. “We have his fight with Usyk and we are very hopeful we can continue our relationship well into the future.
“We’ve made him a superstar on Sky. It is key how we build fighters. I’d be naïve to say we would be happy to let him go off into the sunset. We will be fighting very hard to keep him.
“I have a very good relationship with AJ and his team. He is a very loyal guy. He has stayed with Eddie Hearn, he has stayed with Rob McCracken and we believe he will stay with Sky.”
Smith was talking at the launch of Sky’s autumn boxing schedule. After the split with Hearn, Ben Shalom of Boxxer has become Sky’s main promoter, while they have also agreed a long-term deal with Top Rank.
Apart from the Joshua-Usyk fight, the new schedule kicks off on October 2 with a show at Wembley featuring Chris Eubank Jr against Sven Elbir, a co-promotion with Wasserman Promotions.
A host of new signings were unveiled, including Savannah Marshall, Caroline Dubois and Hughie Fury.
Smith said that Boxxer have ideas to bring a new audience to boxing, but that they would not be neglecting the majority of fans.
“We dipped our toes into the YouTube market, some didn’t like that,” Smith said. “We are looking to cater for the hardcore audience as well as a new audience.
“We’ve always embraced a challenge at Sky. We haven’t always had every sweet in the jar but we have a few ones coming through. We’re building, we’ve done it before and we are doing again.
“This is only the first stage of the announcements, there are more to come. The boxing world moves very quickly. It’s going to take time it’s a journey. I worked with Barry and Eddie for 27 years, I have worked for Ben for three months. It is a very exciting time.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.