By Keith Idec
Stephen Espinoza expects Showtime to have an opportunity to bid for the broadcast rights to future Anthony Joshua fights.
Espinoza, Showtime Sports’ president, expressed optimism regarding working with the British superstar again during an interview with BoxingScene.com before a press conference for the Danny Garcia-Shawn Porter fight Monday in New York.
Joshua’s next fight, scheduled for September 22, will be streamed live in the United States by DAZN. Matchroom Boxing – the company operated by Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter – has a new deal with DAZN to stream boxing in the United States.
Joshua’s upcoming fight against Alexander Povetkin will headline the DAZN/Matchroom debut September 22 from Wembley Stadium in London. Showtime, which has televised Joshua’s past six fights, made a competitive bid to air Joshua-Povetkin.
If England’s Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) defeats Russia’s Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs), Joshua is committed to fighting April 13 at Wembley Stadium. If the IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion faces WBC champ Deontay Wilder that night, Showtime would at least be involved in that pay-per-view event as Wilder’s broadcast partner in the United States.
If Joshua fights someone other than Wilder on April 13, Espinoza believes Showtime would at least be granted an opportunity by Hearn to bid on the American broadcast rights to that bout. The 28-year-old Joshua recently re-signed an exclusive three-year deal with Sky Sports to air his fights on pay-per-view in the United Kingdom, but he hasn’t announced a similar deal to televise or stream his fights in the United States.
“Until he signs a multi-fight deal or indicates a decision to go somewhere else, then I think so,” Espinoza told BoxingScene.com about Showtime having a chance to broadcast future Joshua fights. “We made an aggressive bid on this fight, on the Povetkin fight, as did DAZN. And my understanding is there’s gonna be an opportunity to work with him again after the Povetkin fight and we’ll again bid aggressively for it. You know, he is an elite fighter, a special fighter, and we wanna get as much of that talent on Showtime as we can.”
DAZN, which costs $9.99 per month, seemingly would have the inside track to stream Joshua’s future fights due to the company’s partnership with Hearn. As a firmly established boxing broadcaster, however, Showtime has an advantage over DAZN in that it reaches many more viewers.
“The factors that went into him signing over there [with DAZN], that’s his business and he’s not obligated to share it with the rest of us,” Espinoza said. “But the reality is we know what our network, what our platform provides. We know our ability to build stars. We know our ability to do record-breaking pay-per-views. And there’s no one else in the market that does what we do. And there’s no one in the market that’s doing what we do. So he’ll make his own decision. We’re very confident in the value that we provide and we’re hoping to work with him again in the near future.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.