Joseph Parker’s heavyweight title fight against Hughie Fury is gonna be shown live of YouTube, cool. We’re less than three weeks out from that bout – September 24 in NZT – so it’s about time they sorted out a broadcaster and while the press release reckons they had all sorts of televisual suitors, Hennessy Sports ended up going with the online option.
First thing to mention is that this means nothing for kiwi fans. The deal is for the UK and Ireland TV rights so while it’s tempting to wonder what might have been, we’ll still be watching this thing via Sky Sports and their old mate Mr Sky Box Office - $39.95 for the fight which is a little hefty for a Sunday afternoon scrap but it’s cheaper than the last couple fights at least. It’s the same price as they charged for the Dimitrenko fight except this one is a heavyweight title fight.
And the other thing is that while this move to YouTube is definitely a brave one, it’s not a massively innovative or ground-breaking one. Perhaps this is cynical, but I’d imagine they only do this if the money is as good or better as what the traditional broadcasters were offering. Sky Sports UK is all about their Anthony Joshua stuff these days but neither Hughie Fury nor Joseph Parker is much of a name in Britain – Hughie’s known as Tyson’s brother and Joseph’s known as a possible AJ challenger down the line.
It’s a heavyweight title fight too which almost hinders things a bit because the expectations are that much higher. Part of the YT deal includes free streaming some of the early undercards – which include Amir Khan’s younger brother and Con Sheehan, another of Peter Fury’s prospects – but that’s nothing special. Presumably we will be watching the YouTube broadcast through Sky so that’ll be interesting enough. No reason to think they won’t nail it with all their technological expertise and, hey, Duco should be stoked: nobody polices online piracy like YouTube.
As for bringing the sport to a whole new audience, bugger off. Maybe if it was free but the kiddies aren’t chucking a tenner on this to watch what might optimistically be the third and… eighth? ... best fighters in the heavyweight division go to war. The NFL already show a couple live games a season on Twitter. Major League Baseball stream live games on YouTube all the time – both completely free. The NBA goes crazy with highlights on YouTube. If you’re a kiwi footy fan then you can watch the Vancouver All-Whitecaps or Bill Tuiloma’s Portland Timbers 2 team live streamed every game.
All that’s different is the pay-wall and you know how those tend to go when it comes to the internet. There’s a reason The Niche Cache articles will never be pay-walled (although you can support us on Patreon!). But, like, fair play to them. It’ll be pretty fascinating how this goes and I’m anticipating a flawless broadcast. The one thing that’s always held boxing back recently has been that pay-per-view blockade so if YouTube can make these things that little bit more accessible then that’s ideal.
In other news, Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev have confirmed their own big night, to go ahead on October 28 in the UK. Principality Stadium in Cardiff, specifically. This is the mandatory that AJ was ordered to take for his IBF belt and the only way he was getting out of it was with a Klitschko rematch but the great man retired so this bout was never really in any doubt. Just a matter of time. As it happens, Klitschko is so far the only man to defeat the Bulgarian Pulev but Joshua will obviously be a big favourite. That fight, if you were wondering, will be taken by Sky Box Office with Showtime likely to show it in America. If Parker-Fury ends up on US telly then it’ll be on ESPN, probably, who have a big deal with Top Rank.
And to add to the swelling tide in heavyweight boxing it sounds like Deontay Wilder is about to get back in the ring too – all three heavyweight title holders back throwing punches in anger. Wilder has been ordered to fight mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne while Anthony Joshua had a tricky situation with two mandatories called at once – his WBA belt supposed to go on the line against Luis Ortiz at the same time as his IBF was challenged for by Pulev.
Well, lucky for AJ that he’s got his mate/rival Wilder out there. Nobody wants to see Wilder fight Stiverne again, their last fight was enough, while Joshua had already prioritised his IBF belt since he won that one first. Wilder also wanted a bigger threat than Stiverne and since the other two title-holders were busy he eyed up Luis Ortiz. Stiverne said that there was now amount of money that could buy him out of his next title shot… but of course there is and those sneaky sources say he’s about to.
As extra consolation, Stiverne will get to fight as the main undercard and he’ll defer his challenge until the next fight when he’ll have the opportunity to take on the winner of Wilder vs Ortiz. Dan Rafael said it’s almost official and Dan Rafael doesn’t lie. Stiverne probably needs another fight under his belt anyway – he’s only had one fight since he lost to Wilder in 2015. Rafa says November 4 in Brooklyn for Wilder vs Ortiz. Exactly a week after Joshua vs Pulev and given Parker will have be a month removed from his own battle by then, you can definitely expect him to show up ringside for at least one of them… so long as he wins, that is.
Say, Joe, what do you reckon?
Joe Parker to Boxing Scene: “I think Wilder is a champion for a reason. I pick Wilder but Ortiz is a tricky fighter and I think the southpaw stance will give him some trouble but I think Wilder has the punch to finish him and he always rises to the occasion.”
The best thing is that while none of these three fights are unification bouts, they’re all fairly competitive contests. Parker has very real reasons to fear Fury. Pulev should be outmatched by Joshua but Joshua is still kinda inexperienced for all his success and Pulev’s been around and done it all. As for Luis Ortiz, they reckon he hits harder than anyone in the entire division.
Should be good, mate. Should be very, very good. Shout out to YouTube too.
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