Anthony Joshua has turned his back on Sky Sports to sign a lucrative deal with streaming service DAZN, as the heavyweight prepares for his crucial rematch against Oleksandr Usyk this summer.
Joshua has fought on Sky Sports for the entirety of his career, with his promoter Eddie Hearn previously having an exclusive deal with the broadcaster to stage his fights.
But the Matchroom Boxing chief has since negotiated a £100million-per-year deal with DAZN that has seen him bring his entire stable on board.
Joshua had a separate contract to show his fights exclusively on Sky Sports, but that expired after his first fight against Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September – and the heavyweight has now defected to DAZN.
The Watford-born star has been the subject of a bidding war ever since, but he has now pledged his allegiance to Hearn’s new project with DAZN, starting with his next fight with Usyk – slated to be held in August in Saudi Arabia.
Sky Sports initially felt confident of re-signing Joshua as early as last month, with DAZN even feeling they had lost the race to sign him.
But now the popular app has taken the driver’s seat after a ‘sudden swing’, and shared their announcement on Monday afternoon.
Speaking about the partnership, Joshua said: “I am entering a new phase in my career with a new training environment, new coaches and now a new broadcaster. Negotiations at this level take time so I am pleased to have it all wrapped up and now I can fully focus on giving the fans and DAZN what they want, knockouts in the glamour division.
“I’ve been working with DAZN and following its progress for a long time. We have enjoyed a really successful partnership in the US for many years and I know the team and understand the passion and drive of the business.
“DAZN’s vision and passion to innovate is what attracted me to the partnership. They are leading the digital landscape in sport and the future of sports broadcasting. I am really looking forward to a long and successful partnership.”
While Eddie Hearn added: ‘We have been successfully working in partnership with DAZN for many years now and this new announcement with Anthony Joshua emphasises why they continue to set the standard for the future of sports broadcasting.
“We have a shared vision with DAZN to make it the unrivalled home of boxing for fans across the world. Now with Anthony joining the team the stage is set to do even more together and we are looking forward to getting started.”
Sky Sports have had a number of highlights with AJ – undoubtedly the top one being his sensational victory over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in 2017 – watched by more than 1.5million people on pay-per-view.
Fans also watched him wrestle his world titles back from Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia in 2019 on the channel which saw him become a two-time world champion.
Joshua has been with Matchroom Sport for all 26 of his professional fights and signed a life-time contract with the promotional company last September after Hearn’s guidance led him to become one of the world’s top fighters.
AJ said at the time: ‘We’ve built some great foundations over the years and I appreciate Matchroom – the company, the team, the family business.
“That’s kind of what drew me towards you guys as well, the integrity that the Hearns have when it comes to boxing and business.
“I’ve felt comfortable during my years as a boxer and I always felt that the business outside of sport is harder than the actual fighting due to the history and some of the problems that some fighters have had.
“So, to be with Matchroom Sport has been a blessing for myself, my family and my team.
“Outside of that, what Matchroom Sport have done is created an environment for boxing fans.
“The shows that we have managed to put on have been phenomenal. When I walk out to fight, I look around and I’m like, ‘mate, this is unbelievable’.
“From where we began, to the middle of the journey, the foundations we have created are phenomenal and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
“In my humble opinion, what better place to be than Matchroom Boxing?
“I have heard that my signature was hot property. I’m happy where I am. A handshake is good enough for me, but the signature solidifies it and I’m happy where my signature is.”