Anthony Joshua will be at centre of mega-money broadcast war this summer when Sky Sports deal ends

ANTHONY JOSHUA will be the centre of a mega-money broadcast war this summer when his Sky Sports deal ends.

Watford’s WBA, IBF and WBO king has one fight left with Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, who has guided his career from his 2012 London Olympics coronation.

And the Essex fight mogul has just ended his almost decade-long Sky partnership to pen a five-year deal with sports streaming service DAZN.

After the upcoming defence against Oleksandr Usyk, which should be agreed in around a week, Joshua will be a promotional and broadcasting free agent.

And, while Hearn expects his deal with the champ to continue, he expects his new partners – who already show AJ’s fights outside the UK –  to wave their mighty chequebook too.

The 41-year-old said: “I am absolutely sure that AJ stays with me and there will be an announcement in due course about AJ’s relationship with Matchroom.

"I know that our relationship ends when AJ hangs up his gloves.

“In terms of his broadcast deal there is no pushing or guiding of Anthony Joshua to DAZN from us.

"That is a decision for us, him and his management company 258 and him to look at the market and the opportunities.

“He is the biggest star in British boxing and potentially world boxing.


“I cannot speak for DAZN but I am sure they would like to welcome him to the platform and they already show his fights globally.

“But AJ has a great relationship with Sky and I am sure they will be keen to extend that relationship beyond whatever fight happens in August or September.”

Hearn struck a billion-dollar deal for his Matchroom brand to make all of DAZN’s US and UK fights in 2018.

And the ‘Netflix of Sport’ swiftly gave boxing’s biggest superstar Canelo Alvarez a £278million 11-fight deal, that broke down amicably when the Mexican split with his Golden Boy promoters last year.

Canelo’s bitter rival Gennady Golovkin was snapped up too, in a deal worth close to around £100million, but the failure to secure the trilogy fight between the pair has been a major disappointment.

And Tyson Fury did a £80m five-fight deal with American broadcasters ESPN in 2019 that will carry his Deontay Wilder trilogy fight in July.

In August 2018, AJ signed a three-year extension to his long-running Sky Sports partnership and will know exactly what his worth is in the crowded market.

Hearn, who continues to provide darts and pool to Sky, said they wished him well and congratulated him on his huge move.

He claimed: “It was a very difficult decision because we work with Sky on a number of sports.

“I think when they understood the structure of the deal I felt even they had to shake my hand and say ‘good luck son’.

“It was too big an opportunity to expand globally, it was too big an opportunity to make these big fights. They were very disappointed but it is business.

“I expect them to stay in boxing and regroup.

"The key focus of their boxing business is pay-per-view and they have a fantastic platform so I am sure they will continue with that and provide boxing for their subscribers too.”

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