Eddie Hearn, DAZN Could Have Huge Impact on Boxing in the United StatesWritten by Baker Geist
Anthony Joshua’s thrilling knockout victory over Alexander Povetkin last Saturday further proved that boxing’s popularity has grown throughout the U.K. And Europe. It also showed that it’s likely not dissipating anytime soon.
That realization shouldn’t be new. Besides consistently reminding fans of the damage that well-placed punches can do, Wladimir Klitschko’s reign atop boxing’s heavyweight division for many years affirmed boxing’s popularity outside the United States.
Still, before Joshua and Povetkin entered the ring, I was amazed at the atmosphere.
I’m not sure why I was caught so off-guard.
A world I knew only through periodically reading Boxing Monthly and Boxing News was brought to life in a new way.
It may have been Michael Buffer leading the crowd of 80,000 plus through “Sweet Caroline,” the excellent production quality of DAZN or the thoughts of FightSaga editor Leroy Cleveland as he stated, “I love the British atmosphere. It’s like (how) the NCAA tournament (is) here.”
While Joshua’s KO of Povetkin was impressive, I was more excited about something else; the future of boxing, the impact of DAZN and the popularity that boxing overseas could have on the sport in the states.
If not considered a major player in boxing promotion already, Eddie Hearn’s should certainly be in the forefront of fans minds. Not only because of what he’s been able to do in the U.K with Anthony Joshua and others, but for what he could potentially do for fighters in the U.S. as well.
Hearn’s first Matchroom USA card is Saturday headlined by Mikey Garcia and Thomas Dulerme in Chicago. Follow that up in the coming weeks with separate middleweight title fights featuring Demetrius Andrade and Daniel Jacobs, and Hearn has a chance to make a considerable impression on fight fans.
Now, it would be unrealistic to expect the exact same atmosphere here as there is across the pond. The fights will still have to be competitive, exciting and generate interest. Even if Hearn takes a while to catch on with American fans, the fact that there is another promoter marketing top-tier fights in the U.S. — and making them easily accessible through DAZN — will push every promotional company to step up the quality of fights they offer. That’s a good thing, both for fight fans and the long term sustainability of the sport.
Even if Hearn’s impact in the America is marginal, his impact in the U.K. can not be ignored. American fighters willing to travel overseas to fight may become the norm rather than the exception for the simple opportunity to be seen and increase their popularity.
For example, although heavyweights Eric Molina and Dominic Breazeale weren’t successful in their fights against Joshua, they each earned arguably more exposure in those fights than they’ve gotten in the U.S. As DAZN grows, and fans become exposed to other fighters, it’s not inconceivable that more fighters look to Hearn for opportunities.
Being somewhat new to the sport, there are certainly others who know more about the international boxing scene than I do. Fight Saga contributor Bernard Campbell has long been pushing greater global awareness of the sport. Something that used to be difficult if not nearly impossible is now more possible than ever before thanks to technology and forward thinking.
Yes, the demise of HBO Boxing is sad — yes, OK I was wrong about its future — but boxing is in a great place moving forward.
Enjoy the many fights to come!