There’s a tried and tested UK heavyweight formula being used at the moment to fill some of the voids in the current Pay Per View market.
With Anthony Joshua mainly plying his trade outside of the UK with only fleeting returns since 2019, Sky Sports Box Office needed a trusted formula to prop up the market.
Enter the “Lose to Joshua or his victims, and you’re PPV” niche taking over in the heavyweight champion’s absence.
For the last four years, the vast majority of UK PPV offerings surrounding the dominant force in Sky has featured former Joshua opponents.
Since Joshua staged back-to-back events on the paid platform, flanked in the immediate aftermath by David Haye and Tony Bellew, ex-AJ foes have been called upon to plug the gaps.
Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker have taken the brunt of the Sky load, which usually contains six Pay Per Views in any given year.
Joshua gets two of those and the first choice of all dates. After that, it’s a case of his victims or those linked to his triumphs.
It seems to be the new tried and tested way of crowing another UK PPV headliner.
Haye was already a PPV star when he fought Bellew. Therefore, that instantly made “The Bomber” a Pay Per View operator by default in 2018.
Whyte, who lost to Joshua in 2015, then fought Parker in 2018. It was effectively the dream team match-up.
As both lost to AJ, it gave Sky Sports two new PPV headliners in one.
Time to make another one.
Although in his twilight years, Derek Chisora got the nod as a candidate after going hell for leather with Whyte on a Joshua undercard previously. This scenario kept with the AJ link.
They met in December 2018. Whyte’s win meant having his arm raised on two and featuring in three Pay Per Views crowned him as Joshua’s number two and understudy.
There’s was talk of a rematch between the pair in 2019. But Joshua and Whyte ultimately went their separate ways to no detriment to Sky.
Sky Sports Box Office kept their two heavyweight top dogs to continue taking a significant portion of the six yearly PPV slots.
Securing a fourth PPV in July of 2019, Whyte defeated Oscar Rivas. But Sky had realized by then that they couldn’t just rely on the heavyweights.
Heading in another direction after groans from fans over Whyte vs. Rivas being Pay Per View, Sky went on a lower-division spree.
Through Matchroom and Eddie Hearn, they brought Vasyl Lomachenko over to British shores to fight Luke Campbell. They followed it up by purchasing Regis Prograis vs. Josh Taylor from the World Boxing Super Series and finished it with a dire YouTuber fight featuring two vloggers.
Sadly, all three bomb at the box office. The diversion roundly failed as all three events could not garner more sales than Whyte’s last two fights.
Since then, Sky has gone back to the top division and stayed there ever since.
Alexander Povetkin, another who couldn’t defeat Joshua, was the apparent following selection. He fought Whyte in August 2020.
Chisora, largely forgotten about since his second loss to Whyte, was then shrewdly matched with Oleksandr Usyk. The Ukrainian had PPV experience from his fight with Bellew, who lost to Haye – already a PPV star.
Are you keeping up?
Usyk’s win over Chisora means he’s now a heavyweight Pay Per View star for every fight in the UK. Mainly because of over one million reported sales.
Usyk will likely be pitched in with Joshua soon to fully capitalize on the fact they have both broken that distinctive UK PPV barrier.
Kubrat Pulev was next to lose to Joshua. Furthermore, the Bulgarian will undoubtedly fight either Chisora, Parker, or Whyte in the not-too-distance future to maintain the trend.
The smart money would be on Chisora as his effort against Parker earlier this month will surely keep him on Sky Sports Box Office.
SKY PAY PER VIEW FUTURE
Reports Matchroom will go full-on with DAZN with all their significant events puts Sky Sports Box Office in a difficult position moving forward. But they do have the most respected platform and will undoubtedly be kept on to broadcast all Joshua’s fights and any more of his leftovers.
So far, sales just since 2018 are approaching three million, just from Joshua victims or losers of their victims alone. As we know, AJ is big business in the UK.
It will be interesting to see if anyone from the lower weights can break the monopoly of the heavyweights and take some of the burdens off his shoulders.