The Usyk vs Joshua 2 heavyweight title event from Saudi Arabia has no United States TV home with just over a week remaining.
That shocking scenario is because investors decided to sell the rights separately for Oleksandr Usyk’s first championship defense against Anthony Joshua.
Usyk vs Joshua US TV rights
DAZN, who signed an exclusive deal with Joshua before Saudi investors secured the fight, was expected to broadcast the clash outside of the UK.
Once Sky Sports Box Office made a record bid to claim Pay Per View privileges on their side of the pond, US TV should have followed.
However, with eight days left, boxing fans outside of the United Kingdom don’t know where they can see the event unfold.
At present, there seem to be limited options. If DAZN doesn’t show the fight, only FITE TV looks like a viable option. That’s unless Sky Sports wants to show the card on their YouTube on a geo-blocked basis.
Joshua did fight on Showtime in the past. However, it seems those bridges got burned, and a strained relationship between promoter Eddie Hearn and Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza doesn’t help the situation.
Something has to change soon as Usyk prepares to set Jeddah alight on August 20th. The formidable Ukrainian is a massive favorite to repeat his victory in London.
Usyk’s UK home
Manager Egis Klimas cannot wait for the top division showcase and will be happy the UK side of the TV rights are secured at least.
“UK London is Oleksandr’s hometown. He won a gold medal in 2012 here,” pointed out Klimas. “And he had good wins against Tony Bellew and Mr. [Derek] Chisora. He has a lot of fans here in the UK.”
On his experience of Saudi Arabia, Klimas added: “In Jeddah, we saw something different. We saw something interesting, something new for the sport.
“We were treated like kings there. But we did a lot of promo shoots, and we want to thank Prince Khalid and everyone from Saudi for this event. For supporting this sport.
“We’re looking forward to August 20th.”
Previewing what Klimas expects to be a challenging task for Usyk, he added: “I’d like to congratulate Matchroom for putting this deal together with K2 Promotions.
“As far as the rematch is concerned, this bout is very important for both men. Anthony wants to get his belts back; he is with a new team and a new trainer.
“I know Robert Garcia personally. He trained a couple of my champions before. He is a great trainer. Anthony did a good job picking out this trainer.
“For Oleksandr, it’s very important to keep those belts and to go further. It’s a very real possibility that the winner of this bout will go for the undisputed heavyweight championship, which will be historic.
“It’s a very important bout. August 20th will be another historic day in the sport of boxing.”
An official announcement on those US TV rights should come by the end of this weekend. If it doesn’t, fans worldwide will question the timing of leaving it so late.
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.