George Gigney rates the boxing media as a DAZN start in the UK with the first fight camp of 2021
DAZN and Matchroom Boxing have launched their 2021 version of the Fight Camp series in style. The card itself suffered when its main event – Conor Benn v Adrian Granados – was scrapped earlier this week for Benn’s positive Covid-19 test, but in reality that didn’t take off all that much from the event. In fact, Leigh Wood’s unexpected triumph over Xu Can was exactly the kind of emotional high that rounds off entertaining boxing nights so well. When it comes to production, DAZN is hard to fault. Some users reported some glitches with the app, although from my own experience there were no hiccups in the transmission. In addition – and this is a big plus – there were only a few ads, and certainly none in the break between boxing rounds. Will that change when DAZN becomes a larger platform in the UK? Maybe, but for now it’s a nice change. Fight Camp’s setup wasn’t much different from last year, except of course that the Sky Sports branding was replaced with that of DAZN. There was also a small crowd of 300 fans adding to the festival / garden party atmosphere. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the show was that nothing felt out of place. At this point in time, DAZN had a lot of broadcasting experience, but was still breaking new ground, but the event ran smoothly and all moderators seemed to be comfortable.
DAZN was also able to showcase its list of on-screen talent, led by presenter Maya Jama. Her main job was to put the show together and to provide technical expertise with Tony Bellew. Jama will be the first to admit that she’s not the most skilled at breaking down the technical aspects of boxing, and that wasn’t really her job here; Instead, it offered Bellew starting points to further expand its expertise.
Jama is an engaging presence and an excellent television presenter, though the professional world may have benefited from having one more former (or current) fighter to ricochet off with. Sky has refined this formula pretty well with the likes of Carl Froch, Natasha Jonas, Anthony Crolla, and many others, and provides excellent insight and analysis.
Laura Woods took on a more roving reporter role on the show, providing backstage updates and also interviewing fighters and promoter Eddie Hearn. As expected based on her previous broadcast experience, she was great.
With Mike Costello in Tokyo covering the Olympics, it was up to Chris Lloyd to lead the commentary team, and he too was stellar. He didn’t push himself too much into the action and sometimes let the boxing speak for itself. He also gave co-commentators Darren Barker and Andy Lee the space to share their expertise and thoughts. They formed a great team and further proved that DAZN has invested in boxing experts.
Overall, the card was clearly a success for the streaming service. It was mostly good, albeit a bit drawn out between fights, and might have been a way to see previous fights live, such as Sandy Ryan’s debut. That being said, there is plenty for fans to see as the platform develops its offerings in the UK.
It now appears that Canelo Alvarez won’t be fighting Caleb Plant in September, according to ESPN. The deal that would have got the Mexican superstar on for at least that one fight at PBC on FOX was reportedly nearing completion but is now dead. The problem appears to have been contracts, with Plant claiming Canelo and his side had just made too many demands. “I doubt whether legacy or money is their real motive. We’ve been waiting for him to finish his wedding, shoot his TV show, shoot his golf tournament and now try to give him everything he wants and more to fight that fight, ”he told ESPN. “I am more than willing, able and ready to fight Canelo Alvarez at any time. Those are the real facts, and if someone has something else to say, we have the paperwork to prove it. “
It’s a shame the fight doesn’t take place as Plant at 168 pounds of Canelos is the final major threat, ignoring possible weight gain for Gennady Golovkin. The silver lining is that, according to Hearn, Alvarez has an enticing alternative in mind; a meeting with the undefeated light heavyweight Dmitry Bivol.
The Daily Mirror has reported that Daniel Dubois and Tommy Fury will make their American debut on the undercard of Jake Paul vs Tyron Woodley on Showtime pay-per-view later this year. If so, the move would open the pair of prospects to a huge new audience.
The Mirror also claims that Fury will sign a two-fight deal with the broadcaster aimed at building a fight with Paul. That would make Fury the first real boxer Paul fought.
Whatever your opinion on the Paul sideline, this move will work wonders for the Dubois and Fury profiles, should they do well in their respective battles. And if Fury would fight and beat Paul, he would become a star instantly.
His older brother Tyson is still hoping for a mega-fight with Anthony Joshua and his co-promoter Bob Arum made some strange comments to Sky Sports about that fight in the UK. The veteran promoter claimed that both fighters owe it to the UK fans to host the bout there, despite previously agreeing that such an event should take place in an area that could raise more money. However, a fight between Fury and Joshua at Wembley would be transcendent.