Eddie Hearn: “I Don’t Want Boxnation To Go Tits-Up. I Want Competition.”

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Eddie-Hearn-and-Kell-Brook-2014_3195180The majority of boxing in the UK is televised through two channels; Sky Sports and Boxnation TV. Eddie Hearn and his Matchroom Sports outfit have an exclusivity deal with the mammoth Sky network that means any fighter looking to exhibit his talents on that channel has to go through them. Frank Warren, who used to occupy that lucrative space until a few years ago, opted to start his own subscription boxing channel and enjoys the same dominance in his own, smaller, dominion.

The two paterfamilias’ have often traded barbs through the media in the past but Hearn was willing to give the competition their due when he spoke to iFL TV, even if it was in a backhanded kind of way,

“I’ve always said in every interview I think Boxnation provides great content. The international content is superior to Sky’s, absolutely no doubt about that. The UK content is not on the same level in my opinion.”

Boxnation generally provides the British fans with their American fix in the wee hours on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, regularly showing PPV events that cost those watching across the Atlantic far more than the £12 monthly subscription fee Warren is charging at the moment. Sky also shows content from the States, just not nearly as often.

Hearn is correct in that his company showcases the high-end domestic fights. Carl Froch, Kell Brook, Scott Quigg, Jamie McDonnell, Kevin Mitchell, James DeGale and Anthony Joshua are all signed to Matchroom along with a whole host of names not yet known worldwide but who nevertheless spark interest on a national scale.

The televised cards they feature on have more flash and sizzle, better production value, than the shows Warren puts on too. The arenas are bigger, the entrances more spectacular, and the HD format Sky provides for all of its programmes is equalled by none. There can be no question that the backing of Sky gives Matchroom a huge leg up in all of these areas, and Hearn feels that without comparable financial support, Boxnation cannot hope to keep the ball rolling.

“I don’t believe that without significant backing investment it’s a sustainable business. And I’m just giving you that answer cuz you can see their accounts.”

There have been rumours of imminent bankruptcy and shouts from fighters who have struggled to collect their pay cheques from Warren ever since the channel’s inception. Leonard Bundu in particular -who handed Frankie Gavin his first defeat last year before he jumped ship to Matchroom- was very vocal over social media that he had yet to be paid in the weeks after his appearance.

All this points to the company being in peril but they’re still here for now which is only a good thing for boxing fans, and Hearn feels it is good for him too.

“I don’t want Boxnation to go tits-up. I want competition and I need to be pushed.”

But ultimately he doesn’t feel he has anything to worry about with presence of a nearby competitor, and he sums up his view in one dismissive stroke.

“One’s a subscription boxing channel; one’s the biggest sports channel out there.”

Sky have a sports news channel running every minute of every day that covers all events the world over from badminton to Formula One racing, along with four channels dedicated to everything sports. They provide the most comprehensive coverage of England’s national obsession football -NOT SOCCER- and their brand is one of unanimous familiarity. They aim to cover as many bases as possibly with a variety of sporting content whereas Boxnation dwells absolutely within the realm of Pugilistica, and with a much smaller war chest. It isn’t really a fair fight when you think about it.