Trouble In Paradise : Is this the Beginning Of The End For Matchroom/Sky Partnership ?

For years now the Matchroom/Sky Sports partnership has been at the heart of most major events in UK boxing but now with the competition starting to get its act together, are we now seeing cracks beginning to appear in their marriage? The alarm bells really started going for me last year when at first Kel Brook, then Tony Bellew both became Eddie Hearn’s latest fighters to move from Sky Sports Saturday Night Fight shows to PPV, leaving a very weak stable to fill the sky sports shows .

Whilst the rest of the boxing world has flourished in 2017, Sky Sports has found itself struggling to find headliners. We have went from guys like Tony Bellew and Kel Brook headlining for Sky Sports, to guys like Martin Murray and Frank Bugglioni and no matter how you dress it up are Domestic to European level at best. Recently we have also seen one of Eddie Hearn’s top prospects, Ohara Davies take on Josh Taylor in a fight which saw him quit like a dog  on a card shown on C5 (free TV) which has put most of Sky Sports cards in 2017 to shame .

“There is only one person who can take the blame for this and it has to be Mr Eddie Hearn”

There is only one person who can take the blame for this and it has to be Mr Eddie Hearn. For too long, Hearn and sky sports had the monopoly in the sport in the UK and with compitition weak, Hearn knew the power he had and used it as a weapon within the sport. As Boxnation (Frank Warren) struggled along and Cyclone (McGuigans) had to work with C5 on small budget shows. Eddie Hearn was the the top of the pile with the might of Sky behind him….what could go wrong?

Eddie Hearn’s biggest mistake has has came from his own success in the PPV market. With Anthony Joshua being a marketing phenomenon and with Hearn making fights  like GGG/Brook and Bellew/Haye, he was printing cash but neglecting non-PPV fighters. Whilst Hearn was concentrating on the cream, Frank Warren had signed a very lucrative deal with BT Sport and right away Warren went about signing all the best young talent in the country, even taking guys like Warrington and Nurse from Hearn. Warren had seen the the standard of Sky Sports shows had dropped and made his move to strike. When BT have went head to head with sky sports, it is sky who looked to be struggling to keep the pace. We have also seen Cyclone finally get a formula that works for them, promising to put on closely matched fights on free TV, with guys like Carl Frampton and Josh Taylor signed to them, they must be taken seriously in the business now. At the same time, Hearn has been told by Sky they want more and more PPV shows (worrying when you think Eddie is struggling to fill Sky Sports slots) and Kel Brook – A PPV Fighter, has just came off two losses, quitting in both .

“Why would AJ need Matchroom to take a big lumps of cash if he could keep the lot “

There is one final crack that must be looked at by Eddie Hearn. A small crack just now but one with the potential to bring his empire down. It’s looking more and more likely that Anthony Joshua is looking to step into the management/promotion side of things. Joshua Buatsi has already signed with the Heavyweight champion and as AJ signs more and more talent the need for Matchroom becomes smaller. Why would AJ need Matchroom to take a big lumps of cash if he could keep the lot? If Joshua did split and go it alone, I would be confident Sky Sports would want to deal with AJ rather than Hearn. After all, he is the biggest star in sport in the UK .

Steven Donnell

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