Earlier this year Luke Campbell and Eddie Hearn held a press conference to announce that the 2012 Olympic champ would turn professional under the promotional banner of Matchroom, which has extended its deal with Sky Sports TV thanks to the considerable UK talent it has signed.
The partnership between UK boxing promoters Matchroom Sport and Sky Sports television is to be extended by a further two years, it was announced Friday.
Matchroom, led by Eddie Hearn, has enjoyed a rapid rise over the last 12 months after capturing many of Britain’s top fighters from rival promoters.
Scotland’s WBO lightweight holder Ricky Burns quit Frank Warren’s stable at the start of the year and has been followed by the likes of light heavyweight contender Tony Bellew (ex-Warren) and Scott Quigg (ex-Hatton Promotions), who meets Yoandris Salinas for the WBA’s “regular” junior featherweight belt this Saturday at the London O2 Arena.
Meanwhile, two of Team Great Britain’s Olympic gold medal winners from the 2012 London Games, super heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell, who swept all before him at bantamweight, turned pro and immediately joined Matchroom’s increasingly impressive cast – undoubtedly led by IBF super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch.
That lengthening list of star domestic talent appears to have resulted in Sky Sports, who also has its pay-per-view Box Office channel, negotiating the new deal with Matchroom, which will begin in June 2014 when the pair’s current contract ends.
“I’m delighted to announce a new two-year extension to our existing contract with Sky Sports which will see us as the principle promoter on the channel to summer 2016, “ said Matchroom managing director Hearn. “We have developed one of the strongest stables ever seen in world boxing and the extension gives us the perfect platform to grow our team and provide them all with the ultimate opportunity to achieve within the sport.
“Sky shares our passion and vision for the sport and is a perfect partner as we look to grow boxing significantly over the next few years. It’s exciting times for an exciting sport and we have some mouth-watering plans to share with Sky Sports viewers.”
The two parties began working together exclusively 18 months ago after Sky decided to sever ties with Ricky Hatton’s Hatton Promotions organisation.
Executive Producer of boxing at Sky Sports, Adam Smith is thrilled by this week’s news and is promising plenty more thrills and spills for the sport’s sizeable armchair audience in the UK.
“From the high drama of live Fight Nights to our extensive support programming like Ringside, Behind The Ropes and The Gloves Are Off, plus our huge commitment to online content, we are confident fight fans will continue to enjoy the very best quality, innovation and excitement on Sky Sports,” Smith said.
Photo / Scott Heavey
Follow UK sports writer Harry Pratt on Twitter: @gharrypratt