IT looks likely that the December 12 bill at the O2, headlined by the Anthony Joshua-Dillian Whyte British heavyweight title fight, will be a pay-per-view show on Sky Sports Box Office.
As well as the main event, Chris Eubank Jnr will fight Gary O’Sullivan, Tony Bellew will box Mateusz Masternak and there will be contests for Kevin Mitchell and Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell.
“I’m going to be adding one, maybe two more to it as well [to that]. Some of our elite names,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “So we’ve got Dillian Whyte against Joshua, Eubank against O’Sullivan, Bellew against Masternak. I’ve got Mitchell, I’m just waiting on a governing body at the moment.
“Campbell and Mitchell, the fights have been made for a while, particularly the Mitchell one. I can’t say anything till we’ve had the approval. These guys who they’re fighting, it’s not as if they’re coming in at three weeks notice, they’re not.”
This would be the fourth pay-per-view event on British television this year, following Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao and the bumper rule Britannia card, both in May. Tyson Fury challenging world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on November 28 will also be on Sky Sports Box Office. Nevertheless Hearn said, “It’s likely December 12 will be a pay-per-view. I think judging by the quality of the show I think this will do huge numbers. Because I know Anthony Joshua’s ratings against Gary Cornish. [Tony] Bellew against [Nathan] Cleverly, we all know the reported numbers of that.”
The Bellew-Cleverly rematch in 2014 reportedly did around 300,000 views. “This is a much, much bigger fight and a much, much bigger night of boxing so it’s going to do huge numbers if it is on pay-per-view,” the promoter said.
If Joshua did box on a regular Sky Sports channel he would reach a much broader audience and that could stand him in good stead for major fights next year. But Hearn countered, “He’s had the huge audience against [Gary] Cornish, everybody knows who he is and through the build up of being in a pay-per-view show, your profile in the two or three weeks before, you can’t underestimate that.
Chris Eubank is going on ITV’s popular I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here programme which will also generate more attention for his son’s fight on the undercard. “ITV ran our press conference today,” Hearn beamed. “It’s going to be golden.”
A Joshua-Whyte pay-per-view would though come only two weeks after Klitschko-Fury. “It’s not ideal but originally don’t forget that fight was supposed to be October 24. We were looking at December 12, it was seven weeks,” Hearn said. “Now we’re in a position where it’s two weeks but the show’s already set.”
“Joshua’s already a pay-per-view star whether you like it or not,” he continued. “This could do bigger pay-per-view than Klitschko-Fury, it will do very similar numbers to Klitschko-Fury, in my opinion.”