IF Anthony Joshua’s global appeal needed any further emphasis, Stephen Espinoza, general manager of Showtime Sports, the US broadcast giant, provided it.
“The importance of Joshua to us is that we intend to be in business with him for hopefully his entire career. The great thing about where Anthony is, he’s got massive popularity but he’s still very, very young and we hope that relationship is going to continue for a long, long time,” Espinoza told Boxing News.
Showtime signed a multi-fight deal with Joshua last year and screened his epic win over Wladimir Klitschko live in the USA. HBO, who have a relationship with Klitschko, screened the replay in America later on. If Joshua does box Klitschko again that too would be shared by the two channels. “We have an arrangement with HBO, if they do the rematch then we’ll be some splitting it in some way,” Espinoza said.
Showtime are involved with British boxing, televising Gervonta Davis vs Liam Smith and Kell Brook vs Errol Spence on consecutive weekends. “This is the third time Showtime has been in the UK for the last five weeks. First one obviously was British superstar Anthony Joshua in the massive Klitschko fight. The last two are really two of the most promising young American stars. Last weekend was Gervonta Davis, who for my money is probably the most exciting young fighter in the sport right now. And then this Saturday Spence versus Brook. Errol Spence has been called the promising, the up and coming, the next guy for quite a while and this is an opportunity to change the word potential to reality.
“[Brook] won the title on Showtime, that was the first time he had been on American TV was the Shawn Porter fight and there’s a certain sort of circularity with it. Kell didn’t hesitate. He won’t over to the US to get his title shot. So it suits him that now Errol’s got to come into his backyard and challenge for his title.”