Boxing News At Five | Jun 07 2019

Boxing News at Five: Khan says Crawford fight would have been different in UK, Joshua vs. Ruiz was the most pirated boxing match ever

Khan makes a big claim, while clearly there was huge interest in Joshua vs Ruiz
Amir Khan
Action Images/Reuters/Paul Childs

GIVEN he has just announced a bizarre fight against an Indian novice pro and former two-bout mixed martial artist, Amir Khan should probably refrain from mentioning Terence Crawford’s name for a while.

It is of no benefit to Khan to remain linked with Crawford – not when a rematch of their April fight is unlikely, not when their first encounter ended in controversy, and certainly not when the former Olympic silver medallist is busy mixing with welterweights at the opposite end of the world rankings.

In case you forgot, the fight between Khan and Crawford ended in the sixth round when Crawford landed a low shot and Khan claimed he was unable to continue. Some felt he exaggerated the incident, seeing the upside of getting out and saving himself for another day, while others sympathised with him, believing his pain and subsequent withdrawal from the fight to be legitimate.

Alas, nearly two months later, Khan is still trying to explain himself.

“I was a little upset,” he told FightHype.com when asked about the backlash he has received. “Well I’m very upset, to be honest with you.

“I just think it’s part of life. You have to come back stronger from it. Honestly, I wasn’t in any way ready to continue. If I did continue and I was still in a little bit of pain, maybe I would’ve got knocked out.

“At the end of the day, take nothing away from Crawford. He’s a great fighter. But I just feel that if fight was anywhere else – like in England or in Vegas – I don’t think that would’ve happened.”

Khan didn’t stop there. When asked if he would have beaten Crawford had the fight had taken place elsewhere, Khan said: “One hundred percent. At least I would’ve had the opportunity to have a rematch with him. I’m not saying if I would have won it, but, even if they had called it a no-contest, at least give me the opportunity to have a fair fight with him.

“It was a low shot. The shot was well below the belt, but it seems that I didn’t get the opportunity or people didn’t really see it that way. And I could feel myself in the fight coming back. I started catching him with some good shots.

“Look, I’m not saying nothing like I was beating him. The fight was getting closer and I was closing the gap but obviously it ended the way it did.”

The fight ended the way it did and Amir Khan, set to fight unknown Neeraj Goyat on July 12 in Saudi Arabia, should probably end all talk of Terence Crawford in much the same way. Put a stop to it. Remove himself from the situation. Pretend it never happened. That’s the best route forward.

Amir Khan
Khan gives his thoughts on his last fight Action Images/Reuters/Paul Childs

There was plenty of interest in Anthony Joshua’s WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight title fight against Andy Ruiz Jr on Saturday (June 1), but not many fans were apparently interested enough to pay to watch it.

Millions of people around the world tuned in to witness Ruiz pull off one of the greatest upsets in boxing history – a good thing for the health of the sport and a testament to the interest in a revived heavyweight division – but a large proportion of them chose not to purchase the pay-per-view event in favour of scouring the Internet for illegal streams of it.

In fact, according to digital piracy protection specialist Muso, over 13 million people received an upset for free on Saturday night, with YouTube registering as the top platform for illegal streams with an audience share in excess of 93%.

As for the biggest offending nation, that was Nigeria, which boasted over 2.3 million illegal viewers, presumably because of Joshua’s heritage. The UK, meanwhile, had the highest number of streamers in Europe with 921,994 people watching the fight illegally.

Andy Ruiz
Ruiz sprung a massive upset against Joshua in New York Matchroom Boxing

By all accounts, the Joshua vs. Ruiz illegal streaming numbers surpass the previous record of 9.98 million people who watched Tyson Fury’s fight with Deontay Wilder in December 2018.

Andy Chatterley, CEO and co-founder at MUSO, said: “We saw how popular the Fury vs. Wilder fight was across piracy networks just six months ago and how a significant part of the audience was coming in through YouTube.

“The Joshua vs. Ruiz fight has been the largest unauthorised audience that we’ve ever tracked across boxing and it’s staggering to see that 93% of the audience watched via YouTube.

“The official pay-per-view audience figures have yet to be published, but this is a massive audience that’s being ignored. This highly engaged audience offers up huge insight and perhaps, more importantly, significant commercial opportunity.” While it’s easy to sympathise with the fighters, whose pockets have essentially been picked by stream-savvy pirates, the business of boxing, seemingly desperate to make it a pay-per-view sport and exploit those who support it, has opened the floodgates and made enemies of friends. Situations like this, therefore, will surely be inevitable.

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