EXCLUSIVE How many people watched Anthony Joshua on DAZN?

Anthony Joshua
Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
But promoter Eddie Hearn can't get a meeting with Wilder team to set up the undisputed heavyweight clash with Anthony Joshua. Read the third part of the big interview with Matt Christie

IT was recently reported on social media that the viewing figures for Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin on DAZN in the USA were 15,000.

And it was immediately removed because it was completely wrong.

Where did that figure come from?

It was put out there by people who want DAZN to fail. I spoke to the journalist who tweeted it and he said, ‘That’s what I’ve heard’. You can’t just put a figure out what you’ve heard. What did he say, 15,000? Do me a favour. It was a free trial [for DAZN customers] for Joshua, a free subscription, so it was well in excess of six figures to start with. It did over a million views across DAZN which is Italy, Germany, Japan – which was nothing because of the time zone – and America. A substantial chunk of that was America. In terms of the live audience and the on demand views, it wasn’t dissimilar to his Showtime audience against Joseph Parker.

So they’re deep in subscribers now and they’ve got a little chap called Canelo boxing on their platform on December 15. If the [Rocky] Fielding fight would have done 400,000 buys, which it would have, how many free subscriptions will they get? I don’t know but you’d have to think half-a-million. So I expect them to be comfortably through a million before the end of the year, which is a great start.

So who is ‘leaking’ figures of 15,000?

I don’t know. But they could have made it a bit more realistic because even 100,000 is not great. But then we know Joshua has got to be built in the US and he’s got a long way to go. With DAZN, one of their biggest challenges is, not that it’s a great service and great value for money, because it’s all of that, but how do you find it?

So with Canelo’s audience, how do you show them where DAZN is? How you can view it? Everybody thinks you can only watch it via your phone but of course you can watch it on a big screen! It’s about educating people about where to find it and how to watch it, that’s their biggest challenge. Because it’s not that the content’s not good enough and that it’s not value for money, it’s not that the Canelo fight is free, it’s ‘How do I access it?’ And that’s what they’ve got to work very hard on in the build-up to Canelo to make sure they make that count.

It seems to be that Dillian Whyte is your preferred next opponent for Joshua.

Deontay Wilder is the preferred route for Joshua, unquestionably. But while that looks unrealistic, Whyte is the frontrunner. Now bearing in mind Whyte is boxing on December 22 [against Dereck Chisora], if we can’t make the Wilder fight [for Joshua in April] we want to make sure we have an agreement in place for Whyte going into this fight to fight Joshua – if he wins.

Are you still adamant that Wilder, before he fights Tyson Fury, needs to commit to a fight with Joshua in April for that fight to happen? There can’t be any flexibility?

I never said that. What I said is we need to start conversations before that fight. We can’t wait until December 1 to start conversations. Look at the landscape of the relationship. We’re not going to go in and do a deal in 48 hours, so all I’m saying is, ‘Can’t we chat now – we’ve got a month before the Wilder fight’.

But the problem is, if that fight [Wilder-Fury] bombs and if you go online you can see the seats that are available on the seating plan which shows me it’s not a big fight over there. What would be a disaster? 3-400,000 pay-per-view buys? We won’t necessarily use that to our advantage but you can’t then turn round and say you’re this big star. If it does a million buys, then it puts him [Wilder] in a brilliant position for negotiations. So part of me wants to wait – because part of me believes it’s not going to do particularly great – but we can’t afford to.

All I’m saying at the moment is let’s start talking and then, hopefully, you have your fight and we can close a week or two after that fight. If not, we have the fight then everyone goes away for a week or two, then we start talking, then it’s January. And then Joshua wants to know who he’s fighting. Then we have WBO issues with the mandatory and everyone thinks we’re ducking him [Wilder], like they did before. So we’ve got to be careful about that position happening again.

We can’t make it any more clear – Wilder is the fight that Joshua has told me to make. So it’s my job to try and make it. But it’s very disheartening, and confusing, when they won’t even meet me in New York for a coffee. What is the reason for that? ‘We’ve got a fight coming up’. Okay, I’m not saying you’ve got to sign a contract.

This is the biggest fight in boxing. Surely your job is to entertain opportunities for your fighter. So how can you turn down a meeting? I’m not asking to draft contracts, I’m just asking for a coffee. I’ll let you know my thoughts and you let me know yours.

Is the priority still to win all four sanctioning body belts?

100 per cent.

Which means there are only certain windows for Joshua vs the WBC champion to occur. We could soon be in a situation where the window closes for a long time.

Yes. The next one is the WBO mandatory [Whyte] which isn’t due until the middle of next year so we’d be fine to fight Wilder in October or November. But April is the time. There’s no excuses. As a Brit, I want Tyson Fury to win that fight [with Wilder in December]. But for the undisputed path, because there will be rematch clauses [with Wilder if Fury wins], we really need Wilder to get the win.

Anthony Joshua

Why is Fury is off the table at this point?

Because if he wins, Wilder will exercise the rematch clause. And the only way Fury can win is to make it the worst fight you’ve ever seen. He talks a good game. I thought he had no chance going into the [Wladimir] Klitschko fight. I just think Fury has a great style to beat a robotic style, like Klitschko, but not an unconventional style like Wilder’s. I don’t think he can handle the power either.

But he will make it horrible. He will run around, and he’ll hold, he’ll fall in the lead right hand and he’ll hold, he’ll spin. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was winning the fight after two or three rounds. But I bet you everyone is booing after 30 seconds. The great thing about Tyson Fury is, he’s such a good salesman but when has he ever had a good [exciting] fight? Steve Cunningham was quite interested because he got knocked down. He’s a great salesman though, by the time the fight starts you think he’s the second coming of Muhammad Ali.

So in regard to Wilder, the latest is you’ve tried to have a coffee with his team and they’ve said no?

Yes. But I have opened some talks with some other people who are kind of involved who are put there to mediate that are being fairly positive but nothing has happened in the last two weeks.

But that is the 100 per cent priority.

This is the third part of the big interview with Boxing News editor Matt Christie. Read part I HERE and part II HERE.

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