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Hearn: Joshua-Usyk talk ongoing over title bout

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After attempts to sign the deal for the Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury heavyweight title fight broke down last month, boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has turned his attention to discussions with Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk’s team for Joshua’s defence of his WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles.

The match-up with Usyk is expected to take place in late August or September, when the Joshua-Fury bout was originally slated for.

“The undisputed title fight plans are well and truly on ice because I don’t believe a word that lot say anyway. We just have to both focus on those next fights. The Usyk fight is being negotiated and is certainly the favourite to be next,” Hearn said in a news conference.

“The deadline [from world governing body WBO] has been extended for another two or three days and after that purse bids will be called. Conversations are positive, we haven’t reached a deal yet but we are hopeful that we do.”

Matchroom has agreed a five-year deal with streaming service DAZN to show its boxing events in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. However Hearn will continue to represent Joshua via Matchroom despite the Usyk bout being streamed on Sky Sports in the UK as part of Joshua’s independent deal.

“There will be an announcement in due course about AJ’s relationship with Matchroom and I know that relationship will finish when AJ hangs up his gloves,” Hearn said.

“In terms of his broadcast deal, there’s no pushing and guiding from us to DAZN for Anthony Joshua. That’s a decision for him to look at the marketplace and opportunities.”

The DAZN deal ended a 27-year relationship between Matchroom and Sky Sports. DAZN will now show world champions Lawrence Okolie and Katie Taylor, as well as contenders Billy Joe Saunders, Callum Smith, Joshua Buatsi, Conor Benn, Luke Campbell and Josh Warrington among others from Matchroom’s UK stable in the UK and Ireland.

Hearn would not rule out staging fights featuring YouTubers on DAZN, but was critical of this weekend’s pay-per-view fight between YouTuber Logan Paul and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr, now 44 and retired as a serious boxer.

“I have to be careful because I’ve done KSI versus Logan Paul, but I don’t mind some of the stuff,” Hearn said.

“I don’t have a problem with Jake Paul against Tyron Woodley but I have a big problem with Logan Paul against Floyd Mayweather, but that’s just me personally. We also know that these events drive numbers as well.”

Matchroom’s newly formed production and content business will be responsible for production of live events in the UK.

DAZN EVP, Global Platform & Revenue Innovation Joseph Markowski, announced the app will launch at a price of £1.99 and said, “This is a game changing deal for us and we are excited to build on our global boxing business.”

ESPN Boxing

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