… as Hearn agrees £100m-a-year deal with streaming platform
Anthony Joshua is set to turn his back on Sky Sports and sign a lucrative deal with streaming service DAZN, reports claim, as the heavyweight prepares for his crucial rematch against Oleksandr Usyk this summer.
Joshua has fought on Sky Sports for the entirety of his career, with his promoter Eddie Hearn previously having an exclusive deal with the broadcaster to stage his fights.
But the Matchroom Boxing chief has since negotiated a £100m-per-year deal with DAZN that has seen him bring his entire stable on board.
Joshua had been the exception to this deal as he had a separate contract to show his fights exclusively on Sky Sports, but that expired after his first fight against Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September – and the heavyweight has now defected to DAZN
The Watford-born star has been the subject of a bidding war ever since, the report claims, but he is set to pledge his allegiance to Hearn’s new project with DAZN, starting with his next fight with Usyk – slated to be held in August in Saudi Arabia.
Sky Sports initially felt confident of re-signing Joshua as early as last month, the report continues, with DAZN even feeling they had lost the race to sign him.
Sky Sports and DAZN both declined to comment when approached by Sportsmail.
Sky Sports have had a number of highlights with AJ – undoubtedly the top one being his sensational victory over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in 2017 – watched by more than 1.5m people on pay-per-view.
Fans also watched him wrestle his world titles back from Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia in 2019 on the channel which saw him become a two-time world champion.
Joshua has been with Matchroom Sport for all 26 of his professional fights and signed a life-time contract with the promotional company last September after Hearn’s guidance led him to become one of the world’s top fighters.