Less than two weeks before the biggest heavyweight fight in years, it has been agreed to that HBO and Showtime will televise the April 29 heavyweight title fight between current IBF champion Anthony Joshua and former unified champion Wladimir Klitschko.
The fight will take place at Wembley Stadium in London, before a sold-out crowd of 90,000.
Showtime, the exclusive U.S. television partner of Joshua, will televise the fight live at 4:15 p.m. ET, while HBO, the exclusive network for Klitschko, will televise the fight on World Championship Boxing at 10:45 p.m. ET/PT. Each network will produce its own separate telecast.
Matchroom Sport, the British promotional company that handles Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs), Klitschko Management Group and K2 Promotions reached agreement with U.S. premium networks.
Joshua and Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) will meet for Joshua’s IBF World Championship and the vacant IBO and WBA World Championships. Joshua, the 2012 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, has knocked out all 18 opponents in a meteoric rise to stardom, while the long-reigning world champion from Ukraine, Klitschko, aims to win back titles he previously held in his 11-year rule as heavyweight world champion.
“I’m extremely happy and thankful that our respective U.S. TV partners Showtime and HBO reached an agreement,” said Bernd Boente, Managing Director of Klitschko Management Group. “This happened before in the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao and the Lewis vs. Tyson fights and shows you the magnitude of our event at Wembley Stadium on April 29.”
“With the obstacles in place it would have been any easy resolution to not air the fight in the States but I want to thank HBO and Showtime for their perseverance and allowing America to see one hell of a fight at our national stadium in front on 90,000 passionate fans,” said Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport.
Stephen Espinoza, the executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports, said, “On the afternoon of April 29, U.S. sports fans will be able to tune in to Showtime to join a record-breaking crowd of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium and a worldwide television audience in witnessing an event that represents not only the contesting of the heavyweight world championship, but potentially the changing of the guard in the most influential division in boxing. We are proud to be Anthony Joshua’s exclusive U.S. television partner as he attempts to establish his legacy against the legendary Wladimir Klitschko, as Showtime continues its unrivaled commitment to the sport.”
Peter Nelson, executive vice president of HBO Sports, said: “Both promoters and both networks have found a solution that enables boxing fans in the U.S. to watch the world heavyweight championship. This agreement ensures that our subscribers have access to same-day primetime coverage of the fight. It will mark Wladimir Klitschko’s 22nd appearance on HBO and the first for Anthony Joshua.”
Joshua, 27, of Watford, England, won the IBF title with a second-round knockout of defending champion Charles Martin in April 2016, earning a heavyweight belt in the fewest number of fights in more than 20 years. He has since successfully defended the title twice—against Dominic Breazeale in June and Eric Molina in December.
Klitschko, 41, had been the lineal heavyweight champion for a decade before losing the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles to Tyson Fury in 2015, his first defeat in 11 years.
Source: Bob Velin