America’s Al Haymon is preparing to move into the British boxing market from January by staging a fight between James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jnr on ITV Box Office.
The respected manager – long considered the sport’s most powerful individual – has until now resisted the temptation to make fights in the United Kingdom despite having worked with some of the highest-profile British fighters, but is nearing an agreement for DeGale v Eubank Jnr to take place in London.
Unsuccessful negotiations had previously been held for the rival super-middleweights to fight on December 8 at London’s O2 Arena or the Kensington Olympia where Eubank Jnr, prior to his participation in the World Boxing Super Series, had fought while promoted by Poxon Sports.
Haymon’s influence – Floyd Mayweather has credited him with much of his success and his long-term shaping of the sport in the United States under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner has led to him recently signing Manny Pacquiao – is instead considered the key to finalising a date for January.
If his plans demonstrate the significant and growing interest in the British fight scene, PBC also now represents a potential long-term rival to Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom, the most influential figures in the UK.
Both respectively compete via BT Sport and Sky Sports, and while Matchroom have most recently announced plans to venture into Italy and have already begun to do so in the US through streaming service DAZN USA, the promising platform offered by ITV has remained largely untapped.
It is also understood that both American and British bills will be broadcast by ITV, and not exclusively on pay-per-view television, and that British heavyweight Joe Joyce is central to their plans for multiple shows throughout 2019.