* Anticipation high for Joshua vs. Klitschko championship bout
* The two face off April 29th in the UK
* Showtime and HBO squaring off for distribution rights
If you believe the critics, the Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko heavyweight championship bout is slated to be the biggest match since Lennox Lewis’ eighth round knockout victory over Mike Tyson in 2002. Unless you have tickets to the April 29 fight at Wembley Stadium, it’s still unclear where you’ll be able to watch. That’s because HBO and Showtime are still vying for the distribution rights.
Showtime has a multi-fight contract to air Joshua’s fights in the United States; however, the premium network does not have automatic rights to broadcast the British boxer’s matches. HBO, on the other hand, has worked with former champion Klitschko for much of his career. Both Showtime and HBO have a claim, but neither claim is conclusive.
“I wish I had it,” executive vice president and general manager for Showtime Sports Stephen Espinoza tells Boxing Scene. “We’re in the thick of it, but there’s no real substantive update yet.”
“It’s one of those situations where no one’s really gonna be happy,” continues Espinoza. “They’ve got a relationship with their guy, we’ve got a relationship with our guy. It’s hard to come up with ways to split this. I’m confident that we’re gonna be able to work out it, so that there is U.S. TV for it”
90,000 tickets have been sold to see the match live in London. Sky Sports Box Office is set televise it on pay-per-view in the United Kingdom. Both HBO and Showtime are hoping to lock down a deal for the U.S. within the next few weeks.
Just for reference: the most-watched pay-per-view boxing match of all-time was Manny Pacquiao’s face-off with Floyd Mayweather in 2015. That fight brought in more than 4.4 million buys.