Premium cable and satellite television network Showtime has secured the US rights to the upcoming world heavyweight title fight between undefeated British boxer Anthony Joshua and Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev.
Joshua’s three-fight contract with the broadcaster expired earlier this year after his epic title defence against Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko, allowing the 27-year-old’s promoter Eddie Hearn to talk to other networks about a deal. However, Showtime retained the right of first negotiation and fended off a US$1.6 million bid from HBO to land live coverage of the bout, which is scheduled to take place on 28th October at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Joshua – named SportsPro’s most marketable athlete for 2017 – will be defending both his WBA and IBF titles against Pulev, who is nine years his senior. The fight will be the first of two weeks of boxing action on Showtime, which will also televise the heavyweight showdown between undefeated WBC champion Deontay Wilder and unbeaten Cuban fighter Luis Ortiz on 4th November.
“There's so much to be excited about in the sport of boxing, and it all comes to a fever pitch on consecutive Saturdays this fall on Showtime,” said Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports. “This has been a great year for boxing. More specifically, it has been a great year for Showtime boxing. There's no better way to end it than with two major heavyweight world championship events. We are proud to be in business with the two biggest punchers in the sport, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, and the rest of the talented and hungry heavyweight challengers of today.”