In the never-ending chase to land talent, Showtime went across the pond to sign heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
The Englishman, who won the International Boxing Federation title last month when he stopped Charles Martin, signed a six-fight deal with the cable network Thursday. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
The first fight will be June 25 when Joshua (16-0, 16 knockouts) defends his title against Dominic Breazeale in London.
“There are a lot of positive things happening in boxing and a lot of amazing things happening in my career at the moment,” Joshua said. “It’s a great opportunity to build a wider audience in America. If we can keep on building and growing organically, by the time I come there, it will be unbelievable.”
Stephen Espinoza, Showtime Sports’ executive vice president and general manager, said the deal made sense.
“I’m not the biggest fan of multifight deals,” Espinoza said. “But when you have a promoter and a boxer who have committed to the best fights available, big or small, in the U.S. or in the U.K. and anywhere else, it brings a lot of comfort to the network in doing those types of deals. From that perspective, it was a no-brainer.”
Joshua said he looks forward to his first U.S. fight.
“You’re not a real deal until you fight in the States,” he said. “At first, I was surprised because I didn’t understand the capacity of the deal. But now I’m looking forward to seeing how we build things up in America.”
HANEY’S NEXT FIGHT
Devin Haney, the 17-year-old super lightweight from Las Vegas who is 5-0 since turning pro, returns to the ring May 21 on the Roy Jones Jr. Boxing card at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center.
Haney is coming off a four-round unanimous decision over Rafael Vasquez on April 9 at the MGM Grand Garden on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. undercard. He will fight a four-round bout against an opponent to be determined as part of the televised portion of the card on the CBS Sports Network.
In the 10-round main event, Russian middleweight Arif Magomedov (17-0, 10 KOs) faces Andrew Hernandez (11-4-1, three KOs).
Former lightweight champion Mickey Bey is preparing to fight undefeated IBF lightweight champ Rances Barthelemy on June 3 in Hollywood, Florida, in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card on Spike Television.
Bey, who trains in Las Vegas, said he’s ready to fight for a world title again. He won a 10-round unanimous decision over Naim Nelson on Dec. 18 at the Palms in his most recent fight to improve to 22-1-1 with 10 knockouts. His right hand, which required surgery a year ago and kept him sidelined for 15 months, is not an issue.
“My hand is healed, I feel great and I’m ready to take back my belt,” he said. “(Barthelemy) has been keeping it warm for me.”
Barthelemy (24-0, 13 KOs) won the title on the Palms card with a unanimous decision over Denis Shafikov.
An amateur card will take place at 3 p.m. today at Phase 1 Sports, 5137 W. Oquendo Road, with fighters from Las Vegas, Arizona and California competing. Admission is $10.
Contact Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow on Twitter: @stevecarprj