DAZN gets big addition as Oleksandr Usyk joins Matchroom Boxing
DAZN has been on the rise recently and is a growing player in the world of boxing for better or worse. The streaming service now has another boxer that will appear on its cards, one that’s at the pinnacle of the cruiserweight division right now. This, of course, is Ukrainian star Oleksandr Usyk, who has an undefeated record of 15-0 and has held and defended various belts since 2014.
Usyk’s last fight came in July and was a unanimous decision victory over top challenger Murat Gassiev, and he is closing on a deal to fight again in November against Tony Bellew. In that fight, which would happen in enemy territory at the O2 Arena in London, there will be four belts on the line as well as the lineal cruiserweight title. Usyk is definitely a major star in the sport of boxing, but as a Ukrainian who has fought his biggest matchups in European locales, his popularity in the American market doesn’t match his success.
Now, however, Usyk has signed a deal with Matchroom Boxing and will be co-promoted by both Eddie Hearn’s company and K2 Promotions, the latter of which is already working with Usyk. While his next fight is expected to be on Sky Sports, it’s easy to imagine Usyk becoming one of the bigger names tied to the stable of boxers fighting on DAZN cards. Whether or not Hearn can turn Usyk into a more mainstream name in the United States, however, is debatable.
European boxers with conservative fighting styles have had trouble becoming stars in the States before, as seen with the Klitschko brothers. If Usyk does well enough with Matchroom, though, it could set up a fight with Anthony Joshua at heavyweight. One that would be bigger in stature than any of his past bouts, by a large margin. That was a point made by Alex Krassyuk, from K2 Promotions. “He knows that in order to become the king of world boxing, he will have to dethrone the biggest name in boxing: Anthony Joshua. But this is for the future…”
For now, though, Usyk’s team is working on getting done the deal with Tony Bellew, to set up a fight that would be broadcast on Sky Sports. It will be interesting to see if the fight happens in 2018 or not, and who Usyk’s DAZN opponents will be once the fight with Bellew either happens or is called off.