Back in May, Matchroom Boxing announced a mega transatlantic broadcast deal with Perform Group, the digital leader in global sports media. The $1 billion joint business venture would utilize Perform Group’s streaming service, DAZN (pronounced “Da Zone”) to broadcast the promotion’s fights in the U.S., U.K. and around the world.
Group Managing Director Eddie Hearn made it clear that they would aggressively pursue free-agent boxers while expanding their global reach within the U.S. market. To that end, the UK-based promotion company has diligently followed through.
Former middleweight champion, Daniel Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) became the first prominent American to team up with Matchroom, signing a multi-fight deal after parting ways with Al Haymon and Premier Boxing Champions. He made his debut last November in New York against Luis Arias in a clear unanimous decision victory. Jacobs was coming off an eight-month layoff but plans to remain active under his new promotional banner with the ultimate goal of eventually facing the Canelo vs GGG winner.
Middleweight title contender Demetrius Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs) became the second and most recent American to sign with Matchroom. It’s a perfect pairing given the 30-year old’s inconsistent fight schedule as he has yet to fight in 2018 and only fought twice in 2017. The undefeated Andrade is the WBO’s No. 2 middleweight and poised to challenge WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders in the first fight of his Matchroom-DAZN deal.
Eddie Hearns and company are barely getting started but here is my take on who Matchroom might target next in their takeover of American boxing.
Errol Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs)
There is no better place to seek new talent than among the welterweights in boxing’s deepest division. IBF boss Spence is a no brainer and one of the most effective technicians in the game today. The pound-for-pound A-lister needs big fights like yesterday but it is not easy being so talented that opponents avoid you. Spence, a promotional free agent, famously rejected Golden Boy’s $2.5 million offer to fight Miguel Cotto in a farewell bout last December which also included a multi-fight deal. This could actually be one of the more challenging partnerships to secure for Matchroom given Errol’s self-promotional business style but the potential return on their investment makes this deal well worth pursuing.
The Charlo Brothers
Jermall Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs) and brother Jermell (31-0, 15 KOs) have been hounded by top American promoters such as Top Rank for sometime now. The boisterous Houston natives are mostly self-promoted but have done quite well for themselves in that regard. However, they are both rising stars heading toward title unification fights, especially if they each keep up their winning ways. The brothers have also been adamant about fighting under the same promoter. Hearn has his sights set on the pair and Matchroom USA has the deep pockets to help them both reach the next level.
Gary Russell Jr (29-1, 17 KOs)
The enormously talented featherweight titleholder has only fought a combined three times since 2015. Let that sink in for a moment. Gary Russell Sr, who trains his son, even complains that he does not fight often enough. Russell Jr, whose lone pro loss came at the hands of the sublime Vasyl Lomachenko, is a slick southpaw with perhaps the fastest pair of hands in all of boxing. Fortunately, we might get to see the exciting dynamo back in action by the end of this year in a unification bout against fellow featherweight titleholder Leo Santa Cruz.
At age 29, Russell Jr is reportedly mulling retirement so it would be nice to finally see him promoted properly before he packs up the gloves for good.
Fight fans what are your thoughts? Which American fighters should Matchroom target next?