DAZN, Olympic success and why British boxing is the best it's ever been

Lewis Oldham picks out the reasons why the British boxing scene has never been in a healthier state…

Matchroom Boxing's permanent move to DAZN was made official in June, ending their long-term partnership with Sky Sports.

Over the past few years, the DAZN network has grown into a powerhouse around the world, including North America and other parts of Europe. It was only a matter of time until they made the leap into the UK market.

With the guidance of Eddie Hearn, they have made a good impression so far. The return of Fight Camp and the Liam Smith vs Anthony Fowler card in Liverpool have been some of the highlights. It is a blow that their first huge heavyweight event will not be taking place though, with Dillian Whyte pulling out of his fight against Otto Wallin.

Hearn and Matchroom Boxing have an elite roster of fighters at their disposal across the globe. While DAZN do not have the mainstream reach of Sky, the set-up of their shows is on another level to their competitors.

This has been helped by them bringing in Mike Costello and Andy Lee - Costello being the voice of boxing while Lee is one of the most insightful people in boxing. Early signs are positive for DAZN, even with them being criticised for backtracking on their stance on PPV.

There will be challenges to come though, especially with what is going on at Hearn's old home…

Sky Sports 2.0

Shakur Stevenson

When Eddie decided to pack his bags and leave Sky, their future in boxing was in doubt. They could have easily given up on the sport to focus on the likes of the Premier League, Formula One and golf, with them being established revenue drivers.

Thankfully though, Hearn's exit has led to the formation of Sky Sports 2.0 as they quickly signed partnership deals with Top Rank and Boxxer. They have a renewed focus on boxing, with the likes of Josh TaylorChris Eubank Jr and Savannah Marshall now fighting under their umbrella.

Sky Sports 2.0 are trying to bring something different to boxing and they should be praised for that. Even if their production has left a bit to be desired so far. Their partnership with Top Rank was an ingenious move and so far it has included international fights such as Shakur Stevenson's win over Jamel Herring.

Sky could have been left in the dust by DAZN. But they should be admired for attempting to maintain their position.

For any sport, competition is always good for business. Add to this the growth of BT Sport/Queensberry Promotions and you see that boxing is on to a winner with powerful groups battling it out to be number one.

Plenty of tussles are to come, and the first could be over the latest crop of Olympic talent…

Unprecedented Olympic success

Galal Yafai with his Olympic gold medal

The United Kingdom amateur boxing scene has grown immensely over the past 10 plus years. The UK only won two Olympic medals over three games between 1996 and 2004.

They have steadily improved since then. This has been aided with the opening of the Sheffield-based English Institute of Sport in 2003. Team GB won an impressive five boxing medals at London 2012 and they bettered this achievement at the delayed Tokyo Olympics.

The UK scooped up six medals at this year's games and this is their best ever haul in the modern era of the Olympics. Galal Yafai and Lauren Price won gold, while Ben Whittaker made a lot of headlines as he earned his silver medal.

Many of these fighters will turn pro in the coming months, with DAZN, Sky and BT Sport all likely to be desperate to secure their services.

This year's Games show that the UK has everything in place to drive success in the amateur ranks for years to come. Heavyweight Frazer Clarke won bronze in Tokyo and he may be looking to make an impact in the money division soon…

The heavyweight scene

Tyson Fury celebrates defending his WBC heavyweight title

Since the reign of Wladimir Klitschko came to an end in 2015, UK fighters have been at the forefront of heavyweight boxing.

Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua have both held world titles on multiple occasions, with the rivals being made to reclaim their belts for different reasons.

The events of the past few months have shown that Fury is the best heavyweight in the world at the moment - even if Oleksandr Usyk may disagree! Fury-Deontay Wilder III and AJ-Usyk have been superb events that have done wonders to increase the interest in boxing coming out of the pandemic.

As well as Fury and AJ, the likes of Dillian Whyte and Joe Joyce are waiting in the wings, with both ready to step up for world title fights when the time is right.

The heavyweight division has always been the money weight class in world boxing and that will likely never alter. Having the Brits lead the charge is not going to change any time soon either. There is still an appetite for Fury vs AJ - even if Joshua relinquished his belts - and there are plenty more mouth-watering domestic matchups in the pipeline including Daniel Dubois against Hughie Fury.

While the UK heavyweight scene is thriving, that success trickles through the rest of the sport in the country. Among those benefits is female boxing which continues to blossom…

The growth of women's boxing

Katie Taylor, centre, is the undisputed lightweight champion (Nick Potts/PA)

For years, female's boxing did not get the respect it deserved. The fighters were not on major fight cards, their purses were ridiculously low and there was a perception that women shouldn't be inside a ring.

Though in recent times, this is starting to change, as women's boxing is now one of the most popular facets of the sport. The Brits have been leading this mentality change. And credit to the promoters as well, because they have not been afraid to give them the limelight that they richly deserve.

The likes of Katie Taylor, Chantelle Cameron, Terri Harper and Marshall have all been key in legitimising the female side of the sport, especially in the UK. Taylor's summer fight against Natasha Jonas, as well as the latter's draw against Harper stand out as fights that have helped to put women's boxing rightfully on the map.

The elite level women's boxers of today are paving the way for the next generation of fighters. You only have to look at this year's Olympics and the achievements of Price and Karriss Artingstall to see that their work is making a difference.

The first WBSS tournament for women has been announced - which includes Cameron bidding to unify at junior welterweight - and more of these progressions are still to come.

There is a lot of good to take from the British scene today, yet the growth of women's boxing is the most satisfying of all.

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