Media Review: Fury wins, Virgins lose

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SOME boxing fans will be hit in the pocket by the news that TNT Sports will no longer be included as part of any of Virgin’s TV bundles.

Until recently, TNT Sports, formerly BT Sports, was part of many of Virgin’s basic TV packages but the company, who are believed to have just over three million customers in the UK, have removed the channel in a bid to ‘simplify’ their offering.

TNT Sports is currently the home of Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions stable with the likes of Carl Frampton and Laura Woods signed to spearhead their boxing offering.

However Virgin customers who wish to watch the boxing, or anything else, on TNT Sports will now have to shell out £18 per month to add it on to their basic subscription meaning more money will have to be paid out to simply maintain the current numbers of eyeballs on the sport in this country.


THE 33-0-1 heavyweight Tyson Fury notched another victory, according to Barb, as the docuseries about his family’s life became the most watched show on Netflix UK.

For the week commencing August 20, the first episode of At Home With The Fury’s was the 36th most-watched programme in Britain overall – and the highest ranking entrant from Netflix – when 2.6 million viewers tuned in.

The most watched broadcast that week was the women’s World Cup final which had 7.4 million viewers and, although it was some way off that, Fury’s figures are a testament to how he has transformed into a genuine crossover sports star in his home country.

“I devoured it all on the first day,” Fury said of the nine-part docuseries. “It is the biggest show Netflix have ever done in the UK. Not too bad for a dumb boxer eh?

“It felt good being No.1, I’m always No.1 and I have been for 15 years. It was just a small snippet in the life of Tyson Fury. It’s crazy really and the world got to see how crazy I am.

“And they want more, it’s not a lost cause, they want to go again and again and again.”

Fury speaks of Netflix’s desire to film a second season, which fans of the show have already called for. However, the 35-year-old, who will fight Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia on October 28, has turned it down for now.

But he said: “I’m a bit busy at the moment. I’ve got a few boxing fights that I’ve got to take care of and after that never say never. I’ll do another one maybe, in the future, who knows?”


PODCASTS

ON the subject of Fury, IFL TV this week launched a new 12-part podcast series in the build-up to the Morecambe man’s clash with Ngannou. It is hosted by Gareth Davies, who promises to ‘delve into the lives, minds and mental capacity that these two fighters have’. The first step of what Davies describes as a ‘journey’, which was released last week, includes Fury’s former trainer Ben Davison and ex-boxer Julius Francis.


THE latest episode of Matchroom’s Flash Knockdown podcast was released on Sunday and it included an interview with Conor Benn. The welterweight, who has not boxed for 17 months due to a pair of failed drug tests, is once again being linked with a fight with Chris Eubank Jnr following the Brighton middleweight’s victory over Liam Smith.

The pair were supposed to clash in October last year before news of Benn’s failed tests emerged but it appears that they are on a collision course once again with podcast host Jamie Ward suggesting that December 2 ‘in a stadium’ is likely.

During the interview, a typically bullish Benn revealed he does not want Eubank to boil down to the 157lb catchweight agreed for their initial fight and is happy for the fight to take place at the 160lb limit. But he did outline his one demand.

“I’m easy to deal with,” he said. “Just give me an 18-foot ring, that was all I put in the last contract. Just give me an 18-foot ring – that was it. The rehydration clause, I didn’t really care about, the weight I didn’t really care about. Ringwalk first, ringwalk second, Eubank-Benn, Benn-Eubank – I don’t care. Just give me an 18-foot ring.”


NEWSPAPERS

BIG Chris McKenna wrote in the Daily Star that Anthony Joshua’s long-awaited showdown with Deontay Wilder is ‘on the brink of collapse’.

The pair were initially said to be set to meet on Boxing Day in Saudi Arabia on the undercard of a staggering show topped by Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk. Obviously that didn’t happen.

Then Joshua and Wilder were supposed to clash in Saudi ‘early next year’ but it appears that the mega money on offer from Skills Challenge might no longer be available.

McKenna reports that Turki Alalshikh, the chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, is now in control of where funding goes for boxing. He is currently working alongside Frank Warren and Bob Arum to stage Fury-Ngannou meaning that Skills Challenge have been ‘left out in the cold’ in the desert.

Both Joshua and Wilder had agreed their staggering purses but it appears they will have to forget about them for now and pursue different opponents. Eddie Hearn says Joshua might now return in December while Wilder’s future is unclear.


SOCIAL MEDIA 

IT HAS been a big week for Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren – and whoever it is who runs his personal social media account.

Firstly, he posted his six-page appeal on behalf of Daniel Dubois to the WBA’s Panamanian headquarters regarding the heavyweight’s controversial defeat to Oleksandr Usyk last month.

In it, Warren suggests that referee Luis Pabon made an error of judgement calling Dubois’ fifth round punch low, instead of legal, which gave Usyk plenty of time to recover and later knock out Dubois himself. The appeal’s final sentence calls upon the WBA to ‘right the wrongs done to Mr Dubois and to ensure that the errors of Mr Pabon do not harm Mr Dubois more than they already have’.

Reporter Dan Rafael took umbrage with certain sections of the appeal and labelled it bullshit on Twitter. Warren’s official account then replied with a picture of a man eating a burger stating: Dan, need your expert advice tomato or hot sauce mmmm. The account had earlier suggested that an ‘integral part’ of Mr Rafael’s life is pizza.

As they would say on Twitter: #boxing.

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