Landmark deal is big for boxing

Luke Blackledge sees off the challenge of Lee Markham in the first defence of his Commonwealth title
Luke Blackledge sees off the challenge of Lee Markham in the first defence of his Commonwealth title
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British title challenger Luke Blackledge feels that the landmark deal between BoxNation and BT Sport is a significant step forward for boxing.

The 26-year-old, who recently relinquished his Commonwealth strap at super-middleweight, believes that the groundbreaking partnership – set to launch next year – will broaden the sport’s horizons and open up a new window of opportunity for fighters and fans alike.

There’s going to be a lot more boxing on TV which is massive for the sport

Luke Blackledge

The package, which guarantees no less than 30 top domestic shows to satisfy their fistic fix, as well as the unrivalled international showdowns, will provide athletes with an unparalleled platform on which to showcase their talents to the widest of audiences and enhance their profile.

“It’s wicked,” said Blackledge, who will challenge Callum Smith’s reign as British champion at 168lbs on December 10th.

“There’s going to be a lot more boxing on TV which is massive for the sport. There’ll be bigger shows and that’s good news for fighters and fans.

“There are a lot of up-and-coming fighters who aren’t being given the opportunity to fight on TV. They’re not getting the exposure that they need to help their careers.

“Boxing will be broadcasted to a wider audience now and these fighters will get their chance. It gives them a platform to build on.

“Fighters will get the chance to show a wider audience what they’re capable of. More people get to see them fight and that helps them to increase their fanbase even more. It’s a big move.”

He added: “I’ve been quite lucky because my last few fights have been live on BoxNation and my next one is live on Sky Sports.

“But now my fights will be aired on BT Sport as well. It’s better and more beneficial for everyone.

“Boxing is massive at the minute and it’s only going to get bigger. Look at all the world champions that we’ve got in the UK and all the other big fighters that are at the top from all over the world. It’s only going to keep growing.

“The coverage is getting bigger and better and it’s going to continue heading in one direction.

“There are some unbelievable bills coming up at the moment and more people are going to benefit from it now. More people will get to see them.

“This will start to bring BoxNation in line with Matchroom’s deal with Sky Sports. You never know how significantly this deal will impact on BoxNation but I think it’s going to be huge.

“It just makes the sport more accessible because not everybody has Sky Sports.”

Speaking about the deal on the BoxNation website, promoter Frank Warren described it as a “game changer”.

He added: “Our stable of huge promise, which we have nurtured and developed over recent years, now has an even greater incentive to prosper and will gain fantastic exposure across BT’s numerous outlets.

“They will also have every good reason to stay in the gym and remain in supreme condition because we will be the busiest promotional company in Europe and the opportunity to fight regularly will be there.

“The exposure will be at all different levels, from when they begin as professionals and right throughout the journey towards title contention.

It has been a long-term goal of ours to marry the channel with a major broadcaster of BT’s calibre, we have worked hard on it and finally got it over the line.”