Usyk vs Joshua II and the cost of the boxing crisis – Yalla Match

On the day it was announced that Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua II to come out at the Sky Sports Box Office, Elliott and Russell ask: “At what cost?”

Sky Sports has announced that the cost of watching Oleksandr Usyk attempt a repeat of his 2021 win over Anthony Joshua, only this time in the middle of the desert, will be £26.95.

For that price, you’ll get the same heavyweight as last year, when you paid £24.95 for the franchise, but this time you’ll survive all the partying and sound of the attendees at Tottenham Hotspur. Instead, what you will now get for £26.95 is Usyk and Joshua fighting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where there will be plenty of wealth on offer but little passion, atmosphere or heritage.

Regardless of all this, the battle itself remains a great one. At least we can say that. What we can now say, that it has been confirmed, is that Sky Sports have successfully secured the exclusive rights to fight here in the UK.

It seemed like an unlikely possibility when Anthony Joshua pledged his career to DAZN not too long ago, but we didn’t know that broadcast rights for this particular fight weren’t part of the deal, so it would be up to the highest be auctioned off. bidder. Moreover, while Sky Sports were determined to treat the LIV Golf Tournament held in Saudi Arabia with the disdain it deserved, little did we know that they would be very intent on extolling the virtues of Saudi Arabia to heavyweight boxers this summer seen in the boxing ring. .

Of course, boxing often holds up a mirror of society and here, in this case, nothing could be more correct. Reflecting a dynamic and disparity with which we are all now sadly familiar, as the majority of boxers and promoters struggle for support and funding in 2022, there appears to be no trace of awareness, let alone sympathy, at the top table, why people sit in expensive suits with expensive watches that don’t They just master the art of vulgarity and turn the other cheek. Then again, maybe that’s not their job: to help, to care, to think beyond the immediate.

In fact, if the conditions were different in August, and the environment was different, you wouldn’t believe that two heavyweights, both from working-class backgrounds, were earning a lot of money to risk their lives in the boxing ring. However, since the conditions and milieu here are as important as the battle itself, in terms of ensuring that it happens, it cannot and should not be ignored. In this regard too, it is easy to ignore where much of the money generated from this struggle ends up going.

Which begs the question, how much money is enough? The answer to this I will never know, but of course the idea of ​​making more money, the kind of money that can only be produced in the Middle East, is one that appeals to everyone involved in this August 20 roadshow . You could say that’s good for them, but the problem that would arise from such greed is that the disability is constantly increased and therefore the possibility of these men – and men of the same stature – being able to get comparable wages in the UK , or even America (the ancient Promised Land) was greatly reduced. . Then of course you will face the same problem that football will soon have to contend with: players who are paid more in a week than some of the lower league clubs are worth a total and transfer fees and wages are growing even the biggest and most historic . Clubs are on the brink of financial collapse.

Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua at a press conference (photo by Mark Robinson)

For the price point, the Sky Sports Box Office went from £16.95 to £26.95 in five years, which, given everything that happened at the time, shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, like everything and everyone in this country, they are affected by inflation and economic collapse and it is clear that their boxing business is dependent on events like this. For this reason alone, the higher prices are one of the easiest aspects of the Usyk vs Joshua II to grasp and understand. But despite that, you wonder where to stop.

Interestingly, merciless punishment is the profession, and it is interesting to say that boxers are paid very well, but it may still be true. While there is no disputing that these men and women are not only worth every penny they receive at the end of the game, they are also more From what they receive, it is also true to say that the fighters at the top of the pyramid are sometimes overpaid, which in turn cripples infrastructure and damages the future of the sport.

It’s not their fault, it’s not condoned, and it’s not a problem for them to worry about, but it’s a fact nonetheless. In fact, this particular problem was something one of today’s top promoters warned me about in 2014, when he, like anyone else with an interest in the long-term health of the sport, expressed concern that their salaries were getting out of hand.

Now, eight years later, the bags offered to boxers for a 36 minute boxing run have reached outrageous and astronomical levels – I mean sports – we find ourselves forced to beg, borrow and steal from the most unscrupulous sources. Now, as you look around and watch the events taking place in empty arenas and wonder why everyone still appears fair, if not happy, you begin to ask yourself questions. Questions like: Where does the money come from? Or this: Why doesn’t it seem important to sell tickets for this promotion? Or maybe this: Is any of this money, or this version of boxing, really real?

Take that away, that sudden cash injection from silent parents, and you fear what is left in relation to British boxing. Is it, with an empty bowl, just a series of abandoned sad arenas and six fight cards dominated by (usually good) women’s world title fights (unfortunately cheaper to put together), YouTubers and prospects bullying Eastern Europeans (they always will) be welcome)? Is it impossible to fight great battles, as they tell us, at this stage without it? Without that, should we simply have big name boxers avoid each other, rather than tip the risk-reward scale in their favor by choosing to “oppose” fellow big names from other sports? Should we still be grateful for what has been given to us?

Anyway, it’s best to just ignore it all. As August approaches, the most important and relevant question is this: Can Anthony Joshua be more aggressive the second time around and get revenge on Oleksandr Usyk?

Usyk and Joshua in London last year (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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