Adam Smith of Sky Sports Boxing speaks exclusively to John Dennen as they announce new deals with Top Rank and Boxxer
For Sky Sports Boxing, there is life afterwards match room. Their exclusive long-term partnership with the British Promoter will end after Louis Ritson Saturday show in Newcastle. But the announcer will remain an important player in boxing. They have announced a deal with top US promotional firm Top Rank for their international card list, excluding Tyson Fury but including Shakur Stevenson, Naoya Inoue and Vasily Lomachenko in the coming weeks.
Must bring in at least 18 international shows per year. Sky has also announced a surprising engagement with a new British promoter, Boxxer’s Ben Shalom. John Wischhausen, the former head of boxing at Matchroom, will be part of this team. But this arrangement will not be exclusive. Boxxer is expected to collaborate with other UK promoters. This should see at least 14 British shows televised annually. Both of these new deals are for four years.
“30 years and counting, 30 years and time to ramp it up again,” Adam Smith, Sky Boxing Development Head, said of their long-term commitment to the sport. “It’s changing times. He’s adapting. Eddie [Hearn, Matchroom promoter] He made a decision, a tough decision to leave a base, a platform like Sky that really made him, and that helped him. Eddie has been amazing with boxing. But don’t think we haven’t done our part either. It’s been a great relationship over the years, he’s taken the DAZN angle, he’s gone, he’s gotten a whole new look in there… they’ve got their business and now we have ours. We are going again. We never left boxing. We have been there year after year. We were loyal to this sport. We have a great new concept.
“We believe we’ve got the platform and the arsenal in place to take boxing into a new era.”
“Now I’m really excited. Top rank is a huge force. They’ve been a great operation for many years. What comes with them is pounds for the sterling greats. Regular content from the US, maybe the ESPN platform for UK fighters to take advantage of too. Names like Josh Taylor, Lomachenko, and Inoue, we have a lot of names really fast,” Smith continued, speaking exclusively to boxing news. “The other part of him is a new young entrepreneurial promoter from Ben Shalom, who wanted to try a new vision, and do something different. He put on these championship shows. He has a lot of passion.
“I love the integration of the great American power for many years and also the young people, who want to experience a new, different feeling and a new face and also the ability to work with other people. He wants to work with other promoters, he will need to work with other promoters and we need him. It is for Sky Boxing This, and it is for the benefit of the clients and that is the key. We are open to business. We want to work with different people, whether they are from PBC whether they are managers or other promoters.
“There are some very brilliant people behind the scenes at Sky who don’t get enough credit for what we’ve done. But add that with a new kind of concept, the Boxxer team, Top Rank, new people at Sky also came in and are looking to give us new ideas. Put it all together you have Traditional, you have things that have already worked and things that we feel the need to adapt and change.
“We’re very confident about that. We may not have that massive Matchroom stable. But I’m telling you we’re very excited because the different fighters, managers, and promoters are going to look at us and think there’s a platform here. It’s a platform that has worked for many years building stars, building stories, building narratives. So come on. Us. Come join us.”