By: Bryant Romero
It was finally announced on Monday afternoon that indeed Showtime would televise the Anthony Joshua-Joseph Parker heavyweight unification title fight on March 31. Putting an end to the speculation that the British superstar was making a move to HBO for the time being at least, which has been whispered in boxing circles since Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has developed a working relationship with HBO and Peter Nelson. It was believed with HBO’s initial investment into showcasing some of Hearn’s fighters that it could ultimately result in getting the services of the 28 year old Anthony Joshua.
However, Showtime will air Joshua’s sixth straight fight on the network in their bid to become the permanent home of the British star. Rival HBO has been making a strong push to air Joshua’s fights but because of his previous contract with Showtime, the network has the right to match any offer made. It was reported by ESPN, that HBO place a strong bid of $1.95 million for the U.S. rights to air Joshua-Parker. But Showtime is committed to retaining the services of Anthony Joshua with the ultimate goal of televising and owning the rights of the much talked about anticipated showdown between Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) and WBC champion Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs).
Promoter Eddie Hearn may have other ideas though, especially when it comes to when a Joshua/Wilder fight takes place. For now both Heavyweight champions will take interim fights with Joshua looking to unify with WBO champion Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) and Wilder taking on his most dangerous challenge to date in fighting top contender Luis Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs) of Cuba. Wilder and his team are hoping for a statement win over the dangerous Ortiz that could lead to much needed value and negotiating power at the table when it come to talks of a potential Joshua fight.
However, it appears very unlikely that a Joshua/Wilder fight will take place next if both come out victorious in their next bouts. Top contender Alexander Povetkin (33-1, 23 KOs) of Russia is waiting in the wings and may be called as the next mandatory for the WBA strap that Joshua holds. Povetkin has already agreed to fight David Price on the undercard of Joshua/Parker that can raise his profile in England for potential Joshua fight in the summer.
Just how long will Showtime continue to outbid rival HBO to retain the services of Joshua since a Wilder fight may not be in the cards for this year?