SHOWTIME Sports and Matchroom Boxing announced on Wednesday a multi-fight licensing agreement for Showtime Networks Inc., to be the exclusive U.S. television partner of undefeated heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua. The announcement was made today at the Hilton Syon Park outside London by Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports and Eddie Hearn, President of Matchroom Sports.
The multi-fight agreement kicks-off on Saturday, June 25 when Joshua, a British sensation, attempts to make the first defence of his IBF Heavyweight World Championship against undefeated American challenger Dominic Breazeale at the sold-out The O2 arena in London. The addition of this heavyweight title fight, airing live on Showtime Networks in the late afternoon, bolsters a big day for boxing as later that evening on CBS, SHOWTIME will present the first live primetime boxing event on the CBS Television Network in nearly 40 years.
Joshua, 26, has compiled a perfect knockout record of 16-0 with 16 knockouts since turning professional shortly after winning the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal. Earlier this year, Joshua earned the IBF world championship with a second-round knockout of defending champion Charles Martin on SHOWTIME, earning a heavyweight belt in the fewest number of fights in more than 20 years. Further, Joshua is just the sixth Olympic Gold Medallist at super heavyweight to go on to win a professional heavyweight world title joining Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin.
The 30-year-old Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs) has knocked out nearly 90 percent of his opponents since turning professional after representing the United States at the 2012 Olympics. Standing at 6-foot-7, the Los Angeles native is one inch taller than the 6-foot-6 Joshua. The former NCAA football quarterback is coming off a career-best victory of previously once-beaten Amir Mansour on Jan. 23.
Joshua vs. Breazeale will be the fifth heavyweight title bout to air live on SHOWTIME in the first six months of 2016, joining a stellar schedule that features many of the top-rated fighters in boxing’s deepest and most exciting divisions.
Also on Saturday, June 25, Keith Thurman will defend his WBA Welterweight World Championship against former titlist Shawn Porter in a blockbuster matchup of two of the world’s best 147-pound fighters, live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. In the co-main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on CBS, presented by Premier Boxing Champions, WBA Featherweight World Champion Jesus Cuellar will defend his title against former three-division world champion Abner Mares.