IT was a difficult line to tow for DAZN on Saturday night. On the one hand, the main event in Nottingham was an instant classic, producing one of the most dramatic finishes we’ve ever seen in a British ring. On the other hand, Michael Conlan had been knocked unconscious through the ropes of the ring and his condition was unknown for the remainder of the broadcast.
The commentary team, at first, didn’t know how to react. Darren Barker – quite understandably – was blown away by Leigh Wood’s unforgettable turnaround. Mike Costello, though, quickly realised there was concern over Conlan’s welfare and focused the attention there.
DAZN did not show any replays of the finish. That was the right move. It was a scary termatknockout and to have replayed it while Conlan was still receiving medical attention at ringside would have been disrespectful.
What the DAZN cameras did pick up was the immediate reactions of Wood and his team. Though instantly jubilant, Wood – like Costello – immediately muted any sort of celebration once it became clear Conlan hadn’t gotten up.
He urged his Nottingham fans to do the same – an act of pure class that went a long way in defusing a potentially combustible situation. It says a lot about his character that he had the wherewithal and compassion to do so, particularly after such a punishing fight.
Credit should also go to MC David Diamante, who could be seen urging the production team to turn on his microphone so he could then tell the crowd to clear away so the medical staff had room to attend to Conlan.
Watching from home was a difficult experience. The DAZN team had no real way of updating on Conlan’s condition, so we were left to fear the worst. Tony Bellew – who is growing into an excellent pundit – was visibly shaken and all-but refused to analyse the fight, instead just expressing his concern over Conlan.
It was uncomfortable to watch DAZN then conduct interviews with Wood and promoter Eddie Hearn. Post-fight interviews are an industry standard but this felt almost crass. Wood and Hearn were being asked about next steps when – at least for us viewers at home – there was no clarity over whether or not Conlan would be OK.
Thankfully, in the end he was. Hearn and Matchroom’s Frank Smith provided much-needed updates on social media before Conlan himself then posted that he was healthy and there was no lasting damage.
The following day he met up with Wood, congratulated him and conducted several interviews with various outlets. He was open and honest about how much the defeat hurts and how he felt he made mistakes in the fight.
It highlights how fighters truly are a different breed. Conlan had just been in a gruelling 12-round fight and was ultimately knocked out and hospitalised. Yet the next day he was calling for a rematch (which makes a lot of sense, though perhaps not right away) and analysing his performance in sharp detail.
It’s also worth noting that DAZN has been providing excellent value for money in recent weeks and its upcoming schedule is promising. That being said, the spectre of pay-per-view still remains for US subscribers.
On Friday night, BT Sport staged a show at York Hall in London. Marc Leach turned in an outstanding performance to win the British super-bantamweight title against Chris Bourke in the main event. He won a unanimous decision though judges Terry O’Connor and Bob Williams scored it fairly close at 116-113 and 116-112 respectively.
Carl Frampton, who time and again has proven himself a brilliant on-screen presence for BT Sport, did not hold back in his reaction to those scores. He noted how there will not be any major reaction because “the right man won” but was left flabbergasted at how those judges gave so many rounds to Bourke.
In the wake of the recent Josh Taylor-Jack Catterall scoring controversy, it helps to have prominent figures like Frampton continue to hold officials accountable in such a public way.
In the space of just a few days boxing fans were teased with the prospect of an excellent fight only for it to then be snatched away. BoxingScene initially reported that terms had been agreed for Jermall Charlo to fight Jaime Munguia.
With Canelo Alvarez taking his career into higher weight classes, Charlo-Munguia is a great middleweight scrap. However, according to ESPN, talks broke down due to conflicts over broadcast rights.
Reportedly, Charlo’s side wanted it on Showtime PPV while Munguia’s team were pushing for it to be on DAZN. In the end, an agreement couldn’t be reached. For what it’s worth some of those involved insist there’s still a chance the fight gets finalised, but it doesn’t look likely.
It’s just another example of how the fragmented nature of boxing makes it such a frustrating and, frankly, draining sport to follow.
As mentioned last week, it looks like Anthony Joshua will need an interim fight before his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, who is defending his native Ukraine against Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
Hearn confirmed to IFL that he has spoken with Usyk’s team and that the Ukrainian will need more time before eventually facing ‘AJ’. According to Hearn, Joshua listed the likes of Deontay Wilder, Luis Ortiz, Otto Wallin and Joe Joyce as opponents he wants in the meantime.
Two of those – Wilder and Joyce – would be really interesting fights. Wilder in particular offers a mouthwatering clash of styles with Joshua. Wallin and Ortiz, while not as exciting as opponents, are both southpaws and so would be better preparation for the Usyk rematch.