Josh Taylor created a slice of boxing history - so why did the TV networks snub it?

What does Josh Taylor have to do to make the big TV networks sit up and take notice?

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 1:58 pm
Josh Taylor and his team after his win by unanimous decision over Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas. UK fight fans could only watch the contest on a streaming service. Picture: David Becker/Getty Images

Having cleaned up the super-lightweight division with a courageous defeat of Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas, the Scot would be entitled to think the broadcasting behemoths would be clamouring to show his fights.

Unfortunately, they don’t want to know. While ESPN showed the contest live in the States, there was a TV blackout in this country.

Thank goodness for FITE. The digital streaming service took the plunge and bought the UK rights to Taylor v Ramirez

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FITE charged £9.99 to watch the fight, decent value when set against some of the prices being charged for major pay-per-view bouts in recent years.

Much as all Taylor fans were grateful to the video streaming network, this was a contest that should have been available on a mainstream platform.

By holding all four major world title belts simultaneously Taylor has done something no Briton has ever done before. This was a slice of boxing history that will resonate through the ages.

Taylor now keeps company with the giants of the sport, joining Oleksandr Usyk, Bernard Hopkins, Jermain Taylor and Terence Crawford as the only men to secure the clean sweep in the four-fight era.

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He is the first Scot to be undisputed world champion since Ken Buchanan returned from Los Angeles with two belts 50 years ago.

Speaking before the fight, Taylor expressed his frustration with the TV snub, noting that the networks were more interested in showing an American YouTuber take on a retired 44-year-old former champ who has not fought for four years.

“It’s frustrating because it’s one of the biggest fights in British boxing history – and it’s not on TV. That’s a real pain in the backside,” said the Scot.

“I really don’t know why it’s the case. I was assuming it would be on BT with BT being aligned with ESPN, who are obviously showing it live across the States.

“It almost seems like the broadcasters back home don’t care about it.

“They seem more interested in showing a circus like Logan Paul against Floyd Mayweather – that’s not a real fight.”

Taylor said he was hoping to leave Sky Sports and BT Sport with egg on their faces. He’s certainly done that.