Not quite as wide as the grin plastered across the face of Eddie Hearn when he officially announced his one billion dollar deal with sports streaming service DAZN (pronounced Da Zone), but we predicted Irish eyes should be smiling nontheless.
At first glance, we surmised, Matchroom’s record breaking deal wouldn’t appear to have major ramifications on this island but, on further thought, we felt it could open massive doors for a number of domestic pro punchers.
Hearn is enroute to building a Matchroom stable in the U.S. of about 30 top fighters ranging from world champions to elite amateur prospects. Aside from this then, and quite unlike his model in the UK, the promoter will need dozens and dozens more fighters to fill the 16 cards, both in the home and away corners.
The likes of Andy Lee, Matthew Macklin, Michael Conlan, Spike O’Sullivan and John Duddy in particular have shown how much of a draw Irish fighters can be on the East Coast in recent years.
There is no doubt Irish representation will help with regard to New York, Boston, and Chicago to a lesser extent, and it seems Hearn seems is well aware of that as well many other benefits having an Irish fighter on a card brings- And if you look at the make up of the first Matchroom DAZN American card/broadcast it’s obvious Irish fighters have benefited from the deal too.
The second DAZN broadcast show from the States is topped by a WBO world title fight between Billy Joe Saunders and Demetrius Andrade, but has a strong Irish influence.
Indeed, the choice of venue Boston and the TD Garden, home of the Boston Celtics, is all but screaming for Irish-American support.
Two of the three world title fights on the card involve Irish fighters. Katie Taylor, whom Matchroom hope will become a household name Stateside, defends her WBA and IBF world lightweight world titles against Cindy Serrano.
Then in the chief support bout Belfast’s James Tennyson gets the chance to become the fourth reigning Irish world champion when he challenges Tevin Farmer for the IBF super featherweight world title.
It’s the first time two Irish fighters have fought for world titles on the same night and it plays out in Boston and comes to fruition due to the Matchroom DAZN link up a well as the brilliant work put in the ring by both punchers.
While it’s amazing to have two mega fights on such a high profile card it’s the other fighters Hearn seems to be calling upon that will encourage young prospects.
Wexford’s Niall Kennedy gets another chance to impress the watching Boston public further down the card and with a good performance could start to open a route to some of Matchroom’s big name heavyweights.
‘Boom Boom’ is perhaps the perfect fighter for a U.S. audience and one made for this and future Boston fight nights– a humble big man from the down the country, a member of an An Garda Síochána with an impressive skill set, and apparently a distant relative of the most famous Irish-American of all time, John F Kennedy.
Irish American Danny ‘Bhoy’ O’Connor was also set to appear in a mouthwatering clash with Tommy Coyle proof Hearn wants to try and attract the local fight fans- and it doesn’t end there.
As every good infomercial says, ‘but wait there’s more’ Belfasts Sean McComb also populates the card and will fight for the third time since turning over on August 18 on the Irish stacked October card.
It’s also quite possible Jono Carroll, who recently re joined Matchroom and became the third Irish fighter after world champions Ryan Burnett and Katie Taylor on Matchroom’s books, will be ringside to try and build his possible fight with the winner of Tenny versus Farmer.