Lamar Clark is DAZNs Boxing expert. He has an extensive background in Boxing journalism, having filed for The New York Daily News and The Ring Magazine – The Bible of Boxing. He’s in London ahead of Saturday’s Joshua v Povetkin fight, and sat down with us to give the lowdown on the fight, Boxing in the US, and DAZN’s entry into the US market.
What does Boxing mean to the US people?
Oh, we’re huge boxing fans. And as I’m learning, it’s a huge sport in the UK as well. Boxing has always been a major sport in the US, especially in terms of its athletes. We’ve produced some of the most celebrated sports people of all time, from Mohammed Ali to Mike Tyson. Boxing has taken a step back recently because so many other sports are going so well, but there’s been a real resurgence in the sport recently, with some great champions and some great fights.
The introduction of streaming has been great, because now we have more players and more fights. There are new brands in the game, like DAZN, which means it’s a great time for boxing. The heavyweight division is making some noise now, with guys like Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and Tyson Fury getting ready to go again.
The World Heavyweight Title Fight Between champion Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin takes place at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night. What can we expect?
I think it will be an exciting fight. Anthony Joshua’s been doing great since he’s become a title winner, but there are still some questions around his experience. He’s only been a champion for a short time, and his opponent, Povetkin, has also been a champion. Povetkin’s been in the ring with Klitschko and he has some big weapons, especially his power. He knocked out David Price, a big KO, so that’s the big challenge for Joshua. He’s got to be wary of what Povetkin brings in terms of power and experience. It should be a top fight.
What does the US think about Anthony Joshua?
I was talking to someone about that last night. He’s probably as popular was Deontay Wilder, but neither would be on the level of, say, Mike Tyson, or even Evander Holyfield when they were champions. And that’s just because the heavyweight division has been pretty quiet. But ‘AJ’ is starting to build some momentum in terms of popularity, and I would say that’s mainly because of what’s going on with social media. It has a lot of people who are committed and dedicated to the sport and guys like Joshua are at the top of the sport right now. So there’s a buzz – there’s definitely a buzz around AJ. He’s on the way to becoming a bigger star than he already is now.
What does it mean to have the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard and Brian Kenny call the action?
These guys are tremendous additions to DAZN. Everyone knows Sugar Ray, he has a champion’s will and had skills in the ring. He’s also a great guy. Brian Kenny has always been a stellar commentator for ESPN so I’m really excited for what these guys can do together. It’s refreshing to sit here and see a new team come together for the sport, and I’m excited to hear what these guys can bring on the night.
All DAZN fights will be available for one monthly fee and no long-term contract in the US. What does that mean for fans of boxing in the states?
It’s a huge win. We’re talking about spending $10 a month and getting potentially 70-80 events for the year. Once you break that down per month, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. Under other models fights can cost up to $80-$100, so if you’re looking to pay your bills it’s not so easy! So for $9.99 per month it’s a great price. But ultimately, as boxing fans, it all depends on the fights, and the line-up for DAZN looks very healthy. In the short-term you’re getting the championship fight with Joshua and Povetkin this month and three title fights in October. It’s definitely something to look forward to. $10 out of your pocket is a great deal, and better than what we’ve had to pay before.
Bonus question …. What’s your prediction for Saturday?
I think that AJ will win. Hes’s younger, faster, stronger. Povetkin does have him for power, but with his size, I think AJ will keep Povetkin in check for five rounds and end it early. AJ in six or seven.