As fight fans know, the biggest heavyweight fight of the year will take place in a wholly different setting to that which we are used to: Andy Ruiz-Anthony Joshua II, which will be staged in the previously unlikely setting of Saudi Arabia. Fast becoming the biggest player in the sport, Saudi Arabia promises to host further big fights over the coming months and years. And boxing taking place in that part of the world equals different starting times for the big fights.
Eddie Hearn has informed IFL TV how the Ruiz-Joshua II headlining fight of December 7th will start at approx 9PM UK time – so that’s 4PM East Coast time in the U.S and 1PM West Coast time. How this will effect TV numbers is a pretty interesting question. For we UK fight fans – who for many years had to stay up until 5AM or later in order to catch a massive headline fight in the U.S (where, once upon a time, seemingly all the big fights took place) live on TV – it’s great that the big one will begin at 9PM, prime time. But how about a fan who lives in Los Angeles? Will 1PM suit? Or 4PM for a New Yorker?
U.S boxing fans have long been accustomed to catching the action in the evening; the perfect time to watch a fight. Now, with Saudi Arabia threatening to host more and more super-fights, an adjustment will have to be made. Many American people work on a Saturday, in the morning and in the afternoon, so how will they be able to watch the boxing if the first bell rings at 1PM?
Again, it will be interesting to see if Ruiz-Joshua II suffers in terms of U.S viewing figures due to the early start time. For U.S fans who, like me, thoroughly enjoy watching Japanese bantamweight KO King Naoya Inoue, it’s even worse: Inoue’s fight with Nonito Donaire will begin at around 7AM East Coast time tomorrow. How many U.S fans will be able to catch this fight live?
The boxing world is changing, that’s for sure. But are YOU happy about it?