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HBO to end live boxing programming this year

The premium cable provider has shown boxing matches for nearly half a century

Clark Mindock
New York
Thursday 27 September 2018 20:45 BST
Anthony Joshua celebrates beating Alexander Povetkin

HBO is leaving the world of professional boxing after 45 years in the business.

The premium cable and satellite provider announced that it will stop televising boxing matches, after more than 1,000 fights including some of the most hyped up and lucrative matches the game has ever seen.

The cable provider will stop broadcasting the matches at the end of 2018, ending a service that started in 1973 when George Foreman shocked the world by knocking out the reining heavyweight champion Joe Frazier.

The only remaining boxing match scheduled to be broadcast before the end of the year is a middleweight title fight that will be held on 27 October in Madison Square.

“Going forward into 2019, we will be pivoting away from programming live boxing on HBO,” a statement from the company reads. “As always, we will remain open to looking at events that fit our programming mix. This could include boxing, just not for the foreseeable future”.

Peter Nelson, the executive vice president of HBO Sports, told The New York Times that they have made the decision after researching what makes people subscribe to the services — which has offered hit television shows like Game of Thrones, among others.

“This is not a subjective decision,” Mr Nelson told that newspaper, which first reported the and of HBO’s boxing programming. “Our audience research informs us that boxing is no longer a determinant factor for subscribing to HBO”.

Other television providers are likely to fill the void that HBO is about to leave behind, and other entities have already been looking to sign their places into boxing history.

That includes Matchroom Boxing, a company owned by British boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, which recently signed a $1 billion deal for pay-per-view fights over the next eight years. ESPN has has also sought deals, with a seven-year deal with the promoter Top Rank for promotion across outlets.

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