Channel 5 has signed a late deal to screen live coverage of the biggest fight of Tyson Fury’s career to date as he makes his US debut against Steve Cunningham at Madison Square Garden on April 20.
With just under a week to go until Fury travels to faces the former two-time world cruiserweight champion on his home soil, a UK television deal to screen the fight has been secured after talks between Channel 5 and promoter Hennessy Sports.
The young heavyweight, 24, will now explode onto the American scene in front of network and terrestrial television in the US and the UK respectively in an official IBF world heavyweight title eliminator.
Fury faces Steve Cunningham (25-2, 12 KOs), at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York, in his 21st professional fight and only his second fight away from the UK and Ireland.
Channel 5’s coverage of the fight will be sponsored by SuperCasino and be shown in a 90-minute programme from 9.30pm on Saturday, April 20.
The deal to show the Fury/Cunningham clash comes just weeks after Britain’s fifth terrestrial channel reportedly axed its boxing coverage after just 18 months.
Channel 5 made its boxing debut in July 2011 when it screened Fury’s British title fight against Dereck Chisora, drawing an impressive 3m viewers.
Fury’s more recent fights have also attracted big numbers to Channel 5 in primetime on Saturday evenings of well over the one million mark.
“I’m delighted to deliver this fight to a transatlantic terrestrial TV audience,” said promoter Mick Hennessy.
“Tyson Fury is going to shake up the world of heavyweight boxing and Hughie Fury is going to show why he’s such a special, young, heavyweight talent – and they’ve both got the biggest platform possible to do it on.
“This is a fight card that everyfight fan has the opportunityto see and one no fight fan will want to miss.”
Hennessy is believed to have said that as far as he is aware, his long and successful relationship with Channel 5 will continue for the foreseeable future, though no long-term deal for fights involving Tyson Fury and other boxers in the promoter’s stable, including James DeGale and Christ Eubank Jnr, has yet to be confirmed.
Focussing on the fight ahead, Fury and his team have based their training camp in Ottawa, Canada, ahead of the contest where they have had access to state-of-the-art training facilities and running trails.
Boasting a perfect record of 20-0, with 14 knockouts, Fury will be aiming to show everyone that he is ready for a shot at the prestigious world heavyweight title.
“This is a great opportunity for me to come to the US and showcase mytalents at a great venue such as Madison Square Garden,” said Fury.
“The fight fans better be prepared for a good old fashioned fight, because I’m coming to town and I’m taking no prisoners.
“Steve Cunningham, you’re in big trouble, I hope you’ve been training really hard because I know I have and it’s fight time.
“We’ve given ourselves plenty of time to prepare, we’ve been over here now for six weeks, so that’s more than enough time to acclimatise and get used to the time difference.”
Also featuring on the night in Channel 5’s coverage will be 18-year-old heavyweight hope Hughie Fury, younger cousin of Tyson, the first ever Irish/British AIBA Youth World Championship gold medalist at super heavyweight.
The young heavyweight impressed with an emphatic second-round knockout victory over David Whittom on his professional debut and will looking to send another big statement to a terrestrial audience at the sport’s most historic venue as he continues his transition into the pro ranks.
Channel 5’s presentation team will be led by Mark Pougatch, who will be joined by Fury’s fellow Hennessy Sports stable-mate James Degale.
Fight commentary comes from Dave Farrar and Richie Woodall.
Saturday 20th April
International Boxing: Tyson Fury v Steve Cunningham
LIVE: 9.30pm-11.00pm – Channel 5