ITV is to step in pay-per-view boxing for the first time in early 2017 after securing the rights to broadcast Chris Eubank Jnr’s IBO World Super Middleweight title bout against Renold Quinlan on February 4.
The world title contest, promoted by Poxon Sports in association with Unity Motion, marks the return of ‘The Big Fight Live’ to ITV screens since the network made a brief return to boxing in 2015 when it covered two Carl Frampton world title fights.
ITV’s new pay-per-view channel will be known as ITV Box Office and the network has confirmed it will be made “widely available” to boxing fans across its TV and online platforms, while the undercard to the main event will be broadcast live and free-to-air on ITV4.
Eubank is moving up from middleweight to challenge the little-known Australian holder of the lightly-regarded IBO world super-middleweight title, at a London venue to be confirmed.
Despite Eubank Jnr’s team being involved in protracted talks to fight Gennady Golovkin earlier this year, the 27-year-old insists he is excited to fight on ITV’s fledgling pay-per-view service.
“We are the Next Generation and my team and I will now show fight fans the highest standard and quality of world championship boxing entertainment.
“I feel blessed to have this opportunity to work with ITV after they first showcased my father 26 years ago.
“And I intend to deliver more of what my father did: speed, power, accuracy, showmanship and the will to fight and beat the best of the best. Maybe even with a little bit more swagger!”
In the run up to the Eubank Jnr pay-per-view fight on ITV Box Office, terrestrial network ITV4 will show a full evening’s live boxing featuring some of Britain’s best and brightest boxing talent.
Full details of The Big Fight Live undercard on ITV4, how to register to view and the competitive prices for the bout will be revealed well in advance of the event.
Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said: “Live coverage of this world title fight featuring one of Britain’s most exciting young boxers is an event we hope will appeal to sports fans across the country.
“Many people will recall watching Chris Eubank Jnr’s father in action in some of his most memorable fights on ITV, so it feels fitting for the Eubank name to feature in the first broadcast on our new channel.”
Chris Eubank’s bouts gripped millions of ITV viewers two decades ago and now his son is set to follow in his father’s footsteps with the network’s debut pay-per-view show in 2017.
Promoter Richard Poxon of Poxon Sports, added: “It’s an exciting time for British boxing. We have many world champions, fantastic prospects and sold out arenas.
“As a boxing fan, I was lucky to grow up in a golden age for the sport in Britain, which was shaped by its coverage on ITV.
“Big shows featuring British box office names such as Eubank, Benn and Hamed were regular events and left me with vivid memories. So now to have the opportunity to stage this event with the support of ITV is fantastic.”