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Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders planned for DAZN UK launch

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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DAZN is set to launch in the UK in May with world middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 53-1-2 (36) expected to face Billy Joe Saunders 29-0 (14) at super middleweight in the first fight on the sports streaming service.

The so-called ‘Netflix of sports’ offers on-demand boxing matches paid for with a monthly fee rather than the more common pay-per-view system often used in boxing broadcasting.

The launch is part of a planned global expansion for DAZN, a £3bn business company backed by backed by Ukrainian-born billionaire Sir Len Blavatnik.

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DAZN reportedly paid a record $365m for broadcasting rights for a series of fights featuring Alvarez in 2018.

“Boxing’s global resurgence makes it the ideal time to roll out our sports streaming service around the world,” said DAZN EVP Joseph Markowski.

“This follows DAZN’s significant investment in the sport over the past two years. 2020 is shaping up to be a huge year in the ring and we’re looking forward to our global kick-off starting with Canelo Alvarez on 2 May.”

While WBO 168-pound champion Saunders remains the frontrunner to face Alvarez, no deal has yet been finalised.

If the deal with Saunders fails to come through, it is believed Liverpool’s WBA champion Callum Smith 29-0 (17) will land the gig.

Mexico’s Alvarez, 29, is the biggest star in world boxing, winning world titles across four different weight classes. In his last outing he moved up to light heavyweight for the first time to knockout Sergey Kovalev in 11 rounds to claim the WBO championship.

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