On Sunday morning (Saturday night for Americans), millions around the world watched with keen interest as (former) WBC Heavyweight Champion, Deontay Wilder clashed with Lineal Heavyweight Champion of the world, Tyson Fury in a much-anticipated rematch.
While the first bout ended in a stalemate, Tyson Fury made sure that wasn’t the case this time, dropping Wilder in the 2nd, 4th and 5th rounds, leaving him bloodied and forcing his bench to throw in the towel in the 7th to save him from further embarrassment.
But Wilder’s face wasn’t the only thing that was smashed as the fight would go on to smash the heavyweight live gate (ticket sales) record of $16.8 million set by the Evander Hollyfield vs Lennox Lewis fight back in 1999.
Wilder vs Fury got nearly $18 million in live gate ticket sales.
According to boxing trainer and promoter, Kevin Cunningham, Sunday’s fight between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury is projected to do more than 2 million pay per view (PPV) buys. At $79.99 per buy, total PPV grossing would amount to around $160 million.
That shattered the heavyweight PPV record held since 1997 by Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield (2). That fight got 1.99 million ppv buys, grossing $100.2 million.
Critics, however, think 2 million pay per view buys is unrealistic especially considering that the first clash between both fighters managed just 325,000 PPV buys. They however project 1.5 million as a more realistic figure and even that is even being generous.
But hitting the 2 million pay per view mark could be possible especially since the massive hype surrounding Anthony Joshua vs Ruiz.
Considering also that many boxing fans consider Fury from the UK and Wilder from the US as the two best heavyweights around now. Everyone, especially in the UK and US where boxing enjoys the most PPV buys, wants to know which country has the upper hand.
Heavyweight boxing regaining its lost glory
Heavyweight Boxing is returning back on top in recent years after a long lull period in the 2000s dominated by the Klitschko brothers.
In that period, heavyweight boxing lost its appeal due to the absence of credible and marketable heavyweight fighters who could dethrone the Klitschkos. The division thus became boring.
In the same period, lower boxing divisions, especially the Welterweights and Middleweights, grew tremendously with more marketable boxers like Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Oscar de la Hoya, Saul Alvarez and a host of others claiming the spotlight.
It isn’t a surprise then that the three top grossing boxing fights of all times were from lower divisions. And all three involved Floyd Mayweather who has been considered the most popular boxer in recent history.
But heavyweight boxing is gradually returning to its prime and the figures are speaking volumes. In December, Anthony Joshua smashed his own UK Pay Per View record with 1.6 million pay per view buys in the UK. At 24.95 pounds per view, total UK ppv grossing for that fight amounted to around 40 million pounds.
With Tyson Fury defeating Wilder, all professional heavyweight titles are currently held by Brits. A clash between Fury and Joshua would be sure to topple all heavyweight pay per view buy records as boxing insiders already project grossing to hit $500 million.
That would be insane and would definitely shatter the heavyweight ppv record, if not the entire sport.
Illegal streaming might be killing pay per view grossing
However, pay per view figures will suffer from illegal streaming across the world. According to a report, 13 million people around the world illegally streamed the first Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz fight in 2019.
Nigeria had the highest number of illegal streaming by country with 2.35 million Nigerians watching the fight through uncensored platforms. The UK had nearly 1 million uncensored viewers. 93% of these uncensored views were however from Youtube.
The first clash between Wilder and Fury amassed almost 10 million illegal watchers around the world with 133 pirate platforms streaming live. 1.9 million of them are from the US who had the largest share of uncensored viewers by country while the UK contributed more than 1 million uncensored viewers.
The amount of illegal streaming per country depends on the nationality of the fighters involved. Which explains why 2.35 million Nigerians watched Anthony Joshua vs Ruiz and 1.9 Americans found illegal ways of watching the Fury/Wilder fight.
Ultimately, they reflect the number of fans who could have contributed to the amount of PPV grossing.
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