For the first time in boxing history, a heavyweight title fight will be streamed live on YouTube. But it won’t be just one single championship bout. It’ll be two.
With two recognized heavyweight titlists holding a total of three belts and with the other belt currently vacant, two of those titles will be up for grabs this Saturday when Deontay Wilder (35-0, 34 knockouts), the first American titleholder in more than a decade, defends his trinket against Poland native Artur Szpilka (20-1, 15 KOs) and American Charles Martin (22-0-1, 20 KOs) fights Ukraine native Vyacheslav Glazkov (21-0-1, 13 KOs) for the vacant version of championship.
And you can watch them here beginning at 10pm ET on Saturday.
It’s a part of a free preview weekend for the Showtime network, and it showcases in the main event Wilder, the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native who’s one of the best heavyweight fighters in the world. (Due to the nature of today’s boxing environment, winning a world title doesn’t necessarily mean that the victorious fighter is actually one of the best pugilists in his division.)
Wilder is also a proponent of social media, especially if he can have a public Twitter fight with an opponent he’s about to battle or one that he could face in the near future.
“[Social media] is a great outlet for us,” Wilder told the Daily Dot in October. “Everyone loves the beef with a fighter… I try to stay away from the beef stuff. I like to show you in the ring, but it’s entertaining for the fans. It is good for business. People love to see what two men are going to do to each other. The more a person can talk, the more hype the fight will get.”
Wilder also doesn’t mind physically humiliating trolls and blasting out the results on YouTube. Which is exactly where you can find him on Saturday.
It seems like a good idea for Showtime as it tries to compete with HBO for premium cable boxing cards and the sports fans that might follow.
As sports media blog Awful Announcing wrote, “It’s another way for Showtime to reach fans who normally would not have access to the fights and to attract potential new subscribers… If Showtime can gain new subscribers through the YouTube experiments or finds a lot of people viewing online, perhaps we could see more fights there in the future.”
Photo via Stephanie Trapp/Showtime