The fight between Aussie George Kambosos Jr and US star Devin Haney was billed as one of the biggest fights ever held in Australia, but it’s clear Tim Tszyu remains the undisputed pay-per-view king Down Under.
Many experts thought the Kambosos Jr vs Haney bout would only be outdone by the first clash between Anthony Mundine and Danny Green in 2006, but viewing numbers have indicated that is far from the case.
Won by Haney in a unanimous decision, a Main Event insider said the fight ‘did less than 60,000’ pay per view buys, according to a Newscorp report – a very disappointing result given the massive importance of the fight, and predictions the event would pass 100,000 purchases.
The Devin Haney vs George Kambosos Jr match garnered just 60,000 purchases
Tim Tszyu has topped 100,000 Main Event purchases on two occasions
Tszyu, who has a perfect 21-0 record, has actually topped the magical number of 100,000 Main Event purchases twice: for his match against Jeff Horn in August 2020 and against Bowyn Morgan in December of that year.
His most recent fight, a unanimous decision win over Terrell Gausha in the US, is understood to have sold over 70,000.
That said, his 114-second knockout win over Morgan was a double header with Paul Gallen vs Mark Hunt, which no doubt gave a welcome kick to the viewership.
The biggest Main Event bout is believed to be Mundine’s first victory over Green, which featured an explosive war of words in the lead-up. The bout reportedly had in excess of 200,000 subscribers.
Tszyu is pictured fighting Terrell Gausha in the US in March, a match he won by unanimous decision despite suffering a shock first-round knockdown
Tszyu said in May he was keen to break that record.
‘It will be broken, in the next few years it will be broken,’ Tszyu told the Courier Mail.
‘It’s crazy. I was just thinking the other day, 100,000 pay-per-view buys is massive in Australia, 100,000 pay-per-view buys in America is dog s**t and my goal now has become to be like a Tyson Fury, at that level.’
Kambosos Jr lands on blow on Devin Haney in the bout on June 5 at Marvel Stadium
The disappointing viewing numbers come after news of a bitter feud between Tszyu and Kambosos Jr, despite the fact the pair trained together for many years at Sydney’s Kostya Tszyu Boxing Academy in Sydney.
‘There is no relationship there,’ Kambosos Jr told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘I do my thing, they do theirs. I wish them all the best.’
Tszyu celebrates after winning the Super Welterweight title against Takeshi Inoue
The pair trained under Tszyu’s uncle Igor Goloubev, who was in the corner for the first 12 of Kambosos Jr’s pro fights.
His father Jim Kambosos explained that the split occurred in the lead-up to his son’s fight against Qamil Balla in 2017, when the Tszyu camp started working with Australian ex-heavyweight boxer Justin Fortune.
Fortune helped train Manny Pacquiao, who brought on Kambosos as a sparring partner for years before the Lopez fight changed his life.
Justin Fortune with legendary boxer Manny Pacquiao before a fight in 2021
‘Igor went red when I told him Justin was going to be in George’s corner for that fight,’ Jim Kambosos revealed.
‘George won the fight, but after we got back to Australia, Igor called him and said, ‘Don’t you ever come back to the boxing gym. I’m never going to train you again’.
‘George called me in tears,’ he said.
Kambosos Jr salutes the crowd before his bout with Devin Haney on June 5
Kambosos Jr’s loss had far more ramifications than just losing a belt.
Haney’s former promoter Eddie Hearn says a rematch between the pair just didn’t make sense numbers-wise.
‘This is a really difficult thing as a promoter when things like this happen, I wouldn’t like to be involved in the contractual situation for the second fight,’ Hearn said on the DAZN Boxing Show.
‘You bet and you bank on getting the TV rights, which they probably already had in place, and sometimes it can be difficult. That’s when it becomes tricky, when you’ve got to pay for a fight that actually doesn’t attract those numbers.’
Tim Tszyu lands a punch on Gausha during his Super Welterweight win in March
Given Tszyu is negotiating to challenge current super-welterweight champion Jermell Charlo for an undisputed title, the battle for Main Event purchases will only heat up from here.