June 6, 2019
Unheralded Andy Ruiz Jr.’s June 1 upset TKO of Britain’s Anthony Joshua to become the WBO, IBF and WBA Heavyweight champion delivered another blow – this one to fight’s pay-per-view/SVOD business model.
More than 13 million people reportedly accessed the fight illegally – the vast majority through YouTube, according to new data from MUSO, the London-based digital data tracking company.
The tally bettered the previous mark of 9.98 million set during the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder fight last December.
The majority illegal access (2.3 million) occurred in Nigeria, home to Joshua’s family roots, followed by Kenya (998,000), the U.K. (922,000), U.S. (600,000), Mexico (587,000), Philippines (541,000), Uganda (417,000), China (376,000), Turkey (351,000) and Indonesia (310,000).
“The Joshua vs. Ruiz fight has been the largest unauthorized audience that we’ve ever tracked across boxing and it’s staggering to see that 93% of the audience watched via YouTube,” Andy Chatterley, CEO of MUSO, said in a statement.
Ruiz Jr. was a late substitute after Joshua’s initial opponent, Jarrell Big Baby Miller, dropped from the fight after failing three drug tests.
“The official PPV audience figures have yet to be published, but this is a massive audience that’s being ignored,” Chatterley said. “This highly engaged audience offers up huge insight and perhaps, more importantly, significant commercial opportunity.”