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Sky follows BT in distancing itself from Joshua-Fury negotiations

Tyson Fury celebrates after his WBC heavyweight title fight against Deontay Wilder (by John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

Sky has joined fellow UK pay-television broadcaster BT Sport in distancing itself from talks over the proposed fight deal between British world heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.

BT Sport last week said that it was not currently involved in discussions about broadcasting the proposed two-fight agreement amid controversy over the involvement of alleged crime boss Daniel Kinahan.

Although the broadcaster did not explicitly rule out acquiring rights in the future, it clarified that it was not in negotiations, nor had it been offered rights to the fight.

The fight is a source of controversy in Ireland after Fury thanked Dubai-based Daniel Kinahan, who has been named in court as a senior figure in Irish organised crime, for his role in organising the fight.

Sky said in a statement to various outlets: “Sky Sports has an exclusive contract with Matchroom Sport and with Anthony Joshua.

“We have not been involved in negotiations for a possible Joshua v Fury fight. All our broadcast deals are subject to careful consideration.”

Sports promotional company Matchroom Sport has an existing seven-year rights deal with Sky that is due to run until 2025.

The Kinahan controversy led Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar to say he was “taken aback” when he heard of his involvement. It also prompted Neale Richmond of Ireland’s Fine Gael party to write to both BT and its pay-television rival Sky to ask them not to broadcast the proposed fight.

Kinahan does not hold any criminal convictions in Ireland, but in 2018 the country’s Criminal Asset Bureau told the Irish High Court Kinahan had “managed and controlled” a significant cartel operation with links to drugs and weapon imports.