UKTV has made a bold move into sports broadcasting after signing up the exclusive UK rights for former boxing world champion David Haye’s long-awaited comeback fight.
The match will be shown on the broadcaster’s flagship free-to-air entertainment channel, Dave, live from the O2 on Saturday 16 January at 9pm.
Haye, the former world champion in two different weight categories, is returning to professional boxing with a heavyweight bout against Australia’s Mark De Mori.
The comeback fight will be his first since defeating Dereck Chisora at Upton Park over three years ago and sees Haye take on a top 10 WBA ranked heavyweight in De Mori, who boasts a record of 30 wins (26 KOs), and only one defeat, since turning pro in 2004.
De Mori is undefeated since September 2004 and most recently claimed a first round knock-out of Germany’s Marcel Zeller in October.
In addition to the live match, Dave will also show a special half-hour preview show the night before.
The channel’s two hour live fight coverage will include highlights from the day’s boxing at the O2, live studio discussions plus all the action from the ringside.
UKTV’s Richard Watsham said: “We are quickly establishing UKTV as a network able to handle attention grabbing live events, from the Python’s last ever performance – Monty Python Live (Mostly) for Gold through Really’s Halloween spectacular Most Haunted Live to Dave’s ratings success, the Red Bull Soapbox Race.
“Our ambition continues to grow in terms of the variety and quality of our programming and appointment to view TV remains at the top of our wish list.”
Steve North, general manager of Dave, added: “We are increasingly stretching our offering to Dave viewers, bringing them programmes which tap into the news agenda, such as last year’s election special The Pub Landlord vs Nigel Farage.
“I’m thrilled to be giving our viewers a ringside seat to this hotly-anticipated boxing match and, with Dave’s own spin on the event, helping to show the sport in a brand new light.”