The fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr last weekend was highly anticipated by boxing fans.
Events like this draw an audience of millions. Unfortunately for the rightsholders, not all fans go through legal channels.
Before the fight, Kieron Sharp of anti-piracy group FACT issued a public announcement, urging the public to do the right thing. “More and more people are becoming aware that piracy is illegal – don’t find yourself in the criminals’ corner this weekend,” he said.
Whether these words had any impact is hard to measure, but new statistics released by piracy monitoring firm MUSO reveal that millions of people watched the fight through unlicensed channels.
MUSO estimates that 13 million people turned to unauthorized sources. The vast majority of these, 93% or over 12 million views, are traced back to YouTube. These numbers surpass those for the Fury vs Wilder fight last year, which came in at nearly 10 million views.
YouTube usually responds rapidly when any infringing content is spotted, but with live events like this, many takedown notices come too late it appears.
The geographical location data for the unauthorized viewers show that most came from Nigeria, 2,351,496 to be precise. This may in part be due to the Nigerian background of the British boxer Anthony Joshua, who lost the fight in the seventh round.
Kenya follows at a respectable distance with 998,027 viewers, followed by the United Kingdom with 921,994, the United States with 600,501, and Mexico with 587,028 viewers.
Commenting on the findings Andy Chatterley, CEO at MUSO, says that this is the largest unauthorized streaming audience his company has ever tracked.
“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,” Chatterley says.
The numbers are definitely impressive, which may be in part driven by the high cost of the pay-per-view broadcasts.
As for the fight, the latest reports note that Joshua is looking for a rematch against Ruiz. If it gets that far, it will be interesting to compare the unauthorized streaming numbers, although it may be hard to beat the 13 million.