Before its debut later this month, the new sports streaming service DAZN (pronounced “Da Zone”) will give viewers a taste of its stable by carrying former 140-pound champion Amir Khan’s Saturday bout against Samuel Vargas on Facebook and Twitter.
DAZN’s full debut will occur Sept. 22 with Anthony Joshua’s three-belt heavyweight title defense against former title challenger Alexander Povetkin from London’s Wembley Stadium.
The Perform Group’s DAZN service, showcasing the stable of British promoter Eddie Hearn and Bellator MMA action, will follow the Joshua bout with the stacked Bellator card in San Jose on Sept. 29, an Oct. 6 boxing card in Chicago headlined by Jessie Vargas versus Thomas Dulorme and Billy Joe Saunders’ WBO middleweight title defense against Demetrius Andrade on Oct. 20.
The service, which aims to ultimately obtain rights to major U.S. sports, costs $9.99 per month and promises not to stash other fights on pay-per-view, cable or higher-tier packages
The Khan-Vargas meeting, from Birmingham, Britain, will be free to viewers on Twitter (@DAZN_USA) and Facebook (@DAZNUSA) and rely on the feed provided by Sky Sports in Britain. DAZN’s on-air talent team has yet to be announced.
Two fights before Khan-Vargas will be shown beginning at noon PDT, with the main event expected to start at 2 p.m. PDT.
“Amir Khan is back and although there is a lot of talk about massive fights on the horizon, he must come through this test against Vargas in style,” Hearn said. “We wanted to give Amir the biggest audience possible so U.S. fans can see how sharp and determined he looks.”
England’s Khan (32-4, 20 knockouts), a former junior-welterweight world champion who once defeated Marcos Maidana in the 2010 fight of the year, is taking his second bout since his 2016 knockout loss to former two-division champion Canelo Alvarez in a pay-per-view bout fought at 155 pounds. Khan knocked out Phil Lo Greco in the first round in April.
After training under Joe Goossen in Van Nuys for Saturday’s bout, Khan fights Vargas (29-3-2, 14 KOs) at the 147-pound welterweight limit with an eye on meeting secondary WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao by early 2019.
“I’m very happy to get back in the ring again so soon against Samuel Vargas, a tough, well-schooled fighter who has shared the ring with some top welterweights, including Danny Garcia and Errol Spence Jr.,” Khan said.
Former eight-division world champion Pacquiao won his belt in July by knocking out Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia, and he’s interested in a bout with his former stablemate from Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.
Hearn has a lucrative 18-month guarantee from the Perform Group with the possibility of an extension into an eight-year, $1-billion union, and that deal is believed to be one of the few ways for someone to pay Pacquiao, 39, what he expects after engaging in the richest fight of all time against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015.
“We fully recognize Khan’s broad appeal and will work with Facebook and Twitter to give U.S. fight fans an opportunity to see his fight for free,” said Joseph Markowski, DAZN’s senior vice president for North America. “Cheers! This one is on us.”