While Sky, BT Sport and even Box Nation didn’t fancy picking up former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye’s comeback fight, the bout is set to break new ground by becoming the first boxing match broadcast live in VR.
The Hayemaker and his promotion team Salter Brothers Entertainment have joined forces with IM360, which has created immersive experiences for the likes of Taylor Swift and worked with brands like Red Bull and Xbox. Boxing fans will be able to get a live, 360 degree, multi camera view of the action from the O2 Arena in London this Saturday night.
Buying guide: The best VR headsets
It won’t put you in the ring to see the punches fly up close, but you will get to take in the fight from the best seats in the house. That means a good view of Haye and de Mori’s fancy footwork and a look around to see the celebs that have turned up for the fight. Before the action kicks off, you can also enjoy 360 degree content from Haye’s training sessions to see how he’s been preparing for his comeback.
This is not the first boxing match to be captured for VR. Back in December last year, US broadcaster Showtime released Daniel Jacobs’ match against Peter Quillin, which Jacobs won with a TKO in the first round. This wasn’t actually broadcast live in VR so the Haye fight is still a world’s first for the immersive technology.
To watch the fight in VR, you’ll need to download the custom-built Haymaker 360 app from the Google Play Store, which does mean this is an Android-only experience. The app is available for Android phones and tablets and you don’t necessarily have to have a VR headset to use it. If you want to feel closer to the action though, grabbing a compatible VR headset like Google Cardboard, or Samsung Gear VR is a must.
Haye, who returns to the ring after a three year absence had this to say about his fight getting the live VR treatment, “I’m fascinated by new emerging technologies, and am constantly looking to embrace the digital world in order to connect with my fans. With this in mind, I’m thrilled to bring immersive VR technology to big time boxing — allowing the public to stand alongside me in the ring, letting them see what I see and experience every punch.”
Read this: How virtual reality is going beyond gaming
That’s great David. If you can just make sure the fight lasts more than 30 seconds, that should give us enough time to make it a VR experience worth trying out. David “The Hayemaker” Haye versus knockout specialist Mark “The Dominator” de Mori kicks off this Saturday (16 January) from 9.00pm. It’s also on Dave if you want to watch it in 2D. Yes, we said Dave.