In this lengthy video interview with Marcos Villegas of Fight Hub TV, Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn discusses an array of topics, including his thoughts on a highly anticipated showdown between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. Here’s some highlights from the interview with the full video above.
Hearn on what stood out to him about the Deontay Wilder vs Luis Ortiz fight:
“Well I think there’s some things we learned and some things we already knew. We know that Wilder is reckless. His technique’s not the best. We know he can punch. So he showed all of those things. But he also showed that he has a big heart. And I didn’t doubt his heart, but until you prove it [it’s a question]. And he showed he has a big heart, which is good news for fight fans because when Anthony Joshua gets in with him, he’s gonna show a lot of heart, Wilder. And therefore it’s gonna be destructive.
“...the 20 seconds the New York commission gave [Wilder at the start of the 8th round], rightfully so within their rules, was potentially a career-saver for Deontay Wilder...I don’t like it because it gives a fighter a chance to recover, or can sometimes change the momentum of a fight, but fighter’s health is paramount and Deontay Wilder looked like he could potentially be stopped at that moment — at the end of the 7th round...”
On Wilder constantly calling out Joshua:
“What people don’t know about Anthony Joshua is...He’s a bad mothafucker. And he wants to do damage to Deontay Wilder. Bad. But he’s also an ambassador...
“So remember that, when Wilder’s goading him, and Wilder’s disrespecting Anthony Joshua, that sits [in Joshua’s head]. These are guys from the streets. And when someone disrespects you, in this sport, you gotta realize what they wanna do and that’s why Joshua wants to fight Wilder.
“Do you know how many times Deontay Wilder’s team have contacted us to try and make the fight? Zero. Never once have they picked up the phone to try and make this fight. The only contact that’s ever been made was by me to them to arrange a meeting. We had a meeting with Shirley Winkle [Shelly Finkel], and that’s his new name, and Al Haymon...So when we met with Shirley Winkle and Al Haymon, we spoke. Shirley — it’s gonna be difficult for me and Shirley because we’re on a completely different wavelength.
“So I sent my dad to go and see him. My dad has known Shirley for years and years and years...And so he came back to me and said ‘we had a chat’ blah blah blah. I wrote to Shirley and said ‘great that you had a meeting, let me send you some numbers,’ no problem.
“During that period [after I sent him some prospective numbers] Deontay Wilder come out and said ‘I will only accept 50-50 in this fight.’ Complete waste of time. Not happenin’. So that made me think ‘why bother.’..I believe Deontay Wilder wants this fight — it’s not a case of I think Shirley Winkle doesn’t want the fight — I do! But they’re not making a conscious effort. Deontay Wilder has had 8 defenses of his world title. You know how many unifications he’s had? Zero. Do you know why? Because they haven’t got the money in the bank to make the big fights. Do you know why? Because Deontay Wilder is not a draw.
“Now he’s becoming a draw, [the Ortiz fight] was a big night for Deontay Wilder, for his career, for his profile. I feel sorry for him, he has no promoter. He does everything on his own. And he’s a great self promoter. He’s out like whoring himself to the media. Great to have a fighter like that. I couldn’t do that with Anthony Joshua...As far as I’m concerned [Wilder is] a promoter’s dream: he’s a heavyweight world champion that can fight, who’s exciting, and talks great and looks great. What more could you want?!
“When the time is right to make that fight, it won’t be via Shirley Winkle. It’ll be via Al Haymon. And probably Luis De Cubas who I make a lot of big fights with. And when we sit down to make that fight with someone like them, it’ll happen in 24, 48 hours, that fight will get made. And fans need to know that that fight is inevitable...
“I think technically [Joshua] has a tougher fight than Deontay Wilder [against Ortiz]. Not necessarily as dangerous, but, like, I see the Wilder fight — and so does AJ — it’s straightforward. It’s gonna be dangerous, it’s gonna be electric, but technically AJ’s gonna pick him off, he’s gonna beat him up, and he’s gonna punish him. [Joseph] Parker is gonna be a breakdown job.
“Wilder vs AJ, I think the game plan is going out the window. It’s gonna be an absolute barn-burner.”
On if he plans on building Joshua’s brand in America first or go straight for the Wilder fight:
“That would make sense [to build Joshua’s name in America first] but you try explaining that to the fans. Our job is to provide for the fans. Our job is to give the public what they want. That’s how you keep boxing strong...[Joshua] wants to fight Wilder now, straightaway, no messin’. And there’s a very strong chance it’ll be next, after Parker...80 percent. Something like that.”
On where Tyson Fury fits in the mix, and if he would favor making that over a Wilder fight:
“I think the Wilder fight is now growing into a huge international fight...The Fury fight is very big. I expect Fury to come back with a couple of relatively straightforward fights first. I think he needs it and I think he wants it. And then, yeah, I’d love to make Fury-Joshua. Massive fight...Priority is Deontay Wilder because AJ wants the belts.”
On how Joshua perceives a fight with Wilder:
“He knows [Wilder] carries power. He thinks that is a very easy fight...He knows it’s dangerous...[but] he doesn’t see an issue in that fight at all. He thinks the Parker fight is a much tougher fight, technically.”