Hearn on the situation with Anthony Joshua’s mandatory defense with Alexander Povetkin:
“So we agreed terms with Deontay Wilder some 7 or 8 days ago and we hadn’t heard anything back from the contract we sent them, and eventually on Sunday they emailed and said we’ll be back to you on Friday, which was bizarre. But the WBA had enough, they waited too long for Deontay Wilder and we move on and fight Alexander Povetkin which is really as equally a dangerous fight, #3 heavyweight in the world.
“It’s been frustrating. It’s been 3 months that I wish we didn’t spend wasting our time trying to get that fight but the great news for fight fans is that the fight’s still there! The contract is still there on the desk. All they gotta do is sign it! And they’ve come out in the media and said ‘oh there was only two minor points’ and we were gonna give into those anyways, so if that’s the case, great! Fight fans have got what they want. But they good news is we’ll find out if Deontay Wilder is real and I hope everyone puts suitable pressure on him, fans alike, to say ‘if you want this so bad why don’t you just sign?’
“April the 13th at Wembley is a date we have on hold. If we can beat Povetkin and you win your interim fight, it’s there! The fight that everybody wants! So we’ll see who’s really over the next sort of 24-48 hours. There’s no rush to sign it. If they want to take a week, no problem. But apparently they’ve only got two minor comments so we’ll see if they’re telling porky pies or not.”
On the WBA’s 24-hour deadline to sign Povetkin fight:
“Three months they’ve been waiting for a decision from us. So we’ve asked for, I think, 6 or 7 extensions and over the last 10 days they’ve been asking us everyday ‘What is happening? You’ve got to fight Povetkin, he’s waiting, he’s complaining.’..
“[When Wilder’s team said they’d return the contracts by Friday] the WBA looked at it and said ‘Waste of time, these people. Fight Povetkin.’ And that’s what we’re doing. He’s not gonna lose a belt. He’s gonna beat Povetkin and then he’s gonna knock Deontay Wilder spark out as well.”
On if he ever even considered dropping the WBA belt to make the Wilder fight:
“No. No because there’s no guarantee that the Wilder fight’s gonna happen. So if we had signed the Wilder fight but had to vacate the WBA, that’s something that you could consider. But one of the beauties of the Wilder fight is that it’s an undisputed fight — for all the belts...we want all the belts on the line but I can’t trust these people because I don’t believe them, but now we’re gonna get to find out whether we can believe them or not because we’ll see if they sign.”
On who he believes is responsible for the Joshua-Wilder fight not happening now:
“I think he needs to ask some serious questions of his team. One of the problems is he’s got three managers, and they’re all over the place. And they don’t particularly like each other either. So it’s a mess. But all I can tell you was if the shoe was on the other foot and my fighter wanted a fight with that much money involved, they would have that contract back the same day!
“So maybe they don’t like it. Maybe they never wanted the fight. I don’t know. I mean Wilder’s a fighter, I’m sure he wants the fight. Joshua wants this fight so bad. But if he really wants it, what’s the excuse now? It’s baffling. But we shall see.
“They can sign [for Joshua] now! They can sign a contract today, tomorrow, next week, for April the 13th at Wembley. They’ll only have one more fight each in between. But that’s the beauty of it. So all this ‘they never wanted it, they were bluffing,’ really?! Call our bluff. I said we’ll sign before your inks dry.”