Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn spoke with iFL TV about a bevy of topics, including Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte, the state of Anthony Joshua’s TV deals in the UK especially, Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury, and much more.
On the chance of doing Alen Babic vs Dave Allen
“Without saying too much, after I talked to Dave Allen and he retired, after the conversation I had with him, I was glad that he retired. He didn’t want to fight anymore, he was sad, I don’t think he was particularly healthy in himself, and he hated boxing. And then when he announced he was coming back, I wasn’t very happy because I didn’t think he should do that. I don’t know the reasons for why he’s coming back. Wants to make some more money? No problem, don’t make you a bad person. Or misses it, genuinely wants to have another run at trying to win championships in the division? Great, if that’s the case.
“But I don’t want to see him fighting for the wrong reasons, and I won’t be the guy that gives him an opportunity if he’s not right in himself to fight and if he’s not doing it for the right reasons. Maybe he is. That’s why I said to him, ‘Have a couple of fights, show me how hungry you are.’ And his last performance, although the bloke weren’t much, he looked good. He looks fit, he looks healthy, he’s smiling. I just want him to be happy.
“But on the other side, I love the fight, right? And I think a lot of people would watch the fight. But I will only do the fight if I feel like he’s happy, he’s fit, he’s strong, he’s ready, and he’s not just doing it because he wants a few quid and — you know what I mean? That’s where I stand with it.”
On Anthony Joshua’s UK TV future now that his Sky deal is up
“We’ve had a great relationship with AJ and Sky. They’ve been a brilliant partner and there’s every chance that will continue. At the same time, of course we’re going to be talking to DAZN, other broadcasters have approached us, as well. It’s not like we’re jumping around looking to do a deal ASAP, but obviously at some point we will sit down and discuss it as a team, and ultimately AJ will make the decision what he wants to do. Plenty of options but no real conversations to decide what’s going to happen yet.”
On Fury vs Whyte possibly going to purse bid
“Obviously Dillian works with us, works with DAZN. But at the same time, someone will probably do something silly. Not even Triller, I just think — someone backed by another government who wants to hold a massive fight or there’s a country, I don’t know. Unless the deal is right, why wouldn’t you go to purse bid?
“Listen, I would love to promote it on DAZN, and I will make a move to do that. But is Bob Arum and Tyson Fury going to agree a deal with me to promote the show on DAZN? Probably not. So therefore, unless they come up with a great offer, there’s a chance it could go to purse bids. Put it this way, if it goes to purse bids, he’s probably going to get the most money he could. But sometimes purse bids aren’t beneficial, and sometimes it’s cleaner to do a deal, so everybody knows where they stand.
“First things first, let’s get the official negotiations ordered at the WBC convention, and then we can start those negotiations, see if a deal can be reached, and if not, it’ll go to purse bids.”
On how the fight could be made if Top Rank make an offer
“If they went to Dillian with it, he would come straight to me with it, and say, ‘I’ve just had this offer.’ He would probably like it to come through me, but as everyone’s said, I’ve never had a contract with Dillian Whyte. He’s always been a fight-by-fight fighter, which has been the situation with some fighters. Tony Bellew is another good example of that, and Carl Froch. He’s a close friend of mine, he’s extremely loyal. We’ve had his back for many years and vice versa.
“Some people will try to be clever and phone him direct, but then he’ll just phone me and say, ‘This is what we’ve got.’ I’m not saying he needs me, but he needs me one, to help him with the deal, but also to create leverage. If I’m there, the price goes up and up and up, because I’m trying to get the fight, I’m making offers, I’m making sure that if we go to purse bid, we’re there with heavy artillery from site deals, from broadcasters. He’s in a great position.”
On Fury vs Whyte possibly happening on BT Sport and ESPN
“No problem. No problem. If it was the right deal for Dillian Whyte and it was the right opportunity, no problem at all. He’s on the smaller end of the deal, obviously he’s the B-side to Tyson Fury, and sometimes you have to take opportunities that present themselves that are the right deals. Saying that, you don’t roll over and just let someone walk over you. And he’s going to have, as I said, heavy artillery.
“That’s a question you should also ask to Tyson Fury, maybe. If the right deal came to you, or Bob Arum, if the right deal came to you for Eddie Hearn to stage the fight on DAZN for an unbelievable financial opportunity for Tyson Fury, would you let him do it? Would you be happy for him to do it? The answer would be no. I am happy to do it, but we are the B-side in the fight. We understand it, but you still have to fight for what’s right.”
On Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan
“Interesting fight, and many opportunities to stage that fight in a number of different territories. New York, Belfast, Nottingham.”
On the Mairis Briedis vs Lawrence Okolie situation
“I’ve not heard anything. He beat Artur Mann and (Kalle Sauerland) said, ‘We’re going to come with a big offer for Okolie,’ but I haven’t heard anything. We’ve not received any offer. I saw Kalle the other day for coffee, but he’s not — I think we’ll have to put the money up, but if he wants to make an offer, love to. ... I just want to get Lawrence unifications, honestly. (Arsen) Goulamirian, (Ilunga Junior) Makabu, Briedis, anyone will do. He’s just got to have them.”
On Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury
“I think it’s alright. I don’t think it’s a very big fight in America, I think it’s a bigger fight in the UK. I don’t mind what Jake Paul is doing. He’s taken the sport seriously, he’s training hard, and he’s fight — not boxers, but combat sport guys. Now he’s fighting a guy that does box. I don’t see a problem there. I mean, look at the opponents Tommy Fury’s faced. It’s the toughest fight Tommy Fury’s ever had in his career. What does that say?”
“Jake Paul, the YouTuber, is the toughest fight that Tommy Fury’s ever had, and this is his (eighth) fight. I haven’t watched a lot of Tommy, I only watched his last fight and a couple of other blowouts, but people are telling me it’s a 50/50 fight. I can’t believe it. Surely, Tommy must win that fight. If not, I’m gonna have to come out of retirement and end this thing.”