Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn sits down with iFL TV to discuss how he learned that all his efforts to put together an undisputed heavyweight championship fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury became for not when an arbitration judge ruled that Fury must face Deontay Wilder for a third time.
Hearn details the sequence of events that recently transpired and insinuates that Bob Arum deliberately had him wasting his time putting together the massive deal, all while planning on a third Wilder fight all along.
“You have to remember, at this stage the fight’s done,” Hearn recounts. “Tyson Fury’s come out, told the world he’s agreed, fight’s happening Aug. 14 in Saudi Arabia. You know, all the conversations with the Saudis were great, the escrow accounts were being put into place. So life is good. Then I got a text message, two text messages actually, from a couple of journos going ‘I’ve just heard that Wilder’s won the arbitration and the rematch is ordered, do you know anything about this?’ And I’m like, ‘no.’
“So I phone Bob Arum and I said ‘Bob...’ and he went ‘Ahhh you’re not gonna believe it, can’t believe it, just a ridiculous decision, we lost the arbitration. Can’t believe it.’ So I said ‘what the fuck’s going on?!’ And he said ‘I know, just no one saw this coming — they didn’t even ask for the rematch, they asked for damages.’ And I said ‘what are you gonna do about it?’ And he said ‘nothing.’ I said ‘so what’s your next move?’ He went, ‘we’re fighting Wilder.’
“I said ‘hold on, there’s got to be a deal to be done. I said you’ve got to try something. (Arum says) ‘Ahh look, they’re not gonna be interested in that, we’re just gonna fight Wilder and then we can do our fight later.’..I was a bit shell-shocked, I put the phone down and said to myself ‘I’ve spent five months of my life being told that I can’t do something, right, and I’ve worked, we haven’t given up and we’ve done it. And you have told me all along that this arbitration process will have absolutely no bearing on AJ against Fury and all of the sudden, just like that, you just tell me sorry mate, it’s over.’
“I mean, it took me a while to get my head around it and this is another reason why I wanted a bit more time before I did a lot of interviews because I wanted to analyze the situation. AJ was always very dubious that these people wanted this fight...You’ve got to be absolutely thick as shit if you can’t look back on the situation and say at what point did Bob Arum, mainly — and even Frank Warren but I don’t really know his involvement in this — at what point did they show any positivity whatsoever about Anthony Joshua fighting Tyson Fury?
“What sort of ruling is that from an arbitrator to order a rematch with a specific date, and then when the arbitration ruling comes through you clearly see that Top Rank had the ability to terminate the agreement with Deontay Wilder back in December? But the fact is they didn’t terminate. They kept planning the fight, they kept talking to PBC and I’ve got many, many thoughts and very valid ones about what has happened here. I want to do a little more digging into this but the whole thing absolutely stinks.
“No one tried one inch to ever make this fight apart from me and AJ. Frank Warren and Bob Arum, I’ve not heard of one meeting, one approach, one attempt that they made to try to get a site fee or try to make this fight. Now is that because they knew they were never gonna take it, or is that because they thought they couldn’t do it, or is ‘cause just leave it to me?...they didn’t want me to make this fight, they didn’t want me to succeed in this fight.
“Now we sit at a place where I don’t really know what to believe to be honest with you. ‘Were you naive to believe what Top Rank told you?’ Maybe, but it’s a confidential arbitration, I can’t look into the case. What I can tell you is the whole team told us that arbitration will not get in the way of this fight. ... At what point did Bob or Frank have one positive thing to say about this fight? So then you look at it and you say they just wanted to use me, probably — and Matchroom — as a scapegoat all along.
“Bob Arum is aware of the work that’s gone in to make this fight. And to just call up and say ‘Fuck, can’t believe it. It’s preposterous. We’re just gonna go ahead with the fight so cheers mate, thanks for everything, we’ll catch up soon.’ No.”