Eddie Hearn wasn’t a promoter for Saturday’s fight between Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte, but like everyone he tuned in and had some thoughts on what went down.
Hearn spoke with Ak and Barak of the DAZN Boxing Show to lay out how he saw Fury vs Whyte, the mistakes Whyte made pre-fight, and also give a quick update on the rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua.
On what he thought of Fury vs Whyte
“I think inactivity — I mean, look, I viewed the fight really as a fan more than anything. Dillian is a friend of mine, we (Matchroom) weren’t involved in the fight. If I’m being honest, I didn’t like what I was seeing at the press conference, at the weigh-in. I felt like Tyson did a good job to befriend him at those events, when we all know that Dillian’s greatest asset is his ruggedness and his ability to put fear into people. And I actually think you saw Tyson fight with that fear in the fight.
“Let’s be honest, it was a poor fight, because Tyson did exactly what he needed to do to win the fight, and he’s very clever at that, which was negate the work of Dillian Whyte, hold him whenever he could, walk him back to the ropes, and box him from the outside. Now for me, Dillian Whyte was too passive in the early stages of that fight. It was all too friendly-friendly. There was a few elbows going in as the fight warmed up. Dillian will feel like he just made a mistake at that moment in the fight. But this wasn’t a mistake like the Povetkin mistake, where he was controlling the fight. He was getting out-boxed (by Fury). I didn’t give him a round in the fight, maybe one round.
“Again, I’m saying this as a fan. And fans will say, like AJ against Usyk, ‘Oh, he never imposed himself in the fight.’ You have to admire the quality of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, who didn’t allow them to impose themselves in the fight. I think inactivity played a massive part, as well. Dillian’s boxed I think six rounds in two years or something like that. It’s very difficult to go in with inactivity and beat a great fighter like Tyson Fury.
“It was a strange knockout. The Povetkin uppercut was a brutal shot that you saw, but this was a sort of a skimming shot, wasn’t it, that sort of made its way up the chin and I think on the top of the head as well. He got up but he couldn’t compose himself.”
On Tyson Fury’s “retirement” and boxing resume
“He FaceTimed me nonstop yesterday. I couldn’t really hear him that well because he was out drinking and I was in a restaurant. I just said, ‘Well done.’ I think he was trying to call AJ and asking me for his number. I think he was just harassing everybody, basically. Having a few drinks and celebrating. I just said to him, ‘Well done.’
“I just think that — obviously, look, Tyson Fury, he’s very popular at the moment, so anything you say negative about him isn’t going to go down very well, but Tyson Fury is a great bluff merchant, and he ain’t retiring. The biggest fights for Tyson Fury haven’t happened yet.
“And I will say one thing again, look, he’s the best heavyweight on the planet right now, I give him that. When we talk about generational greatness, yes, he could be a generational great for this exact generation. But please, with victories over Wilder and Klitschko and Whyte, please don’t start talking about him in the same breath as Ali and Frazier and Lennox Lewis. But listen, if he beat AJ, if he beat Usyk, I give him all the respect of being a generational great, up there with Lennox Lewis, anyone.
“But the jury is out on Deontay Wilder. We may get proved wrong. He may go on and actually — but his best win was Luis Ortiz. His only win was Luis Ortiz. We don’t know the reality, the truth. But if you’re going to give Fury the credit of beating (Wilder), Klitschko, and Whyte, which are his standout wins, and a Chisora that wasn’t really actually what he is today, but put him in the list. Please, give AJ the credit of Klitschko, Whyte — the same two wins! One was a year after, and people say, ‘Oh, yeah, but Klitschko was ruined by then.’ What, ruined in the Fury fight? He didn’t get hit in the Fury fight! Joseph Parker, Andy Ruiz, Kubrat Pulev, Alexander Povetkin — these are the names on Anthony Joshua’s resume.
“So right now there is no argument that Fury is No. 1, in fact, it could be an argument about Fury and Usyk who’s No. 1. But if you want to call Fury No. 1, no problem. But with that resume? Don’t call him a generational great. He’s a brilliant heavyweight! He may be, he may be the greatest of all time. I don’t think so, but you have to prove it through resume. Not beating one guy three times.”
On what could be next for Dillian Whyte
“I don’t know. Obviously, we all know, it was well documented that was a fantastic payday. He’s made a lot of money. But he can still be involved in some great fights. Can he go on and win a world heavyweight championship? Maybe, when the dust settles and all these belts fragment. He’s a very good heavyweight.
“I just feel that, you know, mindset is everything, and he had the wrong mindset in that fight, in my opinion. And so did AJ when he boxed Usyk. You need someone in the ear who can flick the switch at the right time. I’m not saying that the Dillian Whyte that boxed AJ would have beaten Tyson Fury, but back then, that guy was a bad motherfucker. Like, a real bad motherfucker. Like, ready to go. Back then, if he would have fought Tyson Fury and Tyson started tickling him at the press conference in the head-to-head, Dillian would have cleaned him out on sight. He would have chinned him on sight.
“It was, again, brilliant mind games by Tyson Fury. He does it so well. I’ve seen it before. Wladimir Klitschko used to do it so well. AJ told me, when they’re in a head-to-head, they’re looking in each others eyes, and Klitschko goes to AJ, ‘OK, we’ll look to the cameras in one, two, three...’ and AJ goes [turns]. And after he’s like, ‘Wow, Jesus.’”
On updates for Usyk vs Joshua 2
“We’re going to be in July, July 23rd is obviously a date that’s been bandied around. That’s probably the front-runner right now, that date. We’re looking still, we’re in final negotiations with a number of sites in the Middle East and in the UK. We looked at America, I don’t think that’s where it’s going to take place. I’d like to be in a position fight week for Canelo where I can give you some more news.”