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Eddie Hearn on Dmitry Bivol’s next fight, respect for Jake Paul, Sky buying Usyk vs Joshua 2, more

Eddie Hearn addresses the Dmitry Bivol mandatory situation, Derek Chisora, Jake Paul, Ryan Garcia, and more!

Chisora v Pulev 2 Press Conference Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn made his usual appearance with Ak and Barak on the DAZN Boxing Show this week, discussing various topics including what’s next for Dmitry Bivol, Derek Chisora’s big win and near future, Ryan Garcia’s fight with Javier Fortuna, Sky Sports reportedly buying Usyk vs Joshua 2, and more!

On Derek Chisora’s win over Kubrat Pulev

“It was a hell of a battle. It wasn’t pretty at times, but it was a grueling war of attrition, and it’s very difficult to beat Derek Chisora in a war of attrition.

“People talk about him retiring, and I get that — he’s suffered a lot of defeats, he’s at the back end of his career, but then he comes out and beats a top 15, maybe top 10 heavyweight in Pulev, (who’s had) two defeats on his resume, once going 11 rounds with Anthony Joshua, (the other) against Wladimir Klitschko. He can fight, he’s a very good heavyweight.”

On what’s next for Chisora

“Chisora’s just a bit of an enigma. We’ve got to be a little bit careful with the (matchmaking), because he talks about a (Deontay) Wilder fight. He can beat Wilder; he can beat Wilder, but he can also get cleaned out in spectacular style, but so could everybody. It’s a dangerous fight for someone that’s coming to the back end of his career, and sometimes you’ve got to be a little bit careful with the matchmaking.

“I still prefer fights like (Chris) Arreola, like (Adam) Kownacki, (a third fight with) Dillian Whyte.”

On Chisora risking more punishment by fighting on

“I think there is an argument that it would be a good time to bow out after the Pulev fight, because it’s going to be difficult for him to bow out on a win like that, because he just wants the biggest fights all the time, and he’s not going to win all the time.

“It’s also difficult to (tell) a man (to retire) who’s not showing any signs of regression in the fight, in the camp, in any form of life, because he’s got a lot of people around him who care about him a lot, who would advise him to step away.

“We’ve got to monitor it carefully. ... We can’t just say, ‘He’s fine now, he’s sharper than ever,’ we’ve got to look at the damage fighters take in their career, and again, it was another grueling fight. It wasn’t like it was just a one or two round knockout where you can say, ‘OK, well he didn’t take any damage in that fight.’ It was another tough fight.”

On Usyk vs Joshua 2 not airing on DAZN

“AJ signed a long-term broadcast deal with DAZN, but this fight was always outside of that agreement, because the rights are not owned by AJ or Matchroom. The rights are owned by the hosts, the site hosts, if you like, which is (the Saudis). We knew they would go out and talk to everybody and ultimately look for the biggest and best deal for them.

“I don’t believe that fight is announced yet for another broadcaster, but I’m just hearing the rumors like you. We’re not involved in that process, and it sounds like it won’t be on DAZN. Of course, his future fights will be, but this was always part of the deal. This fight was outside of the long-term agreement that AJ was signing with DAZN. We’ll wait for an official announcement, it’s not long to go now until the fight, but it sounds like that fight will be with another broadcaster.”

On Sky Sports being “spiteful” buying Usyk vs Joshua 2

“Yeah, but that’s just the business. We work in a spiteful business that people make decisions not based on business logic, but based on ego and bravado and blocking and stopping. Unfortunately, that’s why you always have to sleep with one eye open, that’s the game we’re in. AJ’s long-term future is with DAZN. Whichever broadcaster gets this fight will not have future fights of Anthony Joshua’s, they will be with DAZN.”

(Note: Eddie Hearn did not acknowledge that it’s Sky Sports buying the fight.)

On Dmitry Bivol being ordered to face Zurdo Ramirez

“In all those situations, we would have a right to request an exemption, which we will file with the WBA. There’s no problem making the Zurdo Ramirez fight, but we already had made plans for the (Bivol vs) Joshua Buatsi fight in October. We’ll speak to the WBA, Golden Boy will obviously put their argument forward, and whatever way the decision pans out, we’ll have to accept.

“There’s a few decisions waiting and pending with the WBA. Of course, one is the Leigh Wood-Leo Santa Cruz purse bid split, which we’re waiting on. Leo Santa Cruz will request a unification with Rey Vargas, which was quite a sensational victory for him on the weekend, we didn’t expect that at all.

“On all these situations, basically, champions have ideas, and then governing bodies and mandatories get in the way of those ideas, then you all have to put your reasons forward and work out a solution. That’s one of the situations at the moment with Zurdo and Dmitry Bivol. No problem making that fight. We would like to do another fight first, but if we’re not allowed, we’re not allowed.”

On whether Buatsi is a tougher fight for Bivol than Zurdo

“I think it’s very close. I think Zurdo is a very good fighter. I don’t think Zurdo has really beaten elite light heavyweight opposition, in all honesty, but you may argue that Joshua Buatsi hasn’t either. I think their resumes are quite similar at light heavyweight, to be honest with you.

“But they’re both great fights. If we did get (Bivol vs Buatsi) approved, the winner would have to fight Zurdo anyway, and then obviously there’s the Canelo Alvarez fight waiting in the wings. There’s a bit of a logjam, and I’m sure it will all play out.”

On how confident Hearn is in Buatsi against Bivol

“Buatsi has beaten everybody there really is to beat, it’s time for him to challenge for a world title. Look, everyone’s realized that Bivol is probably the best light heavyweight in the world; it’s a toss-up between him and (Artur) Beterbiev, they’re two great champions. Bivol is finally getting the respect he deserves, but also, the recognition that people have given him for many years — he just hadn’t had the chance to prove that, now he has against Canelo Alvarez.

“Whether it’s Zurdo, whether it’s Buatsi, they would all start as massive underdogs against Bivol, because he just beat Canelo Alvarez. Bivol is ready to fight all comers.”

On Bivol vs Canelo 2 still being the plan for May 2023

“The fact is, to fight Canelo Alvarez, Bivol might have to get through Buatsi and Zurdo, or just one, or Zurdo then Buatsi. That fight’s not a definite because he can’t just wait until May. It’s not possible. There’s always risk in those fights, but hopefully Canelo Alvarez and GGG have a tremendous fight in September, then if Canelo wins he’ll go forward and look for that rematch, but Bivol’s going to be fighting, too. And also don’t forget that Bivol wants the Beterbiev fight.”

On Canelo still wanting the Bivol rematch even if Bivol loses

“It’s pride. It’s setting the record straight. But listen, then the Zurdo fight would be a big fight as well for Canelo. It’s not necessarily just about the titles for Canelo now, it’s about revenging that defeat.”

On Jake Paul and Hasim Rahman Jr

“I like the fight! Possibly (tougher than Tommy Fury), because of size. Hasim Rahman Jr just got knocked out by Tommy Morrison’s son, I think, but let’s just put it in perspective to give Jake Paul the credit: At this stage in Jake Paul’s career, this is an impressive fight to take. Him or Tommy Fury. I give him the respect for that.

“I think there is a bit of Jake Paul that wants to prove people wrong. That can be dangerous, because you could just think you’re better than you are, really, or maybe you’ve got the ability and want to prove to people that you are a real fighter. So respect on any level.

“I think it’ll certainly be an interesting fight if it goes ahead. I still think he’s good for the game.”

On whether the “ship has sailed” on Taylor vs Serrano 2

“I hope not, because it’s the biggest fight in women’s boxing. And no disrespect to Amanda Serrano, but she should be actively seeking that rematch. If you lose a split (decision) in one of the greatest fights of all time, you’d like to think you’d chase the rematch. She’s really not chasing the rematch. But look, let her do her thing on Aug. 6, Katie will probably have another fight in October.”

On ideas for Taylor’s next fight

“We’ve looked at Cris Cyborg, Holly Holm. We may end up doing Jessica McCaskill vs Chantelle Cameron, and either of those are in the mix. Is there a (130 lber) that could come up? We’ll see what happens with (Alycia) Baumgardner and (Mikaela) Mayer.”

On Mikaela Mayer wanting the Taylor fight

“She’s got to beat Baumgardner first. ... I think after Alycia knocks out Mikaela Mayer, she can definitely move up to 135 and chase a shot with Katie Taylor. I think we’ve all realized that one thing you haven’t got to worry about with Katie Taylor is her accepting challenges. Whether it’s Baumgardner, Mayer, Choi, Cameron, McCaskill — the answer is ‘yes.’”

On the potential of Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia

“Massive, massive fight. Two different fan bases, just a huge fight.”

On Garcia vs Javier Fortuna

“I actually haven’t seen a lot of Fortuna, but if he’s the same fighter he has been, I think it’s gonna be a very tough night’s work for Ryan Garcia. I don’t think — listen, and I’m only watching Ryan Garcia in the gym like a lot of fans are, but I’m not so sure this fight plays out as easily as people think it will. Which is great news.”