Eddie Hearn Still Wants Big UK Fights Despite The Rise Of Saudi Boxing

January 7, 2024
3 months
Eddie Hearn Still Wants Big UK Fights Despite The Rise Of Saudi Boxing

Eddie Hearn is still intent on having major boxing events in the UK despite the introduction of Saudi Arabia in boxing.

The Matchroom Boxing promoter was part of the ‘Day of Reckoning’ event. His fighter Anthony Joshua headlined the card. Joshua delivered the goods. He stopped Otto Wallin after the fifth round to cap off an impressive performance under his new trainer, Ben Davidson.

A fight with Deontay Wilder was scheduled after they had a two-fight deal. But Wilder’s loss to Joseph Parker has ended any hopes of the fight happening. Joshua has now agreed to face Francis Ngannou in Saudi on March 8/9, 2024. But Hearn was still clear that the UK would remain his focus.

Hearn Reacts

“We have to make sure that major fights happen in England, Ireland, wherever, closer to home. Whether that’s [Katie] Taylor-[Chantelle] Cameron III, whether that’s [Leigh] Wood-[Josh] Warrington, whether that’s [Chris] Eubank-[Conor]Benn, we have to make sure [fights take place in the UK].

“The opportunities to stage major fights in Saudi are there, the cards that we are working on at the moment are incredible. But we do understand that this is our main market. The UK is our main market. We have to make sure that we keep the profile of the sport raised in our country and we do that by great fight nights but also mega great fight nights as well. That’s important,” Hearn said 

UK Boxing

That is vital since the British boxing public is why Matchroom is successful. Only some British boxing fans will have the opportunity to travel to Saudi to see the biggest fights. In addition, it may create a situation where more fighters are demanding to go to Saudi Arabia to secure bigger purses.

Naturally, only some fighters can command the figures that someone like Joshua can. That may get in the way of making some fights if fighters hold off in the hope they land a fight in the Kingdom. There is a likelihood of more big fights in Saudi Arabia, which Hearn could not deny.

“During that period, what is September to March, that’s a huge six-month period where we’ve already had Fury-Ngannou, Joshua-Wallin on the Day of Reckoning card, Fury against Usyk, and Joshua [vs. Ngannou] in March,” Hearn said. “So that’s a six-month run. And I think it’s only going to get bigger as we go into the next Riyadh season. What they will do outside of that I don’t know. That’s their strategy to unfold,” Hearn stated 

Can Hearn translate the success in Saudi to the UK? Frank Warren and Hearn came together to deliver the big card. They have been rivals over the years, which has prevented certain fights, but this could be a new chapter in how boxing operates moving forward. That can only be a good thing for boxing fans moving forward. 

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