Amidst yet another chaotic Charles Martin vs. Anthony Joshua press conference today, Eddie Hearn sat down to talk with BNTV about all things AJ. The 26-year-old is on the verge of glory this weekend in just his 16th professional outing, as he eyes the IBF heavyweight strap currently held by the American Martin.
The belt had previously been captured by Tyson Fury, who had no choice but to vacate due to being bound to a rematch clause with Wladimir Klitschko – meaning he couldn’t make a mandatory defence. The self-proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’ seems somewhat unhappy with the hype surrounding the showdown for his old belt, with slurs fired back and forward between himself and Joshua via Twitter in the last few days.
The winner of Saturday’s fight puts themselves in a tremendous position to secure a big-money unification bout with Fury, and as Hearn told us, it could be happening sooner rather than later. Interestingly, he also believes the Klitschko rematch will not actually take place – in spite of Peter Fury signalling, there would be an announcement on the fight in the coming days. He said:
“We fancy the fight with Fury. We all know he fancies the fight with Joshua. Everybody knows it’s the biggest fight out there, and we all want the biggest fights. I do think it’ll happen. Win lose or draw on Saturday night actually, I still think it’ll happen. Similarly, win lose or draw for him against Klitschko, it’s still probably going to happen. It’s too big for it not to! It also makes sense for us to have the Fury fight to avoid a mandatory. We could have it November or December, or even through to February.
“Wladimir was so poor in the first fight. Don’t get me wrong – Tyson was outstanding, but Klitschko was so bad that people are just presuming he’s finished. I don’t think the fight will happen between them. I’ve just got a feeling. Everyone thought it was May, then June, now July. I think they’ll announce July, but I just don’t believe that we’ll see it. If it doesn’t, you might just see Joshua vs. Fury quicker than anticipated…”
In spite of the mouth-watering potential for big-money heavyweight showdowns further down the road, Joshua still needs to do the business on Saturday night, and this fight with Martin is already astronomical in the United Kingdom. Pay-per-view buys should skyrocket, and Hearn believes it’s only the beginning. He added:
“Everything’s on the line, but that’s what we live for. You don’t want to be sitting in an arena waiting to see which round your guy’s going to win in. It’s not as exciting, is it? British boxing is booming, and the country will stop on Saturday night. We saw over a thousand people turn up for the open workout on a Monday night, so Friday lunchtime at the O2 is going to be nice and lively. I think both guys are just ready to fight now.
“I have no idea how many buys it’s going to do. Does it do 600k? 700k? A million? It’s going to be huge. Joshua captures the British imagination. Although the Whyte fight had a bit of bad blood, it was still for a British title. This is an olympic champion trying to become the heavyweight world champion. It’s just so great for the sport. Everybody in Britain should be crossing their fingers for a Joshua win on Saturday night, because it would just take things to another level.”
You can watch Charles Martin vs. Anthony Joshua live from The O2 in London on April 9, on Sky Sports Box Office. To order, you can call 03442 410 888.