Following a jam-packed press conference at Park Lane yesterday, Eddie Hearn took the time to talk exclusively to BoxingNewsTV about a wide range of topics.
The Matchroom Sport promoter was quick to admit the media turnout was unsurprising, given that Anthony Joshua – in his words – is the ‘hottest commodity in British boxing’. He seemed stunned, however, that nobody appeared to be giving Charles Martin any chance whatsoever.
“It’s a 50/50 fight! You know, 5/1, 6/1 [for Martin to win], really? It’s 50/50, and we know that. People can think what they want, and bookmakers can come up with whatever prices they want, we know it’s a tough fight and we’ll prepare appropriately.”
Though Charles Martin had earlier told us he had other concrete offers on the table, the same couldn’t be said for Anthony Joshua, who Hearn admitted he had been struggling to find an opponent for. Rumours did circulate that Joshua would be facing Dereck Chisora for the EBU title in April, though ‘Del Boy’ turned the fight down. He is expected to face Kubrat Pulev in Bulgaria instead – a decision which Hearn could just not understand.
“I have absolutely no idea [why he turned down the Joshua fight]. He could’ve earned ten times as much to fight Anthony Joshua than he’s getting to fight Pulev. Therefore, that tells you one thing – he doesn’t want the fight. If you’ve sparred with a guy and you think “I just do not want to share a ring with him”, you’re not going to fight him, are you?”
In spite of trouble negotiating potential fights with Dereck Chisora, Bermane Stiverne and Bryant Jennings, Hearn seemed pleased with how easy the Martin fight was to make once he was aware of the American’s interest. He said:
“It took 10 days, something like that. I saw the interview where Martin said “I’ll fight him”, so I spoke to Al Haymon. He said the same – “yeah, he’ll fight him”. Of course, he wanted a fortune, but it was fairly smooth – as a lot of my deals have been with those guys.
“I think it’s a good deal for everybody. Joshua earns a lot of money and obviously gets a shot at the heavyweight world title. Martin has a big profile fight and gets huge money as well.”
Though the undercard for April 9 is yet to be announced, Hearn expects to see one (or more) of DeGale, Selby, McDonnell and Eubank in action as chief support on the night. He also revealed that Brian Rose will be facing Matthew Macklin on the bill.
Should Joshua prevail against Martin, he’ll be expected to defend his IBF strap against well-known, high-class opposition. When asked who we can expect to see Joshua share a ring with, Hearn was quick to reel off a few candidates – even touting his first defence to be a huge stadium fight this summer.
“Do we want a stadium fight next? One hundred percent. All the guys we looked at for the April show are guys we look at for the first defence. Jennings, Chisora if he beats Pulev. Maybe even Pulev! Big, big fights.
“Further down the line? If Dillian Whyte gets a couple of wins, you never know. He wants to be in big fights. If this [Joshua vs. Martin] is a great fight, why not do this one again?
“David Haye, of course. Tyson Fury, of course. Price has got some work to do, but a couple of wins, you never know. Joshua will fight anyone. It’s only us – the team – taking the time to make the right decisions.”
We wrapped up by asking for a few predictions for upcoming bouts. Sticking with the heavyweight theme, Hearn said he expects Tyson Fury to prevail for the second time on points against Klitschko – if the rematch actually happens. Interestingly, he also tipped Povetkin to overcome Wilder when the two meet.
Then, we mentioned Canelo vs. Khan. He didn’t hesitate.
“Canelo inside six. Comfortable.”
Though Hearn admitted the Brook vs. Khan fight could still take place further down the line regardless of the outcome of ‘Khanelo’, he declared it would be Thurman vs. Porter which he would be watching with a more serious interest.
“I think Thurman wins it. We’d love to make that fight [for Kell Brook] if he does win. We want those kind of fights. He’ll travel, Kell. Thurman’s not a huge draw, and that’s the reality – but it’s a big fight, a unification fight. Why not.”
Charles Martin vs. Anthony Joshua will be live on Sky Sports Box Office on April 9, with an undercard announcement supposedly imminent.