Eddie Hearn – the smartest man in Boxing?
Cameras flashing, photographers all scrambling to get a shot of the man responsible for the 3 round destruction of the (somewhat) respected boxing American who left the ring with more eagerness than he entered. Anyone would be forgiven for thinking the above is referring to Anthony Joshua, the Heavyweight champion of the world, the guy who systemically destroyed a man billed to be his biggest test to date. However, in reality, circling the ring in a made to measure Thom Sweeney suit, is Eddie Hearn. Basking in the ambience of the rapturous crowd, soaking in the applause, pearly whites beaming with the knowledge he is about to announce another Joshua sell-out versus none other than Wladimir Klitschko. In fairness to Eddie and contrary to some opinions (namely David Haye), he is trying to give the limelight to his fighters. It’s not his fault he’s the centre of attention, is it?
Let’s go back to the start - the fresh faced kid of one time godfather of British boxing Barry Hearn arrived on the scene with a lot of ambition. He was the man everyone thought could wrestle boxing control back from the dull shows associated with Frank Warren, and like any great he started strongly. Acquiring his promotion licence in 2011, the same year Frank Warren and Sky parted ways – Eddie Hearn has gone on to dominate British and arguably world Boxing in just 5 years. Britain now has 13 world champions, more than any other country and no less than 9 currently belong to the Matchroom stable.
Last weekends show gave us one of the best British heavyweight wars in recent times. We only have to go back 6 months to the lobby of a plush hotel in London for the press conference for Dillian’s first Matchroom fight, to see Eddie Hearn softly stirring the pot telling Chisora he is next on Dillian’s list. Causing a little fracas, conveniently in front of the watching IFL cameras. Fast forward 6 months to the final press conference of Whyte Vs Chisora and the ugly pictures of a table flying over Eddie’s head are on every major news outlets front page. Good promotion? Well, Eddie certainly thought so, highlighted by the fact he generously picked up the £35,000 fine given to Chisora. After all, nothing sells a fight like genuine bad blood. Froch vs Groves, Joshua Vs Whyte, Whyte Vs Chisora and now we can look forward to more with Haye Vs Bellew - all coincidently linked to Eddie Hearn. The guy knows how to market a fight, and keeps his undercard stacked with great fights to ensure that customers can’t complain about paying for events. Last weekend not only did fans get to see Joshua, they also saw Yafai win a World Title, Smith get the KO, Quigg make his eagerly anticipated return, the fearsome Ortiz and no doubt the biggest draw on the night - Whyte Vs Chisora. One notable omission from the list is Katie Taylor. This was intentional, as I feel this move deserves to be mentioned separately and will be discussed below.
And it’s not just fight nights that Eddie can market, he is a genius at marketing people, fighters in particular. Anthony Joshua, after ripping the Heavyweight title from Charles Martin, then defended his title against another American to continue to appeal to the market and build awareness - also aided by a deal with Showtime. Most recently knocking out the aforementioned American Molina last weekend which no doubt would have sent shockwaves through the States.
It hasn’t been long since the UFC first introduced Women into the sport with amazing results, namely in Ronda Rousey. Did Eddie see this and hope the combined promotional machine of Matchroom and Sky can achieve similar with Katie Taylor and women’s boxing? To be clear, I’m not comparing the sports as they are completely different disciplines and Katie Taylor is one of, if not the most successful Woman’s amateur boxer of all time.
When Khan took the fight with Canelo, many ridiculed the fact he was fighting someone much heavier than him and insinuated Khan knew he'd lose but was being financially greedy whilst also using it as an excuse to avoid Brook. Two months after Canelo knocked out Khan, it was announced that Kell would be completing a similar feat in moving up in weight to take on the most feared boxer on the planet in GGG. Eddie Hearn had seen that Khan was lauded for his bravery, and although knocked out, it didn’t really have a massive impact on his stock within his natural weight division. He could simply use the weight as an excuse, and continue to be viewed as elite in his weight class whilst also pocketing a handsome sum. In Kell’s case he also kept his IBF welterweight title.
Signing with Matchroom, for some, is regarded as winning the lottery amongst boxing youngsters and professionals. Eddie knows how to look after his fighters, build their profile and get them world title fights. Eddie Hearn has well and truly cemented his place in Boxing folklore and earned his very own title as arguably the smartest man in boxing today.