The announcement by Eddie Hearn that Anthony Joshua will not fight Tyson Fury next is a significant disappointment for boxing fans around the world. Despite Joshua’s statement that he would “100 per cent” take the fight now “if the opportunity is there”, Hearn believes his protégé needs another bout before a potential matchup with Fury.
Joshua had a solid, if unspectacular points win on Saturday night over Jermaine Franklin, which was his first victory since December 2020. The budding fight between him and the ever-popular ‘Gypsy King’ Fury has been tabled twice, but ultimately collapsed through arbitration and a lack of time.
Hearn gave Joshua’s performance a seven out of ten and highlighted areas of improvement needed for the fighter, including gaining more confidence in his new trainer and landing more offence. Eddie Hearn’s father, former Matchroom boxing promoter Barry Hearn weighed in on the situation as well, obstensibly asking why Joshua needed to call out any opponents and let the market decide.
Joshua won the fight with a wide decision, with 118-111 on two cards, and 117-111 on another. It did not ignite until the last three rounds. This was Joshua’s first win since Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round in December 2020. Two defeats against Oleksandr Usyk had put an end to his three heavyweight world titles.
The situation has caused mixed emotions as Joshua had been growing increasingly mature as a boxer. He has adopted a more calculated approach, a direct contrast to his early days where he left his opponents stunned with powerful punches. His reluctance to go all out for a photogenic knockout has been painted as a moral cowardice by some, but the sentiment is largely unwarranted.
Joshua himself has admitted a sense of disappointment at not being able to take Franklin down, but there is discernible respect for his fans, as he often takes time to take pictures with them after his fights. All in all, it is hard not to give kudos to the two-time world champion, who has made a significant amount of money despite many setbacks.
Promoter Eddie Hearn is the founder and Chairman of Matchroom Sport, has been involved in the professional boxing scene for decades. He has gained the exclusive rights for numerous notable world-class fighters and broadcasters including Anthony Joshua, Katie Taylor, Tyson Fury and Sky Sports. Hearn has used his business savvy and connections to attract and promote several successful PPV events including Fight Camp, the popular boxing nights at York Hall in London.
Barry Hearn is Eddie Hearn’s father and has been involved in Matchroom Sport since 1992. He was the owner of Sporting Options, the bookmaker he inherited from his father and then sold to Coral Bookmakers. Through his company, he has been running Matchroom Sport and during that time, he has managed to establish an impressive list of sportspersons including the professional boxer, Carl Froch. He is the former chairman of Leyton Orient Football Club and has had a long-standing association with sport, a relationship which has been passed down to his son Eddie.