Hearn says Schwarz was never an option for Joshua
By Trevor McIntyre: Eddie Hearn denies that he ever considered using Tom Schwarz as an opponent for Anthony Joshua after AJ became heavyweight world champion in 2016. Hearn recently ridiculed American promotional company Top Rank Boxing for selecting the unbeaten Schwarz (24-0, 16 KOs) as lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury’s next opponent on June 15 on ESPN.
Hearn describes the choice of using the 24-year-old Schwarz as a “dreadful” one for Fury to fight following his impressive performance in fighting WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder to a 12 round draw on December 1. However, there’s talk from boxing fans that Hearn considered using Schwarz as an opponent for Joshua as well in the past, which obviously would make the Mathroom Boxing promoter look like a hypocrite if this is true.
Regardless of whether Hearn has considered using Schwarz as an opponent for IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua in the past or not, it’s still not a good opponent for Top Rank to be matching Fury at this point in his career. Fury is 30-years-old, and not in need of a tune-up level fighter. Schwarz looks slow, easy to hit, not particularly power, and not a major talent. The World Boxing Organization has Schwarz ranked high at #2, but he’s not beaten anyone significant to be given that high ranking. This same sanctioning body had Hughie Fury ranked at the top in the past without him beating anyone notable, so it’s not surprising that Schwarz is rated #2 with the WBO.
The undefeated Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) will be facing #2 WBO Schwarz on June 15 on ESPN at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Don’t be absolutely ridiculous. Am I sure? 100 per cent,” Hearn said to IFL TV when asked if Schwarz was ever a potential opponent for Anthony Joshua. “When are you talking about? For his debut? No, no. I might be talking in like his [Joshua’s] sixth or seventh fight, not taking the p—, genuinely, at that level, did someone say to me, ‘what about Tom Schwarz?’ I don’t know. From when he [Joshua] won the world title, even before that, no. Maybe when he boxed the likes of the Russian [Denis Bakhtov] or Jason Gavern, those kind of people, you know when he was like 6-0, 7-0, 8-0, did someone say to me ‘what about Tom Schwarz?,’ who might have been 10-0 at the time, maybe. But never,” Hearn said.
It sounds like Hearn’s memory is kind of foggy when it comes to the subject of whether he ever inquired about using Schwarz as an opponent for Joshua in the past or not. You would think that Hearn would be more certain whether he ever had interest in matching Joshua against the 6’5″ German fighter Schwarz. As big as Schwarz is, he’s not someone that a promoter would forget.
Top Rank signed Fury to a huge promotional deal recently. However, instead of putting a deal together for Fury to face Wilder in a rematch on May 18, they chose to match Fury against Schwarz in order to let the heavyweight title fight against ‘The Bronze Bomber’ marinate. Top Rank is said to be interested in making the rematch between Fury and Wilder in either late 2019 or early 2020. Top Rank obviously wants to make that fight. They’re paying Fury too much money to put him in with no name fighters that bring nothing to the table over and over again. For Fury to bring in a massive amount of boxing fans to subscribe to the ESPN+ app, Top Rank needs to match him against well known fighters that the casual and hardcore boxing fans have heard of. Schwarz is an unknown with the casual fans, and probably not that well known with the hardcore boxing fans as well. It’s an odd choice by Top Rank, and you have to wonder how ESPN feels about putting on the Fury-Schwarz fight. Fury might be able to talk enough to get some U.S fans to want to see him fight Schwarz, but it’s not going to be the same thing is Fury had fought Wilder in a rematch or someone like Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz or Dillian Whyte.
“I don’t blame Tyson Fury,” Hearn said. “Fury’s having the time of his life, he’s getting a load of money to fight Tom Schwarz. Top Rank are the ones who should be saying what are we doing here? Again, fair play to Tyson. But when you’ve been mandated to fight Deontay Wilder, the rematch of supposedly the fight of the year, and you turn it down and walk away and fight Tom Schwarz, it don’t look great,” Hearn said.
Hearn is right about Fury not being the one to point fingers at about the choice of his next opponent for June 15. Fury didn’t select Schwarz, and it’s unclear whether he had any say so. When a promotional company like Top Rank is paying one of their fighters like Fury a massive amount of money for him to fight under their label, they probably have strong ideas about how they want to match him. It’ll be interesting to see if Fury ever becomes a star in the U.S if Top Rank continues to match him against Schwarz-type opponents instead of the more talented guys.