Hearn: Joshua is COMMERCIALLY on another level to Fury
By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua is the more popular fighter commercially worldwide than Tyson Fury. Hearn’s mentioning of IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) being the bigger commercial draw than Fury is a hint of trouble ahead.
What Hearn is doing is giving a signal that he’s going to be negotiating from a position of strength. Joshua is the A-side in the talks with WBC champion Fury in 2021.
Joshua does have more world titles than Fury, and his ratings for his fight in the States against Andy Ruiz Jr. last year went through the roof. While Tyson is famous as well, he’s not at the same level as Joshua.
So with all that, does Hearn and Joshua offer Fury a 50-50 deal for their unification fight in early 2021, or do they give him a smaller 60-40 take-it-or-leave-it offer?
What Hearn isn’t mentioning is the fact that Joshua still needs to defeat his IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev before he can move to the next stage to face Fury. Additionally, Fury still needs to face Deontay Wilder in their trilogy fight and defeat him.
One slip from Joshua or Fury would spell disaster for their much talked about mega-fight in 2021.
Joshua’s next fight likely in front of a small crowd
“AJ-Pulev is very hard to do behind closed doors,” said Hearn to Pound for Pound Boxing podcast at play.acast.com/s/poundforpound/71bf0e4f-0446-4ab1-90c6-292fc546aab3. “I don’t think we can [wait for a big crowd] because we’re talking about AJ. He hasn’t boxed since December against Andy Ruiz.
“We wanted him to fight in June and December, always twice a year. He’s acknowledged the fact that he’s only going to fight once this year. So it doesn’t matter if that’s October or November. So we’ll give it enough time to see if the crowds can come back.
“I think more likely that if we’re going to do AJ in the UK, it’s going to be a smaller venue, more exclusive feel to it. And I think it might be 1,000, 2,000. I don’t know. But I wanted him to fight here [UK] for his next one.
“We can take it abroad. We’ve had some approaches from Croatia, the Middle East, and all around, but he wanted to take the fight here.
“We’ll see, but he has to fight this year, even if the only option is to fight behind closed doors because we want 2021 to be all about Tyson Fury,” said Hearn.
Nothing is set in stone right now for Joshua’s title defense against his IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev. Although Hearn has been talking about wanting to stage the fight in the UK in front of a small crowd, it’s still possible that the contest could take place elsewhere if they get a big offer.
With Hearn talking about Joshua’s fight with Pulev talking place potentially in October, November, or December, it leaves a massive amount of time for him to negotiate a place to stage it.
That’s why it’s silly for Hearn to be saying the fight could take place in the UK in front of a small crowd because that could change in the next four to five months.
No step aside deal for Deontay Wilder
“That’s the only plan for 2021,” said Hearn on his plans for Joshua fighting Tyson Fury twice. “I don’t think Wilder will step aside, to be honest. AJ would fight Fury next. That would then take place in November or December.
“He would have been out a year, which wouldn’t be ideal, but he would one million percent fight him next. I don’t blame Wilder for not stepping aside because when you look at the world, we live in right now with what we’ve seen in the last couple of months, who knows what’s going to happen.
“You know what he’s thinking. Also, when you start talking about step aside deals, it’s so confusing. If Wilder says, ‘Okay, I’ll step aside, but if AJ beats Fury, he’s got to sign to fight me now, and he’s got to give me 40%.’ Hey, you just got sparked by Tyson Fury, so you’re only a voluntary challenger at the moment.
“We don’t want obligations going into the Tyson Fury fight. We want a clean slate, Fury against Joshua, which is the biggest fight in world boxing. If we only do it once, then we do it once, but generally, it makes sense for two fights.
Everyone knows the split and how it’s going to work. It’s the same as the Fury-Wilder fight. Everyone is on board,” said Hearn.
It’s already been said many times that Deontay Wilder wouldn’t be given a step aside deal, so it’s unclear why Hearn keeps talking about. It’s a non-topic at this point. Wilder has made it clear from day one that he won’t be stepping aside, and that’s not going to change.
Joshua on another level than Fury commercially
“It depends on how you want to look at it,” said Hearn when asked, ‘who is the A-side for Fury vs. Joshua?’ “Fury has a lot of momentum and is coming off of a great win [over Wilder].
“People won’t like this, but commercially AJ is on another level to Tyson Fury globally, and I’m just telling you the truth. But Fury is coming off of a great win on ESPN pay-per-view and Fox pay-per-view. AJ is coming off of a big success, and the biggest purse of all of them ever received in boxing in Saudi Arabia.
“He’s opened up boxing in the Middle East. I don’t think there needs to be an A-side. Honestly, with these two guys, I don’t think they care. I’ve been in so many negotiations over the years, where people won’t take the fight unless their name is first.
“Let’s say that you can have $50 million to do the fight in England or $100 million to do the fight in the Middle East. You also can’t run the argument that I get on social media. ‘Well, they’ve got enough money, so why not take $50 million less?’ What f**** world do you live in?
“Also, this sport is hazardous. Do you honestly think Tyson Fury would choose the half-priced option? I would love to see one of the two fights in the UK. I think that’s important, and it’s not just me saying that,” said Hearn.
Fury is a famous fighter, but he doesn’t appear to have reached Joshua’s level in that department.
One reason for that is the year’s Fury was out of action following his win over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.
Hearn wishes the UK government would help out
“Fury seems to want to fight in America full-time, you know?” said Hearn. “It’s difficult. Every time I say I want the fight in the Middle East, the responses I get; ‘You’re a disgrace.’ I’m probably a bit too honest for people sometimes.
“I don’t know any other way to tell you. I just hope that our country would be in a position [to get the Joshua vs. Fury fight]. The problem with Britain is that all these other countries have a pot of money to bring significant events to their territory to give them worldwide exposure as a country.
“We don’t have that. What we do have is the best man in the world [Joshua] that will pack stadiums and buy tickets. We still can’t generate the same amount of money as these guys can.
“I’m hoping the government will turn around with everything that’s going on, ‘We must make sure this fight [Joshua-Fury] is here. So we’ll help finance this fight and pay a site fee to make sure [it happens in the UK].’
“It’s not just about the fight. It’s about what it does for the [British] economy, and what it does for the hotels. When we go down to Wales and sell 80,000 tickets, that’s a big weekend for the country.
“The whole town is packed, and every hotel is fully booked—the restaurants and pubs [do well]. There is value in staging these kinds of events, and hopefully, we can do it in England. But I’ve got to be honest with you that there’s going to be huge offers coming from everywhere,” said Hearn.
Even if the UK government were willing to make a considerable offer to bring the Joshua vs. Fury fight there, it likely wouldn’t match the money coming from the Middle East.
Dillian Whyte complicates 2021 plans
“If you say to AJ, ‘where do you want to fight Tyson Fury?’ He’ll say, ‘Wembley’ ten times out of ten, and he loves Saudi,” said Hearn. “He loves the experience and everything about it. He would like to fight there again, but the reality is, two Brits, undisputed heavyweight championship.
“But there is another world out there. I feel like we’re going to get this deal done, I do. It doesn’t have to be [two fights between AJ and Fury], but it would be good to say, ‘2021, the year is planned.’
“We do have the issue with Dillian Whyte being the [WBC] mandatory. So Dillian Whyte is supposed to fight for this title by February . We’re going to make sure Dillian Whyte gets what’s fair. He’s been waiting 12 years for a shot at the world heavyweight title,” said Hearn. “The reality is, everyone is going to want to see the undisputed fight [between Joshua and Fury].
“What’s on my mind is if Deontay Wilder, for some reason, pulls out of the Tyson Fury fight, which could happen. Dillian Whyte has got to be the guy that fights Tyson Fury, and we can do that in October, November, December, January, February, or whenever.
“But I do want to see Dillian Whyte get his world title fight. Again, he’s in an awkward position because you fight in front of you [Joshua-Fury] that is the ultimate fight. It just is. But by the way, Fury against Dillian Whyte is a fantastic fight, and AJ against Whyte rematch is a tremendous fight.
“They’re all great fights, but the undisputed championship between two British fighters is something that will never happen again in our lifetimes,” said Hearn.
As you can see, Hearn isn’t going to let Dillian Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) delay the Joshua-Fury fight from happening.
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