Boxing Bosses Unite: Warren & Hearn discuss Saudi spectacle in Day of Reckoning card

By Charles Brun - 12/22/2023 - Comments

Promoters Eddie Hearn & Frank Warren put away their rivalry for Saturday’s magnificent ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Both bosses have their fighters on the card and hoping to come out victorious to lead to bigger clashes in 2024.

Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn is hoping that his fighter Anthony Joshua comes through his main event bout against Otto Wallin to set up the clash against Deontay Wilder on March 9th in Saudi Arabia.

Warren’s heavyweight Daniel Dubois (19-2, 18 KOs) has a 50-50 fight against unbeaten Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller (26-0-1, 22 KOs) in his first bout back from his controversial clash against IBF/WBA/WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk last August. That was the one in which Dubois appeared to have a body-shot knockout in the fifth, but the referee ruled it a low blow.

For his part, Hearn is pinning his hopes on Joshua (26-3, 23 KOs), keeping it together without falling to pieces against Wallin (26-1, 14 KOs). It’s not a good sign that Joshua weighed in today at 251 lbs; looking like he’s been hitting the weights overtime during camp. Joshua has always wanted to look like a heavyweight, but man, he’s going overboard and shooting himself in the foot.

Frank Warren: “It’s a brilliant fight card. An intriguing fights for all fighters on there. It’s a big moment for guys trying to regain their reputation to get back into the top echelon of the sport, and there are guys who feel they can build by beating these opponents and former champions to get to the next stage,” said Warren to DAZN Boxing.

“It’s a tough, tough fight for all of them, and I think they’re all inspired by the fact that they were at the Riyadh festival. They’re inspired by what can happen in the future and it incentivizes them to do their best, and I think we’re going to see some excellent fights, and I definitely feel we’re going to see some upsets.”

Eddie Hearn: “We been there before with everyone talking about AJ-Wilder, and all of a sudden, you’re walking back to the hotel, thinking, ‘What on Earth’s happened?’ He [Joshua] got beat by Andy Ruiz [in 2019]. We’re not looking to make that mistake again. It’s a tough fight.

“Wallin seems extremely confident. His heart was beating heavily during the head-to-head, but he feels this is a tough task. I’ve got a great feeling about tomorrow night. I feel we’re going to see a dominant performance and a violent one by Anthony Joshua as well.

“A great link up with Ben Davison, but we know the task ahead. It’s not an easy fight, especially when there’s the potential for something. There always seems to be the potential for something, but we just got to handle the business tomorrow night.”

Warren: “It’s a tough fight for Daniel [Dubois against Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, but he’s [Dubois] very, very confident, and he’s showing for me a bit more about him now rather he’s been in the past. Basically, he’s been pretty reserved and been doing his talking in the ring.

“This time around, he seems very full of himself; he fancies it, and he’s going to punish him tomorrow. For Jarrell Miller, he can’t afford to lose either. If he loses, I don’t know where he goes.”

Hearn: “I think Jai Opetaia is the best cruiserweight in the world, but Ellis Zorro, one of Frank’s guys. It’s a chance for him and Lyndon Arthur as well. These are big outsiders as well. Is Opetaia overlooking? There’s always plans, isn’t there?

“His Excellency [Turki Al-Sheikh] has big plans for this fight after and this fight after, and sometimes when you have someone like Lyndon Arthur and Ellis Zorro, this is a shot of a lifetime for them. So they’re going to come prepared. He’s [Zorro] is an undefeated fighter, and so is Opetaia, but I think this kid is very special.

“We saw him against Jordan Thompson. Is Zorro good enough to hang at those levels? We’ll find out. Great chance for him, but I think we’re talking about a future pound-for-pound great in Opetaia.”

Ade Oladipo: “One thing we have seen is what His Excellency has done, and that’s brought you two [Warren & Hearn] together, and that’s important for the growth of the sport, isn’t it? Frank & Eddie are smiling. It’s important for the growth of the sport.

“When you see what’s happened in America with HBO and Showtime to see two of the biggest promoters working together, and broadcasters working with each other. Things can only get better, surely.”

Hearn: “There’s always rivalry, and I’m sure there will be rivalry next week, but we’re not idiots. We love the sport, and when there are massive opportunities for our fighters and our business and the sport of boxing, we’d be plonkers if we didn’t try and make this work.

“We had a nice evening last night. Maybe he’s not too bad after all, maybe. It’s exciting. I’ve never been involved with anything like this before. Like I said, regardless of the rivalry, we love this sport, and this is a massive opportunity for boxing.”

Warren: “Without a doubt, it is. As Eddie said, we cannot let this get ruined, and it won’t do because everybody is like-minded. What counts is the fighters and the fighters are getting life-changing for these fights, and we can’t stand in the way for whatever reasons we might. So they will take place.

“There will be more bigger fights next year that we’ll be working on, providing our guys come through. We’ll be working in association with each other in quite a few of the events. So, I’m looking forward to it because I think this is the start of something really, really big.”

Ade: “AJ-Wilder, that’s the one that everybody has been talking about for years. For five years, they’ve been circling each other. We’re this close now. If they both come through their respective fights on Saturday, is that a done deal?”

Hearn: “Not yet, but we’ll see. Things can move really quickly over there, and it’s no secret that His Excellency wants to make the biggest fights in boxing. He’s already done it. Frank’s done it with Fury-Usyk. We’d love to get that fight [Joshua vs. Wilder] over the line.

“We know there’s a proposed date for March, but you’ve got to get through Saturday, both guys. By the way, Deontay Wilder is not in a gimme at all against Parker, and both guys have to get through injury-free. We know that Usyk-Fury was potentially in December.

“All of a sudden, you have a tough fight, you get dropped, and the date gets pushed back. So, not only do they have to win, but they’ve got to win well without any damage. So, we’ll see after tomorrow night, but it’s just win.”

Warren: “For my self-interest, it’s Daniel [being the fight of the night that he’s most interested in]. It’s a 50-50 fight on paper, but I think my man will do the job; it’s going to be quite interesting to see how he comes back from his loss to Usyk. I think the two joint main events, whichever one it is, for both of those fights, there’s a lot of jeopardy involved.

“Both are former world champions and obviously a former world champion with Joseph Parker being in it. The two opponents, the two guys in the red corner, both of those [Parker & Wallin] have a massive opportunity. So that’s why, again, they’ll be competitive fights, great fights and the one thing out of all of this is the winners will be the fans.

“This is a magnificent night of boxing, and as Eddie said, neither of us has been in a show like this before. We’ve never seen anything like it, and it goes from strength to strength.”

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