Eddie Hearn: “Turki Al-Sheik will stage Joshua vs Fury at Wembley Stadium”

By Amy A Kaplan - 03/14/2024 - Comments

So, in today’s episode of “Boxing Promoters Say the Darndest Things,” Eddie Hearn dropped a casual bombshell on The Sports Agents podcast. Apparently, Turki Al-Sheik is in the mood to play matchmaker and might just gift us mortals the fight of the century: Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury at the grand ol’ Wembley Stadium. Because, you know, why settle for a regular venue when you can go big?

Now, before you get all giddy and start planning your fight night attire, remember this is just Hearn doing Hearn things – teasing us with the boxing equivalent of a maybe, possibly, could-happen scenario.

For those hanging on to every word, the full “tell-all” interview is set to air this evening on the Global Player. Because nothing screams “boxing insider” like listening to podcast revelations while commuting home.  Read the transcript:

On the prospect of Turki Al-Sheikh bringing an AJ vs Fury fight to Wembley Stadium, Eddie told the podcast hosts Gabby Logan and Mark Chapman:

Eddie Hearn: ‘This is a gentleman called Turki Al-Sheikh, who is obviously a very influential figure in sports and entertainment in Saudi Arabia. He’s also the biggest fight fan I’ve ever met. And quite amazingly, he’s now talking about staging two AJ vs Fury fights, one in Saudi Arabia, and one at Wembley Stadium. He’s one of those guys that listens and reads everything. So, he’s definitely reading about, I wish this fight was at Wembley, or it’s a shame the fight is in Saudi Arabia. I mean, we really must have more of a global vision in sport, boxing doesn’t just sit here but two Brits, fighting for the undisputed World Championship, I think he would probably bring one of them to UK, I really do. And that financially, they’ve got the ability to do that. But for the fighters, you’re talking about three times the purse to do it, potentially, in the Middle East and in Saudi Arabia. It’s a very difficult conversation to have. If you said to everybody, where would you rather fight, most Brits are going to say, Wembley Stadium, but, you know, it’s prize fighting, it is a dangerous sport and it is a difficult conversation to have.’

On his experience of working in Saudi Arabia, Eddie told Gabby and Mark:

Eddie Hearn:  ‘I am always happy to discuss sports migrating to the Middle East, sportswashing, which people talk about. Every time we go there, the experience from us, from a production point of view, from a logistical point of view, the fighter experience, the athlete experience, you will never hear anything bad.’

Asked by Gabby about Saudi Arabia’s women’s rights record, Eddie replied:

Eddie Hearn: ‘I have to be honest, when you’re on the ground, and you’re experiencing it, and you’re seeing it with your own eyes, the change that I’ve seen has been incredible… I could tell you six or seven female journalists that were at the fight last weekend… I think every country has their problems and there needs to be change there. But the change that I’ve seen, we’re talking about grassroots boxing increasing by 300% to 400%. I was down at the academies, full of female fighters in a grassroots amateur boxing club. I see something very different there. I know that I see also a certain world in in Saudi Arabia, and there’s other issues to overcome. But I see mass participation for female athletes, the change that I’ve seen from 2019, which is when we first went there to 2024 is incredible. Concerts, music venues, entertainment venues, every meeting that I go into, there are females in there in powerful positions, change is occurring. And if that has to come through sport, I think that’s great. And I actually think that sport is a brilliant way to make change to the community and people’s lives. And I’ve got to say, as well, the way this country is falling apart, I look at a lot of the good things out there, and I know every country has to change but I look at education, I look at the health service, I look at particularly crime, which is non-existent… I know, you’re talking about extreme levels, but what are we doing about punishments in our country? You can’t walk the streets of London without fear of losing a watch…’

Further asked about Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and the changes he’s seen, Eddie shared:

Eddie Hearn: ‘I think I’m buying into the change that’s occurring in the country, particularly by using sport and entertainment, to change the face of what’s happening. So, from everything that I’m seeing on the ground, and it doesn’t take away from the other issues that need to be overcome, of course, we can’t move away from there. But also at the same time, I’m seeing the change when I go there, every other month, or every couple of weeks. And it’s not just in this confined bubble that I live in. Lots has to change there, lots has to change here and obviously, at different levels as well. But that’s why I’m always willing to debate on the sport. I don’t see sportswashing, I see using sport and entertainment, to change the opinion of the country, to change opportunities in the country, to change participation… The argument could be that all of these academies and all of this increase participation at grassroots level is just a movement to try and convince you, I don’t buy it.’