Since the collapse of negotiations for a fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, much has been made as to who was at fault.
Whilst fans have mixed opinions, one man who is certain he knows the culprit is Bob Arum, Fury’s US promoter. He blames Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, for never wanting the fight in the first place.
Arum doubled down on comments that Hearn was standing in the way of negotiations. He told Sky Sports that the Matchroom promoter wanted to ‘kill the fight’ which was, in his mind, ‘reprehensible.’ He explained:
“I’ve been in this business almost 60 years so I can tell when somebody doesn’t want something to happen and then slow-plays a negotiation. Here, once the percentages were decided, there were no real issues. You could sit in a room for three hours and get everything finalised, but Hearn refused to do it.”
“I think that was terrible on his part because I know Frank Warren and George, partners from Queensberry, were prepared to meet personally with Eddie and get everything worked out. I mean there were no issues, for a fight not to happen where there are no issues because one promoter doesn’t want it to happen and is in a stalling position is to my mind reprehensible. I knew that Eddie would find a way to sabotage the fight.”
Hearn has his own words for the Top Rank CEO, as relayed to The DAZN Boxing Show, insisting that his claims were not how a modern-day relationship between a promoter and fighter works.
“One thing on Bob Arum’s comments. He must be living in the dark ages if he thinks I can stop a fight taking place. All I do is act off instructions, for a fighter of the magnitude of Anthony Joshua – just like Canelo Álvarez. Can you imagine me going to AJ and saying don’t take this fight or me stopping a fight that I’ve been instructed to make?”
“It might’ve worked like that in Bob Arum’s day, but it don’t work like that now. The fighters are the bosses, we act off instructions. My instruction was ‘make the fight’ – it just so happens we’re dealing with a guy [Fury] that one minute has one idea, the next minute he wants to fight two men on the same night. And he’s pulling Manuel Charr out the hat. They’re trying to make the Manuel Charr fight – the guy’s not even ranked.”
“Bob Arum has not been on one phone call. Frank Warren has not been on one phone call, one Zoom call, one meeting. It has been our team – me speaking to George Warren the whole time – so these guys are acting off hearsay.”
One thing’s for sure – we are firmly out of the negotiation stage and into blame game territory. Frankly, these back and forths about who caused what will do nothing for fans who are ultimately left without a fight that should have probably happened by now, and instead may never go ahead.