Amidst criticism of the staging of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Eddie Hearn has recently faced some stiff questioning over his decision to take some of Matchroom’s biggest stars to the Middle East.
Anthony Joshua has boxed in Saudi Arabia twice, whilst Dmitri Bivol headlined a Matchroom card in Abu Dhabi only a few weeks ago.
However, when pressed by Bloomberg on the subject, Hearn stated he believes that countries in the region have a genuine intention of growing sport as well as improving on inclusivity.
“One of the mindsets of Saudi is to try and bring women’s boxing into those events.”
“I was dealing with the sports authority there and I saw the vision they have. From a sports infrastructure perspective and from the perspective of building sport in that region, I think it’s exciting.”
Ramla Ali made history in Jeddah on the Joshua – Usyk 2 card, when she became the first female fighter ever to box in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Hearn did concede, though, that the financial rewards on offer for hosting events in the likes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE was also a huge contributing factor.
“We have an obligation to our fighters to maximise their earnings and revenue in a very dangerous sport. Sometimes people don’t understand boxing. If I can make my client five times more, when I understand and have seen first hand the risks involved in boxing, then it’s something we always have to consider.”
“I don’t want to lean on the likes of the PGA tour, Formula One, the WWE – but these are organisations that are substantially bigger than ours that are willing to move into that marketplace and stage events.”
Matchroom and DAZN have signed a long term deal with Abu Dhabi with the Champion Series, so fans will not be surprised to hear they won’t have seen the last of Hearn in the desert.