Eddie Hearn doesn’t believe Sky Sports would be showing boxing if it wasn’t for Anthony Joshua.
The Matchroom promoter is deploying the travelling salesman persona this week in Saudi Arabia.
Hearn is in Jeddah as Anthony Joshua rematches Oleksandr Usyk for the WBA Super, IBF, and WBO world heavyweight titles on Saturday.
The pair will clash at the Jeddah Superdome, with Tyson Fury’s recently-relinquished Ring Magazine title also at stake in a vacant capacity, 11 months after Usyk, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, dethroned ‘AJ’ at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
And 43-year-old Hearn, who has promoted Joshua since he made his professional debut back in October 2013 and saw his charge sign an official career-long promotional deal with the Brentwood-based company four days before his defeat to Usyk last September, says his former broadcast partner has the 32-year-old to thank for its success with the sport.
Speaking to Boxing Social’s Ayman Khan, Hearn said:
“I don’t like the fact that, with everything Anthony Joshua’s done for this sport, a lot of people want to turn their backs and underappreciate the guy’s resume and the role that he has played for all of us. Without Anthony Joshua, me, Matchroom, we wouldn’t have had our success.
“Without this guy, there wouldn’t be YouTube outlets interested in the sport, you wouldn’t have businesses flying out around the world.
“He has made boxing the size it is and we need to be thankful for this guy and give him that respect.”
DAZN, to whom Joshua committed his broadcasting future back in June in a ground-breaking deal, will show the fight in the US, as well as more than 190 territories, including Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, Japan and Poland, while Sky Sports Box Office will broadcast the fight in the UK & Ireland after paying a staggering £23million to do so.
Johnny Nelson, the former WBO cruiserweight champion who works for Sky Sports, hit the headlines earlier this week, predicting that Joshua will “walk away” from boxing if he suffers a second defeat at the hands of the Ukrainian.
“A lot of people wouldn’t be in a job at Sky and I’m telling you now, I’m not even sure Sky would be doing boxing so let’s give this young man the credit.”
“He’s a great individual, he’s a competitor, he’s a winner and I take it personally when I see people switch and make little comments because they’re thinking about their company rather than thinking about a man who has helped their company so much.”