Eddie Hearn has spoke on what he could’ve done differently in the drama surrounding the Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn event being pulled last minute.
It was a whirlwind few days in the sport. Once the Daily Mail story about Benn’s failed drug test dropped, the British Boxing Board of Control were (relatively) quick to ‘prohibit’ the fight.
Despite that strongly worded statement, those involved in the fight seemed pretty confident that it would still go ahead that very weekend. Eddie Hearn, who promotes Conor Benn, was one of the people who gave interviews saying as much. Now, with time to reflect, the promoter told SecondsOut that was a mistake.
“I do accept that probably the mistake I made was to give an interview to say ‘we’re considering our options.’ But to say that I tried to get the fight to go ahead is not true, once the board’s decision was made. Because if I did I would’ve gone for an injunction or I would have used another commission – and we did neither.”
Ultimately, I sat down after that workout, with Wasserman, and we sort of said ‘this is right, we gotta do this.’ We didn’t try for an injunction, we didn’t try to use another commission – so we never tried to get the fight to go ahead.”
Despite addressing an error of judgement on his part, Hearn’s admission quickly turned into placing blame on the board once more.
“We let the board make their decision. Now, again, I wish they would’ve made it sooner, because it would’ve saved me five or six hundred grand, but it also it would’ve saved people criticising me for saying ‘you wanted the fight to go ahead.’ We’re not the regulatory body. The board will decide whether the fight goes ahead.
Now, with Eubank comfortable and the board choosing to go ahead, would we have gone ahead? Contractually, we can’t stop the fight. I understand all arguments, but at no point, once the board made their decision, did we attempt for the fight to go ahead.”
The clarification that, behind the scenes, there wasn’t a real consideration to stage the fight following the board’s decision is welcome. However, many in the sport will say that the very fact both promoters gave interviews saying they were exploring options, as well as the delay between the board’s announcement and the postponement, are enough to justify the dismay at the situation.
Hearn may place blame at the board’s door – and that may be justified – however an immediate press conference to cancel the fight once it was ‘prohibited’ would have saved a lot of fall out.