Posted on 06/07/2021
By: Sean Crose
“I actually called Bob Arum after the arbitration ruling,” Eddie Hearn tells talkSport. “I said, ‘What on Earth has happened here?’ He said, ‘Oh you won’t believe it, I can’t believe it, it’s just ridiculous, but we’re gonna do this fight.’”
Hearn is recalling the moment he learned of the arbitration ruling that brought down the highly anticipated heavyweight title fight between Hearn’s fighter, Anthony Joshua, and Arum’s fighter, Tyson Fury. “What are you talking about?” Hearn says he asked Arum. “I’ve just worked for four months to make this fight.” According to Hearn, the response from Arum was simple:
“What can I do? Nothing.”
And so now Hearn, and the rest of the boxing world, will have to put dreams of a Joshua-Fury match aside, at least for now. For, thanks to arbitration, Fury will be now fighting Deontay Wilder for the third time this July. What’s particularly troubling to many is the fact a Joshua-Fury fight would have decided an undisputed heavyweight champion of the world for the first time in ages. That, however, is now a dream deferred. Needless to say, Hearn himself feels matters have been handled rather unfairly, to say the least.
For Hearn makes it clear he was given the impression “there was no way that fight (Joshua-Fury) could be stopped, there was no way a rematch (between Fury and Wilder) would be ordered. They expected there would be damages, but not that the arbitrator would rule the rematch. And that’s why the whole thing stinks, I don’t believe that arbitration ruling for one second is a standard arbitration ruling.” As things stand, however, the promoter has to simply play the hand he’s been dealt. That means Joshua may well fight former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk next.
Hearn puts the blame on Arum when it comes to Joshua-Fury falling apart. “In the end I believe it just comes down to old school greed,” Hearn says, “where the fact that Bob Arum was losing control of this fight, the fact all of a sudden that the deal was in place, he thought to himself, ‘I’ll keep Tyson Fury in America, I’ll do the fight myself on ESPN with Wilder.’” This isn’t the first time Arum has been accused of not being the most honest individual in the business. Still, there’s no way of knowing whether or not Hearn’s assertion of greed being in play is true or false. Indeed, only one thing is certain – Joshua and Fury won’t be fighting for a while, if they ever meet in the ring at all.