British Invasion: Eddie Hearn talks Matchroom’s plans to promote in the US
By: Sean Crose
“It’s been so hard not to to tell anyone,” English promoter Eddie Hearn told BoxingInsider.com’s Jeandra LeBeauf after Saturday night’s Linares-Campbell card in Inglewood, California. Hearns was in town to support his fighter Campbell’s admirable, but failed, attempt to win himself a lightweight title. Yet the dapper fight man was also in town to discuss his new deal with middleweight powerhouse Daniel Jacobs. “How are you not a superstar?” Hearns recalled telling the American, “because you’ve got it all.” Indeed, those who know Jacobs’ story, one which has seen the Brooklyn native go from a cancer patient to the top of a talent rich division, might find it hard to argue with Hearn’s assertion.
“I’m going to tell everyone that you’re the number one middleweight in the world,” Hearns recalled saying to his new fighter, adding that his goal was to see Jacobs fighting a “minimum three times a year,” with a clear objective in sight. “The ultimate goal, is the Canelo-GGG (Golovkin) winner.” Fight fans will recall Jacobs’ extremely close battle with middleweight kingpin Golovkin at Madison Square Garden last March. Golovkin walked away with the decision win, but Jacobs had clearly established himself as a force to be reckoned with (he had also convinced some, this author included, that he had actually deserved the victory that night).
Hearn’s American invasion, however, has targeted more than just Jacobs. Sure enough, the man made it clear to LeBeauf that he plans on becoming a force in the American fight scene. He’s got good reason to think he’ll be welcome here, for Hearn’s track record in his native England has been exceedingly impressive. As the head of Matchroom Sport, the 38 year old recently made huge waves by packing close to a hundred thousand fans into Wembley Stadium in London in order to see heavyweight honcho Anthony Joshua defend his championship against former great Wladimir Klitshcko in what many believe is the leading contender for 2017s fight of the year.
What’s more, Hearn has proven himself to be a visionary of sorts. His promotions in England are not dreary events, but, rather, take on the air of epic entertainment, so much so that they can even dwarf the spectacle that’s known to go with UFC promotions. “We need to make boxing sexy again,” Hearn said. Referring to his fights in the United Kingdom, the man stated that “people turn up for the night out… and they leave the arena with a smile on their face.” To be sure, fights like Joshua-Klitschko, with their legions of screaming fans and pre-fight pyrotechnics certainly come across as pretty memorable affairs.
“No one else is doing it like we’re doing it.” “I know he had his bad points, but Don King was a promoter.” Hearn went on to explain that, for all his faults, people KNEW when a Don King promotion was going down. “I need,” Hearn said, “people to know that when we’re in town.” So far, the man is doing quite the job of it.