(Quebec) Eddie Hearn, president of Matchroom Boxing, is part of the long list of boxing promoters who welcome the arrival of Saudi Arabia on the world stage.
“Several people ask us if we feel that the arrival of Saudi Arabia means that boxing in England or North America is being taken away from us. But we live on the same planet. There is no rule that says boxing must only be contested in Great Britain, the United States or Canada,” the Briton said this week on the sidelines of the light heavyweight unification fight between Artur Beterbiev and his protégé Callum Smith.
“It’s good to have 9,000 people this weekend, or to have 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium, but it’s also good to develop new markets,” he added. In the span of five months, we had the Fury-Ngannou, Joshua-Wallin, Wilder-Parker fights and that huge December 23 card. We had Fury against Usyk and we could well have Bivol against Smith or Beterbiev. All this in just five months. »
Comments that echo those made by Camille Estephan, president of Eye of the Tiger Management, to La Presse Canadienne last October.
“It benefits the whole team. Not only in terms of visibility, but financially, the boxers and we are well paid, he said. […] We intend to reinvest these sums to ensure that we continue to build the stable. »
Hearn believes that the arrival of Saudi Arabia on the global boxing scene should not prevent major galas from being organized in “traditional” markets.
“Wherever there is money and aggressive promoters, sports will be attracted there,” he said, citing the examples of tennis and golf. What we have to do is continue to make big fights in Great Britain or America, but we cannot close the door to these new markets.
“As a promoter, I also have a duty to my boxers. When I present a fight to a boxer and I tell him that we could make X amount here, or three times as much in Saudi Arabia, he will no longer remember that he could fight in front of more people in a stadium. The opportunities for boxers are great, as are the opportunities for the sport.
“Take Beterbiev-Bivol. This could be resolved in a snap of the fingers in Saudi Arabia. There would not be months of negotiations; It would be settled in five minutes, because the money is there. […] We cannot only worry about the 10,000 people who can come to the arena, but also the millions of fans across the planet. »
The winner of the duel between Beterbiev (19-10, 19 KO), International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) light heavyweight champion, and Callum Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) could well face World Boxing Association (WBA) champion Dmitry Bivol in a huge unification fight in Saudi Arabia later this year.