The Matchroom promoter covered a variety of topics in an interview with iFL.
Eddie Hearn is back in England after a big trip to the United States for Canelo-Jacobs last week, and he spoke with iFL about Daniel Jacobs, Oleksandr Usyk, Lomachenko-Campbell, and Friday’s JDNXTGEN show on DAZN and Sky Sports.
On his U.S. trip and Daniel Jacobs’ future
“It was good. Obviously we didn’t get the result we wanted, but it was a great fight, close fight. John Ryder was a big high moment for us, (Alexis) Espino got a good win as well, so it was a good trip. Learned a lot, obviously, being involved in a massive promotion, as well, fight of the year so far.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Danny Jacobs move up to 168 now. I think he was boxing at 165 or whatever it was in the amateurs, and that was when he was, like, 18. I’ve noticed lately that every fight has got tougher and tougher.
“The fighters never really let you, the promoter, know how bad it is, but obviously you can — they do a good job in keeping it from you a lot of the time. You might say to them the night before, ‘How’s your weight?’ And they’ll go, ‘Yeah, it’s all good.’ Kell Brook was always a good one for that. ‘Yeah, just got a couple pounds to go.’ But with Danny, the Derevyanchenko fight was tough, but this one when he turned up to the weigh-in, it was one of those where you look at him and go, ‘Alright, this has been a tough one.’ And obviously the 10-pound thing the next day was just impossible for him because it was so hard to make the weight. The harder it is to make the weight, the more weight you put on overnight and the next day.
“I think he’s going to be really effective at 168. He doesn’t quite have the snap in his shots that he will do at 168. I think he’s done all he can at middleweight, he’s a two-time world champion, he’s been in the biggest fight available in the division, so I think he’s gonna be a great addition at 168.”
“(Super middleweight) is not quite as glamorous at the moment because of obviously the DAZN money coming in with Canelo and GGG and Andrade, et cetera, but you’ve got Callum Smith, you’ve got Gilberto Ramirez if he stays there. I think (Canelo) will move (to 168) eventually, I’d love to see that fight at 168. It’s not really just about what fights there are, it’s about where (Jacobs) can perform the best. And I think he will be a different fighter at 168. That extra eight pounds will be massive for him. It’s a lot of weight when you’re stripping it off trying to get down, and he’s a huge guy.”
On Oleksandr Usyk’s injury and the May 25 DAZN show
“Gutted. The replies to my tweet were like, ‘Mate, it’s not going very well for you at the moment, all you get is bad news.’ I’m a bit sick like that, because when I get loads of bad news, I get really excited that we’re about to hit a really hot spell. … When we got the (Jarrell) Miller news, that was a massive kick in the nuts. Then obviously the Usyk news last night was another big kick in the nuts. But what can you do? You’ve actually got to smile and laugh and say, ‘I can’t fucking believe it.’ You’ve just got to say to yourself, ‘Well, it’s gonna get better.’ Bad news comes in threes, we’ve had about eight bits of bad news now, but now I’m just thinking soon, something good’s going to happen. We’re due a hot spell.
“He tore his biceps, he’s not having an operation. I think it’s going to be August or something like that. I think it’s five weeks until he can start training again. I don’t know how it happened or why it happened. Obviously he’s moving up, he’s doing more heavy duty stuff now, he’s sparring much bigger, heavier guys. I don’t know whether it was lifting or sparring, probably heavy duty sparring with big guys. It’s a shame, because I was looking forward to that.
“Now we’ve got to decide what we do with that show. I want to keep the show going because it’s got a lot of important fights for us. Devin Haney now, particularly, Michael Hunter, (Filip) Hrgovic, there’s a women’s unification on the card, as well. I’ll probably move it to Vegas and let Devin Haney headline in his hometown, do a smaller show and get everybody out and fulfill our obligations. Not ideal, but that’s it.”
On the WBC’s Lomachenko-Campbell ruling
“Sort of mixed emotions on that, really. Good news is it’s a really good fight. I got some stick that I said I believe (Campbell) can win, because I really feel that Luke is one of the few people in the division who can really cause Lomachenko some problems. He’s incredibly tall, he’s rangy, he’s big at the weight, he’s a fantastic technical fighter, skilled fighter. He knows Lomachenko inside-out from the amateurs, they’re both Olympic gold medalists. It is a really good fight.
“The downside with it, in my opinion, is that it was the wrong decision from the WBC. I saw Ron Lewis tweeted today, he said, ‘All they’re doing is putting the best fighter in the world in with the mandatory challenger.’ But what about all the other people that have been working up — not just Devin Haney, but (Zaur) Abullaev who was No. 2.
“I’m not sulking because Devin Haney didn’t get the shot, I’m just saying that the whole point in working your way up a governing body, challenging for, defending minor titles, paying sanction fees, being loyal to one governing body, is that when a title frees up, it goes down the ranking and you get your shot. So if I’m Abdullaev and I’ve won the silver title and I’ve defended it a couple times, I’m thinking, ‘This is great, Mikey Garcia’s vacated, it’s Luke Campbell versus me.’ That’s the rules of the WBC, first two available fighters.
“What’s worse than that is another rule of the WBC is if there’s a vacant title, the winner must fight two mandatories. Well now they’ve done a semifinal elimination thing between Haney and Abdullaev, which is an eliminator that was already ordered, and now (Javier) Fortuna against Teofimo Lopez, who’s actually taken another fight anyway. But where’s Fortuna come from? It should just be Haney vs Abdullaev for the mandatory. It’s a mess.
“(Teofimo Lopez) is pissed off, because he was told that he’d be getting Richard Commey. Now they’re saying that (Ray) Beltran’s fighting Richard Commey, and he also wanted to fight Lomachenko. I think Teofimo Lopez is saying, ‘Well I’ve been told that I was gonna get Lomachenko or Commey and it looks like I’m getting none of them.’
“I completely understand why the WBC have done it, because they want Lomachenko as their champion. I understand that, I just don’t think it’s fair for the others. But sometime the shoe will be on the other foot, and one day if the heavyweight WBC championship comes available, I’m sure they’ll allow (Anthony) Joshua to fight the mandatory for that title. But would they allow Richard Commey to fight for the vacant WBC world title against Luke Campbell? Absolutely not. I just felt they should go down the rankings, really. What has Lomachenko done to deserve a WBC shot? He’s won a couple of other (titles), and just strolled straight in. You’re not ranked if you’re a champion with another governing body, but you know.”
On whether Lomachenko-Campbell will be a UK pay-per-view
“Yes, if in the UK. It has to be. It’s only pay-per-view if it’s in the UK, and it has to be. The fight’s going to cost a couple million quid, more, three million quid, four million. You can’t do it if it ain’t on pay-per-view. It needs to have a really, really good card, but I also think it’s a really good fight. I think Luke Campbell’s in the form of his life, I think Shane McGuigan’s done a really good job, and we’re coming to win that fight. In the UK, especially, we’re coming to win that fight.
“It’s a really tough fight. Lomachenko is pound-for-pound top three or one. But that’s not a fight Luke Campbell is taking for money, that’s a fight that Luke Campbell is coming to win. The big decision for us is if it is in England — we have a situation where, this is another part of the order, is what’s the split? There can only be one split, it’s 50-50. You can’t have a guy come in and have a champion’s split as if he’s WBC champion, has to be 50-50.
“The problem I have now is probably DAZN saying to me, ‘We’d like that fight in the US, so let’s bid for that fight in purse bids.’ Where me saying, ‘I’d quite like it in the UK.’ I’d love to bring Lomachenko to the UK, and I think Luke’s got a better chance in the UK. Providing we can make a sensible deal, we’ll do that fight in the UK. But the split’s going to be interesting on that.
“It would need to be a really big card to be pay-per-view, and we have to decide whether we go O2 (in London) or Hull, the (KCOM) Stadium. We’d do 30,000 there at the (KCOM) Stadium. I don’t think Lomachenko knows where Hull is, but I don’t think he’s that bothered about where we’d go. It’s a really good fight and I want it for the end of August.”
On Friday’s JDNXTGEN show
“These shows are really important. We get stick whatever we do, but what we’re trying to do is bring fighters through, give them exposure, give them the championship experience of headlining cards or being right up there on the bill, where ultimately they wouldn’t normally.
“So guys like Leigh Wood, guys like Jordan Gill, they’re headlining or co-main event, and on a big show, or a big pay-per-view show, they might be on at six, seven o’clock, without that real feel of pressure. It’s all about molding these guys.
“The one thing I’m learning about doing all these shows all around the world is, there’s a lot of talent out there. Like, a lot. Boxing is booming in the UK, but America is a huge country with so much talent — not just Americans, but fighters coming out of the eastern European bloc. So our guys, they’ve got to be super good, super good.
“This card, you’re seeing two pro debuts, Dalton Smith and Charles Frankham, two outstanding amateurs that start their journey. Raymond Ford was one of the top amateurs in the US. … The UK fans are so passionate, I can’t tell you, every US fighter I’ve got goes, ‘You wouldn’t believe the love I get from the UK!’ Devin Haney, Ray Ford, especially Anthony Sims Jr. Everyone we’re signing from the US, we’re bringing some UK fight fans to their journey and they’re loving it.
“Ray Ford is out of Camden, New Jersey, it’s a pretty rough place. He’s here and he can’t believe that he’s getting the opportunity to fight in the UK, just like one of our young kids would feel that way if we took him to America.
“Jordan Gill is coming through as one of those guys. The whole point of NXTGEN is to basically graduate to the big Saturday night fight nights. I think Jordan Gill is one of those guys that a good win on (Friday), and you can start talking about him headlining in the new season from September in a big fight — European title fight, world title eliminator, that kind of thing. He’s looking like an outstanding prospect.
“Leigh Wood is a really good story. Leigh Wood has been a talent for a long, long time, always had huge support in Nottingham, and now has the Commonwealth title. Good fight against Ryan Doyle who’s sort of been a gatekeeper, but beat Reece Bellotti, stopped him and then lost to Jordan Gill himself in a good fight. That’s gonna tell us where Leigh Wood is at, and it’s good to be back in Nottingham, because we haven’t been here for six or seven years.”
On doing a Golden Boy vs Matchroom card
“We’re really serious, we’re both in the same boat in that we’re with DAZN in the US. In America, no one really trusts anyone, but we’re on the same team. But it’s still taken a few months to actually realize we’re really straight. We’re not here to pull strings. So at first it was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, great to be working together.’ And now it’s like, we did a great job together on Canelo-Jacobs, and we look at our fighters and what we can do together, and there’s so much that we can do. And obviously Oscar De La Hoya is a major name and face, so I like the idea of going up against him. We’re all very competitive. You’ve got Matchroom and then you’ve got Oscar and Bernard Hopkins and people like that. When you start stripping it down and looking at the fights, it’s endless.
“Jaime Munguia against Jessie Vargas is a fight that we wanna make. JoJo Diaz against Tevin Farmer, our guy. Rey Vargas against Danny Roman, that’s a three-belt unification fight. Can Xu against Jordan Gill. Ryan Garcia against Martin J. Ward, we’re trying to look at that fight as well. It’s never ending. That’s something that we’re really looking at, and I think we’ll get that for the new season.”