Eddie Hearn is not the most adored member of the boxing family. He is more often than not booed by fight fans at his own events. AJ has even laughingly encouraged the booing in a post-fight interview. However, it is undeniable that Eddie is working his magic outside the ring. The more he does this, the more magic we can look forward to seeing inside the ring.
First, Matchroom Boxing. Hearn’s Matchroom has 96 fighters under its wing. This includes an impressive list of 16 world champions ranging from 6’6” AJ to the fiery 5’4” Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada. This is all the more impressive when compared to Frank Warren’s 27 fighters including only 2 world champions. Though one of them is the Gypsy King.
Hearn’s dominance of the British fight scene is beneficial for all those wanting to see action between people in shorts and gloves and not between rich men in suits. The more fighters that Matchroom are able to gain, the more efficient boxing’s system will be in dishing up the fights that we want. Especially big domestic bust-ups.
Not only is Hearn able to serve the fights as he commands more fighters, but he is also partnered with the UK’s largest pay-tv broadcaster, Sky. This amongst other factors, has translated into his Fight Nights gaining increased exposure and routinely attracting bigger viewing figures than Frank Warren and BT Sport. From his partnership with Sky, his fighters also appear on shows such as ‘Soccer AM’ and ‘A League of Their Own’.
This is not to say that Frank is not doing a good job, but his Essex millionaire counterpart has been far more active this year. He has appeared on ‘A League of Their Own’. He has pumped out his podcast ‘No Passion, No Point’ which has featured a huge range of big names from all walks of life. From Frank Lampard, Maya Jama to Noel Gallagher and Sadiq Khan. Of course, he has not missed an opportunity to promote his fighters and has episodes with Katie Taylor and Anthony Joshua. Hearn is not interested in only appealing to the hard-core boxing fan.
Hearn has recently released his book ‘Relentless: 12 Round to Success’. It is now a #1 Best Seller on Amazon. It will be read by a huge audience including many that will not be familiar with boxing. Yet the back cover is a full-page image of Hearn Sr and Hearn Jr proudly holding AJ’s belts with the world champion in the middle. This book is just one more way that Hearn is making himself, as well as his fighters household names.
Likewise, he has lately featured on BBC Radio 5 Live’s ‘Fighting Talk’. You do not need telling that he managed to direct a fair amount of the conversation to his upcoming events.
He is also making waves on social media. Thanks to consistently providing a volume of informal interviews with IFL TV, an account called ‘NoContextHearn’ has formed. It takes short clips of him saying or doing something funny (intentional or not) with appropriate captions. The page now has 364k followers.
Hearn’s face is now a regular occurrence on phone and laptop screens of the younger generation regardless of whether they follow boxing or not. Like the book and the podcast, this is increasing the number of people who know who he is and what he does. This can only help his ability to promote and sell the sport.
Personally, the promoter has 1 million Instagram followers and 997k twitter followers. This will grow. He has used it to push his goal of making a boxing video game. If he is able to get this done it will bring the names and faces of boxing to the TVs of potential fans of the sport. No other boxing promoter is doing things like this.
Hearn is pushing female boxing into the conversation. Under his planning and promotion Katie Taylor starred in the first female headlined boxing event. Terri Harper won a world title in a raucous Sheffield Arena in February this year on a Kell Brook headlined undercard. She now features on Advertisements for Sky Sports alongside Taylor.
Though this has listed a few of Hearn’s recent successes, the next few years may define him. His ability to deliver the fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world in 2021 will be just one of the many challenges he will face.
Questions remain on his ability to gain control of the politics on the other side of the pond in America. There is much tension between promoters in the States. However, Canelo asking Eddie ‘who’s next’ after dismantling Callum Smith indicates the Englishman is gaining ground.
Although it might annoy some fans to see Eddie Hearn increasingly at the centre of things, if he is able to dominate boxing’s politics, obstacles to make the fights people want to see will be removed. By no means all of them, but it will help. Boxing fans will be the winners. Hearn’s bank account won’t do too badly either. You already knew that though.