Hearn on why UK fighters are coming to America


Eddie HearnEddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport is the leading promoter out of the United Kingdom. When you talk about support for the sport, you can say the United Kingdom support the sport of boxing unlike no other. But as the sport changes, Hearn says he expects to see a lot of UK fighters head to the United States to box, especially with the formulation of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions. Hearn spoke with ESPN UK on this topic.

On why UK fighters are going to America:

“The fighters that have pay-per-view potential will want to remain in the UK because it’s the most lucrative model in boxing unless you are on pay-per-view in America, which is unlikely. Particularly at the lower weights, someone like Lee Selby, someone like Jamie McDonnell, who we are trying to work in the PBC right now, it’s a great opportunity for them. Lee is a great example of where he’s going to make more money boxing abroad.”

On how UK fighters may deal with fighting in front of smaller crowds:

“The atmosphere in the arena is very different. When he (Selby) is in Phoenix on a Wednesday night it is going to be very difficult and different to boxing at the O2 Arena in London in front of thousands, but you can’t ignore the money that is available, and it was significantly more than what was available here. The money is coming from investment. It’s a risky model, and it’s an aggressive model because they are trying to change the face of boxing. Time will tell if the model will work long term but at the moment there are a lot of fighters who want to take advantage of it, and there are some good fights being made. Maybe it’s a shame for British fans that some will be boxing in the States more but that’s life. Until we build boxing to a level where the rights fees increase and we are able to compete, it’s what it is.”

Not everyone will migrate though:

It depends upon your position. If you are Anthony Joshua, you’ve got pay-per-view in the palm of your for the rest of your career it doesn’t apply but if you are someone like Lee or Jamie, it’s a no-brainer. For me where the fighter can earn the most amount of money, it’s my obligation to take that. Kell Brook is in a position where he’s a pay-per-view fighter now. Why should he go to America, why can’t we have those fights here? I want the Tim Bradley fight in Sheffield. I want the Amir Khan fight at Wembley. I don’t really him want to go to America for those.”

Boxing and PBC expanding more globally:

“What’s happening in America is a freak. What we have seen in the UK is the rebirth of boxing, boxing has become sexy again. I’ve got people, brands, and sponsors saying they want to get involved in boxing and for years we couldn’t give away boxing sponsorship. Now it’s sexy again, and brands want to get involved. Before the PBC boxing in America wasn’t really an option and in some cases it’s the right thing to do now. I think long-term you will probably see some PBC stuff over here as well, probably with us. They have a market to crack in America first, and then I guess they would expand into other territories.”