Sunday 19 January 2020

Hearn sees this is Joshua's 'breakout night'

Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua

Eddie Hearn believes Saturday's fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr represents the "breakout night" for not only the world heavyweight champion but also for Matchroom USA.

Since re-establishing Matchroom as a major promotional force in the UK, Hearn has come under increasing pressure after expanding into the US, where he has received significant financial backing by streaming service DAZN.

If the more rewarding option was to pursue boxing's most influential market, it will perhaps permanently remain politically sensitive.

Hearn had been given the monopoly of the boxing content of Sky Sports, with whom he has a long-term relationship, but their demands and those of DAZN will occasionally be in conflict and he is also at risk of being expected to deliver too much.

Largely owing to resistance from the US' established boxing powers, Hearn and DAZN are yet to have the influence they had hoped, but by bringing the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion to New York's Madison Square Garden, he believes Joshua excelling will prove the start of a run of success.

After the retirements of Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson, heavyweight boxing had lost its appeal in the US until Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury, but it is Joshua who is considered the world's leading heavyweight and it is hoped that his US debut could make a wider mark.

"This is a major moment for Matchroom USA," Hearn said.

"It's very, very important - selling out The Garden for the world heavyweight championship is why I've invested a lot of money in the card.

"This is ours, and Joshua's, breakout night in the US."

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