Charlie Edwards will make his return to the ring in April, sixth months after giving up the WBC flyweight title because of weight-making problems, but his next fight will not be promoted by Eddie Hearn, as Edwards’ deal with Hearn’s Matchroom company has expired.
The 26-year-old has not boxed since August, when he retained his world title despite via a no-contest after he was knocked out by a punch on the floor against Julio Cesar Martinez at the O2 Arena, London, last August. The Mexican went on to win the vacant title in December and makes a first defence on February 29 (both on Hearn shows), but Edwards has not been back in the ring.
Hearn has been Edwards’s promoter since he turned professional, but when he returns in April at York Hall in London, it will be on an MTK Global show, which will be screened live in the United States on ESPN+.
“I’m out of contract now with Eddie Hearn, but I believe he still wants to work with me,” said Edwards, who was speaking at the launch of the MTK Academy.
“I have got a lot of offers on the table. But I want to get back to winning ways and MTK, my management team, have offered me a show and I have jumped at it.
“It’s going to be great because York Hall is my old stomping ground, I have fought their lots of times. And then we will see what is the biggest offer on the table.”
The fight in April is expected to be made at 117lb, although Edwards intends to push for another title shot at super-flyweight, where he is rated at No 3 by the WBC. He said he was horribly weight-drained for the Martinez fight and views the early finish as something of a blessing as he now believes he could have been hurt.
“The morning of the weigh-in, I was a skeleton,” Edwards said. “I got maybe an hour of sleep, I was dry and my body was on survival mode. I couldn’t even rest because my body was overcooking. It was really horrible, it was dangerous and a bad head space to be in. My coach was thinking of pulling me out.
“But the next day I did feel all right. Obviously, I wasn’t all right, but you blag yourself. It probably was a blessing I disguise what happened on the night, because had I gone another nine rounds, who knows where my health might have been at. I knew from the first punches that bounced off my head in the ring that I wasn’t right.
“That’s why I decided to go for it in the third round. Then I got caught and was hit on the floor.”
After referee Mark Lyson counted out Edwards, Martinez was initially announced as the winner, before Mauricio Sulaiman, the WBC president, overturned the result and declared it a no-contest, meaning that Edwards kept the title.
“I didn’t want to retain the title like that and with the backlash of it all, everyone attacked me,” Edwards said. “I got a lot of hate on social media.”
However, Edwards said that Lyson called him to say sorry after missing what was a blatant foul.
“Fair play to him, he phoned me a week later apologising and was nearly in tears on the phone,” Edwards said. “It was his first world title fight, mistakes happen, it’s a sport, no one has died.”
“But that might have saved me. I realised when I re-evaluated, I realised there was no way I could make that weight again. I’m 5ft 7in, so I am big for the weight and it wasn’t worth putting my health on the line.
“We may meet again at another weight in the future. He’s a great fighter and if we meet again it would be a legacy fight.
“I will show how bad I was at the weight with my performance in my next fight and then we will see what comes up.”