By Tris Dixon
MATCHROOM boxing boss Eddie Hearn could announce more signings to his US roster as early as next week but aims to add a further 12 names in the next three or four months.
Over the last few years, Hearn has often told reporters that he’s “just getting started,” be it after his first big pay-per-view show, filling Wembley Stadium or announcing a marquee signing.
Now, he says he has started in the UK, but despite the lavish DAZN press conference on Tuesday there are much better things to come in the United States.
“We’ve started now here [in the UK],” Hearn said to BoxingScene.com on the turf of Wembley Stadium.
“We’ve not started in America, nowhere near starting. We’re going to cause nightmares, because everyone wants us to fail, just like they did here, but they have to understand we’re not like that. We haven’t got that mentality. We are resilient, we are absolutely ruthless, we won’t stop and we’ve got a team of people behind us who have a bottomless pit of money who will back us to the heavens. We’ve got eight years to make it work.”
Hearn, who unveiled his opening roster in New York said he was “very happy” with the start, but said it was just that, the beginning.
“We live in a world where people say, ‘Ah, he didn’t get Charlo or Spence.’ Calm down, we’ve just had seven or eight weeks. We’ve signed three world champions, we’ve signed a number one middleweight in Andrade, we’ve signed a top three welterweight in Vargas, we’ve signed a load of really good amateurs… I’m really pleased with the start. It’s enabling us to go in and make other fights and bring fighters to the platform," Hearn explained.
"So, for example, when we sit down with Mikey Garcia, he says, ‘Who have you got for me to fight?’ ‘You’ve got Maurice Hooker, for the WBO light-welterweight title and you can fight Jessie Vargas, up at welterweight if you’re talking about a Spence fight.’ Beterbiev… We can go to Bivol now and say, ‘Let’s have a unification.’ Kovalev, bring those on board. That’s part of the plan, to assemble not just one or two fighters but a group of fighters that you can match within each other. It’s not really about assembling a stable, although that’s important. It’s about assembling a fight card, and that’s why you can see we are working with Roc Nation, we’re working with Thompson Boxing, Zanfer… Loads of different promoters.
“People seem to think we had that announcement yesterday and that’s it. That’s it now. This is our team, see you in two years. There are contracts out with another dozen fighters and even since the launch, everything that we do that makes this look more real and the fact that it’s happening makes people more confident to make the move. Look at Jessie Vargas. He’s made a move. He’s a Showtime fighter, he just drew with Broner – I think he beat Broner – on massive ratings on Showtime. He could rematch Broner, there are massive fights out there for him and he’s chosen to come with us, he’s made that leap of faith. So the fact that he’s done it, other people will say, ‘Jessie Vargas has done it…’”
Asked what the feedback has been since the initial announcements, Hearn said that some had been impressed while others had told him that “they still need that star name.”
“Very true,” he admitted. “But again, it’s not, ‘This is our team, we’re shut, we’re closing the doors’. We’re out there actively talking to Mikey Garcia, talking to the Charlos and we can pay them more money than them [competitors]. We did also announce that Anthony Joshua is part of the platform as well, the biggest star in world boxing, so it was a bit of a coup for them [DAZN].”
The night before Hearn lined his new signings up in Manhattan, Jermell Charlo tweeted ‘Nyc’ and many started putting two and two together. Hearn tried to get a meeting but they could not work out a time.
“The thing is we’re getting so much resistance from advisers and networks which is really good news, because it means they’re concerned,” Hearn added. “So at the moment fighters are being told that their promoters or advisors will match our offer and they will give them three fights a year as well. And when they realise they’re not going to, that’s when things will happen even quicker for us.”
The promoter rated Tuesday’s presser as “a 10 out of 10” as an event, gave his signings a 10 out of 10 each individually but says his current roster sits at about an eight of 10.
“In terms of the stable I want to build, there’s along way to go,” he said, before adding that there will be more names, and they could be unveiled imminently.
“[It could be] Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday… We’re going to sign another 12 fighters in the next three or four months. We’re coming, and they’re not going to be able to stop us because they couldn’t stop us here [in the UK]. “