By Terence Dooley
Eddie Hearn has admitted that he overpaid IBF holder Charles Martin when bringing the then-undefeated American over to the UK in May 2016 to defend his belt against Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs).
Hearn has told the The Mirror that they took an educated gamble in order to get “AJ” on the world title trail after Tyson Fury’s self-imposed sabbatical and subsequent battle against the UKAD led to the fragmentation of the titles that he won by beating Wladimir Klitschko on points in November 2015.
“We paid Martin an absolute fortune? Something like that,” admitted Hearn when analysing what he believes is both his “best and worst” deal. “You look back and think, 'It's the worst deal, he got ironed out in two rounds', and Josh will sometimes say, 'Cor, what we paid Charles Martin'. But then I say, 'Mate, it hasn't worked out too badly, has it?' In terms of Joshua, it was the best deal—it's all about moving at the right time.”
Joshua has subsequently snatched up the WBA World and IBO titles, and the 28-year-old also ended the career of Klitschko after stopping him in round 11 of a dramatic, up-and-down encounter.
New Zealand-based WBO holder Joseph Parker looks to be next in line as Joshua bids to ensure that he holds all the aces if and when they finally sit down to negotiate a fight date with Fury, who intends to make a comeback in 2018 after settling his case with the UKAD prior to applying for a new licence with the BBBoC.
“The Parker deal might not look like a good deal at the time, but it might turn out like Charles Martin,” added Hearn.
“Everyone looks at the Martin deal and says, 'You paid [him a fortune, now pay us a fortune]. But the game has changed completely...Parker's the first one and [WBC holder Deontay] Wilder is the next one. That really is the plan for 2018.”
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