MIAMI – Eddie Hearn doesn’t expect Bob Arum’s antagonistic reaction to Hearn’s company bidding on the Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos Jr. lightweight championship match to negatively impact ongoing negotiations for the biggest fight in boxing.
Despite Arum’s controversial comments about Hearn on Thursday, Hearn still believes they’re close to finalizing a deal for the heavyweight title unification bout between British superstars Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. Hearn’s company, Matchroom Boxing, promotes Joshua and Arum’s Top Rank Inc. is Fury’s co-promoter.
“We’re in a good place,” Hearn told BoxingScene.com in reference to Joshua-Fury negotiations. “Bob’s not very happy, because we bid on the purse bid [Thursday]. But we’re in a good place and I don’t think it’ll be too long before we get an announcement on that fight. I believe an announcement of this fight is imminent.”
Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), the WBC champ, and Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs), the IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champ, are expected to fight twice as part of an agreement for the most meaningful match in British boxing history.
A frustrated Fury used the word “if” when discussing a Joshua fight in a story posted by ESPN.com on Wednesday. He would like to return to the ring in April or May against another opponent if they can’t come to an agreement for a showdown with Joshua in June.
Fury’s concerns notwithstanding, Hearn doesn’t think there’s anything that’ll prevent them from finalizing a deal sometime soon.
“I think Fury is antsy because it takes time,” Hearn said. “We’ve been going through the contract for two or three weeks, back and forth on bits and pieces. This is the biggest fight in boxing, so it’s not easy. But I think Tyson is just putting pressure on Top Rank to say, ‘Hurry up! Otherwise, give me another fight.’ ”
Fury, 32, hasn’t fought since he stopped previously undefeated Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) in the seventh round of their rematch last February 22 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Joshua, 31, made a mandatory defense of his IBF belt December 12, when he knocked out Bulgarian contender Kubrat Pulev (28-2, 14 KOs) in the ninth round at Wembley Arena in London. Joshua ended a one-year layoff when he fought Pulev.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.