By Keith Idec
If the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury fight produces impressive ticket and pay-per-view revenue, Eddie Hearn is willing to offer Wilder a larger purse split for a heavyweight title unification showdown against Anthony Joshua.
Hearn, whose company promotes Joshua, continues to state that he wants Joshua to fight Wilder on April 13 at Wembley Stadium in London.
Skeptics suspect Hearn merely is saying what needs to be said and actually intends to match Joshua against Dillian Whyte if Whyte wins his rematch versus Dereck Chisora on December 22 at O2 Arena in London.
Regardless, Hearn emphasized during an interview this week with BoxingScene.com that he isn’t impressed with what he knows thus far about ticket sales for the Wilder-Fury card December 1 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“They’ve only sold 8,000 tickets in a 19,000 arena,” Hearn told BoxingScene.com. “They haven’t even opened the top tier. That’s how big their drawing power is. We’ll see how the pay-per-view numbers do. If they’re big names, they’ll do a million buys.”
Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Fury (27-0, 19 KOs), of Manchester, England, will headline a Showtime Pay-Per-View event three weeks from Saturday night. The 33-year-old Wilder will defend his WBC heavyweight title versus Fury, who’s considered the lineal heavyweight champion because he didn’t lose the four titles he won from Wladimir Klitschko in the ring.
The battle between these unbeaten heavyweights will test their drawing power because neither Wilder nor Fury has headlined a pay-per-view show in the United States.
“I’ve said it before – if they do a million buys and show us that they are a draw,” Hearn said, “then we have to accept that and we have to say, ‘No, fair play. You’re bringing a lot to the table.’ At the moment, all I’m seeing is empty seats in the Staples arena. And that’s not a good look with three weeks to go before the supposed biggest fight in the heavyweight division.”
Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) – the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO champion – is the most proven ticket-seller in boxing. The British superstar has drawn crowds in excess of 75,000 for each of his past four fights – two apiece at Wembley Stadium and Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Tickets to boxing matches in the United Kingdom, where the sport has become immensely popular, typically are much cheaper than in the United States. Tickets to the Wilder-Fury card range in price from $77-$1,553.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.