Eddie Hearn on Saudis changing boxing, working with Warren and insane zombie trailer

This is an incredible time for the sport of boxing – and who better to provide the lowdown on exactly how it happened than Eddie Hearn.

In the next three months we will see some of the best shows ever put together by professional promoters, and many of the fights we’ve waited years to see. Astonishing stuff as Riyadh Season, masterminded by Turki Alalshikh, literally changes the sport overnight.

On December 23 in Riyadh, we get ‘The Day of Reckoning’ with Anthony Joshua facing Otto Wallin and Deontay Wilder locking horns with Joseph Parker on a star-studded show.

Then comes the main course on February 17, 2024 when it is Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk in that eagerly-awaited world heavyweight title unification match. With the sport set to crown its first undisputed heavyweight king since the great Lennox Lewis way back in 1999.

If all that wasn’t enough, we now appear to have a pretty nice dessert on the menu. Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder on March 9 – if both men are victorious in those December 23 bouts.

Saudis bring Hearn and Warren together

Matchroom supremo Hearn is at the centre of the whole thing, working with the Saudis to bring it to life, and also working with arch rival Frank Warren. This is uncharted territory, and a massive win for fight fans. So how did it all happen?

Hearn started by using the insane trailer for that ‘Day of Reckoning’ card as a reference point – complete with himself, Joshua, Wilder, Warren et al as ZOMBIES.

Speaking on Matchroom’s YouTube channel, he said: “The promo that we shot last week was the strangest, the most exciting, the most creative for sure and definitely the most expensive, promo that I’ve ever been part of. I think we’re all excited when boxing receives this amount of investment and interest and passion.

“I know a lot of people talk in their comments about thanking His Excellency and Turki Alalshikh – but this is someone that is bringing a real fresh approach to the sport.”

The much-publicised Hearn/Warren divide has been an underlying boxing narrative in recent years, but recently they sat at the same table as that incredible Riyadh card was conceived, and then when it was announced. Hearn again paid tribute to the Saudis for making it happen.

“To bring people together, to bring promoters together that really don’t like each other – just because we’re working with each other don’t mean we’re gonna share mince pies on Boxing Day. But we all care about the sport, and we all see an opportunity for our fighters and our business – and for the sport – to do something different.

“And to see it get that kind of attention and investment, in terms of the promotion of the event, again you talk about DAZN, you talk about Amazon, this is alerting broadcasters and the world to the potential of our sport.

“When we get it right, and when we sell the narrative, and when we’re creative enough to engage the audience, for me it’s the greatest sport in the world.”

‘Day of Reckoning’ too much?

While that December 23 card is dripping with top-level action, even Hearn himself believes it might be too much. But that doesn’t mean he believes it’s a bad thing.

“‘The Day of Reckoning’ is a card, I look at the card and I think that it’s probably got four fights too many. But congratulations, from top to bottom it’s an incredible night of boxing. And the future of the sport under that kind of investment, there are no boundaries to how great it can be. It’s a night I can’t wait for.”

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