Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren remain rivals, but the apparent acrimony and beef is now gone as they work together to bring big-time boxing back to the fore of the news agenda.
The two British promotional behemoths have enjoyed an entertaining (for fans) back and forth in recent years, despite apparently having never met until recently.
Now though they are collaborating on enormous fights as the massive Saudi investment in the fight game plays out in ‘Riyadh Season’.
That massive ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in December, featuring Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, saw the British promoters happily smiling together, and sitting down together for big interviews. Unthinkable a few months ago.
The latest interview was a big sit-down with the DAZN cameras – 16 minutes of fascinating conversation, with some terrific questions.
The first question of all was a beauty – both men were asked which of the other’s fighters they would love to promote.
Hearn on the Warren fighter he loves
Hearn was first to answer, and while he later joked “Tyson Fury as well”, the man he plumped for is not a huge household name yet. It was tiny Liverpool featherweight Nick Ball (19-0).
Ball was terrific in defeating Isaac Dogboe via decision last December, and next up will challenge Rey Vargas for the WBC featherweight title on the Joshua vs Ngannou undercard on March 8.
Hearn said: “I like Nick Ball. Very very entertaining Scouse fighter – I think he’s gonna get his shot soon at a big fight. Yeah, I like watching Nick Ball.”
So which Matchroom fighter would Warren plump for? He went for a slightly bigger name.
“I think Bivol’s there isn’t he. Bivol and Beterbiev – get that one.”
The fact Hearn and Warren are able to work together now is down to the massive Saudi investment led by General Entertainment Authority Chairman Turki Alalshikh.
Hearn used a video game analogy to explain what is happening right now, saying: “For me, I likened it to Championship Manager. You know like if you’re a mad fan and you’ve got the possibility to create what you want, that’s not possible in the real world, it’s a little bit like that.”
The incredible fights in Saudi will continue to come thick and fast in the coming months, with Joshua vs Ngannou next up on March 8.
Then we get the rescheduled world heavyweight title unification showdown pitting Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk on May 18. Then Beterbiev vs Bivol for all of the light-heavyweight marbles on June 1.
That June 1 card of course will also feature that much-hyped 5 vs 5 Hearn vs Warren showdown.