The bad blood is still there between promoters Eddie Hearn and Bob Arum following the instant disintegration of the proposed Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua 4-belt heavyweight title unification.
Despite strong buzz that the big-money bout was a done deal, booked for Saudi Arabia and funded with Saudi money, and despite quotes to media from both Hearn and Fury that it was signed, things fell apart quickly after an arbitrator ruled that former WBC champ Deontay Wilder had the right to next dibs on Fury.
Wilder, who was stopped by Fury in their February 2020 clash, had a rematch clause in his contract that he activated shortly after the loss. Fury co-promoter ,Arum, felt that the clause was null and void after an injury to Wilder and Covid-19 pandemic restrictions kept the rematch from happening for over a year. Under that assumption, Fury-Joshua talks progressed and, reportedly, led to the deal being made.
The arbitrator, however, declared that Wilder’s rematch clause was still legal and binding.
That ruling led to Fury disengaging from the Joshua bout and quickly signing on to face Wilder in a part 3 of their saga this coming July 24. It also led to plenty of bad blood between rival promoters and a good amount of finger pointing.
“Eddie Hearn has diarrhea of the mouth,” Arum recently told FightHype.com. “He can’t stop talking and he doesn’t think. Because in the contract, which Joshua signed and Fury signed, we specifically had a section talking about the arbitration and talking about the possibility that the arbitrator would order [Fury] to fight [Wilder next]. So, everybody knew about that. Now, people said, ‘Oh, the papers are clear. The arbitrator will never rule that way.’ But it’s not a secret that it was in arbitration and that this was a possibility.
“Now, Eddie Hearn was the guy who screwed everything up…And the reason he screwed it up was the Saudis were happy to pay a tremendous amount as a site fee. Eddie got greedy and said, ‘Pay a bigger amount and take all the television and everything.’ And all the promoters, Frank Warren, ourselves, had deals [with television networks]. It became so complicated that it dragged on for weeks.
“I truly believe that if it had just been a site fee, we would’ve signed it, we would’ve announced the fight, and the arbitrator, if he felt the way he did, would’ve given Wilder, some damages, but wouldn’t have adjourned the fight. But again, that’s all in retrospect. But Eddie should shut up and stop blaming other people. Instead, he would be well-advised to shut his mouth and look in the mirror.”
Obviously, this didn’t sit well with Eddie Hearn. The UK promoter fired back at the accusations with predictable consternation, calling into question the honesty of Arum’s claims.
“This is a guy, he is unquestionably the greediest man I have ever met in my life, Bob Arum,” Hearn told IFL.tv.
“But it’s all very strange, just to put it into perspective; we asked for a deal from Saudi, with the approval of all the parties of what they wanted. ‘Are you happy to accept this number? ‘Yes, go and ask them for that Eddie’. I went and asked them for that, they said yes.
“There was no going back for more money or give them TV, it was all agreed between the parties. He is talking absolute s***.”
Hearn is now set on moving on, with an Anthony Joshua-Oleksandr Usyk bout reportedly close to being finalized and announced. He says he has no plans to revisit Fury-Joshua negotiations until after the Usyk fight is signed, sealed, and delivered. But one gets the feeling that, even after that, talks will not proceed so smoothly this second time around.