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Eddie Hearn is the 2021 TSS Promoter of the Year

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  • Eddie Hearn is the 2021 TSS Promoter of the Year

    Click image for larger version  Name:	eddy.PNG Views:	4 Size:	482.3 KB ID:	20576

    By Sean Nam

    The running joke is that Eddie Hearn has never turned down an interview in his professional capacity as a boxing promoter. Watch Hearn work a teeming press pool: he will give as much time of day to the media greenhorn with a nervous stutter as to the grizzled veteran who calls him casually by his first name. For his critics – of whom there are many –Hearn’s openness to the press is simply a symptom of his irrepressible ego, that polished product of tony Essex privilege. To which Hearn, to paraphrase the 42-year-old promoter of Matchroom Boxing himself, would offer the rejoinder, “Sure, I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth – but it was I who turned it gold.” But if his ability to chum it up with every duffer with an iPhone Steadicam in his or her hand was all that he has to his name, Hearn would not be much worth talking about. In the end, talk is cheap, even in a sport like boxing that is perpetually bogged down in flimflam. Put up or shut up, as they say.

    On May 8, a crowd of 73,126 descended on the AT&T Center in Arlington, Texas to witness favorite Canelo Alvarez beat down Billy Joe Saunders inside eight rounds. As TSS editor Arne Lang pointed out, not only did the turnout in Arlington surpass the record for largest crowd to attend a sporting event in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it broke the record for the largest boxing crowd at an indoor venue in the country, previously held by Ali-Spinks II that took place 42 years ago at the Louisiana Superdome. The man behind the organization of this extravaganza – seemingly unthinkable within the current climate of austere lockdowns and fluctuating health protocols – was none other than Hearn. But Hearn was far from finished.

    Four months later, Hearn staged another tentpole event, this time across the Atlantic in his homeland of England. On Sept. 25, a crush of 66,267 partisan fans flocked to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London to see their countryman Anthony Joshua defend his heavyweight title against Oleksandr Usyk. The outcome went slightly awry for Hearn and Co., as Usyk – who, to be sure, is also under promotional contract with Hearn – had his hands raised that night, but the evening was yet another ringing indication of Hearn’s touch for creating memorable spectacles. In a pandemic year, two of Hearn’s events – on different continents, no less – drew nearly a collective 150,000 spectators. For this reason, Hearn is TSS’s 2021 Promoter of the Year.

    To suggest that Hearn only does what he does on the backs of commercial superstars like Canelo Alvarez and Anthony Joshua is only to state the obvious. No promoter is filling up a stadium with a fighter who couldn’t be identified out of a police lineup. Consider, instead, why fighters such as Joshua and Alvarez decide to align themselves with the garrulous Brit in the first place, and why, if his efforts are so unremarkable, other promoters are unable to manage similar turnouts for their own cards.

    Hearn has not been coy about his naked ambition. He has repeatedly stated that world domination is in his sights. “I’m looking to take complete control of boxing globally,” Hearn recently said in an interview with Boxing Social. “That’s my plan. I’m telling you my plan. Now, maybe it might be more strategic to go in more quietly, but that’s just not me. And I wouldn’t be as big as we are if I didn’t have that bullish attitude, to go in and try to dominate.” The past year is evidence that this dream continues to materialize in reality.

    That’s not to say that the past year had no bumpy travails. On the contrary. his broadcast partner, DAZN, has suffered a major fallout in its attempt to establish itself in the cutthroat American sporting market. Recall that the last time Hearn earned TSS’s Promoter of the Year designation was in 2018, when he had announced a deal worth up to a billion dollars with the newfangled streaming service. That thrill has long since gone. The former president of DAZN, John Skipper, admitted to this writer in November that the very idea of opening up such an aggressive US operation was a “miscalculation.” But in a sly move that shielded them from bad PR, DAZN and Hearn simply pivoted their focus to the British market, announcing in June that they had struck a “game-changing” five-year deal. Here, the results were far more consequential, as it signaled, among other things, the end of media old guard Sky’s involvement with Hearn.

    The ability to continually adjust on the fly is the mark of a nimble-minded promoter. Never one to turn down a potential source of revenue, Hearn has plans in place to bolster his promotional presence in Australia. In addition, Hearn is perhaps the promoter with the deepest relationship with the moneyed environs of Dubai, increasingly the unofficial boxing capital of the world. Not even Bob Arum, who has long talked up his plans for foreign expansion, has ever figured out the Dubai equation. Dubai, moreover, is a possible destination for the ballyhooed Joshua-Usyk rematch in 2022.

    Although his British Invasion in America did not go as planned, so long as Hearn maintains close ties to Alvarez, he will always have an ace in his hand. And while his company is not known for developing its young talent, Hearn may have something special with welterweight hard-hitter Conor Benn. The son of middleweight powerhouse Nigel Benn, the flashy 25 year old emerged this past year as a promising candidate to carry British boxing into the post-‘AJ’ era. That may be Hearn’s biggest test on the cloudy horizon.

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel
    Last edited by AcidArne; 12-30-2021, 08:01 AM.

  • #2
    Easy one................


    • #3
      Well at least giving this award to "Eddie it will not go to his head...........


      • #4
        If Eddie is secretly a jerk he hides it well from reporters.

        Unlike other less social, more cantankerous barkers.