Eddie Hearn is adamant that the cloud cast by a recent BBC documentary about the involvement of influential advisor Daniel Kinahan in boxing will do nothing to damage the sport.
Hearn is back in ‘the bubble’ after more than nine weeks without a show on these shores due to the winter spike of Covid-19 which forced the British Boxing Board of Control to call a halt to all competition for January.
During the break, a BBC Panorama programme looked at the involvement of Kinahan, who has been named in Irish courts as the head of a prominent drugs cartel, in boxing.
He was last year named by Tyson Fury as the man who initially brokered the as-yet unconfirmed megafight with Anthony Joshua while a slew of major figures from the boxing world have come out in support of him since Panorama aired.
Despite the allegations against him, Kinahan has no convictions and he released a statement via Talksport which denied any links to criminal activity while also confirming he continues to be involved in “planning multiple record-breaking and exciting world title fights”.
Now Hearn, who was pictured alongside Kinahan during the documentary, has conceded that the whole issue is not good news for boxing but insists it will do no lasting damage or make him think twice about the advisors he deals with.
“Firstly anything that is negative towards the sport of boxing is not great and we’ve talked about how we’ve been growing the sport during the pandemic and how it’s in a great place,” said Hearn, who kicks off a run of 12 shows in eight weeks in seven different countries at Wembley this Saturday.
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“The [Kinahan] story itself, we experienced it last year, when Tyson Fury came out and thanked his advisor. We will work with whoever we are told to work with by a fighter who we are trying to make a fight with. In that case, Daniel Kinahan was advising Tyson Fury.
“Because of the furore, he stepped back from that position and all our conversations are with Bob Arum but it has highlighted that he represents other fighters and has been an advisor for some time.
“I think that what the documentary did was open the story up to a bigger audience but everybody in boxing knew the story last year. I don’t think it taught us anything new and I think that ‘alleged’ is the right word to use here.
“I say negativity and bad press is never good for a sport but I believe the sport is in a fantastic place. I think you’ve seen comments from other fighters and fighters that he represents as well. To be honest we are so focused on continuing the growth of the sport that right now we are in a fantastic place.
“We are so focused on making the fights, we do not have any say over who a fighter appoints to represent him. We shouldn’t, by the way, because it’s a conflict of interest for us.
“I do feel that there has always been people who want to stop the progression of boxing and say ‘boxing is finished’ or ‘this is the end of boxing’. But boxing is in the best place it has ever been, globally.
“Of course we want to ride this out, keep the positivity and the momentum of the sport so for me, we want to make the biggest fights and fighters will appoint people to represent them. Whilst that is the case and whilst these advisors are operating, that’s what will continue to happen within the sport.”
Meanwhile, Hearn says talks remain ongoing to make the world heavyweight unification fight between his client Joshua, the WBA, WBO and IBF champion, and WBC king Fury but says the global pandemic has made securing even an appropriate country to host the clash complicated.
He added: “A lot of the dates now do depend on the Covid situation because originally we wanted it to happen in May but now we feel like June is a safer option. Different countries are at different stages. Some countries are in lockdown, some are open.
“Saudi Arabia are in lockdown but they are staging major events behind closed doors. I believe they plan to open up in March but you just don’t know what’s going to happen.
“Las Vegas will be opening back up in May and it would be a huge opportunity for them to get the biggest fight in boxing. Singapore, Qatar, Abu-Dhabi, Dubai. All these countries want to stage this fight.
“I wouldn’t mind a trip to Vegas in June, I think it would be a great home for the fight, but we can’t ignore the seismic offers from other areas of the world.
“All I can say is we’re finalising the minor details and nothing major that we see is going to stop this fight from happening.
“There’s no danger that this isn’t the next fight. I don’t know what we’d do if we don’t fight Tyson Fury. Everyone is so focused to get this over the line.”
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