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Exclusive Barry Hearn Interview: Fury fighting Ngannou is a just money making decision; AJ title fight is on the agenda if he beats Wilder

Barry Hearn
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In an exclusive interview with BettingSites.co.uk, legendary sports promoter Barry Hearn gives his opinion on influencer boxing and also the current heavyweight scene.

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Interview Highlights:

  • Fury fighting Ngannou is a money making decision
  • AJ title fight is on the agenda if he beats Wilder
  • Influencer boxing will be a detriment to the sport in the long term
  • ‘Just Stop Oil’ protests are a suicide to their own cause

Full Transcript

Question: What’s your view on Tyson Fury’s decision to fight Francis Ngannou rather than an actual boxer?

Barry Hearn: “It’s a money making decision. It’s an exhibition fight so there’s nothing to lose and no titles on the line. He’s going to get extremely well paid so I say good luck to him. It’s not something that I will watch with any great enthusiasm but then I’m probably old school and I like to watch proper boxing. If anyone’s making a living in these troubled times I say good luck to them.”

Question: Will Anthony Joshua get his chance at a title again? 

Barry Hearn: “I think it will be on the agenda. That’s not a gimme. If he’s got Deontay Wilder next then that’s a toss of the coin fight for both fighters. They should be applauded for taking that fight and entertaining us and the winner of that fight will definitely get a shot at the titles. But that’s a big if. Who knows who will win that but what I do know is that everyone will be watching it and that’s the name of the game.” 

Question: What is your view of influencer boxing?

Barry Hearn: “It leaves me cold really. It’s not for me but that doesn’t mean to say it’s not for another bunch of kids. It comes under that rule; if that’s how you can make a living and you can get away with it then good luck to you. It’s not for me to watch but I do know a lot of people who follow it because it’s a young social media market. It may well be that it’s to the detriment of boxing in the long term because sport is about respect and respecting the ability of individuals. Boxing has always been held in very high esteem and this may slightly detract from that because it brings in people that think that’s real boxing when of course it’s not.”

Question: Do you agree with Eddie that boxing needs to distance itself from influencer fights?

Barry Hearn: “I don’t blame them for doing it. I blame us for watching it.”

Question: What do you make of the latest Just Stop Oil protests at sporting events? 

Barry Hearn: “I find it really weird. I’m sure in today’s world that they have an argument that we should listen to but they way they’re going about it is suicide for their cause. People don’t want their ordinary lives disturbed. They’re quite happy to listen to reasoned arguments but actually the type of protests we’re seeing in sport alienates more people from their cause than draws to their cause. I think it’s a complete miscalculation on their part alienating people which is to their detriment and it’s stupid. If they’ve got a good cause let them advance it through normal channels. When they caused trouble at the Crucible it just ruined people’s nights. It didn’t say ‘Just Stop Oil’ did it? It just looked like people just trying to be the centre of attention and that doesn’t make you friends.”

Barry Hearn

Barry Hearn OBE is a sports promoter and founder of Matchroom Sport, in which he is also the president. Because of Matchroom, Hearn was involved in a variety of sports including Snooker, Darts, Bowling and Golf. Hearn has also once the chairman of Leyton Orient FC, Professional Darts Corporation and the World Professional Billards and Snooker Association.