Eddie Hearn was pretty excited last Saturday night about his heavyweight prospects Alen Babic (6-0, 6 KOs) and Fabio Wardley (10-0, 9 KOs), after the two of them scored impressive knockouts in their respective fights at the Wembley Arena in London, UK.
(Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing)
Babic, 30, destroyed Tom Little (10-9, 3 KOs) by a third-round knockout after putting him down in the third round in an interesting contest.
For his part, Wardley took care of Richard Lartey (14-4, 11 KOs) in stopping him with a right to the head in the second round.
Hearn isn’t happy about all the criticism that Babic has recently by boxing fans and fighters, who question why this unknown heavyweight is being given opportunities by Matchroom that arguably more deserving fighters should be getting.
For example, Hearn recently chose not to re-sign Michael Hunter, a heavyweight that would likely destroy Babic and Wardley.
Hearn says the reason why he gives Babic a chance to fight on his cards is he’s “entertaining,” both inside and outside the ring. Babic has a “personality.”
With Hearn losing Dave Allen to retirement recently, he needed a replacement fighter to take his spot. Babic is clearly that guy. He’s perhaps a little bit better than Allen, but he matches him with his ability to entertain and give a good quote.
Hearn: Babic destroyed Little
“How many fights as he’s had? Seven” Eddie Hearn said about Alen Babic. “The thing is people keep asking questions, and he keeps breezing through them.
“Do you know one thing that p**** me off, it’s moaners. And I’ve seen fighters moaning about Alen Babic, saying, ‘Oh, do you know what?
“I can’t understand this, Babic. He ain’t even that good. Why is he getting these opportunities?’ Why? Because he’s f**** entertaining.
“Go on Twitter now; he’s still trending now #4 or #5. People love to watch exciting fighters trying to knock people spark out, especially heavyweights, especially small heavyweights with personality and with a game in and out of the ring.
“This is called the entertainment business. Stop moaning on your chair that this bloke is getting opportunities when he’s going in there, he’s creating noise, he’s expressing his personality, and he’s f**** knocking people out.
“Tom Little was bang up for it, and he absolutely walked through him. I thought that was impressive with Babic.
“He’s never going to be the neatest, cutest heavyweight in the world. But mate, after three rounds of nonstop action, he wasn’t even breathing,” Hearn said of Babic.
“But when there’s a big heavyweight in there that can punch, we’re going to find out more. But for now, give him credit.
“When he boxed Shawndell Winters. ‘Oh, this is a big step up.’ He bulldozed him. When he boxed Nial Kennedy, ‘this could be interesting.’ Bulldozed. And when he boxed Tom Little, loads of people were texting me today, boxing people, talking, ‘I really fancy Tom Little tonight.’
“He absolutely smashed him to pieces, and Tom was as fit as a fiddle. You can’t take that unless you can land back and put a dent in him and hurt him, and Tom couldn’t do it.
“I’d like to see Tom get a win, but it’s hard to get a run out when you’ve had those defeats. He could fight a British heavyweight and get a win.
“He put a lot into that fight. I was actually quite nervous about that fight. I like Tom Little, but he wasn’t good enough tonight,” said Hearn.
Babic got the better of Little by having the superior engine, and he wasn’t going to let up on him once he hurt him in the third. Little was trying hard, but he was lost after he gassed out in the third round.
Wardley’s knockout of Lartey was legitimate
“I think some on the gloves and some on the side of the head,” Hearn said about Fabio Wardley’s second-round knockout in over Richard Lartey.
“If you actually watched the clip of 20 seconds before, he hurt him [Lartey] badly with a jab, and you could see Lartey go backward.
“I don’t think it was the cleanest shot in the world, but he was absolutely poleaxed. What people at home don’t get to see is him here, him walking back, and him in the changing room.
“So unless he’s going in for an oscar in 2020, he was badly hurt. So again, I’ve seen the shot from many different angles.
“People have sent me with half hitting his gloves and a half hitting his face. All I can say is he was absolutely poleaxed. I thought it was an impressive performance from Fabio Wardley because, in the first round, he looked really lively.
“Lartey was trying to knock him out, and he looked like he may have hurt him once or maybe buzzed him. Fabio might deny it, but I think it was a really impressive performance.
Gorman labored to a 10 round points decision, and Dubois had a good fight with him over four rounds. I think there’s a lot of people with agendas who say, ‘He took a dive; he didn’t hit him properly.’ But I thought it was an impressive performance [from Wardley],” said Hearn.
The condition that Lartey was in after the fight showed clearly that he wasn’t faking when he got knocked out by Wardley. He was badly shaken from the knockout.
It was impressive to see Wardley knockout Lartey quicker than Daniel Dubois did.
Hearn wants Wardley to fight for the British title
“If you watch the fight back and see the jab land ten seconds before, he was clearly hurt,” Hearn said of Lartey. “The shot that hit him around the side of the head; it didn’t look like he went down easy.
“It looked like he went down like a sack of spuds, and awkwardly as well. He went over almost on his legs. Make up your own decisions.
“If the board thinks there was anything untoward, I don’t think so, and I’ve been around him all week. He’s been telling me all week that he’s going to win, and I’m going to sign him.
“And before he walked out, he said, ‘This is it, I’m going to do it.’ He ring walked like he was Muhammad Ali. So I don’t think he wanted to lose the fight. So in that respect, no.
“I’d love him to fight for the British world title,” said Hearn about Fabio Wardley. “Before Dave [Allen] retired, that was the fight that we were looking to make.
“So whoever the board wants to put him in for the British title, then he’ll be ready to go,” said Hearn.
We’ll see who the BBBofC picks for Wardley to take on for the British title. One can’t help thinking that Wardley would be better off aspiring to more than just fighting for the British strap next.
With Wardley’s heavy hands, he’s capable of doing a lot more than fighting for the British strap against someone that he can beat easily.