Promoter Eddie Hearn has important matters at middleweight to deal with at the moment – namely his fighter Kell Brook’s audacious challenge for the world title against Gennady Golovkin tonight at The O2 – but the Matchroom boss is also working on the next fight for IBF heavyweight ruler Anthony Joshua. Joshua, 17-0(17) will fight in Manchester on November 26th, but so far Hearn has not been able to nail down the opponent.
Speaking with The Express, Hearn said that all three shortlisted challengers: Kubrat Pulev, Bermane Stiverne and IBF mandatory challenger Joseph Parker, are asking for “a fortune.” As a result, Hearn admits it’s been hard getting the opponent nailed down.
“They all want a fortune,” Hearn said. “We’re having to pay a lot of money for opponents. Pulev’s the most likely but he’s not jumping out of his seat to take the fight.”
Pulev, the reigning European heavyweight champion, would likely provide Joshua with a tough test, but does the Bulgarian really want the fight? Stiverne might be angling for a good deal as he has a fight with Alexander Povetkin, for the WBC interim title, in the works, so maybe the former champ is looking to see which fight will best reward him. But Parker, who has already eared his shot at A.J, and may appear on the November under-card, will get his date with Joshua regardless of how much money he gets paid.
Maybe Hearn will look elsewhere and find an opponent that is not on the short list. David Price says he wants a fight with Joshua, and unbeaten American Jarrell Miller has also called out Joshua. Or are these fighters also asking for the best payday of their career?
Hearn, though,will be able to afford pretty much what he wants if Brook can pull off the big upset tonight against GGG. If Brook wins, he will become arguably the biggest attraction in the sport. Imagine the paydays Brook, and Hearn, would get if Brook got busy defending his middleweight titles against the likes of Canelo, Eubank Junior, Danny Jacobs, etc, etc!