Hearn vs Warren feud explained ahead of historic fight card | Boxing | Sport

Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn will go head-to-head on June 1 as an innovative 5 vs 5 boxing card sees fighters managed by each promoter face off in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Warren and Hearn are fierce rivals, and Eddie most recently came out on top when his fighter Jack Catterall beat Frank’s prodigy Josh Taylor, but the feud dates back generations.

The Queensberry vs Matchroom 5v5 fight card will see Warren’s Zhilei Zhang face Hearn’s Deontay Wilder in a main event heavyweight clash, shortly after Daniel Dubois faces Filip Hrgovic in another mouth-watering encounter.

The world of boxing promotion is far from friendly, and with Warren and Hearn at the very top, they’re constantly battling for the signatures of fighters, money, titles and success. Due to the riches that both promoters have received from the Saudis, they’ve both appeared civil when being brought together in Riyadh, but Warren’s hatred towards the Hearn family stems from Eddie’s father, Barry.

Warren was always seen as the best British boxing promoter until Hearn Sr. seized upon an opportunity and took ownership of many fighters previously signed to Frank. In 1989, Warren was shot by a masked gunman in London and almost died from the attack, and it wasn’t long before Hearn Sr. switched his attention over from snooker and entered the boxing world.

As Warren was recovering from the shooting, a lot of his sponsors pulled out and the famous London Arena which he founded went into receivership. Many of his fighters started looking elsewhere and Hearn Sr signed them up, and then rose to fame in his own right by managing Chris Eubank.

Matchroom was then founded by Hearn and Warren had a major problem on his hands. “When I got shot, I had fighters all walk to the other side of the street,” Warren said. But due to Hearn Sr being inexperienced and Warren working his charm once back to full fitness, they soon returned to their previous promoter. “Within two years they were all back with me,” Warren added.

The turning point was during negotiations for Nigel Benn vs Chris Eubank, one that Hearn Sr struggled to organise but Warren took ownership of as he secured a deal with ITV to showcase the fight. Warren then found his new home on Sky, and with Hearn Sr defeated he stepped away from the game, returned to snooker, and also focused his attention on darts and still does to this day.

Warren won the battle and remained unchallenged for 15 years, until Eddie Hearn attempted to revive the efforts of his father and become a contender once more. A poker game in 2010 saw Hearn meet Audley Harrison and he convinced the boxer to help rebuild his career, and shortly after Matchroom Boxing was founded and Eddie’s career had begun.

“Barry Hearn’s boy has come in with a spoon in his mouth,” Warren said, lashing out at Eddie after saying his career was funded by his father. “But I come from the same situation as Barry Hearn – and I saw him off, big time.”

Ironically, Warren had moved away from Sky to promote fights on his own service called BoxNation, and Hearn then swooped in to secure an exclusive deal with the broadcaster. “Every time we talk to a fighter they say, ‘I want to fight on Sky Sports’,” said Hearn after securing the deal.

“Why are Frank’s fighters leaving? Because they want to box as often as possible in front of the biggest audiences possible. You’ve got to be in a place that’s sound and secure. Maybe as a fighter you see the losses that Frank Warren is incurring and you worry about your future.”

Hearn now manages some of the best in the business in Anthony Joshua, Canelo Alvarez, Katie Taylor, Devin Haney, and Wilder to name a few, although Warren still has some prized fighters in his collection, such as Tyson Fury, Joseph Parker, Zhang, and Dubois.

Although Hearn may have been given a boost in his career, he clearly had a foresight for business as he said back in 2013: “We’ve got momentum, we’ve secured our position as number one promoters in the UK, but watch where we are in five years.” Over a decade later, Hearn is seen as the more successful promoter at present, and has done what his father couldn’t achieve in the sport.

Queensberry vs Matchroom 5v5 fight card

Zhilei Zhang vs. Deontay Wilder; Heavyweight
Daniel Dubois vs. Filip Hrgovic; Heavyweight
Hamzah Sheeraz vs. Austin Williams; Middleweight
Dmitry Bivol vs. Malik Zinad; For Bivol’s WBA light heavyweight title
Raymond Ford vs. Nick Ball; For Ford’s WBA featherweight title
Willy Hutchinson vs. Craig Richards; Light heavyweight 

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