Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn accused of blocking Anthony Joshua fight - 'It's too much of a risk'

Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn accused of blocking Anthony Joshua fight - 'It's too much of a risk'

WATCH NOW: Sports round-up as Eddie Hearn accused of blocking Anthony Joshua fight

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 09/01/2024

- 10:31

AJ is poised to lock horns with Francis Ngannou later this year instead

Eddie Hearn has been accused of blocking a potential fight between Anthony Joshua and Zhilei Zhang.

It was confirmed earlier this week that AJ would battle Francis Ngannou later in the year, with the former MMA man excited following his superb performance against Tyson Fury last time out.

Joshua has, however, been criticised for choosing to fight Ngannou.

While he delivered against Fury, the 37-year-old is still a boxing rookie having had just one professional fight so far.

Boxing news Eddie Hearn Anthony Joshua

Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has been accused of blocking a fight for Anthony Joshua


And Zhang, reacting to news of Joshua and Ngannou's planned fight, has now claimed Hearn has blocked a showdown between himself and the Briton.

"I can’t say I’m disappointed, it’s a matter of personal choice, Joshua has his personal choice," he told Boxing News.

"If you look at Ngannou, he’s come into the sport and has a record of 0 and 1. He’s the cash cow.

"If I fought Ngannou I would make a ton of money.

"What is boxing, is it a business or a competitive sport? That’s the question."

He added: "Actually I never thought this fight would be made.

"If Joshua believes he only has 40 per cent chance he can beat me, it won’t happen.

"I don’t even think it’s a 60-40 in his head. Eddie Hearn will not let him fight me. It’s too much of a risk.

“When I signed with Matchroom a couple of years ago, that was one of the conversations we had.

"My team flew to London to talk about it but it’s been years and it never materialised.

"They know how to avoid all the risks.

"That’s how he [Hearn] does his work as a promoter, he builds up whatever he wants to build up.

"I believe they successfully avoided all the risks but I don’t know if this fight will ever happen in the future, they will just keep using my name to build up whatever they want to build up."


Boxing Zhilei Zhang

Boxing star Zhilei Zhang thinks Eddie Hearn doesn't want him to fight Anthony Joshua


Meanwhile, former Olympic bronze medalist Frazer Clarke has claimed Zhang would be a 'nightmare' opponent for Joshua.

The Chinese star has won 26 of his 28 career fights so far.

And Clarke said: "[Zhang's] going to be the one most avoided now, if I'm honest.

"I think he's an absolute nightmare for a lot of fighters.

"He's a huge problem, he's a nightmare in the division.

Boxing news Francis Ngannou

Boxing star Anthony Joshua will lock horns with Francis Ngannou in March


"I don't think we'll see Anthony Joshua in the ring with him any time soon, unless it's for a world title in China.

"If anyone has got any brains about them, they'll learn from Joe Joyce's mistakes."

Joshua's 12-round heavyweight clash with Ngannou is poised to take place on March 9.

It will take place at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, the same venue AJ beat Otto Wallin in last month.

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