During a live talkSPORT broadcast on Tuesday, Eddie Hearn and Simon Jordan were involved in a fiery debate regarding the recent Conor Benn controversy.
In the lead-up to his anticipated fight with Chris Eubank Jr last year, Benn failed two drug tests, prompting criticism from Jordan regarding Hearn's handling of the situation.
Initially, Hearn attempted to proceed with the fight despite the British Boxing Board of Control's prohibition. When the bout was officially canceled, Hearn and co-promoter Kalle Sauerland held a press conference but declined to take questions from the media.
Jordan branded this ‘cowardly’ and Hearn hit back with some personal insults of his own, but on Tuesday morning the pair finally went head-to-head live on talkSPORT.
Hearn began by arguing that he didn’t ‘duck’ the media, as he said: “We basically did every outlet available, we even did Breakfast on talkSPORT, I just didn’t do the White & Jordan show.” Explaining why he didn’t go on the show, he said: “I didn’t like what [Jordan] said, I took it personal and I wanted to give him a slap.”
Jordan then got stuck in, doubling down on his accusation that Hearn was a ‘coward’ in his handling of the situation.
He alleged that Hearn had the ability to cancel the fight, but Hearn refuted the claim, stating that all aspects related to the sanctioning of a fight are determined by the British Boxing Board of Control. "The board governs the sport under the contract," Hearn clarified. "According to the contract, the fight cannot proceed without board approval, regardless of what occurs in private testing."
Hearn further emphasized that only the BBBoC or Eubank Jr had the authority to call off the fight. Regarding the BBBoC's decision to "prohibit" the fight, Hearn expressed his support for it, though he wished it had been made sooner.
The CEO of Matchroom Sport proceeded to acknowledge that he made a mistake by not immediately accepting the BBBoC's decision. He stated that everything done during the process was carefully considered, despite not being handled well. Hearn explained that after the test results were released, they engaged in discussions with the governing body, which went something like, "Robert, I understand that you don't recognize VADA, but what are you going to do?" However, the fight was ultimately canceled five weeks later.
Hearn then addressed the matter at hand, asserting that he genuinely believes Conor Benn is innocent. "People criticize me for supporting Conor Benn," he stated, "but I stand by him and believe in his innocence."
Furthermore, Hearn expressed his desire for Benn to engage in a dialogue with the BBBoC and to resume his career in the UK, despite Benn's disinterest in doing so. Hearn also disclosed that Benn would be fighting in June, as the WBC did not penalize him after their inquiry. However, Jordan disputed Hearn's assertion that the WBC had "cleared" Benn, emphasizing that they merely found no evidence that he deliberately consumed a banned substance.
In conclusion, Jordan condemned Hearn's pursuit of another fight for Benn, stating that he was ethically incorrect and should first demonstrate the fighter's innocence.