Eddie Hearn’s rise from double glazing salesman to billion dollar promoter
Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr will rake in the cash for their Saudi Arabia rematch – but it is Eddie Hearn who will be laughing all the way to the bank.
The 40-year-old promoter has become one of the most powerful figures in boxing, masterminding the professional career of Joshua from Olympic champion to world heavyweight king and putting on some of the biggest events in British boxing history.
From flunking his GCSE's to abandoning an amateur career and becoming a double glazing salesman to signing the first ever billion dollar boxing deal, Hearn has gone through quite a journey.
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With a personal wealth reported to be around £40million, the managing director of Matchroom Sport and director of the Professional Darts Corporation is one of the top dogs in British sport.
Just how did the Essex lad with the gift of the gab come to be receiving a £83million bid to take boxing to new ground in Saudi Arabia?
Hearn was born into wealth and boxing as son of legendary promoter Barry Hearn.
His old man looked after the likes of Frank Bruno, Lennox Lewis, Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn during a golden age for British boxing, swelling his coffers and sending his son to the posh Brentwood High School.
But Eddie Hearn struggled academically, failing to get into sixth form after flunking his GCSEs and being unsuccessful in attempts to convince the school to keep him for his athletic prowess.
"I grew up thinking I was a hard nut, and in Brentwood School I was," he once said. "Anywhere else I was a pansy."
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Instead of staying at Brentwood, Hearn enrolled at nearby Havering Sixth Form College in Romford.
On a promise from his Dad of £1,000 for a C or better in his exams, he left with two Cs and an A in media studies, PE and business studies.
Starting at the bottom
After leaving college, Hearn was not handed a path straight into his father's company.
He considered a career as an amateur boxer, famously entering a fight as Eddie Hills due to concerns from his father that his family name would make him a target.
Sales was clearly his calling, and he worked in telesales selling double-glazing to get started in the world of work.
“I worked for Weatherseal in Romford. I’d go there after college at night and do telesales," he told The Guardian .
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"It’s the worst job in the world but the best training for sales.
"For every rejection we had an answer on a list – from ‘I’ve just lost my husband,’ to ‘I’ve just done my double-glazing.’
"We always had a reason to make an appointment."
Hearn's first venture into the sporting world came when he landed work experience with Richard Busby and BDS Sponsorship as an 18-year-old.
He went on to earn a full-time job, but a call from a recruiter head-hunting for a senior position offered him an interview at sports agency LEA.
Hearn quickly progressed to build up a client base including top golfers and Ian Botham within just three years.
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It led to Barry Hearn to put a masterplan into place to expand his Matchroom Sport empire which had transformed snooker.
Eddie took on sub-division Matchroom Golf and then promoted the Poker Million final to an audience of 30 million people, cornering the market.
Stumbling into boxing
After cutting his teeth in the family business, Hearn stumbled into boxing and started something special.
A chance meeting with heavyweight Audley Harrison at a poker table led to him offering to help the big man rebuild his career.
That journey culminated in the revival of Harrison and Hearn's first ever pay-per-view fight, which ended in disaster in a WBA title fight against David Haye.
“I was playing in the World Series of Poker and happened to be drawn on the same table as Audley, who asked if he could get on a Matchroom show,” Hearn said .
“So I phoned up the old man and told him: ‘I think we can do something with Audley.’
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"The phone went stone quiet. Then he said: ‘You’re on your own, I’m going nowhere near him.'"
Whilst defeat to Haye spelled the end of Harrison's career, it proved Hearn had what it takes to deliver big fights and make fighters box-office draws.
“Those days are fun because it’s just you against the world," Hearn told Square Mile .
"No one really knows who you are. You’re just this kid whose blagging it. It’s fun, then.
"Doesn’t come with the pressures and responsibilities and aggravation now. I weren’t a threat."
Becoming the top dog
Since cutting his teeth with Harrison, Hearn has built up a healthy stable of fighters and put on some of Britain's biggest boxing events.
He took Carl Froch vs George Groves to Wembley Stadium and has masterminded all of Anthony Joshua's fights, including two Wembley Stadium and two Principality Stadium clashes.
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The likes of Kell Brook, Tony Bellew, Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora have also been big-earners for Hearn, who has established himself as arguably the top dog in British boxing amid rivalry with fellow promoter Frank Warren.
After conquering the UK, Hearn has taken his operation global, including a huge new Matchroom Boxing USA operation and even promoting the money-spinning rematch between YouTube stars KSI and Logan Paul last month.
What happens next?
Hearn is set to continue giving more of his time to conquering the US market after signing the highest ever deal in boxing last year.
He agreed a $1billion contract with DAZN to stream 16 fights in America, and a further 16 in the UK.
“HBO and Showtime are the two major players over here,” Hearn said.
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“And that is a bigger annual budget than they have put together. It’s the biggest deal in boxing history.
“We were dangerous before, now we’re unstoppable and that’s the difference.
“And if I don’t make this work, I’ve failed miserably.”
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