Exclusive: Eddie Hearn admits Anthony Joshua 'took the bait' with Tyson Fury's 'goading'
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Eddie Hearn has seemingly questioned Tyson Fury's intentions to actually fighting, claiming he 'goaded' Anthony Joshua by 'putting the rod out there' with his relentless social media call-outs.
Unfortunately for AJ, as well as the rest of us, Hearn admits his he and his client 'took the bait'.
The highly-respected boxing promoter has been in the thick of negotiations in attempting to make perhaps the biggest fight in British boxing history happen.
There's not a man alive that doesn't want to see AJ and Fury go toe-to-toe under the bright lights, but as we've all come to know, getting both men to sign on the dotted line has proved a tricky task.
Despite swirling rumours that the two rivals would finally lock horns inside the ring come December time, AJ's promoter Hearn - by his own admission - has unfortunately had to dispel those claims.
"I’m not so sure that fight will happen in December, in all honesty,” Hearn told SPORTbible Australia.
"Look, I do think AJ vs Fury will happen. I just think it’s too big.
"They’re two guys that are still fresh, they’re definitely not on the back end of their careers so hopefully we get that made."
DEC 3rd is coming very quick.— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) October 6, 2022
Cardif 🏴 Battle at the castle 🏰 cant wait. 2022.🏰🙏 pic.twitter.com/1AaUQeMm2K
Simply by scrolling through social media, you can see that AJ has remained rather coy during the whole situation, letting his management deal with the tense negotiations.
The same can't be said for Tyson Fury with the heavyweight world champion not shying away from calling out Joshua online and giving him and his team tight deadlines to meet.
But Hearn wasn't sold on Fury's apparent eagerness to scrap, admitting the Gypsy King's team were, in fact, quite surprised when AJ answered the call-out and that they were simply 'goading' him by setting ridiculous deadlines.
Now that those talks have seemingly broken down, the man himself has shed some light on what really unfolded.
"He called AJ out on Instagram [after the Oleksandr Usyk] defeat. I kind of felt like he was goading him and putting the rod out there and AJ just took the bait," Hearn said.
"AJ said ‘I’m coming off a loss, a few niggles here and there but I may never fight Tyson Fury again, let’s do it’. I think they [Tyson's team] were a little bit surprised by this.
"We waited a long time for the contract, which was all over the place. We ended up going back on the contract and Tyson Fury came out publicly and gave us 48 hours to sign it – which was impossible. We went back to his promoters who were saying ‘let me try and calm him down a bit’, but then he came out again and was saying ‘I’ll give you one more day, last chance, that is it’.
"Obviously we still weren’t in a position to sign so he came out and said ‘that’s it’. Then he goes back on the propaganda machine and says ‘well, AJ didn’t want it’. Well, hang on, we’ve spent two weeks working with your promoters on this, you set the deadlines that were actually unrealistic."
There's no doubting that Tyson Fury is one of the most likeable characters in the sport.
Not only does his talent inside the ring speak for itself, but his backstory of breaking free from the grips of depression and shedding huge amounts of weight to complete a biblical comeback is nothing short of remarkable.
But since his constant back-flipping on retirement, Hearn has noticed a slight change in the public's perception of the 'Gypsy King'.
"I have seen the feeling [towards Fury] change a little bit," he said.
"I’ve always said in boxing, if in doubt blame Eddie. But I feel that looking at some of the comments [online] people aren’t so sure about him anymore. They love him, great fighter, but when he’s calling out AJ, saying he’s going to fight Manuel Charr, saying he’s going to fight two people in one night, then he’s retired, then he doesn’t care about the money, then the purse must be $500 million – he’s a bit up and down but he is great for the sport."
Hearn added: "I just think he wakes up with a different idea everyday.
"Maybe he wanted to fight AJ, maybe he just wanted to wind him up. You can never really anticipate what he’s about to do.
Our teams were really working well, like, that process [negotiations] was actually going very well. And then you’re giving Joshua deadlines before calling him out and calling him a dosser because he’s then missed those deadlines.
"We let the first one slide, but then when he did it two days later, AJ’s training thinking ‘this guy’s not even serious’. It’s difficult because some people don’t see that and others think it’s mine or AJ’s fault."