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He failed a drug test and took two years out: Hearn dismisses Fury's 'lineal champion' claim

Eddie Hearn has also fired back at Frank Warren who claimed he’d give the Essex man a slap if Hearn was his son.

Eddie Hearn believes that if no belts were on the line, Anthony Joshua would most like to fight Tyson Fury next.
Eddie Hearn believes that if no belts were on the line, Anthony Joshua would most like to fight Tyson Fury next.
Image: Nick Potts

PROMOTER EDDIE HEARN has dismissed the concept of lineal champions in boxing but admits his marquee heavyweight Anthony Joshua is frustrated by claims that he merely picked up the belts left by Tyson Fury during his stint away from the ring.

While Deontay Wilder remains WBC champ and Joshua holds the other three major belts, Fury is considered the lineal champion having beaten ‘The Man’ in Wladimir Klitschko to become the consensus division number one in 2015, and having still never lost in the ring.

Hearn admits that if belts — and more specifically the allure of accruing all of them to become undisputed world champion — weren’t a factor, Joshua would seek to silence his critics by first targeting Fury.

However, the Matchroom chief says Wilder’s green strap remains the predominant target for now, and insists Joshua’s ascent to champion status is not diminished despite having happened during what he perceives to be Fury’s self-afflicted period of absence.

Hearn cited Fury’s positive test for banned steroid nandrolone in 2015 as part of the reason why Joshua’s claim to the throne is legitimate even if it was staked during Fury’s ‘retirement’.

Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin Press Conference - Wembley Stadium Hearn says his man wants both Wilder and Fury. Source: Tim Goode

“I think if it was man-on-man and there were no belts, nothing”, Hearn told Chris McKenna in the UK Daily Star, “I think Joshua would probably prefer Fury because there’s always been the, ‘Oh, he was the champ, you won his belts’, and stuff like that.

“So maybe that’s in his head a little bit, but he wants to be undisputed.

“Fury beat [Wladimir] Klitschko but this lineal thing is quite ridiculous.

“The lineal championship doesn’t actually exist. It’s a mythical title that people want to use when they don’t have any belts.

So he’s the man who beat the man, something like that, who failed a drugs test, took two years out and basically refused to train or get in the ring.

“So it’s not Josh’s fault – they were available and he won them but I think in the back of his mind, he wants to do a job on Fury as well.

“He wants to do a job on both of them and he’s going to violently do that.”

Hearn, who described the era-high 300,000 pay-per-view buys for Wilder v Fury I as “absolutely terrible” but expects that number to double for either a rematch or a fight between Joshua and either Wilder or Fury, has in a separate interview continued his recent war of words with Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren.

In response to Warren’s claims that if Hearn was his son, he’d give him a smack, Hearn told TalkSport:

I’ve seen him [Warren] a couple of times. I haven’t read the article, I saw the headline that if I was his son, he’d give me a slap or something like that. Well, I think looking at his financial accounts, he probably wishes I was his son, because someone needs to get him out of that hole.

Murray Kinsella, Gavan Casey and Andy Dunne preview a big weekend of Heineken Cup action and dissect the week’s main talking points.

Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

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