IN one corner you have Essex boy Eddie Hearn, representing the clean cut, advertiser's dream in Anthony Joshua.
And in the other, there's old-school North Londoner Frank Warren – a promoter who's represented the likes of Prince Naseem Hamed, Nigel Benn and Ricky Hatton, who is Tyson Fury's negotiator.
The pair's relationship is the key to the fight every boxing fan wants – Joshua v Fury, potentially the greatest heavyweight battle of all time.
However, there's one snag… these two are just as bad at slinging mud as the fighters they have in their stable.
Warren claimed this week that Fury has signed his side of the deal to fight AJ in an unnamed country.
But during the interview on Good Morning Britain, he continued the war of words as he claimed Joshua and Co do not want the fight.
Their families have been at each other for the past 30 years.
And it shows no signs of abating either.
THE ROW DATES BACK TO THE 1980S
In the 1980s, Warren established himself as the kingpin of the boxing world.
The ambitious businessman had also launched an ambitious plan to build a new venue in Docklands called the London Arena, and was a majority shareholder along with Harvey Goldsmith and Lord Selsdon.
However, when he was shot by a man (who was never caught) wearing a balaclava outside the Broadway Theatre in Barking in 1989, his dreams came crashing down.
Without any means of raising the extra capital while he lay in hospital, his company collapsed and he was left with debts of £14MILLION.
In the meantime, Barry Hearn established his own boxing empire and scooped up some of Warren's clients.
"When I got shot, within six months most of the fighters jumped ship," Warren revealed.
"I was left trying to keep my business together. (Nigel) Benn went with Hearn from me, as did a few others.
"Within two years, they all signed again with me."
Some years later Warren and Hearn did put their differences aside in 1993 to ink a deal with Don King to broadcast the Chris Eubank v Nigel Benn fight in the US, as well as Britain.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
In 2011, after promoting Audley Harrison's fight against David Haye, Eddie Hearn decided he wanted to pursue boxing clients and take on Warren.
Barry had grown disillusioned with the business, with Matchroom focusing on poker and darts. He was also chairman of Leyton Orient from 1995 to 2014.
History repeated itself as Eddie, the new kid on the block, began to poach some of Warren's clients.
He managed to convince Tony Bellew to switch allegiances, after the Liverpudlian was disappointed Warren hadn't secured him a rematch with Nathan Cleverly.
Then, former British and Commonwealth super-middleweight champion George Groves followed suit, as did Ricky Burns as the exodus continued.
Warren took Burns to court and wanted £1.8MILLION in substantial damages for defecting to a rival.
However, a high court judge rejected Warren's claim, but awarded him £72,000 in unpaid management commission.
In an interview in 2013 with the Evening Standard, Eddie sounded out the battle cry.
“We have more fighters than Warren, by far the best stable in boxing," he boasted.
"Lots of people are saying I am the saviour of boxing, a breath of fresh air. We have a big job to really take control of the UK market but we are on the way.”
Most recently, Josh Warrington joined Hearn from Warren, after initially walking out on Matchroom in 2017.
BUT TWO WEEKS PRIOR…
Warren got the first dig in about their apparent rivalry.
He told The Independent he wasn't afraid of facing off against a new ringmaster, having seen off the likes of Frank Maloney, Mick Hennessey, and Eddie's dad Barry in the past.
"I don't care what Eddie Hearn does," he exclaimed, dismissing his rival.
Hearn believes he's more in-touch with today's boxing fan, with social media now key to boxing promotion.
While Warren slammed Hearn in the past for throwing his fighters into tough battles in the States.
Hearn bit back: “Frank Warren has criticised me a lot for throwing fighters into tough fights in America. Losing doesn’t matter.
"Back when my father promoted Chris Eubank, some of the people he fought were quite frankly embarrassing.
"The landscape has changed for fans and broadcasters.
"People criticise me for tweeting. Twitter is important. Warren does not tweet himself
"I tweet at least a dozen times a day and interact with 65,000 boxing fans. Boxing News has a readership of 10,000. You can’t bluff the public or broadcasters any more.”
IT'S GETTING PERSONAL
And the insults keep on getting traded.
“I’ve never spoken to Eddie Hearn in my life,” Warren told The Times in 2018, “but he annoyed me.
“He said the fight between Wilder and Fury would never happen; he said we had only sold 8,000 seats; he said it would be a boring fight.
“Wrong on all counts. Fake news.
“People need to hear this, and on the record. It’s Eddie Hearn’s father, Barry Hearn, who runs that business.
“The kid just goes off talking rubbish. He has an ego which is awful. If he was my kid, I’d slap him down.”
Eddie took offence, and snapped back on TalkSPORT.
He said: "I saw Frank Warren say if I was his son, he’d give me a smack. Looking at his financial accounts, he probably wishes I was his son.
"He was like us once. He was a young man controlling the boxing game and we’re just doing our thing.
"Our business is a lot bigger than boxing and it’s close to our heart. We pay everyone on time and we run a very solid business.
“Integrity is king to us and we’ll carry on doing what we’re doing,” he added.
Should Fury and Joshua do the dance in the ring for the fight of the century, their promoters will have to get along first.
Source: Read Full Article