Fight promoter Eddie Hearn is the sort of guy who makes the art of the interview pointless – just open your notebook and try to keep up.

When he talks these days, which is often, the boxing world listens.

As the face of Matchroom's boxing division, Hearn has an ever-growing stable of some of the best talent in the world.

Recently he added Joseph Parker to the list. Here's why:


"I've been an admirer of him for a long time. Even before the heavyweight scene exploded here was this guy from New Zealand knocking people out," Hearn says. "A good, athletic, good-looking heavyweight is obviously attractive."

Hearn started paying close attention when Parker beat Carlos Takam.

"Then obviously you had the Andy Ruiz fight. We rated Ruiz, it was a close fight and he won the world title, then he was the champion who might be available to fight [Anthony] Joshua before Wilder because of the politics."

That unification bout in front of 80,000 people in Cardiff was a huge money-maker for Parker and Joshua, who won fairly convincingly, but Hearn says if they had their time again it would be a far greater spectacle.

"They'd go for broke," he says. "There was a little too much respect in that fight. Joshua respected Joe's power and speed, and Joe did as well. It was a technically good fight, but it wasn't as explosive as it should have been.

"Joe will kick himself because he'll look at the Ruiz fight and think, 'I should have done it like that'."

Hearn says he was surprised when Duco signed Parker to fight Dillian Whyte coming off the loss. He thinks it was a mistake, though Parker's manager David Higgins disagrees.

Higgins points out that in a risk-reward sport like boxing, you cannot afford to turn down big-money fights, particularly when you don't have a championship belt as collateral.


It is understood Parker made more than $3.5 million in his unlucky loss to Whyte which, outside of oil sheikhs and Russian oligarchs, anybody would consider a decent payday.

"We could go to Hamilton and be knocked out by a bum for $200,000," Higgins says, "so the Whyte fight made financial sense."

New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker.
New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker.

The back-to-back losses unquestionably had the potential to hurt Parker's standing in what is now a stacked division.

Hearn wants to restore his prestige by having him fight well and fight often on the DAZN streaming service, which is looking to revolutionise the broadcasting of boxing (last year DAZN signed Canelo Álvarez to a five-year, 11-fight deal valued at US$365m).

While beating fellow Samoan Alex Leapai isn't going to set the world on fire, a bout with Dereck Chisora on a Joshua-Ruiz rematch undercard would.

The 35-year-old veteran Chisora has a tricky fight in July against Pole Artur Szpilka.

"If Chisora comes through that fight, we'll be definitely looking for a Chisora-Parker fight."

If Parker prevails in that fight, and we're starting to count a few too many chickens here, then a riskier fight with Alexander Povetkin or a Whyte rematch could be the next step.

"If he wins that third fight, he's ready to go [challenge for a championship belt] again," Hearn says.

Matchroom's deal with Parker is for three fights but all going well, the vision is much longer term.

"What attracts me is his age, his attitude and he's learning," Hearn continues.

"I don't think he's anywhere near where he can be in two years' time. This is all a game of snakes and ladders. You look to go up a bit then you fall back down again."

Hearn hopes Sunday's fight won't be a falling down moment, though he is not as quick to dismiss Leapai's chances as some.

"Parker hasn't got a lot to gain in the fight other than he's expected to knock him out. Leapai is going to come swinging from the heavens. Joseph's got to stay disciplined, get this one out of the way and look to fight again in September or October."

Boxing is short of guarantees, but one thing is certain: when Parker does fight again, Hearn will have plenty to say.

Dylan Cleaver travelled to the US courtesy of Duco