Eddie Hearn is branded ‘manipulative’ in heated on-air talkSPORT showdown with Simon Jordan, as promoter admits he was ‘shell-shocked’ by Conor Benn doping scandal before admitting his ‘only mistake’ in handling of saga
Eddie Hearn and Simon Jordan had a heated on-air clash on talkSPORT, where the Matchroom boxing chief was labelled ‘manipulative’ for his actions over Conor Benn’s failed drugs test.
Benn failed two drugs tests for the banned substance clomifene last year, causing his grudge match with Chris Eubank Jr to be cancelled in October.
Hearn had said, at the time, that his promotion had been ‘considering our options’ despite calls from the boxing community to immediately cancel the bout.
It led to brutal criticisms from the likes of talkSPORT’s Jordan, who lambasted Hearn for his actions at the time and continued to do so when they clashed on-air on Tuesday.
Speaking on the White & Jordan show, Hearn opened by saying: ‘I don’t like what Simon said [about his response to the Benn incident].
Simon Jordan (L) and Eddie Hearn (R) had an on-air clash over Conor Benn’s failed drug test
Benn (middle) was booked to fight Chris Eubank Jr (L) before a drug test revealed trace amounts of a fertility drug, clomiphene, in his system
Jordan then fired back and said: ‘He [Hearn] was a coward and he should get over himself and be a big boy. He should have done better than a press conference in which he said “I am not going to say anything”.
‘You are quite smooth and manipulative and you could have pulled that fight [between Benn and Eubank Jr]. Are you telling me you wouldn’t have been able to drop him as a fighter if he brought the contract into disrepute?’
Hearn then retorted: ‘This where you fail to understand. Under the contract, the board [British Boxing Board of Control] govern the sport.
‘Contractually in the incidence of this, the fight cannot proceed if the board don’t approve – no matter what happens in private testing.
‘I had the option and so did Kalle [Sauerland] to proceed with the fight. I do regret [saying we were] considering our options because I think the Board made the right decision. I was a bit shell-shocked.’
The 26-year-old is now targeting a comeback in June, and his promoter Hearn claimed he has full belief in Benn’s innocence ahead of a potential summer bout.
The Matchroom boxing chief continued: ‘Nobody handled this [situation] particularly well. But I believe Conor Benn.
Hearn claimed that he does ‘regret’ his comments made about the incident in October
Sportsmail’s Riath Al-Samarrai broke the exclusive of Benn’s positive drugs test in October
‘It would have been easy for me to cast him aside, but I 100% believe him. I have had this kid in my office three dozen times, and I believe him. He will fight in June.’
Jordan replied: ‘You are morally wrong to do that and are only doing it because it benefits you.’
Benn’s camp initially claimed that the 26-year-old was taking significant quantities of egg white powdered supplements to bulk up ahead of the catchweight bout with Eubank Jnr and led to his failed drugs test.
Benn has since blamed the failed drugs tests on laboratory errors, and denied mentioning the consumption of eggs as a possible reason.
Jordan and Hearn continued their heated clash as the talkSPORT pundit suggested that Hearn should be banned by the BBBofC for his actions last year.
‘You need to get over your victim’s complex and you should be sanctioned by the BBBofC,’ Jordan said. ‘You tried to get this fight on despite knowing Benn had failed a drugs test.
Hearn reiterated his point and said: ‘This fight could have happened. I made the decision for it not to. I sat down and thought about it and made the call.’
26-year-old Benn is set to return to the ring this summer after being cleared by the WBC
Hearn finished his segment on the show by referencing Benn’s ongoing investigation by the BBBoC which restricts him to fighting outside the country, currently.
‘At the moment, he’s in a legal position with the board [BBBofC] and it’s very important for me that Benn fights again in this country,’ Hearn said.
‘I want Benn to go through the full process with the board, but he has a legal situation with the board and can’t prove anything yet. Plus, they tried to slap a £100,00 fine on him.
‘I have got every fighter under the sun wanting to fight Conor Benn, but I want him to get in front of the BBBofC.’
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