Promoter Eddie Hearn earned praise from UK fans for dealing with a heavyweight showdown collapse between two contenders.
The Matchroom boss attempted to deal with Sky Sports Boxing successor Ben Shalom to get a fight signed between his charge, the champion Fabio Wardley, and Frazer Clarke.
However, talks broke down when Shalom pulled Clarke. Despite explaining his stance, comments from the UK contingent didn’t look good for Shalom.
Eddie Hearn and Ben Shalom
One even stated that “Hearn had pulled Shalom’s pants down’ after his remarks about Clarke being able to defeat Wardley after not accepting the bout.
“We pulled him out of the bid because he’s fought six-rounders up until now,” Shalom told Sky Sports initially. But in the next breath, he added: “It’s not that he won’t beat Fabio Wardley. He’d beat Fabio Wardley in his first fight.
“But he won’t be fighting a twelve-rounder in three weeks. So that’s why we’ve made the offer. He will be doing a ten-rounder first, and we’ve offered Fabio to take the fight [after that warm-up].
“His last fight went two rounds. We’re not going to sling him in,” concluded Shalom.
In his usual style, Hearn’s comments cut deep into Shalom’s reckoning.
“It’s just the biggest shambles I’ve ever seen. I feel for Frazer because Frazer looks like a complete idiot,” Hearn told IFL TV.
“I feel like he’s been hung out to dry because I know Frazer wants the fight.”
Clarke vs Wardley for British heavyweight title
Where they go from here is anyone’s guess, but Wardley will likely get the chance to defend his title against another opponent. It will then be at his discretion if he ever fights Clarke or leaves the Lonsdale Belt behind.
Shalom still hopes the fight can be revived after not taking a liking to the direction of previous negotiations. He also said it had nothing to do with beef with Hearn or his team.
“One of the offers is a one-fight deal, no [further] obligation whatsoever,” he pointed out. “It’s a big fight for British boxing.
“We’re happy to work with any promoter. When we’ve been dealing with Fabio Wardley’s team, they never once asked us to speak to Matchroom, who we’d have been happy to speak to.
“This isn’t about a promoter thing. This is about getting a fight together between two fighters and making it as big as possible.
“We see it as a massive fight for British boxing. We want to build it into the biggest possible spectacle and do it at a time that suits us.
“One ten-rounder is all we feel he needs. But we think it’s a necessary step. We won’t be pushed into a fight that isn’t on Frazer Clarke’s terms.
“He’s the A-side here. He’s the big name. Frazer is the one that will have these fights on the terms that he wants.”