Hearn and Warren’s Handshake Revolutionises British Boxing

British Boxing’s Bright Future: Hearn and Warren’s Game-Changing Handshake

In a historic moment for British boxing, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom and Frank Warren of Queensberry Promotions exchanged a handshake on the evening of Wednesday, 15 November. This seemingly simple gesture took place in a small Wembley Arena dressing room but marked a monumental shift for the sport in the UK.

A New Chapter in British Boxing

The relationship between Hearn and Warren has been notoriously acrimonious, characterized by public spats and biting commentary on boxing YouTube channels. Their rivalry traces back to the 1980s when Hearn’s father, Barry Hearn, was at the helm of Matchroom. Fast forward to 2023, and the dynamic between the two titans of British boxing has taken a dramatic turn.

“When you go 12 or 13 years without meeting or talking, you never think it’s coming but it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done in all honesty,” Hearn shared with BBC Sport. His sentiment was echoed by Warren, who admitted, “It’s been quite enlightening for me. I’ve been around for a long, long time and it’s put a bit of a spring in my step. I’m enjoying it.”

Photo: IMAGO

The Saudi Arabian Influence

The catalyst for this unexpected alliance was the involvement of super-rich Saudi Arabia organisers, who brought Hearn and Warren together to work on a card headlined by heavyweight star Anthony Joshua in December. This initiative was more than just a business decision; it was a strategic move aimed at enhancing the sport.

“It was like ‘forget the past, we’ve got to do this for the good of our companies, for the good of our fighters, the sport’,” Hearn explained. This pragmatic approach underscored the need for unity in British boxing, not only for the benefit of their promotional companies but for the athletes and the sport as a whole.

Rivals Turned Partners

The newfound cooperation between Hearn and Warren has already borne fruit, with the pair collaborating on several high-profile cards in Saudi Arabia. This partnership is a testament to their commitment to the sport and their ability to set aside personal differences for the greater good.

However, their budding bromance will face a significant test on Saturday with an unprecedented five-versus-five event in Riyadh. This event pits fighters from Hearn’s and Warren’s stables against each other, promising an exciting spectacle for boxing fans and a crucial test of the promoters’ newfound camaraderie.

Future Implications

The implications of this alliance extend far beyond a single handshake. By uniting two of the most influential figures in British boxing, the sport stands to gain significantly in terms of promotion, event organisation, and overall visibility. This unity could lead to more high-profile matches, better opportunities for fighters, and an enriched experience for fans.

Kal Sajid of BBC Sport deserves credit for highlighting this pivotal moment. As Hearn and Warren continue to work together, the future of British boxing looks brighter than ever. This historic handshake has not only bridged a long-standing divide but also set the stage for a new era in the sport.

As we look forward to the upcoming events and potential collaborations, one can only hope that this spirit of cooperation will inspire other sports to follow suit. In the world of boxing, where rivalries and egos often dominate, the Hearn-Warren partnership is a refreshing and much-needed change.

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