Barry Hearn has revealed he passed up on signing WBC heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury before he had even stepped foot in a professional ring.
It is well documented that Hearn’s son and current Matchroom boss Eddie turned down the chance to work with Fury, back when ‘The Gypsy King’ was attempting to get back into fighting shape following his prolonged mental health absence.
Unconvinced by Fury, who was around 25 stone at the time, Eddie decided against putting pen to paper – a decision he has since admitted is one of his biggest regrets.
And Speaking on JBD Sports TV, Barry Hearn detailed a conversation he had with Fury’s father John at a show in Newcastle about signing the then teenager.
“I’ll tell you a secret – I don’t think very many people know this. I nearly signed Tyson Fury, years before.. before he turned pro.
“I was at a show in Newcastle and saw him. Big lad, great name, that was my first reaction. I could see the money going round!
“His dad said, “My boy’s going to turn pro and he wants to sign with you, but we want a £100,000 signing on fee.” In those days, that was Olympic champion money.
“I said, “No, you must be mad.” So I made the first mistake!”
Fury would of course go onto prove to be much more than just a big lad with a great name, and has the chance to cement his name in heavyweight boxing history when he takes on Oleksandr Uysk in just a few weeks’ time.
“𝗪𝗘 𝗪𝗜𝗟𝗟 𝗦𝗣𝗘𝗔𝗞 𝗜𝗡 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗥𝗜𝗡𝗚” 👀
Oleksandr Usyk comments on Tyson Fury’s antics during their press conference earlier this week..
— Pro Boxing Fans (@ProBoxingFans) November 18, 2023
Fury and Usyk will lock horns for the undisputed heavyweight world title, the first time that accolade has been up for grabs since Lennox Lewis fought Evander Holyfield back in 1999.
Anthony Joshua – a heavyweight the Hearn’s did decide to sign – could be next for the winner, though must get past former Fury foe, Francis Ngannou on March 8 before those conversations can be had.
If both Fury and ‘AJ’ are successful over the next month, British fight fans may be finally treated to one of the biggest fight’s in boxing history – and Matchroom could have had them both!