Matchroom Boxing head honcho Eddie Hearn has explained the reasoning behind his decision not to attempt to sign Irish boxing star Michael Conlan following the Rio Olympics.
Speaking to IFL TV, Hearn explained that when he was initially approached by Conlan's manager - Matthew Macklin, who Hearn previously promoted - he had no real plans to re-enter the Irish boxing market, and so declined the opportunity to secure the signature of the Falls Road man, who packed over 5,000 people into his sold-out debut in New York last Friday.
He did, however, tip his cap to Conlan's current promoters Top Rank, whose president put the kibosh on Katie Taylor's own US debut which was originally scheduled for Gennady Golovkin's undercard the following night.
Hearn told IFL:
Matt [Macklin] called me, and this was well before the Olympics, asking if I would be interested in Mick Conlan.
We weren’t really looking and Ireland and, from there, he went and did a deal with Top Rank, and I think that deal was in place pretty much before the Olympics.
I don’t - and this sounds muggy, and Mick said it as well - really approach fighters, hound them down, sit outside their door, text them, DM them on Twitter. They know where we are, it doesn’t mean we don’t want them.
I think, obviously, someone made a play for him and I think he’s in a good place with Top Rank, I think they’re going to give him a lot of opportunities and I think they did a great job with the debut.
I thought Matthew Macklin, Top Rank, all those guys did a really top job. I thought it was first class promoting. It looked virtually full in there, the atmosphere looked great, it was a coup and a half to get Conor McGregor, I liked all the build up.
Hats off to Top Rank, Matthew Macklin, and Mick Conlan.
Curiously, his assertion that he wasn't 'looking at Ireland' somewhat contradicts his signing of Katie Taylor mere weeks later. The greatest female amateur of all time joined Belfast's undefeated contender Ryan Burnett in Hearn's Irish stable, and both will likely share a card on Irish soil at some stage in 2017.
Hearn last promoted a show in the Republic of Ireland back in 2014, when he brought Matthew Macklin to what was then the O2 Arena to face Jorge Sebastian Heiland live on Sky Sports. It's understood Hearn was none too happy with the event and the logistics surrounding it, but since signing Taylor he's been on record as to claiming he wants the Bray woman to fight for a world title on Irish soil, and so a return seems likely.
Conlan's lucrative agreement with Top Rank might well have scuppered any intentions Hearn had to sign the former World amateur champion, but Conlan himself has said that Hearn was never interested in his signature.
[Quotes transcribed by Irish-boxing.com.]
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