Eddie Hearn hits back at criticism aimed towards Anthony Joshua

"He's a throwback fighter, but still, people will think he's been spoonfed and has had easy fights. And he's never had easy fights, and he's a good individual."

Eddie Hearn has claimed Anthony Joshua receives criticism from the hardcore fans because they don't like to see him achieve success.

Joshua surrendered his heavyweight world titles to Oleksandr Usyk in September but is expected to challenge the Ukrainian in a rematch.

Should he regain the belts, he will follow in the footsteps of Muhammad Ali and Lennox Lewis by becoming a three-time champion.

Hearn, who will promote Joshua under the Matchroom Boxing banner for the remainder of his career, compared Joshua to British icon Frank Bruno.

Deemed as the fans favourite, Bruno won world honours in his fourth attempt against Oliver McCall. He would make one defence of the title, losing it to Mike Tyson in 1996.

Hearn's theory is that once Bruno won a world title, he was no longer viewed as the underdog or the 'nearly man' in the sport.

"The boxing public, the boxing hardcore fans, don't really like anyone that has significant success in that outer space, and it probably has happened with me as well," said Eddie Hearn to Joe when asked if Joshua is giving too much disrespect from fans.

"When I first started out in boxing, I was trying to overturn the system. I had all that support in the boxing hardcore, but the boxing hardcore will see Joshua fill stadiums and say, 'Ah.'

"Look at the resume of Anthony Joshua. He has the best resume in heavyweight boxing, bar none. He's always fought the toughest fights, he's fought everybody that's been a mandatory, and he's never swerved, anyone.

"He's a throwback fighter, but still, people will think he's been spoonfed and has had easy fights. And he's never had easy fights, and he's a good individual, who works as hard as he can, provides for his family. He's got a good heart, so I don't see how you can begin to dislike this man.

"Again, unfortunately in this country, we do have a tendency (to criticise fighters/people that achieve success), and Frank Bruno is the same. Frank Bruno was a God. He won the heavyweight title, and it's almost like his popularity diminished after winning the world heavyweight title.

"'Oh, he's not old Frank, who can't win the heavyweight world title anymore' rather than, ' He's done it!' We need a little bit more of that in this country," said Hearn about why Joshua is criticised by some people from the boxing world.

Any move aside fee 'irrelevant'

Since defeat to Usyk, Joshua has triggered his rematch clause to take on the southpaw.

Joshua tasted the second defeat of his career to Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium via unanimous decision - ending his second reign as unified heavyweight champion.

Victory for Usyk made him the first fighter to unify the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions since Evander Holyfield and just the third to win world titles in both weight classes alongside David Haye.

Oleksandr Usyk

There had been suggestions that he would be open to taking a step aside fee to allow the division to crown its first undisputed champion since Lewis between Usyk and Tyson Fury.

However, now that the WBC have ruled Whyte as the mandatory to Fury's WBC strap, Hearn has quashed any speculation on the matter.

"It's kind of irrelevant now because of the Dillian Whyte stuff but I've heard about some numbers flying about which is absolute rubbish about stepping aside money," Hearn exclusively told Planet Sport.

"There was a couple of minor conversations but nothing in terms of anything that was put to Anthony in concrete to get over the line," he added.

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