Eddie Hearn: ‘I have the drive to outperform my dad’

The sports promoter spoke to The Big Issue about the pressures of stepping out from his iconic dad's shadow

Eddie Hearn is a chip off the old block. 

His dad, legendary sports promoter Barry Hearn, made millions promoting boxing matches around the world, and it wasn’t long before the younger Hearn followed in his footsteps. 

At just 41, Eddie has promoted world champions such as Anthony Joshua, Amir Khan and Dillian White, and played a key role in organising some of the biggest fights in history.

But in The Big Issue’s Letter To My Younger Self, Hearn has spoken about the difficulties of stepping out of his father’s shadow and being taken seriously in the sporting world. 

He opened up about the chip on his shoulder, the values his father instilled in him and the drive to “outperform” his dad.

“There was only one way I could ever become my own person and get my own success,” he said, “and that was to take what he’s done to completely another level.”

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“My dad started making a lot of money promoting fights around the world, and I was in his slipstream. I was gobby and probably a little bit disrespectful at times,” he says. 

“But I felt sort of indestructible. I felt like we were the main family in Essex, and when you’re around successful people like Frank Bruno or Chris Eubank, living that kind of lifestyle, the last thing you want to do is listen to teachers at school. 

“I think a good word to use is obnoxious – too much wax in the hair, you know, swarming around trying to get into nightclubs. Not realising that actually, I was a plonker.” 

Hearn opened up about family life, remarking about how much he tried to impress his dad at the expense of his relationship with his mum. 

“Looking back, I wish I hadn’t caused my mum so much aggravation,” he adds.

“I was always keen to impress my dad. But I was more concerned about upsetting my mum and I upset her loads because she was always at the school.

“If I could go back I’d grab that young boy by his lapels and put him up against a wall and say, stop being such a prat. Start having some respect for your elders, respect your teachers and start learning. Because your dad is spending a fortune on school fees and you’re wasting everyone’s time.” 

But Hearn insists his greatest qualities come from his mum’s side: “I get all my greatest business qualities from my dad. But I get my greatest qualities from my mum.

“She’s extremely humble. They’re both from council estates in East London, and she really understands the value of money and hard work. And she’s very big on manners.”

Hearn is set to release his new book Relentless: 12 Rounds To Success at the end of the month, described as a step-by-step guide to making the most from life. 

He says originally he didn’t want to take on the family business at all, opting to find work off of his own back instead. 

“I think being my dad’s son has been the underlying drive and chip on my shoulder that’s made me what I am. I work like I haven’t got a penny.”

Read the full interview in this week’s Big Issue, available from your local vendor now.

Relentless: 12 Rounds To Success by Eddie Hearn is released on October 29 (Hodder & Stoughton, £20).