Eddie Hearn found himself embroiled in a war of words with a head injury campaigner on Friday morning.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain, the boxing promoter clashed with Peter McCabe, the chief executive of brain injury charity Headway, whilst debating the concept of introducing the sport to children.
Tempers flared in a conversation rife with emotion and interruptions that touched upon the sport’s safety, as well as its impact on the quality of life of children who box.
Hearn was inevitably swift to highlight the positive role boxing plays, particularly on individuals from deprived communities.
“When you go into a local amateur boxing club, you look at these kids, and you [ask] what would they be doing without these coaches?” he said.
“Without learning about discipline, without physically exercising, without being able to express themselves. This is what boxing can do for the community.”
McCabe responded by asking: “How many sons and daughters of neurosurgeons are participating in boxing? Why? Because they know how easy it is for people to sustain injuries.”
However, the discussion took a turn for the worse when McCabe was interrupted one too many times and he could no longer contain his frustration.
“I don’t interrupt you, but you constantly interrupt me.”
McCabe later went on to question why boxing should be encouraged over seemingly safer sports, which have the potential to promote the same values and benefits.
“There are so many sports that teach discipline and encourage kids to train and work and have ambition,” he said. “And those sports don’t involve hitting somebody in the head.
“That is so naive,” Hearn interrupted again, which led McCabe to retort once again, “I didn’t interrupt you.”
“Well, I will interrupt you. You’re not educated as a boxer, as a fighter, to go in and render your opponent anything.”
McCabe responded by saying: “You knock somebody out… please allow me to finish the point. The ultimate victory in a boxing match is you knock somebody out and the referee counts to 10 and the person is concussed. They can’t get up.”
The safety issue associated with boxing is a serious and important discussion, one that Friday morning’s showdown will have done nothing to clarify.
Presenters-turned-referees Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard did well to mediate the bout, with the latter saying: “This is the best ding dong we’ve had on the show and there’s not even a ring.”