His Excellency Turki Alalshikh did manage to spring a surprise, though, when he announced his intention to put together a card later this year in the Middle East that would pit five Matchroom fighters against five Queensbury opponents.
Warren is very confident that his boxers will come out on top, and told Mail Sport that he would be willing to place a £1m bet with Hearn on the overall outcome of the night.
Now, it’s about putting the show together. Mail Sport has looked at five fights – many of which could be main events on their own – that could land on the dream card in 2024.
Saudi Arabia want to host a show pitting five of Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom fighters against five Frank Warren fighters
The two promoters shook hands on making the event happen at some point in 2024
Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury
Let’s start with the main event, and it’s the fight we’ve all been waiting to see.
This clash has been brewing for over a decade – ever since the pair sparred when Joshua was an amateur before the 2012 Olympics – and it could finally happen this year.
At times over the past 12 months it has felt like this fight has been further way than ever. Tyson Fury couldn’t get a bout in the first part of 2023, while Joshua failed to impress in his wins against Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius.
But intrigue has grown after their most recent performances. Fury was taken to the brink by Ngannou in October, surviving a knockdown to prevail on points, and Joshua produced his best display in years to stop Otto Wallin in five rounds two months later.
A fight between Joshua and Fury is now very difficult to call and needs to be settled in the ring.
If Joshua can see off Ngannou and Fury beats Oleksandr Usyk in their undisputed showdown, AJ-Fury becomes the fight that must be booked as the Hearn vs Warren headliner.
Anthony Joshua could finally face Tyson Fury this year if he can beat Francis Ngannou
Fury has his own challenge to overcome first, as he is set to face Oleksandr Usyk next month
Filip Hrgovic vs Daniel Dubois
We have seen in recent months that Saudi Arabia love the heavyweight division, so that’s where we are staying for the potential co-main event.
The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Filip Hrgovic has worked with Hearn for several fights and appeared on the ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in December, dispatching Mark de Mori inside two minutes.
He is currently ranked No1 by the IBF but needs to keep busy if Joshua is going to go down the route of facing Ngannou and then Fury.
His fight with De Mori was a mismatch, and Hrgovic needs a proper test to prepare himself for a world title shot. Daniel Dubois could step up to the plate.
The Brit has had his fair share of setbacks over the years, losing to Joe Joyce and Usyk, leading to questions over whether he has what it takes to make it to the very top.
But he answered his critics by biting down on his gumshield to come through some tough moments against Jarrell Miller in December, eventually stopping the controversial American in the closing seconds of their 10-round contest.
Warren’s charge must now continue to build momentum in his career, and victory against Hrgovic would edge him closer to another chance at a world title.
Filip Hrgovic needs a proper test after dominating the overmatched Mark de Mori in December
Daniel Dubois could be the ideal opponent after he beat Jarrell Miller last month
Fabio Wardley vs Moses Itauma
Fancy another heavyweight humdinger? Oh, go on then!
Fabio Wardley has built up a perfect 17-0 record since turning professional after previously been a white-collar boxer, and he is the reigning British champion.
He caught the eye on the Fury-Ngannou undercard in October, and deserves another night in the spotlight. But who could he face from Warren’s stable?
Step forward Moses Itauma. He may have only turned 19 last month, but Itauma is a man on a mission, and has told Mail Sport that he wants to beat Mike Tyson’s record of being the youngest-ever world heavyweight champion.
Tyson won the WBC belt by beating Trevor Berbick when he was 20 years and four months old in November 1986, meaning Itauma has less than 15 months to get his hands on a title.
Putting Itauma in with someone 10 years his elder would be a risk, but this is the type of gamble he will need to take if he wants to rise through the rankings swiftly to arrive on the world scene.
Could the teenager pull it off or would Wardley’s experience get him over the line? Let’s hope we get to find out.
Fabio Wardley is the reigning British champion and is undefeated in 17 fights
Moses Itauma (right) wants to create history, and could step up to challenge himself against Wardley
Callum Smith vs Anthony Yarde
Time to drop down a couple of weight classes to the light-heavyweight division.
Callum Smith was stopped in seven rounds on Saturday night by unified world champion Artur Beterbiev and admitted afterwards that he would take some time to consider his future in the sport.
He will need a big fight to keep him from hanging up his gloves, and a huge payday in Saudi Arabia could tickle his fancy.
If he does opt to fight on, Anthony Yarde would be the perfect dance partner. Both men have lost to Beterbiev over the last 12 months, with Yarde taking the Russian-Canadian eight rounds – one more than Smith managed – before the towel came in.
Yarde also fell short when he first fought for a world title against Sergey Kovalev in 2019, but he could work his way back into contention with victory over Smith.
Beterbiev and fellow world champion Dmitry Bivol look set to face each other for all the 175lb belts later this year, and the pair could look to move up to cruiserweight after that fight for a fresh challenge, or, in the case of Bivol, he could drop down to super-middleweight for a rematch with Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez after beating him in 2022.
This could mean that at least one belt becomes vacant, and the winner of Smith-Yarde would almost certainly be in the mix to fight for it.
Callum Smith lost to Artur Beterbiev on Saturday and hinted afterwards that he could quit the sport
If Smith decides to continue, a fight against Anthony Yarde would be an exciting prospect
Leigh Wood vs Nick Ball
Last, but by no means least, is a potential featherweight dust-up.
After largely operating at domestic level for much of his career, Leigh Wood has been one of the feel-good stories of British boxing since he won a world title against China’s Xu Can in 2021.
He defended his belt against Northern Ireland’s Michael Conlan in a thriller the following year, but was then stopped by big-punching Mexican Mauricio Lara last February.
Three months later he went straight back in with Lara and outclassed him over 12 rounds before securing a come-from-behind win against Josh Warrington to round off a fine 2023.
Wood vacated his WBA belt just days after that fight and announced his intention to move up to super-featherweight where he is expected to have a rematch with Warrington in May, potentially at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground.
Perhaps his days at 126lbs are over, but could he be tempted back down by the opportunity to become a three-time world champion in the featherweight division?
If that is a possibility, Nick Ball may be lying in wait. Ball has blasted his way up the rankings, winning five of his last six fights by knockout, and he will challenge two-weight world champion Rey Vargas for the WBC featherweight title on the Joshua-Ngannou undercard.
If he can win that fight, he would have the bargaining chip of a world championship, and Wood may be unable to resist one last crack at beating another domestic featherweight rival.
Leigh Wood is a two-time world champion after arriving on the world scene late in his career
Nick Ball could tempt Wood back down to featherweight if he wins a world title in March
Any other wildcards?
Hearn may be keen to get Conor Benn on the show, although finding the welterweight star a top-level opponent has proved difficult since his return after failing two drugs tests in 2022.
Benn had hoped to fight Chris Eubank Jr next month, but a deal could not be agreed and he is now set to face little-known American Peter Dobson in Las Vegas on February 3.
Should he come through that as expected, Benn will be seeking the biggest fights possible and there are no obvious rivals from Warren’s stable that he could be matched with.
Conor Benn could be included on the card, but there is not an obvious opponent from Warren’s stable as things stand
Tommy Fury may also be involved if he decides to leave the YouTuber scene behind
That could all change over the coming months, though, and Benn is certainly a fighter who gets fans watching whenever he steps in the ring.
Tommy Fury is another potential name that could land on the proposed Saudi card. He has previously worked with Warren, before the pair went their separate ways last year.
Could they come together again with such an eye-watering amount of money likely to be on the line?
Hearn has offered unbeaten cruiserweight Cheavon Clarke as an opponent for Fury in the past, and if the former Love Island star wants to move away from the YouTuber scene, a clash with Clarke could be an option.