Blockbuster Brawls To Take Place In Matchroom Boxing’s Backyard
As MMA and boxing are looking to make a comeback right away as a result fo the coronavirus pandemic, Eddie Hearn is taking his time. The Matchroom Boxing protomer has been working with his team to come up with a solution for big fights to take place without an audience. It appears things are starting to pick up.
Hearn is planning to host events in the backyard of Matchroom’s UK offices, his former childhood home. The 15-acre land in Brentwood, Essex will be dubbed “Matchroom Fight Camp”, and the hope is that fights will be live by July. The huge fights could take place in August. In an interview with Boxing Scene, Hearn discussed the planning and preparation for something like this. With gyms not reopening and the British Boxing Board of Control keeping an eye on the situation, Hearn didn’t just want to rush into things.
“When this all started, I was just thinking ’we have got to be the first back, we have to get started’,” Hearn stated. “But there is a fine line between making sure we get back promptly and making sure that we don’t give ourselves an impossible job or a job that would jeopardize the safety of the fighters or the quality of the show.
“I started off thinking July 4, but then you realize that is six weeks away… some people are going to need eight weeks. So I am looking at July 18 or 25 as our start date for the UK Fight Camp.”
Hearn has been adamant that big stars like Anthony Joshua, who always brings in a big revenue just with his presence, will not be fighting in a venue like the one they have planned. Even if Joshua wants to be a part of it, Hearn is not too fond of the idea. What he has in mind, however, is bouts that can really bring people in. Eventually, the established stars will get their chance to shine.
One bout being discussed to kick things off is WBC Super-Featherweight Champion Terri Harper v. Natasha Jonas. The two were supposed to face off on April 14, but the coronavirus altered those plans. It is unknown if the other planned fights from that show, like Kieron Conway v. Navid Mansouri, will take place in the backyard. Hearn is looking for a limited number of fights on each card and could book Anthony Fowler v. Sam Eggington. He is planning this like past pandemics that have affected the United Kingdom.
“It is challenging, there are loads of obstacles, it is expensive, but I feel this is something we are going to be remembered for, a bit like Wembley with Froch-Groves or Joshua-Klitschko,” Hearn went on to say. “I’d like to be the one that came back with something different.”
“The sport has to move with the times. It is going to cost us £30,000 a show for testing, it is a lot of money. We have got no choice but to return, really, it is just a case of how much money you want to stick in.”
As far as the blockbuster fights mentioned above, Hearn is looking to hold the interim WBC Heavyweight Title fight between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin. The two were supposed to face off on May 2, but the bout was postponed due to the coronavirus. With enough time to train, the fight could be scheduled for either August 8 or 15.
Hearn wants to make sure everything is set and all fighters are treated fairly. He compared how he runs things to Top Rank, set to return in June in Las Vegas.
“The bigger names are not going to come back, apart from Dillian Whyte who will be on fourth week,” Hearn stated. “But, generally, I just want to put on a good card. Five fights a night, so no gimmee fights, no eight-rounders against some guy who was just brought it, they will be proper fights.”
The other major bout added to the “Fight Camp” show in August will be Katie Taylor v. Amanda Serrano. Also originally set for May 2, the bout is for Taylor’s WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, and The Ring Lightweight Titles. It is considered one of the biggest female fights in the history of the sport.