Hearn Closer to Holding UK Event With Fans For Joshua-Pulev
Realizing that the huge stadiums that Anthony Joshua is used to competing in won’t have the same atmosphere due to the coronavirus, Eddie Hearn has been working hard to get the right setup figured out. His recent idea may get him closer to his goal.
Previously scheduled for June 20 inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight Title fight featuring Joshua against Kubrat Pulev was postponed due to the coronavirus. Hearn has been adamant that any fight with Joshua should have a crowd present, with the next step (as a last resort) being him fighting without a crowd.
“We’re working on the assumption that AJ vs Pulev will not be able to take place in a venue the size of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium,” Hearn stated. “Our absolute priority is to stage the fight in the UK… There is the possibility of us staging the AJ fight in the UK. I don’t think it will be behind closed doors. If we can get some kind of number together [for a potential crowd] we can create an exclusive event to keep this fight in the UK.”
As far as when the fight will happen, Hearn sees September as the earliest start time, with October or November as the realistic dates.
When it comes to location, Pulev’s manager has recommended Croatia as a destination, a place where Hearn stated no offer has been given. Recently, Hearn has had plans to hold events in the backyard of the Matchroom UK office, his former home. That is something Joshua is interested in doing. What about other UK venues? Speaking with Boxing Scene, Hearn has plans to hold the fight inside Royal Albert Hall or Olympia.
“I really want to do the fight in the UK,” said Hearn. “So I am thinking AJ boxes in October or November, why can’t we go to the Royal Albert Hall or Olympia and do 1,000 people, a proper glitz and glamour event, charge people a lot of money to go, dinner before, a party, drinks and everyone is a couple of meters apart from everyone?
“If you are doing 1,000 tickets, there is a dinner before and an after-party, it is a hell of a ticket if you are a fight fan to go and watch something like that so close up. We just have to be creative; people will want to go out. It will take time for people to rediscover the confidence to go to an event with crowds.”
Opened in 1871, Royal Albert Hall can hold up to 5,272 people. It has held sumo tournaments as well as the first UFC event in the UK. Boxing events have also been held there, with several stars from the past gracing the building. Home to a number of Chris Eubank fights, Olympia opened up in 1886. It can seat up to 10,000 people.
Hearn wants Joshua to fight at least once in 2020. If he were to win, there is a chance he could face Tyson Fury for the undisputed heavyweight title. Even with a potential second wave of COVID-19 threatening the world, Hearn can imagine a scenario where certain venues open up over others.
If all goes according to plan for Hearn, Joshua will be able to return in a big way.