Plans are currently in place for boxing’s return, one step at a time. Several promoters are looking to host events in empty arenas, while others are finding ways to put fans in seats. Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn is looking to spice things up by hosting events in an unorthodox area.
Hearn told Daily Mail that his childhood home will be where fights will be taking place. The 15-acre land in Brentwood, Essex has been converted to offices for Matchroom’s main UK domain. Dubbed “Matchroom Fight Camp”, the £1 million plan would feature a who’s who of British fighters. The idea would be to open for business in mid-July.
“Just imagine it. It is summer, the house is all lit up, you can see Canary Wharf in the distance and fireworks are going off,” Hearn stated. “Then over the hill walk Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin for a massive tear up on my lawn.
“World championship boxing in my garden? Oh, go on then.”
Hearn and Matchroom have had to postpone several events due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some of those fights include the interim WBC Heavyweight Title fight between champion Dilliant Whyte and Alexander Povetkin. That bout may take place in August. Starting things off will be an IBO Super-Featherweight Title fight between champion Terri Harper and Natasha Jones. In total, there will be four cards with five fights.
Fights that may not take place in the garden could be Anthony Joshua v. Kubrat Pulev and Amanda Serrano v. Katie Taylor. Hearn has been adamant that those fights require fans to be there to view. He knows the financial toll this may put on Matchroom, but DAZN and the promotion have been looking for content during a time of uncertainty.
“Financially this will be painful for us but after the momentum we have worked so hard to build over the past 10 years, I’m not going to let boxing just dribble back,” Hearn went on to say. “While other guys go with arenas and empty studios, ours will look very different.”
“We want to create a gladiatorial environment that will not only ensure compelling viewing but will also ensure fighters can perform at the highest level.”
As of now, the British Boxing Board of Control has a plan in place to have boxing resume by the summer. One of the ways for boxing to be approved is by finding ways for athletes to be safe. The UFC was able to do something along those lines with a plan during fight week as well as testing. That includes separating fighters and their teams as well as extensive cleaning.
With tests taking 24 hours to come back, Hearn has a plan to keep everyone completely isolated. The UFC had an issue where one fighter and his team tested positive during fight week. Hearn is hoping to avoid that.
‘We are building changing rooms for the fighters, setting up a space for a ring walk, and figuring out how we can do everything you need for this kind of production with as few people as possible,” Hearn said. “Testing and isolation are the major challenges.
“We are in talks with a nearby hotel about taking control of it for each of the weeks. The way it will work is everyone involved – the fighters, their teams, the broadcasters – will go into the hotel on Tuesday and the fighter and their team will go to a testing facility at the hotel. You will go in, get tested, be handed a room key and go straight to your room, where you will wait until you get the result of the test.”
About 90 people will be involved in the process, according to Hearn. He will need to limit who can attend each event. Plans for the actual fight will work around social distancing guidelines. If everything goes according to plan, Hearn could produce more events as time goes on. By then, others may follow his lead.
“It won’t be great for the grass but hopefully it will be very good for boxing,” said Hearn.