If Eddie Hearn had his way, a huge heavyweight title fight could be taking place in front of several fans in an iconic location.
Recently, the Matchroom Boxing promoter discussed where he would like to see the bout for the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight Titles. The fight is being planned for November and Royal Albert Hall or Olympia in the UK were previously recommended as locations. Croatia was also an option, but Hearn is attempting to keep the fight in the UK.
Hearn, who wants fans for a Joshua fight, ended up telling The Telegraph that the O2 Arena could end up being a landing spot for Joshua v. Pulev.
“We are making plans to stage the rest of the year behind closed doors with the exception of those two events, which will be pay per view,” Hearn stated. “We are trialing the world snooker championships with 350 fans at the Crucible in Sheffield and we are working towards crowds in October and the end of November for Dereck (Chisora) and then AJ.
“It may be a case of convincing people to attend, and going through the right procedures to get people into the O2 Arena. It won’t be easy, but it’s our ambition to do it.”
If a fight were to take place inside the O2 Arena, up to 2,000 fans could attend the event. This is what Hearn believes can happen by August, even as COVID-19 continues to spread.
The bout between the two was supposed to take place inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in June but was postponed due to the coronavirus. Joshua (23-1) last fought in December, beating Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia to regain his heavyweight titles. Ruiz took the titles from him back in June 2019 in what was considered an upset. Pulev (28-1) is on an eight-fight win streak following a loss to champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. He last fought in 2019, beating Rydell Booker via unanimous decision.
Hearn also mentioned Derek Chisora, who is set to face off against Oleksandr Usyk to determine the next mandatory challenger for Joshua. While he is waiting Chisora has been considering a move to MMA.
If Joshua can beat Pulev, he and Tyson Fury have agreed in principle to fight one another in 2021. Even with fans inside, a gate is needed for a Joshua fight, per Hearn. Fury is also scheduled to face Deontay Wilder in a trilogy bout, but that may also require fans. So far, major boxing entities have been holding events without fans. Hearn is looking at all aspects of the virus and business in general to get everything in order.
“We have to keep planning and making contingencies for all these fights to go ahead,” Hearn went on to say. “Last year, the sums of money being earned was out of control. We have got to stop making decisions based on egos, and look at limited capacity events instead for the very biggest fights.”
For now, Hearn will be hosting “Matchroom Fight Camp” events in the UK at, set in the backyard of Matchroom’s UK office.