When Will Fans Return To Matchroom Boxing Events And Who Will Headline A Potential Card?
Recently, Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn predicted that fans can return to watch fights live around August-October. Now, a potential date has been revealed for that return to normalcy.
Hearn spoke with the media not long ago and stated that September 12 is when he believes fans will be allowed back. He is hoping for around 400-500 people, as shown by the fact that the World Snooker Championship’s, as well as horse racing events in the United Kingdom, will look to produce several fans in attendance.
“We were lucky enough to be one of the test events for the government with the world snooker and it’s been an arduous process,” Hearn stated, via ESPN. “They’re not just going to turn round and say: ‘Ok, everyone is welcome back.’ You have to put these proposals forward.”
Matchroom is expected to return to action in August in the backyard of Matchroom’s UK office. Dubbed “Matchroom Fight Camp“, several big fights are expected to take place without fans. Following that, Hearn will be holding events in the United States. Set to take place in Tulsa, Oklahoma on April 15, the fights planned will take place in the streets of Tulsa.
While several fighters, like Dillian Whyte, Terri Harper, Cecilia Braekhus, and more, will be fighting without fans, A current champion may end up being the guinea pig when it comes to crowds. Hearn mentioned Joshua Buatsi as someone who could headline a show. He even mentioned some big arenas where the event could take place.
“So, our next step within Matchroom Sport after — because it’s going to be around 400 people with the snooker — is can we get that same kind of amount in the O2, York Hall, Crystal Palace Leisure Centre or wherever we choose to in September which is very likely to be headlined by Joshua Buatsi and hopefully a world title fight for Chantelle Cameron as well,” Hearn went on to say. “I’d like to think that could be boxing’s test event on Sept. 12.
“I think it’s the right kind of time to try — whether it’s 100, 200, 400, those kind of numbers — and start the process. The only way we’re going to get to start filling venues again is to go through the right channels and processes to prove to people it’s safe.”
Buatsi (12-0) is the current WBA International Light-Heavyweight Champion. A British Light-Heavyweight Champion, Buatsi fought three times in 2019. His last bout was a knockout-win against Ryan Ford, his seventh win in a row via knockout.
Hearn will have to wait for a ruling by the British Boxing Board of Control as well as the UK government to allow fans to come into fight nights. COVID-19 testing and social distancing practices will also have to be utilized. As far as planning, Hearn wants to test everything out right away, with a specific structure in place to get it all done.
“We can’t turn around on Sept. 1 and say, ‘We’ve got a show in two weeks, you can come.’ What we want to do is say, ‘Thank you for the snooker, obviously we’re going to wait to see how that goes but we just want to let you know our plans for September. So subject to a successful test period of those three sports, are you OK to look at this option? I’d be very surprised if we couldn’t get 100 or 200 in a venue, subject to successful test events,” Hearn admitted.
Hearn has been waiting for big fighters like Anthony Joshua to return to action. While Joshua is OK fighting without a crowd, Hearn is adamant that Joshua needs a crowd when he fights. That is a result of a potential revenue that can be attained by Joshua. He is set to face off against Kubrat Pulev sometime in November.
Not only is Joshua a factor, but plenty of other fighters have matchups that could be made with or without fans. That includes the saga surrounding Canelo Alvarez.
“The bigger issue for us is when you look across the bigger names in the stable — Billy Joe Saunders, Josh Warrington, Callum Smith if he doesn’t get the Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez fight, Kell Brook if he doesn’t get the Terrence Crawford fight — is that they are all dependent on gate revenue,” said Hearn.
“Anthony Joshua, which would be end of November, maybe even first week of December, but the only way we’re going to get to 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 is to start the process for our sport and that will only come via government approval.”
Top Rank has been waiting for fans to return as well, while Showtime is looking to return with a schedule that does not have fans attending events up until December.