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Eddie Hearn to stage 4 behind-closed-door events in July/Aug at Matchroom HQ

Alexander Povetkin Dillian Whyte

By Kenneth Friedman: Promoter Eddie Hearn plans on bringing boxing back with a bang by staging four consecutive behind-closed-door events in mid-July to August at the 15-acre Matchroom headquarters in Brentwood, Essex, according to the Mail sport.

With crowds still not permitted for fans, it’s essential that the cards initially be held behind closed doors.  Hearn will be working with the British Boxing Board and the WBC to ensure that they’re on board with everything that’s taking place in the set-up for the four events.

Each fighter will be allowed three cornermen. Other essential people for the events will be the broadcast team, medical stage [limited to nine], and the BBBofC.  Ring card girls will not be working on the events.

Also, each event will have a limit of five fights. This makes it essential that each fight is a compelling one.

The hurdles that Matchroom must deal with

  • Testing for all events
  • Isolation for fighters
  • Limiting each event to 90 people
  • Local hotels needed for fighters, broadcasters, and teams
  • Media situation still needs to be decided
  • Ring ropes and canvas cleaned between each fight
  • Spit buckets – with lids – wiped between rounds

This was the childhood mansion where Hearn grew up with his family, but it’s now been transformed into the Matchroom headquarters.

The plan is to stage the fights outside in the back garden. The Terri Harper vs. Natasha Jonas will headline the first event in the middle of July, and the final event will be the heavyweight clash between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin in August. All four events will be staged on Saturdays.

As part of the COVID-19 rules, a maximum of 90 people will attend each event. The back garden will have a large canopy, ring, and changing rooms. Hearn says there will be drones flying above and fireworks going off. It’s going to cost a lot of money for each event, but he wants to bring boxing back with a colossal bang rather than with a whimper.

“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,” said Hearn to The Mail Sport.

“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.”

Staging the fights outside should, in theory, minimize the risk of someone becoming ill from aerosol from the virus if there is someone that slips through the cracks in the testing.

Hearn didn’t say anything about the other fighters that will be taking part in the events, aside from Harper-Jonas and Whyte-Povetkin. He’d already mentioned that Whyte vs. Povetkin was going to take place behind closed doors a month ago, so there’s no surprise there. But fans would like to see some of the talented Matchroom fighters that Hearn has in his stable.

Hearn has a lot of different fighters that boxing fans would like to see in July and August. These are some of them:

  • Mikey Garcia
  • Demetrius Andrade
  • Gennadiy Golovkin
  • Callum Smith
  • Michael Hunter
  • Oleksandr Usyk
  • Dereck Chisora
  • Devin Haney

Even if the events are primarily headlined by non-stars, it’s still going to be fantastic to have boxing back up and running. Hopefully, this will lead to loosening of restrictions on crowds being able to attend live sporting events. There’s got to be a way to stage events during the pandemic that minimize the chances of contracting the disease.

“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,” said Hearn. “While other guys go with arenas and empty studios, ours will look very different.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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