Four open-air behind-closed-doors events will take place at Matchroom Sport’s headquarters in Essex, starting on Saturday
Eddie Hearn disclosed on Wednesday that his company had invested £5 million in the four open-air, behind-closed-doors events which make up “Fight Camp” at the Matchroom Sport headquarters in the Essex countryside beginning on Saturday night. He also revealed that heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua would return in December against Kubrat Pulev.
Hearn, showing off the ring for the first time on Wednesday, explained: “It started as just a germ of an idea, and my staff have run with it and I’m proud of what we have achieved.
“Having an event outdoors is different, and we feel it will work really well. It was worth us blowing a few quid, because it looks spectacular and that’s good for us during this time out. But in all, including the purses for Dillian Whyte, Alexander Povetkin, Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon on Aug 22 [a pay-per-view event], the four events will have cost £5 million.”
Hearn is banking on explosive fights from his younger, less established fighters to fire up interest again in boxing. “These first three events are also giving work and good exposure to some of our other fighters, which they need even if it means them taking a bit of a purse reduction,” added Hearn.
Ten boxers on the weekend’s card are in quarantine in a hotel near Hearn’s Brentwood mansion, which was bought by his father, Barry, 35 years ago for £200,000.
“It became the family home when I was five years old, and then I lived in here in my twenties alone for a couple of years. They were going to sell it, but in the end, when my dad sold his Romford headquarters we decided to keep it.
“To have this Fight Camp in the garden we ran around in as kids is an amazing feeling. Sky Sports, Hearn’s UK broadcast partners, will air the first three events, with Sky Box Office showing Whyte-Povetkin and Taylor-Persoon. Taylor rematches Persoon after defeating the Belgian controversially on points at Madison Square Garden, New York, on the night Joshua suffered his first career defeat against the Mexican-American Andy Ruiz.
Many felt Taylor lost the bout to Persoon, though the record will always state that the brilliant Irish boxer unified the lightweight titles. As for Joshua, Hearn was adamant on Wednesday that the linchpin of his huge stable would have to wait until December to defend his three heavyweight titles. “AJ draws a minimum £5 million gate, so it’s hard to get him out there without a significant crowd, so we are now seeing a change from our original thoughts on October to December, based on Government guidelines.
“AJ has visited Matchroom while we have been setting up – in fact he used to train here on the helicopter pad in the garden when he first started out – and he is champing at the bit to get out there again.
“He last fought in December [avenging the defeat by Ruiz in Saudi Arabia] and we must get him out this year. The most we could hope for in October or November is a crowd of about 2,000. We can’t even rely on going somewhere abroad like Saudi for a big site fee because every country has a coronavirus problem.
“But, really, if things don’t change at all, we may even see Joshua fighting here in the garden on pay-per-view. We have to look at every eventuality. It’s about adapting, and even Fight Camp is about that philosophy.”