Boxing To Return In Eddie Hearn's Garden For Summer Festival
Eddie Hearn is hoping to bring back boxing, all from the garden of Matchroom HQ, in some incredibly ambitious plans for a summer festival of the sport.
Hearn, one of the top promoters in the world, wants to kick off a four week, 20 fight, run in July and August all from the garden of his 15 acre Matchroom HQ in Brentwood, Essex.
"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. While other guys go with arenas and empty studios, ours will look very different," he told the Daily Mail.
"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. 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."
"We cannot just bring boxing back with a dark studio," Hearn added when explaining the Matchroom Fight Club, his working title, "We have built our product on the razzmatazz, the sexiness and the drama. It has all been about building that moment for a fight, so we cannot afford to just bring people out like a gameshow.
"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."
There will be lots for Hearn and his team to overcome with the behind closed doors shows and the British Board of Control have set out plenty of guidelines already.
"It is a huge mission. We are going to turn our headquarters here into an outdoor venue for live boxing, with a full canopy in the middle of the garden and the ring overlooking London.
"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.' 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,' Hearn said. '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.
"The tests are comprehensive and they take 24 hours, so the fighter will stay in their room until they get a call from our doctors, likely on the Wednesday, with their results. If they are positive, they will leave the hotel immediately. If they are not, they are able to leave their room and take part in the obligations of fight week, all with social distancing."
As well as the WBC interim heavyweight title fight between White and Povetkin, which would be the main event of the final show, Hearn is hoping to start with women's super-featherweight world title fight between Brits Terri Harper and Natasha Jonas in mid-July.
The British Boxing Board of Control suggested in their guidelines that title fights wouldn't be able to take place but the man who promotes Anthony Joshua said he was in talks with both the BBBofC and the WBC about the possibility of White's fight.
Hearn can certainly take some precedents from UFC after Dana White's company put on two shows in the past week without too many problems and a lot of planning.
One fighter had to pull out after testing positive for Covid-19 but all other issues and controversies were to do with the sport.