Dubai: If UFC boss Dana White has plans to stage events on a ‘Fight Island,’ boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has an even more unique venue to bring back live boxing – his back garden!
The Managing Director of Matchroom Sport Ltd has recently revealed plans to stage boxing match in July and August right in the back garden of the mansion where he grew up in, in Brentwood, Essex. The house has since acted as the headquarters for Matchroom Sport.
“This will go down in history, The most iconic venue in the world is Madison Square Garden, we will be the new garden,” Hearn, who has promoted many world champions including Anthony Joshua, Amir Khan and Billy Joe Saudners, told BBC.
“The thought of staging it outdoors in the garden, fireworks, drones, is actually to build a TV show that when you turn on the TV you don’t see four walls of a dark studio, you see this amphitheatre of a gladiatorial sport.
Hearn admits that he faces the biggest challenge of his career to create ‘Matchroom Fight Camp’, but is determined to bring boxing back since the sport was halted by the coronavirus pandemic in March.
But the Briton is clearly impressed with what Dana White achieved earlier this month when he staged a trilogy of fight cards behind closed doors and specifically designed for an intenational television audience in Florida, USA.
“The good thing about boxing is because of the intensity and drama, we’ve seen with the UFC, you are seeing a whole new dimension to the TV show,” he said.
“You are seeing the noise, those 10 oz leather gloves land on the opponents chin. You are hearing the body shots, the grunts and them go back to the corner.”
It is believed that the heavyweight fight between Londoner Dillian Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) and Russian Alexander Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs) which is scheduled for July 4 at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England could instead be stage at Hearn’s garden venue.
“I think every sport right now has to be creative, be innovative and be safe and try and get their head around round staging events behind closed doors for the foreseeable future,” Hearn told talkSPORT.
“You have to be compelling and innovative and come up with ideas, like the Matchroom fight camp, where broadcasters are going to say ‘wow we love that’.
“We’ve got big plans. It looks fantastic. There’s still a long way to go. I think it’s 90 per cent for us. Anything could happen at any time.
Hearn also detailed the logistics about staging a big fight card in his neighbourhood during the coronavirus.
‘‘There’s a hotel at the bottom of the road that we will take over,” he explained. “On the Wednesday, before the Saturday, everybody will turn up. Fighters, Sky team, corners, our team will all be tested at a facility.
“You don’t enter the hotel specifically, you enter a side building and you get tested and then you get your key, go into your room and don’t leave until you get the results.
“Once you get a negative results, you are allowed into Matchroom Fight Camps. We create a sterile environment. No one is allowed to interact with anyone from outside fight camp during that period,” Hearn added.
“We are going to be having around 90 people on site and everyone will be tested before they go into the facility.”
Should Hearn pull it off, he could perhaps have created a template for other sports to follow.