On Friday Matchroom Boxing made official what had been long rumored and reported for the last few weeks, boxing in the U.K. is returning on their property, without fans, coming in August.
The top promoter in Britain made the announcements of their for fight cards that will take place in August known as “Fight Camp” at the Matchroom headquarters in a London suburb:
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) June 26, 2020
The first set of bouts will be on Saturday night August 1st and will be headlined by Britain’s Sam Eggington 28-6, 17 KOs in a 12-round Super Welterweight battle against fellow contender Ted Cheeseman.
Six days later the second fight card of Matchroom “Fight Camp” will feature women’s Unified Super Featherweight champ, unbeaten (10-0, 5 KOs) Terry Harper against British rival, Natasha Jones.
Unbeaten British middleweight Felix Cash (12-0, 8 KOs) will be the “Fight Camp” main event, Friday night August 14th putting his Commonwealth middleweight Championship up against Jason Welborn.
The biggest of the four fight card series will happen Saturday night August 22nd, and that’s when WBC number one contending heavyweight Dillian Whyte of England will be back in action against former IBF Champion, Russian Alexander Povetkin.
That title eliminator showdown was originally scheduled for May 2nd in Manchester before the shutdown of the sport do to Covid-19. Hearn and Matchroom have been hesitant to have that fight without fans, but now see it as an important opportunity to re-vive the sport in the short term in the U.K.
Whyte said in a Sky Sports interview last month that he has no problem fighting in this type of environment without fans at the Matchroom HQ,
“I had a ‘War’ with Chisora, co main event in Manchester, in front of thousands of people. Then, I went up to America to fight after. I think I fought in front of 800 people, because I was the first fight on there….but I got the job done. I went out there (to the USA) professional and I dealt with it.”
Whyte has also been trying in nearby Portugal since the beginning of the Pandemic to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus.
The co-main event of the August 22nd fight Camp card is Irish unbeaten Lightweight World champion, 15-0, 6 KOs, Katie Taylor will be in action against a yet to be named opponent.
Hearn previously said to England’s “Talk Sport” about the Matchroom “Fight Camp” concept on their property,
“Our project restart is about staging live boxing from the garden there with a canopy. You’ve heard of Madison Square Garden and this is the new garden.
“We talked about doing boxing in studios and there’s a lot of people doing it. I just feel like when you are talking about a gladiatorial sport, like boxing, you need to create that moment, that energy, not just for the viewer at home but the fighter as well.
Hearn continued, “that’s why part of 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 amphitheater of a gladiatorial sport.
“It’s going to be a different kind of broadcast and it’s going to be intriguing. It’s going to be one of the few sports that is going to be intriguing behind closed doors.”
Hearn has repeated that they will follow British Boxing Board of Control guidelines, including there will be a maximum of five of them on a fight card in successive weeks. Fighters, their teams, and all personnel with the fights will be housed at the Matchroom Estate in quarantine and tested for Covid-19.
This is similar to what Top Rank Boxing has done in the U.S. in Las Vegas at the MGM Resort with their “bubble.”
Hearn has further detailed that there plan will be for approximately 90 individuals to stage the fights, plus the TV broadcast, etc. on the Matchroom property.