Eddie Hearn raised a lot of eyebrows across the boxing world when he announced his ambitious plans for Matchroom’s return two months ago.
After initially declaring that he would attempt to battle on during the rise of coronavirus, Hearn quickly made a U-turn and conceded defeat as the severity of the global situation became apparent.
Hearn is putting a ring in the Matchroom HQ back garden
He was forced to cancel all of his planned shows in the UK, US, Spain and Italy, and was put in unusual circumstances as his jetset lifestyle was halted by lockdown.
Hearn has become accustomed to constantly flying from country to country, making deals and promoting events, but was grounded by the pandemic.
Time at home in March and April was spent homeschooling his two daughters and also strategising for the comeback.
Midway through May, he unveiled his grand plan.
The branded canopy is being constructed this week
Matchroom Fight Camp will see fights staged in the back garden of the mansion where Hearn grew up in Brentwood, Essex.
He told talkSPORT: “It’s our headquarters now in Brentwood.
“We’ve got a nice bit of land out there and it’s been very lucky for us as a family. My dad moved there from Dagenham originally when he made a few quid and it’s been very lucky to us.
“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.
Hearn grew up at the mansion, which is now his main office
“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.
“We’ve got big plans. It looks fantastic…
“You have to be compelling and innovative and come up with ideas like Matchroom Fight Camp, where broadcasters are going to say, ‘Wow, we love that.’”
Hearn released images of what his setup will look like back in May
He intends for there to be plenty of drama in the production
Regarding specifically how the Fight Camp ‘bubble’ will work, Hearn explained: “There’s a hotel at the bottom of the road that we will take over.
“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 Camp.
Golf buggies are being used to get around the site
“We create a sterile environment. No one is allowed to interact with anyone from outside Fight Camp during that period.
“We are going to be having around 90 people on site and everyone will be tested before they go into the facility.”
Matchroom’s ‘bubble’ features a press conference and weigh-in area so that fighters can engage in media and fight week activities as normal.
Hearn admits he has taken a lot of inspiration from Dana White’s UFC return back in May.
Welcome to the @MatchroomBoxing #FightCamp bubble ⚠️
A sneak peak at our press conference/weigh-in area plus gym for fighter use, which will be cleaned before and after sessions… pic.twitter.com/uoIx0qbMnJ
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) July 28, 2020
He has started to strike up a friendship with the UFC boss after meeting him for the first time last year and will have undoubtedly been watching closely as the MMA promotion’s Fight Island series proved a success in Abu Dhabi.
Hearn continued: “The good thing about boxing is the intensity and drama.
“We’ve seen with the UFC, you are seeing a whole new dimension to the TV show.
“You are seeing the noise, those leather gloves land on the opponents chin. You are hearing the body shots, the grunts and them go back to the corner.”
Fight Island was a success for the UFC
The promoters met in person last year
Hearn has stressed that conditions will be kept raw on the Sky Sports broadcast when the fights start.
However, before that fans can expect to hear fireworks, see the mansion lit up and witness unique camera angles with drones flying overhead.
An extravagant ring walk will take place as boxers make their ways from the constructed changing room block down the steps and into the garden.
There will be no fake crowd noise when the first bell rings though. The plan is for all the razzmatazz to die away and pure fighting to be put on display.
The grass will be ruined by the end of the four-week run
Hearn conluded: “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 amphitheatre 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.
“When you’ve got a fighter who is rubbing his neck and about to walk out in front of 80,000 and you open the curtain and you can imagine the heart racing.
“Imagine if all of a sudden you walk out and there is no one. These fights are really important for their careers. They need to get the adrenaline racing and need to get the intensity to hit the maximum performance.”
You can view the full Fight Camp schedule below…
Matchroom Fight Camp starts this Saturday
📆 Week One – August 1
🥊 Sam Eggington vs Ted Cheeseman
🥊 James Tennyson vs Gavin Gwynne (British Lightweight Title)
🥊 Jordan Gill vs Reece Bellotti (Featherweight)
🥊 Fabio Wardley vs Simon Vallily (English Heavyweight Title)
🥊 Dalton Smith vs Nathan Bennett (Super-Lightweight)
📆 Week Two – August 7
🥊 Terri Harper vs Natasha Jonas
⚖️ (WBC Super-Featherweight Title)
🥊 Chris Billam-Smith vs Nathan Thorley (Commonwealth Cruiserweight Title)
🥊 Anthony Fowler vs Adam Harper (Super-Welterweight)
🥊 Aqib Fiaz vs Kane Baker (Lightweight)
🥊 Hopey Price vs Opponent TBC (Featherweight)
📆 Week Three – August 14
🥊 Felix Cash vs Jason Welborn
⚖️ (Commonwealth Middleweight Title)
🥊 Zelfa Barrett vs Eric Donovan (Super-Featherweight)
🥊 Kieron Conway vs Navid Mansouri (Super-Welterweight)
🥊 Shannon Courtenay vs Rachel Ball (Bantameight)
🥊 John Docherty vs Opponent TBC (Super-Middleweight)
📆 Week Four – August 22
🥊 Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin
⚖️ (WBC ‘Interim’ Heavyweight Title)
🥊 Katie Taylor vs Delfine Persoon (Undisputed Lightweight Titles)
🥊 Martin Bakole vs Sergey Kuzmin (Heavyweight)
🥊 Luther Clay vs Chris Kongo (Welterweight)