Eddie Hearn believes the British fight scene “needed” the rematch between Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall because of the extent to which its leading fighters are fighting elsewhere.

After Anthony Joshua and Daniel Dubois were among those to fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in December, Joshua fights Francis Ngannou there in March, before Tyson Fury’s fight with Oleksandr Usyk in the same location in May, when Joe Cordina will also fight Anthony Cacace. 

Taylor-Catterall II has been scheduled for April 27 at Leeds’ First Direct Arena – little over two years after their rivalry became so bitter when in Glasgow, Taylor was awarded so controversial a split-decision, a week after Devin Haney is expected to fight Ryan Garcia in Las Vegas, and the week before Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s next fight, also in Vegas.

“This feels like [Scott] Quigg-[Carl] Frampton,” Hearn told ProBox TV. “This feels like [David] Haye-[Tony] Bellew; this feels like [Carl] Froch-[George] Groves. That’s what we need, we’ve missed it. I’ve really missed it, you know? I think we’ve got a really special fight on April 27.

“We need this for British boxing. So, forget the profit from this show – understand what we need to deliver. If we don’t bring these big moments to British boxing, and just continuously take big fights internationally, British boxing won’t be the same. 

“The basics of it is, fights are very expensive now, and this fight needed to go on pay-per-view. But DAZN felt that with all of the big fights coming up, with [Anthony] Joshua-[Francis] Ngannou, with [Tyson] Fury-[Oleksandr] Usyk, that we should be offering these kinds of fights to subscribers, non pay-per-view. That’s what we wanted to do when we went to DAZN, but purses continued to go up, and it has to make business sense. 

“Sky Sports came back with a big offer to put it straight on pay-per-view; other broadcasters as well, and then I went back to DAZN and said ‘Look, all of these broadcasters want to put it on pay-per-view, you’ve either got to put it on pay-per-view, or you’ve got to pay a load of money and give it to subscribers for free’, and thank the Lord, they gave it to subscribers for free. So it’s part of your subscription, which is really important, and it’s really what we want, in terms of delivering for fight fans.”

Matchroom are also on course to pit five of their fighters against five from their biggest rivals Queensberry Promotions, another Britain-based promoter, in Riyadh.

“Listen, I think Saudi are doing amazing,” Hearn explained. “Without them, we wouldn’t be seeing the fights that we’re seeing. But, we’ve still got to make sure that we’re seeing the big fights here, and the problem is, with all the purses that are going up in Saudi, naturally fighters want more money. 

“They don’t say ‘I’ll take less money to do it in England’, so you’ve got to put the money up, and it becomes expensive. We’re making money globally, but at the same time, even if the margins aren’t as wide on the British shows, we can’t just go, ‘Ah, we won’t do them’, because British boxing will fall backwards, and this is the kind of fight that's going to help us continue that momentum. 

 “We needed to put the money up. Matchroom, particularly DAZN, to make sure that we can bring big fights, and not just on pay-per-view. It’s going to limit the audience, it’s going to get on everyone’s nerves, to keep paying pay-per-view all the time for fights. So yeah, it was a big result for us.”