Eddie Hearn completely understands that rescheduling boxing shows isn’t important amid a pandemic.
The British promoter hopes, however, that after some time passes that he’ll at least be in position to revisit with the British Boxing Board of Control the possibilities of staging shows in studio settings or in venues without fans. Those alternatives were discussed with the BBBofC before Matchroom Boxing postponed all of its shows in the United Kingdom that were scheduled for the months of March and April.
Studio shows or cards in bigger venues without fans weren’t viable now because the BBBofC didn’t want to allocate medical resources to boxing shows when doctors could better serve the British public by helping people contend with COVID-19.
“I do believe there is a chance over the coming weeks where the medical side can be approved by the British Boxing Board of Control and we could go back to looking at events in studios and behind closed doors,” Hearn told Sky Sports during a televised interview. “Boxing, for me, that’s not an ideal environment. You know, these are guys that they have to peak at the right moment. They’re putting themselves through a process that many couldn’t and wouldn’t. And to do that, sometimes you need the energy of the arena, you need the energy of the fans.”
Boxing is immensely popular in the UK, but Hearn was willing to sacrifice the revenue upcoming cards would’ve generated at the gate to avoid all of the postponements that were announced earlier this week. Altogether, Matchroom Boxing pushed back three shows that were scheduled to take place in England this month and next month.
“Plans were in place for the Golden Contract to go behind closed doors on Friday,” Hearn said, referring to a televised light heavyweight tournament in the UK. “Also, our March 28th show at the O2 [Arena in London], we were considering doing that behind closed doors. We were considering doing that actually in a studio as well. And then, having spoken to Robert Smith yesterday at the British Boxing Board of Control, it was clear that then it becomes a problem of doctors and potential access into hospitals if a fighter is injured on the evening. And then it becomes a complete no-go.
“You know, removing from the pandemic, we then come into putting fighters at risk. And of course, that’s a non-starter for us at all. So, [there are] various ideas moving from mass gathering, to behind closed doors, to studios. But all of those, right now, are put on hold as we wait to see.”
Hearn also stated that the Anthony Joshua-Kubrat Pulev heavyweight title fight, set to take place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, could be postponed from June 20 to July 25 to accommodate changes to Tottenham Hotspur’s home soccer schedule.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.