Hearn: Joshua Too Big for O2 Arena Now; Strictly Stadiums in UK

By Keith Idec

By Saturday night, Anthony Joshua will have drawn nearly 170,000 fans to his last two fights combined.

That’s a staggering figure, particularly when you consider that before Joshua knocked out Wladimir Klitschko his fights took place at arenas in London and Manchester that hold roughly 20,000 fans for boxing.

Roughly 90,000 fans attended Joshua’s epic comeback victory over Klitschko at London’s Wembley Stadium on April 29. More than 75,000 are expected to pack Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on Saturday night, when England’s Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) will make a mandatory defense of his IBF heavyweight title against Cameroon’s Carlos Takam (35-3-1, 27 KOs).


Eddie Hearn, whose company promotes Joshua, believes these two crowds mean Great Britain’s biggest boxing star can’t go back to fighting at arenas when he boxes in the United Kingdom.

“That shows the scale of AJ’s appeal,” Hearn told London’s Daily Mirror. “The O2 has been brilliant for us, our home. But AJ is too big now for a 20,000-seat arena.”

The 28-year-year-old Joshua fought five straight times at London’s O2 Arena from May 2015-June 2016, before beating American Eric Molina at Manchester Arena on December 10. Joshua’s next fight came against Ukraine’s Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs), who dropped Joshua in the sixth round before getting stopped in the 11th round of an instant classic.

“I know there are loads of kids out there who want to see me,” Joshua said. “We love the O2 in London, but if we go to an arena like that not so many of the youngsters will have the chance to be there.

“You limit it at a time when there are so many people hoping to watch a world heavyweight title fight. The big stadium gives them that chance. It’s good for boxing. The demand is there.”

The Joshua-Takam match will be televised via pay-per-view by Sky Sports Box Office in the United Kingdom (£19.95). Showtime will air Joshua-Takam live in the United States (5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT).

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Deus on 10-26-2017

[QUOTE=Split Decision;18163234]Wembley has a retractable roof as well.[/QUOTE] Wembleys “rectractable roof” does not cover the entire stadium as it wasn’t designed that way, thus a boxing ring would be exposed to the elements.

Comment by Split Decision on 10-26-2017

[QUOTE=NahMean;18161629]There is nothing like a Wembley atmosphere!! The open stadium is like a boom box, the crowd roar inside can be heard for miles around the stadium. But Wembley is only available in the summer due to it being open…

Comment by MBE on 10-26-2017

We are very fortunate to be living in the AJ era of boxing.

Comment by Kigali on 10-26-2017

[QUOTE=Boxing42;18162484]That's speculation, I might agree with your prediction but we'll see what the future holds.[/QUOTE] Canelo will never get near as big as Floyd.

Comment by iamboxing on 10-26-2017

[QUOTE=Pandur;18161657]Not at all. Canelo is unknow to the rest of the world outisde of North America. Joshua i way bigger in Europe and gets shown all over here on television. France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Scandinavia. You name it. Yes…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (33)
Top Headlines Photos: Andy Ruiz vs. Dimitrenko, Figueroa vs. Parejo - Presser Photos: Danny Garcia, Adrian Granados - Go Face To Face in LA Granados: No Shock Porter Said I Was Tougher, He Ran From Me News: Anthony Yigit, Michael Nielsen, Smith-McGurk on ESPN+ Arum: Terence Crawford Reminds Me of Sugar Ray Leonard Nonito Donaire Aims For Knockout Win Over Zolani Tete Arum: People Will Tell Children, Grandkids About Crawford-Khan FIGHT NIGHT: Shields vs. Hammer - Video Released By Showtime Jesus Rojas, Juan Manuel Lopez in Doubleheader on May 18 O'Shaquie Foster Inks Promotional Pact With Lou DiBella Frank Warren: If Jarrell Miller Denies Using, Who Gave it To Him? Rene Alvarado To Stay Busy Against Eusebio Osejo on April 26 Canelo-Jacobs: Adalaide Byrd Included In NSAC's Judging Pool Murat Gassiev Inks Pact With Hearn, Heading To Heavyweight Photos: Teofimo Lopez, Shakur Stevenson, Verdejo Media Day Wilder Slams Miller For Failed Test: He Let His Family Down Manager: Adam Kownacki Not An Option To Fight Joshua On June 1 Photos: Josh Kelly, Conor Benn, Joe Cordina - Final Presser Claressa Shields: I Can Beat Up Thurman, Give Golovkin a Run Photos: Derek Chisora, Senad Gashi - Face To Face, Final Presser Photos: Dave Allen, Lucas Browne - Face To Face, Final Presser Porter: Granados Gave Me a Tougher Fight Than Danny Garcia Joshua's New Opponent To Be Announced Next Week, Says Hearn Roach: Preparing For Shakur Stevenson Was Easy, Expect Upset! Crawford: Can't Put Gun To Their Head To Make Spence Fight Frank Warren Aims To Make Saunders-Isufi For Full WBO Belt Conor Benn To Face Czech Foe At O2 Arena On Saturday Josh Warrington vs. Kid Galahad: Jack McGann To Feature Hunter is Hoping That Khan Has Fully Moved Past Canelo KO Jarrell Miller: I Don't Need PEDs, I'm Shocked, I'll Be Vindicated! Danny Garcia: The Plan is To Get a Knockout of Granados Video: Roach Breaks Down Crawford-Khan, Stevenson-Diaz Video: Amir Khan Very Motivated To Prove Doubters Wrong Jarrell Miller Threw Away The Opportunity of a Lifetime Video: Terence Crawford Talks Haters, Khan Clash, The Future Matchroom CEO: There is Pressure To Deliver For Joshua Card Khan Crossing Fingers: I Hope Crawford Thinks I'm The Old Amir Leo Santa Cruz: I Have No Fear of Fighting Gervonta Davis Freddie Roach Furious Over Jarrell Miller: We Need Bans For Life Hearn on Joshua Foe: I Spoke To 16 Heavyweights in 24 Hours

Latest Active Forum Threads