Oleksandr Usyk’s fight with Dereck Chisora could end up in Saudi Arabia if that country comes out of the coronavirus lockdown ahead of the UK.
The heavyweight clash had due to take place at the O2 Arena, London, on May 23, but that date was scrapped when the British Boxing Board of Control stopped all shows until the end of May.
And while Matchroom’s other May pay-per-view event, featuring Dillian Whyte v Alexander Povetkin in Manchester, was moved to a new date in July, no rescheduled date has been given for Usyk-Chisora.
Matchroom first went to Saudi Arabia in December when Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr took place at a purpose-built outdoor arena in Diriyah on the outskirts of the capital city Riyadh.
Going overseas is one option Eddie Hearn is looking at as he looks to come out of the lockdown in style. It is understood that he has also lined up television studio space in East London for behind-closed-doors shows.
As of Tuesday, 73 people had died in Saudi Arabia having tested positive for coronavirus compared to more than 12,000 in the UK. The country is on lockdown, however, with only a handful of international flights departing or arriving.
Matchroom had already intended to run two shows in Saudi Arabia this year, one in December in Diriyah and one in early July “somewhere else”.
One option could be Jeddah, which staged the World Boxing Super Series final between Callum Smith and George Groves in 2018 as well as Amir Khan’s fight with Billy Dib last year. Indeed Usyk had initially been due to box Murat Gassiev there in 2018, until injury intervened and the rearranged fight was moved to Moscow.
Wherever it is, it will need to be air-conditioned. The average temperature for Saudi Arabia in July is 106° F.