Coronavirus: Hearn's Matchroom garden-bout plans borne out of necessity to be creative

Omnisport

Eddie Hearn says ambitious plans to host boxing events on the lawn of Matchroom headquarters were borne out of the necessity to be creative during the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the weekend, Hearn revealed work is being done to stage shows at the mansion in Brentwood, Essex, where he grew up and was converted into offices for the promotion company.

It was reported it could cost around £1million to do so, with fight nights taking place on four consecutive weekends across July and August.

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UFC has returned amid the global health crisis, while the Bundesliga also resumed on Saturday as the world of sport continues to take tentative steps towards moving forward without spectators.

Hearn anticipates events taking place behind closed doors for the foreseeable future, hence the reasoning behind planned bouts on the grounds of Matchroom.

"I think every sport right now has to be creative, be innovative and be safe and try and get their head around staging events behind closed doors for the foreseeable future," he told talkSPORT.

"Trying to make sure the players are safe, officials are safe and everyone is safe. Ultimately produce a compelling product for fans and broadcasters at home.

"Broadcasters are important because, don't forget, we aren't competing against other boxing promoters, we are competing against other sports because when we come back, Sky particularly, are going to be inundated from rights holders and organisations.

"You have to be compelling and innovative and come up with ideas, like the Matchroom fight camp, where broadcasters are going to say, 'Wow, we love that.'

"It's going to be difficult and there are going to be a lot of sports we see disappear off the commercial radar over the next few months."

Hearn expanded on the plans and the complications that still need to be overcome in terms of testing.

"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," he added. "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.

"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. There's still a long way to go. I think it's 90 per cent for us. Anything could happen at any time.

"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 result, you are allowed into Matchroom fight camps. We create a sterile environment. No one is allowed to interact with anyone from outside fight camp during that period.

"The problem with this virus is people are still learning. We are having a dozen calls a day with doctors and testing facilities. It's such a mountain to climb.

"We are going to be having around 90 people on site and everyone will be tested before they go into the facility."

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