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Eddie Hearn’s novel idea of hosting fights in his back garden is just the start of something new

Amid the fireworks of closing night, Eddie Hearn was adamant on Saturday that his garden parties will be a long-time feature on the new boxing landscape.

In his typical manner, he has not been shy in rating his move to stage title bouts in the back yard of his childhood home as the best innovation seen in any sport since the chaos of the pandemic.

In terms of originality and bombast, it is reasonably hard to disagree on the basis of the 19 fights he has staged on the Matchroom HQ lawn in Brentwood across four straight weekends, culminating in Saturday’s bout between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin.

The novelty of the £5million project was striking when it was first revealed by Sportsmail in May and its delivery, via the quarantine settings of a Holiday Inn off the M25, has added a surreal touch to a surreal sporting time. 

Hearn has already started talks with prospective hosts about expanding the concept abroad, with particular interest in the Middle East, and has guaranteed it will return in the UK next summer, irrespective of whether the Covid pandemic has cleared.

He told Sportsmail: ‘It’s gone past what we wanted. We had an idea about this whole thing when it started but as usual when I open my mouth there’s an element of saying something and then trying to make it all work out.

‘We honestly didn’t think it would go this well. It really could not have gone better.

‘I truly believe we have not seen a better initiative in any sport. Everyone has done well coming out of this thing and getting started up, because it is very, very hard to do with the controls in place. But I don’t think anyone has managed what we have with Fight Camp.

‘Fight Camp has now become a brand in its own right. We’ve had so many calls and inquiries about taking this to different countries, they all want to jump on it.

‘All the countries we talk to about staging our regular shows have been on to discuss this. I’ve had calls from an apparel company wanting to run merchandise from it as well.

‘We have a number of decisions to make on how to evolve it. About a week ago we were deciding whether to expand this one for five weeks or go out with a bang with Whyte- Povetkin and we have gone with the latter.

‘Aside from risks about the weather, it just feels right. We will definitely be back next year irrespective of Covid and we are still talking about the possibilities. It could be that we develop it as a festival, with music and fans, though possibly not in the Matchroom garden. 

‘One area we will look at more is the narrative. We’ve seen this great opportunity around having the fighters all together in the hotel, and a side of it all that you don’t normally see.

‘We have started introducing new ideas as this one has gone on, like diary rooms, Bubble Trouble discussion shows… all that. There is so much potential for content and at the end of each week you have seen genuinely good fights. Getting the fights right has been crucial.’

Hearn confirmed that there had been no positive Covid tests out of the 433 conducted across the four shows for the 40 fighters or those working on site, which has numbered between 90 and 100 for each of the cards.

‘The worst-case scenario was that there would be a positive but that hasn’t happened,’ said Hearn. ‘People will have wanted it to fail but it hasn’t.’

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