Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn is hoping to make an announcement next week for five big shots starting from February 13th to April 10th in the UK, as long as he receives clearance from the British Boxing Board of Control.
The big fights that Hearn hopes to announce are as follows:
- Josh Warrington vs. Can Xu – February 13th
- Alexander Povetkin vs. Dillian Whyte II
- David Avanesyan vs. Josh Kelly
It’ll be good for Hearn to get closure on two of the fight as he makes a decision on what to do with the losers.
Heavyweight Dillian Whyte (27-2, 18 KOs) will be looking to avenge his loss to former WBA champion Alexander Povetkin (36-2-1, 25 KOs) from last summer.
2016 Olympian Josh Kelly (10-0-1, 6 KOs) will be facing EBU welterweight champion David Avanesyan (26-3-1, 14 KOs) for his title.
Kelly has looked poor in some of his recent fights, and if he gets blown out by Avanesyan, it will give Hearn the chance to eliminate some bloat that he has in his stable.
Giving the boot to Kelly and Whyte would free up some space for Hearn t sign some talented fighters that have a chance of going somewhere.
Matchroom coming back with a bang
“The last few weeks I’ve been traveling around and looking at places where we can go really because one thing we can’t do is stop boxing,” said Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social.
“I have a schedule of five fight nights that are absolutely fantastic that are all pretty much ready to go, and you will an announcement for that in the net 48 hours.
“We’re coming back with a bang, to be honest with you, and we’re going for it. We’re not out of the woods, but we’re going to be losing even more money because we’re going to have to make these big fights with no gate again, but what else can you do?
“I’m not prepared to come back with something small, one show in February, and just wait. We have to come out firing.
“We have a plan in 2021, for us is the year that Matchroom dominates globally. So in that respect, in our key market in the UK, we have to come out firing.
“When you see the schedule early this week, you will agree with that, and hopefully, that will come with the blessing of the British Boxing Board of Control in the next day or so.
“We got unified fights, we’ve got a big heavyweight fights, and we’ve got Kelly – Avanesyan, we’ve got another world title fight, and we’ve got loads of women world championship fights.
“It’s really, really good. I’ve looked at these five fights almost like a Fight Camp scenario. I really love the Fight Camp for many reasons, but we’ve got to plan these weeks.
“We’ll be announcing from February the 13th to April the 10th. It won’t be every week, but it’ll virtually every week. But it’ll give me the chance to say seven fights, seven fights, seven fights, who we are putting on and everyone is phoning right now saying, ‘When am I fighting right now, and when is my slot?’
“Good news, you’re about to find out. I want to go back to those fights where I felt every fight had to be competitive and interesting in Fight Camp.,” said Hearn.
If Hearn gets permission to bring boxing back in February, he’s got a big fight between Josh Warrington and Can Xu that should make it interesting for fans.
Avanesyan – Kelly, Povetkin – Whyte & Warrington – Xu to be announced
“I want to try and do that and plan that,” said Hearn. “That’s one of the great parts of the job really. The matchmaking and looking at the fights, people stepping up and taking chances.
“Kelly – Avanesysan of everything coming up is probably the fight that I’m looking forward to the most, to be honest with you.
“When you see the fights that we’ve announced, there’s a lot of them. That fight for me is a wonderful fight because that’s the night that you find out about Josh Kelly, and I love those nights, especially for young kids that we’ve brought through.
“Yeah, it’s a wonderful schedule, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest, you’ll get to see it.
“The first one with Josh Warrington. The only issue we have with that is surrounding the WBA title because obviously, Leo Santa Cruz boxed for 17 WBA belts, and he’ll never fight at 126 again in my opinion.
“But in boxing, people want to stop your progress and get in your way, and apparently, he will be fighting at 126.
“It’s just getting in the WBA position because I want Josh Warrington to be the WBA Super champion if he takes that fight with no crowd, it’s a 50-50 fight.
“It’s such a tough fight that I want Josh Warrington to get the rewards of that fight. The good news is the Ring Magazine belt, subject to confirmation, will be on the line for that fight,” said Hearn about the Warrington vs. Can Xu match.
“That’s something he badly wants to win as well. So we’re closing in on Warrington – Can Xu.
“The next 24 hours will be clinical on that fight. I believe we will see it. But he will be boxing on February the 13th.
“He will be the guy that kicks off this schedule, and I hope it’ll be against Can Xu because I believe it’ll be the Fight of The Year, I really do.
“Both guys [Xu and Warrington] never take a backward step, and both guys throw a million punches per round. I think it’ll be absolutely brutal.
“Yes, that’ll be announced too,” said Hearn about the Dillian Whyte vs. Alexander Povetkin 2 rematch.
“I’m basically telling you the entire schedule before it’s even announced, which is what I always do.
“I come off these interviews, and everyone says, ‘You just basically announced the schedule when you were supposed to be doing it on Tuesday,” said Hearn.
It’ll be good for boxing fans to finally see the welterweight clash between David Avanesyan and Josh Kelly, as those two have been trying to get this fight done since last year,,
IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington (20-0, 7 KOs) vs. WBA ‘regular’ 126-lb champ Can Xu (18-2, 3 KOs) will be huge for February 13th if it comes off.
Hearn is hoping that the World Boxing Association will free up the WBA Super World 126-lb title that is currently in the possession of Leo Santa Cruz, who hasn’t fought at featherweight for two years since his win over Rafael Rivera in February 2019.
It’s pretty obvious that Santa Cruz won’t be returning to the 126-lb division. The WBA should have already stripped Santa Cruz of his title given how long it’s been since he last fought in the division.
Eddie hoping BBBofC will allow boxing back
“There’s nothing I want more than for boxing to return in the UK, but if that’s not possible then we’re off-ski,” said Hearn.
“But I believe in the next coming week, probably in the next 24 to 48 hours, we’ll get some good news.
“I believe the board will allow boxing to come back in February if that’s cleared by the doctors.
“I don’t disagree with their decision for January. We have to look at the bigger picture right now.
“I know we work in boxing and love the sport, but anything that is going to put pressure on the NHS right now or anything that is going to stop the necessary care required for a fighter, then it’s a no-go.
“I think what they really needed was just time. Time to be sure that we’re OK, and time to make sure the NHS is under extra pressure by having a boxing event.
“Time to ensure that the critical care that may be needed for a fighter is available.
“But we also can’t ignore that the government has said that the elite sport is allowed to continue. So we have to continue,” Hearn said.
It would a huge positive if the British Boxing Board gives the green light for the sport to resume in the UK for February.
It’s understandable why the UK government temporarily halted competition in January, given the surge of positive tests for the coronavirus.
If Hearn is correct about boxing being allowed back by February, he’ll be ready to go with his five shows, starting with the Josh Warrington vs. Can Xu fight.
Hearn discusses the DAZN broadcast team
“I think it’s good, they’re a new platform, and they’re learning all the time and evolving all the time,” said Hearn about some fans being critical of the DAZN commentator’s high praise of Ryan Garcia during his fight with Luke Campbell.
“I think one thing they probably didn’t realize which we all know is UK boxing fans are probably 462 times more vocal than U.S boxing fans.
“So if they don’t like something, it blows up the internet, which is good. I love the passion of UK fight fans. If they think I’ve done something that is s***, they’ll tell me.
“I think DAZN has got a good team. I think they’re mixing it around, they’re learning. They’ve got a lot of work to do for their UK broadcast as well. Give them the feedback.
“I actually think Chris Mannix is a fantastic broadcaster. I have a bit of backwards and forwards with him. He loves Ryan Garcia. So I messaged him, ‘Why aren’t you talking about the Devin Haney fight? It’s the mandatory fight, DAZN wants it. You’re saying this guy [Ryan Garcia] is the next coming of Muhammad Ali, he can fight whoever he wants, he’s the A-side against the entire pound-for-pound division.’
“But that’s because I was watching it as a fan and a promoter, but that’s good. I think it’s good. I think DAZN is a new platform that is learning all the time.
“I think it’s schedule of fights is unprecedented in America, and it’s new global app is fantastic. So embrace it, give them feedback, and I’m sure things will change,” said Hearn on DAZN.
Many boxing fans don’t realize how important Ryan Garcia is for DAZN and for the sport in general. With guys like Canelo Alvarez, Anthony Joshua, Gennady Golovkin, and Tyson Fury nearing the ends of their careers, DAZN and boxing need fighters like Ryan Garcia to take over as the next superstar.
For that reason, it’s not unusual that the commentators with DAZN have been complimentary about King Ryan (21-0, 18 KOs). The most positive things they say about the 22-year-old, the greater the chances that the fans will want to tune in each time he fights.