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Four Matchroom Boxing shows set to take place at London's Wembley Arena

Liam Happe
Four Matchroom Boxing shows set to take place at London's Wembley ArenaDAZN
Four of Eddie Hearn's upcoming events will take place at a venue that would allow for socially-distanced tickets to be sold, just in case they can be.

Matchroom Boxing boss Eddie Hearn is set to stage four upcoming 2020 shows at the SSE Arena (also known as Wembley Arena) in an attempt to be ready in case he is granted approval to allow a number of ticket-paying fans to attend some or all of the events.

The arena, located adjacent to Wembley Stadium, has a capacity of 12,500. Hearn told Ron Lewis of that the cards would go ahead on the premise that there may be no fans at all, while they work to be able to change that with the right clearance.

“I am planning the fights with no fans at the moment,” said Hearn. “We will have the same venue for four events and just keep canvassing, asking for 1,500 or 2,000 fans to be let in."

The shows, in chronological order, are as follows:

  • Oleksandr Usuk vs. Dereck Chisora on Oct. 31
  • Katie Taylor vs. Miriam Gutierrez on Nov. 14
  • Dillian Whyte vs. Alexander Povetkin II on Nov. 21 

There is also a tentative show penciled in that's slated to be headlined by Billy Joe Saunders defending the WBO super-middleweight title against an opponent TBA.

Hearn said the shows will hopefully lead to a situation where they can sell a reasonable amount of tickets - as many as 4,700, reports Lewis - for Anthony Joshua's defence of the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles against Kubrat Pulev, which is intended to take place on December 12.

Hearn will stage four shows at the 12,500-capacity SSE Arena, Wembley, as he aims to increase pressure for a return of fans.

“I don’t like to go into big arenas and seeing loads of empty seats everywhere," continued Hearn. "We have to get creative with the production, but the plan is to fill them up or at least certainly get some bums on seats.

“Early doors I hope we can get 1,000 in, show the Government how we can get it done safely and from there escalating to AJ.”

The Saunders card is the only one of the four pre-Joshua cards that have yet to be officially confirmed, as it remains to be seen whether Hearn goes for Nov. 28 or Dec. 5 as a date.

Though Lewis reports that Nov. 28 is the preference, it would likely have to compete with the rescheduled Frank Warren domestic clash pitting unbeaten heavyweights Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce against one another.

If it took place on Dec. 5, meanwhile, it could serve as a lead-in for another Hearn charge, Luke Campbell, as he takes on undefeated Ryan Garcia, most likely in the United States and in the early hours of the morning in Greenwich Mean Time.

As for an opponent for Saunders, Hearn appears to favor an all-domestic affair for the champ's first fight since knocking out Marcelo Coceres on the KSI vs. Logan Paul card in LA last November.

“I’d like to do a Brit,” he said. “So it is probably one of [Martin] Murray, [Rocky] Fielding or [John] Ryder.”

Outside of boxing on Dec. 5, the British new wave band Squeeze will perform at London's O2 Arena with 4,700 socially-distanced seats going up for sale at the venue which held a total of 19,000 pre-coronavirus, hence the specific target in Hearn's mind for the Joshua fight.

“There is a music event approved the week before AJ,” he said. “That would suggest we might be able to do that number for AJ, but that is subject to them not changing their mind.

"We had the Crucible, 400 people for every day for the World Snooker Championships and after one day they closed it down.

“The pressure is definitely mounting for fans to be allowed back, but on the other hand, they are talking about closing pubs and restaurants. So how can you close pubs and restaurants but allow people to go to sporting events?

“Sooner or later they are going to have a decision on their hands. Do you open things up and put in what measures you can, or do you close everything down again and everything could be screwed?”