Eddie Hearn is splashing more than £5million on his open-air but closed-doors Fight Camp but his superstar Anthony Joshua will now have to wait until December for his return to the ring against Kubrat Pulev.
So massively higher are the pay scales for truly elite boxers that while even Dillian Whyte will appear in next month’s last of Hearn’s four fan-less promotions in his (very large) back garden, even a discounted purse for Joshua cannot be met short of a crowded 02 Arena.
Whyte is taking a wage cut for his world heavyweight championship eliminator against Alexander Povetkin at the end of August to accommodate the loss of a potential £1million in gate revenue.
But for Joshua to come even close to his usual eight-figure pay night will require at least a £5million live attendance.
Since crowd sizes for boxing are not expected to be raised by the government to 50 per cent capacity until mid-winter, Joshua’s defence of his world heavyweight titles has now been pushed back from October to December 5 or 12.
By then he will have been out of action for a full year, since he regained those belts in his Saudi rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr.
Hearn explains: ‘I’ve just spoken to Josh and although he’s champing at the bit to fight again he gets it.
‘The most we could hope for in October or November is a crowd of about 2,000. We can’t even rely on going somewhere abroad like Saudi for a big site fee because every country has a coronavirus problem.
‘One upside of December is that Fury will be having his trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder six days before Christmas so both events will spice things up for a fight between Tyson and AJ next year….as long as they both win. ‘
Meanwhile Hearn is investing in helping to bring boxing back before the TV public.
The garden setting for a ring beneath a Wembley-size canopy is hilltop in Essex with dramatic views over London.
Hearn’s outlay includes more than £1million on isolated accommodation and meals at a nearby hotel for all involved.
‘It’s worth us blowing a few quid,’ says Hearn, ‘because it looks spectacular and that’s good for us during this time out.
‘It also gives work and good exposure to some of our other fighters, which they need even it means them taking a bit of a purse reduction.’
That includes Sam Eggington, who kicks off the Fight Camp series this Friday night with a defence of his IBF international super/welterweight title against Ted Cheeseman.
The customary raft of pandemic protocols will be in place.
Hearn is also using his time in the sanitised bubble to push for major world title fights abroad for other stars.
He had made an offer for Hull’s golden Olympian Luke Campbell to make a third world lightweight title bid, against Mexican/American sensation Ryan Garcia.
Hearn remains hopeful that Callum Smith – and if not John Ryder – will be granted the choicest plum. A super-fight against Mexican legend Canelo Alvarez.
But although he says that ‘Canelo wants Callum’s super-middleweight belts’ he expects any fight for Alvarez to also be delayed, from September to later in the year