Matchroom Boxing’managind director Eddie Hearn is a firm believer that Anthony Joshua’s next fight against IBG mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev could do more than $10 million gate.
The British promoter said that the fight between Joshua and Bulgaria’s number one heavyweight won’t be happening behind closed doors because there is a lot of money to be made. The problem is, of course, the coronavirus that locked down the UK and postponed all major sports events until further notice.
“Before all of this, we were so red hot,” said Hearn to S.I. Podcast about the pandemic and the fights that were taking place before it hit. “We were talking to Kazakhstan; we were talking to China, we were speaking to Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
“All these territories. We want to stage a major fight. I can’t tell you right now that my phone is ringing from countries, saying, ‘We want to stage a major fight.’ There will be, and they want to show that they’re up and running as a destination. But right now, people have bigger problems. We have to substitute that big gate for the mega-fights somehow.
“Canelo against Billy Joe is a problem,” said Hearn. “That’s a fight that can do an $8 million gate. How is that subsidized? Joshua against Pulev. That could be a $10 million gate. We can’t just do it behind closed doors. Where does the $10 million go? So we have to look internationally, and we have to be creative.
“Some territories like Australia and New Zealand, they’re basically reporting zero cases. So some countries are going to rebound quicker. So we’ve got to be creative in ways to substitute a gate if we can’t happen in territories that we’d ideally like it to,” said Hearn.
“We’re all working together for different alternatives. We had an approach from an amphitheater and coliseum in Croatia last week and some guys that wanted to bring the fight out there.
“The Middle East has shown interest in that fight as well. We really wanted to do that fight in the U.K., but it’s virtually impossible to do it. I really don’t want to do an A.J. fight behind closed doors. I just don’t think [I’d like to do that]. His whole career and his whole brand have been built on the fact that he’s a huge draw with tens of thousands of people,” said Hearn.