Eddie Hearn is hoping to stage a massive heavyweight triple-header to finish 2020, featuring his stable stars Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte and Oleksandr Usyk.
The Matchroom supremo is now putting a successful Fight Camp firmly in the rear view mirror to focus on ensuring a big finish to a year which has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight king Joshua is due to fight IBF mandatory contender Kubrat Pulev (28-1) on December 12, and Hearn re-iterated the fight will happen even if it has to take place behind closed doors.
Speaking on Matchroom’s YouTube channel, he said: He’s (Joshua) ready to fight. He will fight behind closed doors if he has to this year. He must fight, he’s progressing as a fighter. He’s learning all the time, he wants to challenge himself. He don’t wanna sit on the shelf.
“We believe that through the pilot schemes we’ll run at the end of September and then fans coming back into arenas from October, that actually there’s a really good chance that Anthony Joshua can have a strong crowd at the O2 on December 12. That’s our target date for that fight.
“Things are nearly wrapped up with Pulev’s team as well for that date so hopefully we can all work towards a massive finish to the year.”
While Joshua has not fought this year, Whyte (27-2) of course has as he comes to terms with that shock fifth-round stoppage at the hands of Alexander Povetkin on August 22.
That defeat wrecked the WBC world title dream for ‘The Body Snatcher’ after he had waited for more than 1000 days as mandatory. Now Hearn says the rematch – hopefully on November 14 or 21 in London – will be for even bigger stakes.
“It’s gone from a fight that really holds the key to the mandatory position to the fight that really holds the key to Dillian Whyte’s career,” he said.
“If he loses this fight he can forget about a world-title shot. If you thought there was a lot of pressure in the first fight, there’s even more pressure in this fight because this is his world title ambitions on the line
“For Alexander Povetkin, they’re calm, they’re confident, they’re saying ‘well we’ve just won by knockout, we’re gonna come and do it again’. So we’re gonna see that fight turn round quite quickly, looks like London – November 14th or 21st – there’ll be an announcement next week.”
Former cruiserweight king Usyk has only had one fight since moving up to heavyweight, and is being lined up to face Dereck Chisora, hopefully on Halloween.
Hearn said: “We’re still grinding away trying to get that over the line for October 31st, we’ve only got a few days to try and make that fight. But what a triple-header that would be if we could close the year out with Usyk/Chisora, Whyte/Povetkin 2 and Joshua/Pulev.”
Usyk of course is also the mandatory for Joshua’s WBO belt and could yet provide another major obstacle to a Fury vs Joshua unification battle taking place in the summer of 2021.