Inside Matchroom Fight Camp… Hearn drops a clanger on live broadcast

Behind the scenes at the Matchroom Fight Camp… Eddie Hearn drops a clanger on live broadcast as latest Government warning spells danger for Anthony Joshua’s upcoming fight

  • Eddie Hearn will host series of Fight Camps this summer in his own back garden
  • Sportsmail has been granted inside access to the camp on a daily basis 
  • Hearn messed up on Friday by swearing during a live Sky Sports broadcast 

Sportsmail has been granted special behind-the-scenes access at the Matchroom Fight Camp. 

Having exclusively revealed in May that Eddie Hearn had hatched a bonkers and brilliant £1million plan to stage boxing in his back garden, we have now been invited into the Fight Camp hotel in the build up to Saturday’s first of four shows at the Matchroom HQ in Brentwood.

Here is Riath Al-Samarrai’s fight week diary…

Friday, July 31

For a man with no obvious dislike of the camera, it would seem Eddie Hearn is still capable of getting himself into awkward situations on air.

Today it was at the weigh-in where he mistimed his opening salvo, in which he greeted the Sky Sports News reporter with: ‘Shamone mother*******.’ Turns out he was broadcasting live.

Eddie Hearn was caught off guard this week and didn’t realise the broadcast was live

Hearn swore on Sky Sports and immediately cringed after he realised what was happening

Policing his comments has not always been easy for the architect of this crazy £5million plan to stage boxing in the Covid era. One of the strict instructions upon arrival to the quarantine bubble on Tuesday was that the location must not be shared; Hearn contrived to give it away in several interviews on Wednesday. The best laid plans etc.

The rest has been reasonably straightforward, beyond the onset of madness in tight spaces with little to do. It has been noted, to some amusement, that the trainers of James Tennyson and Gavin Gwynne, who fight tomorrow for the British lightweight belt, have taken to sharing long walks together. 

Boris Johnson has announced spectators are no longer being permitted at sporting events

Long in the sense of duration, not distance – there is a grassy stretch of about 30m by 3m and they just walk and talk under the sun, back and forth, over and again. It has been compared by some to prison yard exercise.

Today was enlivened by two topics – the first was Boris Johnson’s announcement about spectators no longer being permitted at sporting events. If that is indicative of a potential second spike, folk around the camp have wondered what it means for the next three and a half weeks of this project, among other things. 

Hearn is already considering implications for Anthony Joshua, but told Sportsmail he will still definitely fight in 2020, behind closed doors or abroad if need be. Sport and life, both a moveable feast these days.

The other discussion was around the weigh-in. All fighters made it through within their limits, which was doubtless a relief in light of the challenges of cutting weight in a small hotel with a menu geared towards the less self-conscious.

Hearn is already considering implications, of sports not having fans, for Anthony Joshua

One fighter remains a focus of attention and intrigue – Simon Vallily. There has been a lot of thought about how 10 fighters would get on under one roof but the concern has generally been eased by a group that is fairly relaxed in nature. 

That is where Vallily comes in. The 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist has barely been spotted all week, before going on something of a diatribe on Thursday when he called his opponent Fabio Wardley a ‘lesbian’ and a ‘c***’, among other things. Instantly their fight for the English heavyweight title has become the most discussed in here.

Sportsmail succeeded in chatting with Vallily after the weigh-in. The Middlesbrough fighter, 34, describes himself as a ‘loner and weirdo’, and said he had spent most of his time watching films and relaxing. He was really quite friendly, until he discussed Wardley: ‘Sometimes you just meet people you don’t like. I don’t like him.’

Not much more to say. They get to have a fight tomorrow.

The full programme for the Week 1 fight camp can be found here. 

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