Eddie Hearn is splashing more than £5 million 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 £1 million in gate revenue.
But for Joshua to come even close to his usual eight-figure pay night will require at least a £5 million 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.