Eddie Hearn will again open his back garden as Matchroom hosts Fight Camp 2 at his Essex home… this time there WILL be fans and Conor Benn headlines the first night’s action. DANIEL MATTHEWS has the lowdown on a very unique festival of fights
- A spruced-up version of Fight Camp is returning to Eddie Hearn’s back garden
- Fight Camp 2 gets underway this Saturday night, with Conor Benn in action
- Sportsmail answers the key questions about the behind-closed-doors bonanza
- Watch all 3 weeks of Fight Camp live on DAZN for just £1.99
The cranes and scaffolding have returned to Matchroom HQ as Eddie Hearn prepares for another summer festival of boxing in his back garden.
Last summer, Dillian Whyte and Co set up camp down that Essex country lane as boxing limped out of the coronavirus shutdown.
A year on from that £5million gamble, Matchroom are back with three consecutive weeks of Fight Camp 2 – a spruced-up version of the behind-closed-door bonanza.
But what can fight fans expect this time round? Sportsmail answers some of the key questions.
Boxing is returning to Eddie Hearn’s back garden, with Fight Camp 2 starting this weekend
Saturday night’s opening show features the return of Conor Benn, arguably the most improved fighter on these shores.
Having blitzed Samuel Vargas inside a round back in April, The Destroyer takes another step towards major titles against Adrian Granados. That is the headline attraction of week one but the undercard features no few interesting match-ups.
China’s Can Xu, whose unification clash with Josh Warrington fell through last year, defends his WBA featherweight title against British underdog Leigh Wood, while Avni Yildrim – beaten by both Canelo Alvarez and Chris Eubank Jnr in recent years – fights Bolton’s Jack Cullen.
The fight of the night, however, could be Tommy McCarthy vs Chris Billam-Smith. They collide in a mouth-watering domestic clash for the British, Commonwealth and European cruiserweight titles. Earlier in the show, Campbell Hatton continues his professional apprenticeship and former GB amateur Sandy Ryan makes her paid debut.
The exciting Conor Benn will be in action when Fight Camp 2 gets underway on Saturday night
FIGHT CAMP 2 SCHEDULE
Conor Benn vs Adrian Granados
Can Xu vs Leigh Wood
Tommy McCarthy vs Chris Billam-Smith
Anthony Fowler vs Rico Mueller
Avni Yildirim vs Jack Cullen
Campbell Hatton vs Jakub Laskowski
Sandy Ryan vs Kirstie Bavington
Kid Galahad vs James Dickens
Fabio Wardley vs Nick Webb
Alen Babic vs Mark Bennett
Ebanie Bridges vs Bec Connolly
Johnny Fisher vs Josh Sandland
Ellie Scotney vs TBA
Aqib Fiaz vs TBA
Joshua Buatsi vs Ricards Bolotniks
Michael McKinson vs Przemyslaw Runowski
Raymond Ford vs Reece Bellotti
Savannah Marshall vs TBA
Ukashir Farooq vs TBA
Felix Cash vs TBA
Natasha Jonas vs TBA
Hopey Price vs TBA
Week two is topped by Kid Galahad’s world title clash with Liverpool’s Jazza Dickens. The British pair met back in 2013 for the British super-bantamweight title. Now, eight years on, they meet again for the vacant IBF featherweight title, surrendered by Warrington in January.
On the undercard, promising British heavyweight Fabio Wardley defends the English title he captured at least year’s Fight Camp. He faces Nick Webb, who breathed new life into his own career with a second-round stoppage of Erik Pfeifer last time out.
The closing night of Fight Camp 2 will see the talented Joshua Buatsi take on Ricards Bolotniks for the WBA International light-heavyweight title. Buatsi has this year relocated to the United States to work with Virgil Hunter and the unbeaten 28-year-old will hope to continue his charge up a packed light-heavyweight division.
The support acts include Savannah Marshall, Britain’s brilliant WBO middleweight champion, Tasha Jonas – edged out by Katie Taylor last time out – and Michael McKinson, who returns following the best win of his 20-fight career against compatriot Chris Kongo back in March.
Campbell Hatton (left) will have his third fight as a pro at Fight Camp 2 this weekend
Will there be fans this time round?
Yep, following the easing of restrictions fans can this year return to ringside. That should mean no more of the eerie near-silence which greeted Whyte’s brutal KO at the hands of Alexander Povetkin last year.
But attendance is capped at only 300 punters each week. Tickets, which are still available for Galahad-Dickens and Buatsi-Bolotniks, will set you back £750 apiece (plus £50 booking fee per order).
That, Matchroom say, will include ‘Festival Style’ hospitality – including food and drinks from pop-up stalls at ringside.
Unlike when Alexander Povetkin knocked out Dillian Whyte, fans will be allowed in this time
What are the Covid protocols?
During fight week last year, everyone was locked inside the Brentwood Holiday Inn, down the road from Matchroom HQ’s base. It was a tightly-controlled bubble that saw fighters, trainers, organisers and journalists isolating alongside each other.
Around 90 people sharing the same gym, corridors and lifts in a bid to keep coronavirus out. Reece Bellotti – back again for week three – mostly played Grand Theft Auto in his room; Dalton Smith stunk the place out after bringing a portable cooker and enjoying mid-week salmon. Whyte spent the week in a Winnebago rather than room near Povetkin.
This time round, restrictions are rather less strict. But fighters and their team are back at the Holiday Inn from Wednesday for more fight week fun.
The cranes and scaffolding have returned to Matchroom HQ ahead of the second instalment
Where will the fights be shown?
Well, Fight Camp marks the start of Matchroom UK’s ‘game changing’ deal with DAZN.
Hearn recently took his stable from Sky Sports to the streaming service in a bold move that also includes the formation of a new team to front their coverage.
Laura Woods and Maya Jama will present fight night from ringside, while analysis will be provided by Tony Bellew and the brilliant Andy Lee. Following the Tokyo Olympics, legendary commentator Mike Costello will be behind the mic.
Maya Jama (left) and Laura Woods (right) will present fight night from ringside
Watch all 3 weeks of Fight Camp live on DAZN for just £1.99
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