ANTHONY JOSHUA reckons some British boxers are dodging the coronavirus comeback.
AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn is working on a plan to return the sport to Sky Sports screens by mid-July, with bouts in the backyard of his Matchroom HQ mansion.
But the Essex matchmaker has revealed he has around 20 per cent of his stable ducking the controversial move and he claims heavyweight champ Joshua agrees with him.
On Hearn’s Talk the Talk YouTube show, he said: “I was speaking to AJ about it yesterday and he trained at the office quite a lot at the start of his career and he said he loved it.
“He said something to me that resonated, he said: ‘I think some people just don’t want to fight.’
“I asked him what he meant and he said: ‘I think some people talk about it but they are actually quite happy to sit out. I would love to fight at the office. It would be unbelievable and so different’.
“I think he is right because a lot of the feedback I am getting from fighters is 80 per cent are saying ‘yes please, just hurry up and stick me in’
“But I am getting a small group of fighters who are saying ‘give me a buzz when it is all back to normal’.
“You have got to be ready to step up and take advantage of this because otherwise you will get jumped in the line for fights, profile and rankings.”
Hearn is hoping to launch a dramatic comeback for boxing with fireworks and drones flying all over the Brentwood skyline.
The target is to host an all-British world title fight between Terri Harper and Natasha Jonas and fly Alexander Povetkin over from Russia to face Brit banger Dillian Whyte.
I would love to fight at the office. It would be unbelievable and so different.
Hearn has watched the UFC enjoy a week of success running behind-closed-doors shows in Florida, where only three people tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and the brutal sounds added to the atmosphere.
Hearn said: “Because of the intensity and drama of boxing, as we have seen with the recent restart of the UFC, you will see a whole new dimension to the TV show because of the sounds of the punches, the groans, the talks in the corners.
“We even heard a UFC fighter at the weekend go back to his corner and tell them ‘I have lost a tooth’.
“That is why having it outdoors with fireworks and drones helps create a TV show that isn’t just four dark studio walls, it’s an amphitheatre and a very different broadcast.
“The UFC had one fighter fail and two of his corner, so that has gone OK. We are giving ourselves plenty of time and hope to start mid-to-late July.
“We require doctors so we don’t want to take them away from the NHS.
"We will not take liberties and right now we are being told that everything is working for boxing to get a July restart, after a lot of the non-contact sports.”
Hearn is 90 per cent sure he can take over a local hotel to quarantine fighters, their teams, the Sky Sports production staff and his own employees before the action gets underway.
Explaining the logistics, after weeks of planning, he said: “There is a hotel at the bottom of the road that we will take over.
"For a Saturday show, the fighters, their teams, the Sky team, everyone will all arrive on the Tuesday or Wednesday and go into testing at a facility.
“They will go into a side building and then straight into their room, once their test is negative they can go into the Matchroom Fight Camp which will be a sterile environment that they cannot leave for the duration.
“We will have around 90 people on site, with the British Boxing Board of Control and doctors and everyone will be tested.”
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