Information on Fight Camp 2 as boxing returns to Eddie Hearn’s backyard this weekend
Cranes and scaffolding are back at Matchroom headquarters as Eddie Hearn prepares for another summer boxing festival in his backyard.
Last summer, Dillian Whyte and Co set up camp on this Essex country road as boxing limped out of the coronavirus shutdown.
A year after that £ 5million bet, Matchroom is back with three straight weeks of Fight Camp 2 – an improved version of the behind-the-scenes windfall.
But what can fight fans expect this time around? Sportsmail answers some of the key questions.
Boxing returns to Eddie Hearn’s back garden, with Fight Camp 2 starting this weekend
Who is fighting?
Saturday night’s opening show features the return of Conor Benn, arguably the most improved fighter on these ribs.
After bombing Samuel Vargas in a round back in April, The Destroyer takes another step towards major titles against Adrian Granados. This is the main attraction of the first week, but the undercard features a lot of interesting matches.
Chinese Can Xu, whose unification clash with Josh Warrington failed last year, defends his WBA featherweight title against British underdog Leigh Wood, while Avni Yildrim – both beaten by Canelo Alvarez and Chris Eubank Jnr in recent years – fights Bolton’s Jack Cullen.
The fight of the night, however, could be Tommy McCarthy versus Chris Billam-Smith. They collide in a tantalizing national clash for the British, Commonwealth and European cruiserweight titles. Earlier on the show, Campbell Hatton continued her professional apprenticeship and former British amateur Sandy Ryan made her paid debut.
Exciting Conor Benn to be in action when Fight Camp 2 kicks off on Saturday night
COMBAT 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
Ebania 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
Félix Cash vs. TBA
Natasha Jonas vs. TBA
Hopey Price vs. TBA
The second week is topped by Kid Galahad’s world title clash with Jazza Dickens of Liverpool. The British pair met in 2013 for the British Super Bantamweight title. Now, eight years later, they are reunited for the vacant IBF featherweight title, ceded by Warrington in January.
On the underside, promising British heavyweight Fabio Wardley defends the English title he won at least a year at Fight Camp. He faces Nick Webb, who breathed new life into his own career with a second-round stoppage of Erik Pfeifer last time around.
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 moved to the United States this year to work with Virgil Hunter and the unbeaten 28-year-old hopes to continue his charge in a packed lightweight division.
Acts of support include Savannah Marshall, brilliant British WBO middleweight champion, Tasha Jonas – beaten by Katie Taylor last time – and Michael McKinson, who returns after the best victory of his career of 20 fights against compatriot Chris Kongo 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 around?
Yes, following the easing of restrictions, fans can return to ringside this year. It should no longer mean the eerie near-silence that greeted Whyte’s brutal knockout at the hands of Alexander Povetkin last year.
But attendance is capped at just 300 punters per week. Tickets, which are still available for Galahad-Dickens and Buatsi-Bolotniks, will cost you £ 750 each (plus £ 50 booking fee per order).
This, according to Matchroom, will include “Festival Style” hospitality – including food and drink from the ringside pop-up stalls.
Unlike when Alexander Povetkin knocked out Dillian Whyte, fans will be allowed during this time.
What are the Covid protocols?
During last year’s fight week, everyone was locked inside the Brentwood Holiday Inn, down the road from Matchroom HQ base. It was a tightly controlled bubble that saw fighters, coaches, organizers and journalists isolate themselves next to each other.
About 90 people sharing the same gym, hallways and elevators in a bid to keep the coronavirus out. Reece Bellotti – back for week three – mostly played Grand Theft Auto in his bedroom; Dalton Smith reeked of the place after bringing a portable stove and tasting salmon midweek. Whyte spent the week in a Winnebago rather than a room near Povetkin.
This time the restrictions are a little less strict. But the fighters and their team are back at the Holiday Inn starting Wednesday for more fun during Fight Week.
Cranes and scaffolding return to Matchroom headquarters ahead of second phase
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 forming a new team to deal with their coverage.
Laura Woods and Maya Jama will present Fight Night from the ring, while analysis will be provided by Tony Bellew and the brilliant Andy Lee. After the Tokyo Olympics, legendary commentator Mike Costello will be behind the microphone.
Maya Jama (left) and Laura Woods (right) will present Fight Night from the ring
Watch 3 Weeks of Fight Camp Live on DAZN for just £ 1.99