Slowly but surely, live sport is making its way back to television screens of British households. With football back and Liverpool claiming their first-ever Premier League title, and first league win in 30 years, other sports have started to rejoin the fold. Cricket has returned with England taking on the West Indies, and soon boxing will be in full flow once again. As you would assume, and much like the plans for the 2020 World Matchplay of darts from 18 to 26 July, the boxing will be closed to the public, but unlike the darts, British promoter Eddie Hearn will be staging his big boxing comeback outdoors.
While there will have been a few cards held before Hearn’s Matchroom event gets underway, the new series is set to be the most notable return to action. Over the course of four weekends, Fight Camp will feature 19 fights, as it stands, on an outdoor ring in Brentwood, as announced by US broadcaster DAZN, with Sky Sports covering the event in the UK. While the series doesn’t feature the highly-anticipated return of Anthony Joshua as a defending champion, whose picture against Ruiz Jr won the World Sports Photography Award, there is plenty for fans of British boxing to be excited about.
Fight Camp Week 1: 1 August
Dalton Smith (5-0-0) and Nathan Bennett (9-1-0) commence proceedings with an eight-round featherweight contest, which is to be followed by Fabio Wardley (8-0-0) battling Simon Vallily (17-2-1) for the English heavyweight title. The 6’5’’ 25-year-old Wardley is an interesting prospect, being managed by Dillian Whyte and having started his career in the arena of white-collar boxing.
Next on the bill is the ten-round featherweight tie between Jordan Gill (24-1-0) and Reece Bellotti (14-3-0), which is to be followed by James Tennyson (26-3-0) and Gavin Gwynne (12-1-0) for the vacant British lightweight crown. Headlining the British card is Sam Eggington (28-6-0) versus Ted Cheeseman (15-2-1), with Eggington putting his IBF international super welterweight title on the line to further his claim for a shot against IBF and WBA world champion Jeison Rosario. Despite being the belt-holder, Eggington isn’t expected to come out of this duel as the winner, with Cheeseman heavily favoured.
Fight Camp Week 2: 7 August
Southpaw and amateur boxing standout Hopey Price (2-0-0) figures to feature on the second card of the Fight Camp series, with a lightweight match scheduled for eight rounds between Aqib Fiaz (5-0-0) and Kane Baker (13-6-0) officially set for the evening. These will be followed by the super-welterweight bout between Anthony Fowler (12-1-0) and Adam Harper (9-1-0), and the 12-round Commonwealth cruiserweight title match between Chris Billam-Smith (10-1-0) and Nathan Thorley (14-0-0).
The headline bout is a tremendous rumble between two of the stars of British women’s boxing. Terri Harper (10-0-0) puts her WBC and IBO World super-featherweight belts on the line against Natasha Jonas (9-1-0). Nicknamed ‘Miss GB,’ many will be looking to Jonas to extend her legacy as a history-making boxer, but it’s the reigning champ who’s heavily preferred by the experts.
Fight Camp Week 3: 14 August
Only the headliner is a title fight in Week 3, but the competitiveness of most of the card’s contests is bound to bring the noise. It kicks off with super-middleweight John Docherty (8-0-0) looking to get the best of Anthony Fox (8-12-4), and the exciting Zelfa Barrett (23-1-0) trying to add a loss to the record of impressive Irishman Eric Donovan (12-0-0).
Next is Kieron Conway (14-1-1) and Nav Mansouri (20-3-2) at super-welterweight, followed by the very exciting up-and-comer Shannon Courtenay (5-0-0), who is tipped to continue to go undefeated after her match against Rachel Ball (5-1-0). Top of the sheet is Felix Cash (12-0-0). He will be attempting to defend his Commonwealth middleweight belt against Jason Welborn (24-8-0), who had worked his way up to an almighty shot at three world titles against Jarrett Hurd in 2018, but lost by way of knockout.
Fight Camp Week 4: 22 August
The fourth and final event of this boxing series uses the build from the first three weeks to finish with some of the biggest names in British and Irish boxing right now and lots of titles. The hefty card gets underway with a ten-round contest between Luther Clay (13-1-0) and Chris Kongo (11-0-0) for the WBO global welterweight title, which is followed by the soft-spoken, Scottish-based Congolese heavyweight Martin Bakole (15-1-0) battling a man of equal record, Sergey Kuzmin (15-1-0).
Undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor (15-0-0) will also be on the card, but according to the BBC, her opponent could be either Amanda Serrano or Delfine Persoon – who she somewhat controversially defeated to become undisputed in 2019. Topping the colossal series, and the only one of the four which Sky Sports will be showing through Box Office, is British heavyweight star Dillian Whyte (27-1-0) taking on the notorious Russian, Alexander Povetkin (35-2-1). As of 7 July, Betway has Whyte at 1/4 to beat Povetkin (11/4), with the experts foreseeing ‘The Body Snatcher’ furthering his already-justified claim at a WBC title shot. This will be further bolstered by his foe being a top-ten contender in the WBC and WBA rankings. As you can see, Eddie Hearn is going all-out to mark the return of Matchroom boxing in the UK. All four of the Fight Camps feature classy athletes and a great selection of very closely-matched bouts. There are some more favoured fighters, often headlining the events, but even they will have to pull out all the stops to conquer their foes in August.