Boxing

Matchroom set the standard for British fighters

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Matchroom's MD Eddie Hearn has overseen a productive 2013 (©GettyImages)
Matchroom's MD Eddie Hearn has overseen a productive 2013 (©GettyImages).

With only two months until the lights are out for 2013, British boxing has enjoyed a successful year thus far. Darren Barker and Scott Quigg both found international glory via contrasting routes, while Jamie McDonnell was controversially stripped of his world crown last week.

There is a striking correlation for all our current domestic world champions; Carl Froch, Ricky Burns, Barker and Quigg are all part of Matchroom Sport, controlled by the wily management of Eddie Hearn.

Once seen as a protégé of his father Barry’s successful career, Hearn makes a compelling case for stand-alone success, even in a relatively early stage of his promotional career.

Never have Britain’s fighters been given as many chances at international glory than under Matchroom. Among the success stories, Gavin Rees and Lee Purdy provide the stark reality that not all title fights result in victory. Yet without Hearn’s persistence and crafty management to get his fighters into strong or even mandatory positions, they would be nowhere near a shot.

He knows exactly what it takes to manoeuvre his boxers into the best positions possible. Rather than taking masses of one-sided ‘keep busy’ fights, Matchroom fighters know every bout serves a purpose, be it at domestic or international level. Take Darren Barker for example – after an 14 month layoff, Barker fought just twice before securing a shot at Daniel Geale’s IBF Middleweight title. Victory against Geale means the Londoner is set to defend on December 7 against a declining Felix Sturm for a life changing sum of money.

Britain’s 2012 Olympic success in the ring was beamed into the homes of millions across the country. Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell went from regular GB fighters to household names within weeks and eventually turned pro, with both electing to sign with the Brentwood based organisation from a whole host of offers. Campbell’s hometown debut in Hull produced a sell-out crowd, while Joshua’s O2 Arena clash with Emmanuelle Leo brought fans out in their droves. Matchroom not only secured the brightest talents on these shores, but also coaxed casual and new fans to arenas nationwide.

The quality of Matchroom has at its disposal ensures the bills are top quality and keeps those new enthusiasts coming back for more. Sheffield’s show this weekend contains two world title eliminators, Scouse sensation Callum Smith and Joshua’s second fight along with other rising stars like Kal Yafai.

A similar story develops for the November 23 card in Manchester. Froch – George Groves tops the bill in a highly anticipated domestic tear up, Quigg defends his WBA Super-Bantamweight bauble along with a Commonwealth belt defence for Rocky Fielding and Anthony Crolla’s Matchroom debut.

18,000 tickets sold in just over 10 minutes for the Manchester show, which speaks volumes for British demand in top quality fights. With tickets starting from £30 for most shows, this represents unbelievable value for money in the eyes of the consumer. No wonder some of England’s largest venues consistently sell out given the high quality of show provided.

Given the superb quality of fight cards produced consistently, it is easy to see why so many have crossed the promotional borderline in the past 12 months. Burns, Groves and Stephen Smith to name but a few have defected from Frank Warren Promotions. These fighters will have watched with envy at the chances Matchroom hand their stable and all have flourished in 2013, with Burns enjoying several Glasgow sellouts in extremely close WBO Lightweight defences and Groves being handed the aforementioned shot at Carl Froch’s belts.

A successful year so far could be dampened should Barker and Quigg fail in their respective defences, while Liverpool’s Tony Bellew has a chance to shock light heavyweight ruler Adonis Stevenson. Despite any potential mishaps, Matchroom Sport has set the blueprint for years to come with their talent laden stable and world class promotional team.

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Boxing
Carl Froch
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