Eddie Hearn determined to enjoy the Wembley atmosphere as boxing shows it’s not done yet

JOHN DILLON
Big Show | Joshua and Klitschko fight will be the second time in less than three years the promoter's filled Wembley: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Second Time around, Eddie Hearn wants to stop, look around Wembley Stadium and enjoy his moment in sporting history.

Saturday’s heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko will be the second time in less than three years the promoter has filled the stadium.

In May 2014 Carl Froch and George Groves drew a crowd of 80,000 to Wembley and there will be 90,000 there this time for the biggest event British boxing has known. The fight is expected to generate more than £40million — Froch/Groves brought in £22m — with Joshua and Klitschko banking at least £10m each.

“I want to enjoy this one — I really want to feel it and drink it in,” said Hearn. “Froch versus Groves at Wembley passed me by because I was just too busy to feel the significance of it. Of course, this is business, too. But I’ve been through it all before and I’m hoping that now I get the chance to feel it all properly as a historic sporting event in which I’m proud to be involved.

“It’s so great for British sport. People always say boxing is finished. Tell that to those who keep filling up all the big nights at Wembley and the 02.

“This time, it’s even bigger than Groves versus Froch. These days, you wouldn’t get an attendance like this for boxing anywhere else in the world. But the British fans love these nights. And they love the fact this is such a big gamble for both fighters. That is why we could have sold this out three times over.

“Anthony has never been in a fight like this, although he fought on the undercard at Wembley on the Froch versus Groves show. He became world champion ahead of schedule and is really stepping up. He is on show to the world as a champion like never before.

“For Klitschko, it is a huge risk, too, because if he loses, I think it will be all over for him.”

Tickets sold out within two hours and the aim is to break the British pay per view TV record set in 2007 when 1.2m tuned in for Ricky Hatton’s clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr, earning around £20m.

In America, Showtime — Joshua’s partners — will broadcast it live while HBO, with whom Klitschko has a deal, will show a recording to capture the big East Coast city audiences at prime time on Saturday.

“It shows you how big this is that the two networks can come to an agreement like this to ensure they can both show the fight,” Hearn said.

The fight will set a post-War attendance record for a clash in Britain. There were said to be 90,000 at White City in July 1939 when Len Harvey fought Jock McAvoy for the British light heavyweight championship.

“What an occasion that must have been,” said Hearn. “I don’t suppose the promoter had time to stand still and drink it all in back then, either.

“But that is exactly what I hope to do.”

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