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Filling Wembley Stadium?

About this time last year 80,000 watched Carl Froch knockout George Groves in a huge domestic super-middleweight fight at Wembley Stadium.

It was an event the likes of which the country had never witnessed before, but now some twelve months down the line I’m wondering if the craving for fights of this ilk is detrimental to British boxing.

Since Froch flattened Groves with one of the best punches of his career, it seems that every British boxer has this dream of filling Wembley Stadium in a repeat event.

In the past month or so we’ve had Kell Brook almost begging Amir Khan to jump into the Wembley ring with him and now we have James DeGale, fresh from his exertions in Boston in winning the IBF super-middleweight championship, talking about a super-fight with George Groves with DeGale almost pleased that Groves is fighting Badou Jack for the WBC version of the crown as opposed to the person who Jack dethroned, with DeGale remarking to the media,

“It’s a winnable fight, 100 per cent, I don’t rate Jack.

“I’d be more worried if Anthony Dirrell had retained the title against Jack and Groves was fighting him instead.”


Now somewhere down the line both Brook and DeGale may get their fights, although the old adage about being careful what you wish for might apply.

But would either fight sell out Wembley Stadium, I personally doubt it.

What needs to be remembered about the Froch v DeGale fight that filled Wembley was that it was the second fight between the pair and the fact that the first bout had ended in such controversy generated extreme public interest.

Selling 12,000 tickets for an arena bout is one thing but shifting 80,000 for a promotion at Wembley Stadium is another thing and something fraught with danger.

Prior to the Froch v Groves bout I’d only seen heavyweight bouts at the old stadium, fights where the legend and gentleman that is Frank Bruno fought, fist against Tim Witherspoon and then against Oliver McCall.

In fact my association with big-fights and football grounds stretches back further, Bruno v Joe Bugner at White Hart Lane and Barry McGuigan winning his world title at Loftus Road, but the latter two grounds were far smaller than Wembley.

To fill a stadium there needs to be a grudge to be settled, a fighter with charisma and the general public buying in to it.

Such events only come along once in a while, if Wembley is used for a Brook v Khan fight or a DeGale v Groves fight, my guess is it will be half empty.

But somewhere down the line, someone will come along to fill it to capacity, someone who the public will view as a hero, someone who is deserved of an audience of that scale, someone who will be a star on the world stage, could that someone be Anthony Joshua?



The Journalist

Writer: Kid Glove Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday June 2 2015

Time: 3:50PM

 

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