Fight Camp review: Has the game changed for the better or worse?

Planet Sport reviews Fight Camp, the new on-screen talent, and what the future holds for the sports streaming platform.

The price

Nobody can argue about the price to watch Fight Camp - as long as you didn't fork out £750 for a ringside ticket at Matchroom's HQ in Brentwood, Essex.

While we know the subscription fee will rise heading into September, boxing fans in the UK must appreciate watching three fight nights for less than a meal deal at Boots. Kudos to DAZN.

New on-screen talent

We have some familiar faces and some new faces. The standout star from outside of sport is Maya Jama - a television presenter who co-hosted BBC's Peter Crouch: Save Our Summer. Certain social media users have mocked her knowledge on boxing, branding it as 'laughable'.

Maya Jama is not a boxing encyclopedia - that's obvious - but she was never there to be a Larry Merchant or Jim Lampley. Gone are the days of appealing to hardcore boxing fans because guess what, not enough people watch the sport anymore.

We are now in an era of YouTubers doing bigger buys than some of boxing's Pound for Pound best. Her job is to ask questions and Tony Bellew's job is to answer them. The more shows Maya Jama does, the more comfortable she will be in the role.

Laura Woods is also part of the team and filled in for Maya Jama as the main host for the final show of Fight Camp. The talkSPORT and Sky Sports host has provided some brilliant interviews from outside of the ring and she was present to witness Babic's proposal.

Darren Barker and Chris Lloyd were already part of Matchroom's furniture but they have been a great addition to the DAZN roster. As well as being on commentary together for the undercard fights, they also provide live coverage during press conferences, weigh-ins and breakdown upcoming fights.

Mike Costello. Not much needs to be said. The voice of radio transcended into becoming the voice of TV instantly on week three of Fight Camp. Andy Lee has also been a solid addition alongside Costello.

Can vs Wood:

The opening weekend of Fight Camp 2.0 was about the return of Conor Benn. Britain's rising welterweight was expected to take on experienced Mexican Adrian Granados, only to test positive for Covid-19 on fight week.

Not to worry, a world title fight between Xu Can and Leigh Wood would fill the headline spot and boy did it deliver. Huge underdog Wood produced an incredible performance under the tutelage of Ben Davison and stopped his Chinese opponent in the 12th and final round.

Can - who had been linked with a showdown against Josh Warrington earlier this year - was expected to showcase his star potential and win inside the distance. Wood took advantage of the ring rust of Can and delivered a masterclass.

On the undercard, Chris Billam-Smith edged out Tommy McCarthy via split decision, Anthony Fowler racked up another win and Jack Cullen outpointed Anvi Yildirim.

There were also wins for Campbell Hatton and debutant Sandy Ryan. If we had to complain about anything then it would have been the time of the last fight - anything past 10.30 pm is a nightmare for fans who have to work the next day.

Galahad vs Dickens

The second weekend of Fight Camp saw Kid Galahad take on Jazza Dickens for the vacant IBF featherweight title, an opponent Galahad had beat in 2013 via TKO.

Galahad - who had previously challenged Warrington for the same belt in 2019 - made it second time lucky by stopping Dickens in the 11th round. Elsewhere, Fabio Wardley dispatched Nick Webb, Ebanie Bridges returned with a win over Bec Connolly, Aqib Fiaz outpointed Kevin Baldospino and Johnny Fisher overcame Danny Whittaker.

Alen Babic was also in action. He stopped Mark Bennett in the eighth round of a heavyweight tear-up. But it was after the fight which dominated the headlines. Babic proposed to his partner to which she said yes. We wonder if he had lost, would he have still proposed?

All in all, the second week was still a good card but with predictable outcomes.

Buatsi vs Bolotniks

On the third and final week, it was the weakest undercard out of the three. But, we did get to see the sensational Joe Cordina return.

He made light work of Joshuah Hernandez, knocking him out inside 53 seconds. The main event made up for a forgettable undercard with Joshua Buatsi coming through his toughest test yet.

After making a quick-fire start against Ricards Bolotniks, Buatsi gassed himself out and had to dig deep in the 'Championship Rounds' to get the victory. The Ghana-born Brit, under Virgil Hunter, stopped the MTK Golden Contract winner in round 11.

Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

What is next?

The next major card to take place in the UK is the rematch between Josh Warrington and Mauricio Lara. The "Leeds Warrior" is bidding for revenge against Lara, who inflicted the first defeat of Warrington's career via KO in the ninth round.

Warrington, who vacated his IBF featherweight title before he met with Lara in February, is in a win or bust scenario. Victory and he returns to world title contention. Defeat, and it could be curtains on his career.

The undercard will feature Irish superstar Katie Taylor. She will defend her lightweight world titles against Jennifer Han while Conor Benn will also be on the undercard in his rescheduled bout with Adrian Granados.

Following Matchroom's Headingley event, Eddie Hearn will promote possibly the best card of the year in Liverpool. Liam Smith and Anthony Fowler collide for bragging rights in the city but the undercard is equally as compelling.

Ted Cheeseman takes on Troy Williamson for the British title, Kieran Conway collides with James Metcalf and Shannon Courtenay is back in action to defend her bantamweight crown. Solomon Dacres, Robbie Davies Jr. and Peter McGrail will also feature on the card.

It is stacked and on second thoughts, maybe it could have sold out Anfield.

DAZN's slogan in the UK is 'game changed'. Based on the future cards, it may not have changed the game completely but it has refreshed British boxing.

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