Church House Westminster hosted one of the biggest live domestic boxing bouts of 2020 as Hall-Of-Fame Promoter Frank Warren celebrates forty years in professional boxing.
On Saturday 28 November, Dubois vs Joyce took place at historic Church House behind closed doors. The boxing was broadcast live on BT Sport and saw Joe ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce claim the British, European and Commonwealth heavyweight championship.
In an incredible reversal, the domestic heavyweight clash was not pay-per-view. Frank Warren, said: “This is about keeping boxing alive and relevant at a tough time and doing something for the fans.” Warren was keen to point out that the Covid outbreak and its negative effect on UK jobs and livelihoods were on his mind as he decided to scrap plans to make the fight pay per view. The blockbuster November event, branded with the apt tagline ‘At Last’, represented the final chapter in a saga that has seen April, July and October dates cancelled because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Next Saturday, 5 December, boxing fans are in for another exciting evening of live boxing on BT Sport with Yarde vs Arthur facing off and this bout will again take place behind closed doors at Church House.
Warren added: “I’m delighted to be able to confirm such a spectacular venue to host two weeks of fantastic big-time boxing. It’ll be a more than fitting way to celebrate my forty years in professional boxing. Both these bouts are battles for the history books, so it makes sense they’d take place in a venue so rich in history. Winston Churchill announced the sinking of the Bismarck inside this venue, and soon we’ll know who out of these boxers will sink or swim.”
The Westminster venue’s largest event space, the Assembly Hall, took centre stage as the main studio as the live boxing arena. The Hoare Memorial Hall functioned as an interview and media room, whilst post-fight conferences took place in the Bishop Partridge Hall. A number of other rooms, also located on the first floor of the venue were utilised as flexible changing rooms, storage areas and staff quarters.
Inside the Assembly Hall, BT Sport presenters were joined by two-weight world champion Carl Frampton and former WBA heavyweight champ David Haye. Commentator boxes inside the Assembly Hall for live coverage featured radio sport pundit Steve Bunce.
The evening started at 6 pm when the first of eight matches started off with the undercards which included Hamzah Sheeraz, David Adeleye and Jack Catterall.
Bradley Hill, Audio-Visual and Production Manager of Church House Westminster commented: “As a Covid-Secure venue in London, we’re extremely proud of our expert teams who have worked side-by-side with the organisers of this event to deliver this exceptional night for British heavyweight boxing. Our historic Grade II listed building offers a versatile space for live and special events, which this event illustrates so perfectly. The impact of the pandemic on the events industry has been decimating. This live event may have taken place behind closed doors, but to us, it is very much a show and testament for all to see the resilience and innovation of our industry and its people”.
About Church House Westminster
Church House Westminster is a Grade-II listed multi-purpose event and conference venue uniquely located in tranquil Dean’s Yard. Most of its 19 flexible rooms offer stunning views of Westminster Abbey. The dedicated team are consistently recognised by the BDRC Gold Standard for their commitment to service excellence throughout all areas. The conference and event spaces are equipped with the latest technology, supported by the venue’s own in-house, award-winning Audio-Visual team.
Church House was founded in 1887 and was built to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The current building was designed by the renowned architect Sir Herbert Baker and the foundation stone was laid by Her Majesty, Queen Mary on 26 June 1937. It took until 1940 to complete and was officially opened by His Majesty, King George VI on 10th June 1940.
The building suffered a direct hit in the early part of WWII but due to its exceptional construction only minimal damage was done. The Prime Minister of the day, Winston Churchill, was so impressed by this that the building was refurbished for use by the two Houses of Parliament for the remainder of the war.
Many historic speeches and events took place within the building during this time, in particular the announcement by Churchill from the stage of the Hoare Memorial Hall of the sinking of the battleship Bismarck.
In 1945, the first meetings of the United Nations Preparatory Commission and Security Council were held in the Hoare Memorial Hall.