Boxing returns to Royal Albert Hall on Friday with Anthony Yarde and Daniel Dubois fights but why is it so iconic?
The venue first opened in 1871 and has played host to concerts, award ceremonies and boxing in its illustrious history
Boxing returns to London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall on Friday evening and it will be just the second time in nearly 20 years that the historic venue has hosted a show.
Heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois and light-heavyweight contender Anthony Yarde are the main attractions as they look to push themselves closer to world level.
The two men will hope to leave their mark at the concert hall in South Kensington and follow in the legendary footsteps of names such as Lennox Lewis, Herbie Hide, Michael Watson, Ricky Hatton, Nigel Benn, Joe Calzaghe, Naseem Hamed and Lloyd Honeyghan, who have all fought here at one point in their careers.
Billy Joe Saunders’ first-round stoppage of Tony Hill for the vacant Commonwealth middleweight title in 2012, was the last time the Royal Albert Hall had witnessed championship boxing.
Prior to that, Marco Antonio Barrera’s first-round destruction of Paul Lloyd in 1999 retained him his WBO super bantamweight title in his first defence.
That year, a court ruling had banned the hall from promoting boxing and wrestling events, before the decision was eventually overturned.
Steeped in history, the 5,000 seater structure, which opened in 1871, has hosted a number of events from opera to ballet and award ceremonies. Contradictory functions when compared to the less-than-glamorous art of boxing played out in the same building.
While other boxing bouts had taken place, the first main tournament took place in 1918, the contestants being the British Empire against the American Services.
Henry Cooper fought four times at the Hall, between 1955-1965, while the legendary Muhammed Ali took part in a eight-round exhibition in 1971.
Britain’s last undisputed heavyweight champion, Lewis fought several times there in the early stages of his journey in boxing’s glamour division, notably retaining the British and European titles against Glenn McCrory in 1991.
Joe Bugner frequently boxed at the venue, as did future world champion Frank Bruno.
On Friday, the 147-year-old building will stage its latest boxing chapter and those stepping into the squared circle at the fabled arena, will hope past legacy and greatness will go some way to help write their own futures.