By: Hans Themistode
The sport of boxing has sat back patiently with its hands crossed while it figured out solutions. Fighters were forced from their gyms and fans were banned from arenas due to COVID-19. The reoccurring bad news that appeared on our television screens, made the possibility of the sport returning anytime soon bleak at best. But while fans and boxers groaned and complained during their self quarantine, the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) was hard at work figuring out a solution. And now, it appears they have one.
The BBBoC were malleable in their way of thinking, and have put in place new protocols that will allow boxing to return. Albeit behind closed doors. In addition to the obvious, which is there sporting events will not be open to the public, ring girls, TV announcers and TV cameras will be allowed inside of the ring.
Amongst the long list of guidelines we’ve highlighted the following:
– No spitting allowed in a boxers respective corners
– Masks must be worn by the referee and each teams corner men at all times
– Testing will be done for everyone at the event
While all of these precautions must be met in order for the contest to take place, nothing has been set in stone. Promoters will be given a copy of the new guidelines and will have the opportunity to chime in.
One fight card that has been recently announced as a closed door event that would have to adhere to these new guidelines would be the Heavyweight showdown between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin. Also fighting on the card is undisputed Lightweight titlist Katie Taylor and seven division champion Amanda Serrano. The following week, Daniel Dubois vs Joe Joyce is supposedly taking place in the U.K as well. While big name fighters such as Anthony Joshua are set to return to the ring against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev shortly after.
If everything goes according to plan, officials would be sitting a minimum of two meters away from one another. Also, anyone over the age of 70, no matter their health condition will not be allowed into the event. Fight fans can also expect to have shorter events as the maximum number of fights that can take place at one given arena will be shrunken down to five.
Again, nothing has been set in stone and the BBBoC has reserved their right to change stances if need be. Still, even with these new guidelines in place, it has done nothing to placate Joe Gallagher, trainer of WBA Super Middleweight champion Callum Smith.
“Why the rush and do things in half measures?” Said Gallagher on Twitter. “Make sure everyone is safe and well and let’s look at getting going in September. Give everyone time to get back training, sparring and make sure everyone is safe.”
Even with the framework and procedures in place, the BBBoC are still in the early stages of their proposal. But with sports such as MMA, Tennis and Nascar returning to our television screens, boxing could soon follow suit.