Vice President of USA Boxing Metro Sonya Lamonakis Gives Her Thoughts on COVID-19 on Boxing Insider Radio
With COVID-19, forcing life as we know it into something almost unrecognizable, everyone is trying to adjust to this new normal. At one point, Boxing Insider Radio aired every Tuesday and provided fans with the sort of content that they will seldom see anywhere else. But much like the rest of the world, COVID-19, forced it to the sidelines. Now however, Boxing Insider Radio is back. This time with a bit of a twist. Instead of having shows once a week, fans can expect to catch the crew a few times per week. If you want to pass the time during this quarantine and stay up to date with everything that is going on in the boxing world, then subscribe on Spotify, iTunes or on Boxinginsider.com.
The effects of COVID-19 are clear. Every single sport around the world had no other choice but to cancel or postpone its season. Non essential businesses such as retail clothing stores and boxing gyms have closed down, and if that wasn’t difficult enough, we are all learning to stay away from each other due to social distancing.
Over the past few weeks, life without sports has been dreadful for most. No longer can fans watch their favorite NBA players bounce a basketball down the court, nor can they watch some of their favorite boxers jump inside of the ring and score devastating knockouts.
While the problems that boxing has been facing has been noticed, there are still a few other issues that aren’t getting the attention that they should be.
Fighters such as unified Welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr, WBC Middleweight champion Jermall Charlo, IBF Lightweight titlist Teofimo Lopez and a long list of others may have the spotlight on them now, but that wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the amateur scene.
But now, with everything on pause, that means that amateur tournaments are also on hold.
“We are sad for athletes and coaches and were really sad for the gyms,” said Vice President of USA Boxing Metro Sonya Lamonakis. “They make opportunities for these kids who can’t be outside right now. So we’re really disappointed but we are looking forward to everyone staying inside and flattening the curve. Learning how to workout inside, and using apps to stay in shape the best way that you can.”
The job of Lamonakis is simple. Not only does she sanction all of the boxing in the Greater New York area, but more importantly, she molds young fighters into great young men. There might not be a single person on earth who wants the quarantine to end in New York more than Lamonakis. But she also fully understands that at the moment, it’s the best way to beat COVID-19.
“As much as I didn’t want it to come to a halt, I think it was a good idea because we want to flatten the curve. It’s hard to say when things will end. But I know that it’s going to be closed until at least the end of this month. It seems like nothing is going to happen until at least another 3 weeks.”
“Can we start in mid may? That would be great for me. Madison Square Garden has offered to move our finals into June. So if we can get this tournament done and get the finals in the Garden then that’s what I’ll do. In the meantime I’m waiting until USA boxing gives the word. But right now, it’s not safe for anyone.”
Playing the waiting game is what everyone is forced to do. But while we wait safely inside of our homes, businesses everywhere aren’t safe at all. Boxing gyms in trainers in particular are taking a huge hit.
“Our gyms are going to need help when they open back up. All of our trainers are hurting but that is across the board. They don’t have much money saved up. Boxing is a poor man’s sport. A lot of the trainers all over the country are just former boxers that just didn’t make it. But love the sport and chose that life. There are just a lot of them that are suffering.”
With the nine figure paydays that Floyd Mayweather once made normal, fans are dubious to believe that. But Mayweather was an anomaly. The paydays are great in boxing, but a huge part of it comes from the fans that actually attend.
So while other sports such as the NBA, MLB and others are entertaining the idea of hosting their events without any fans, boxing matches can’t follow their footsteps. Not even on the lower levels.
“The problem with that is no one is going to make money. This is a non-profit organization that creates opportunities for kids. So where are the kids going to train? That’s not really going to work.”
So while there is no reprieve in sight and no answers for the seemingly endless amount of questions that will help fans figure out when their sport will return to the big screen, Lamonakis is providing ways that fans can support the one sport that is suffering more than others.
“If you can afford it, then do the Zoom classes. If your trainer is charging you $50 for a session in person but they are charging you $25 for a Zoom lesson online then take it. This is how they make their livelihoods.”