Top Rank Events to Proceed Without Fans; Golden Gloves Cancelled
First the NBA season came to a screeching halt. Then the NCAA conference basketball tournaments and the MLB Spring Training games.
Now, Top Rank has announced that their events will proceed without fans in the Hulu Theater.
They released the following announcement today via email:
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, and to ensure the health and safety of boxing fans and the fight participants, Top Rank announced today that the March 14 and March 17 events at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden will proceed without spectators. The only individuals granted access to the events will be essential production and support staff, in addition to fighters and necessary team members, and credentialed media. Both events will still be shown live on their respective platforms.
As for future events, Top Rank is consulting with its venue partners and will make a determination in due course.
Full refunds for tickets purchased for the March 14 and March 17 events will be available at the point of purchase.
In addition to Top Rank limiting fans from their events, it has also been announced that the Golden Gloves has been cancelled. Numerous local shows have also been cancelled.
How Severely Will The Corona Virus Impact Boxing?
By: Sean Crose
It’s doubtful anyone can remember anything like it…at least in North America. Fears of, and precautions for, the Corona virus outbreak have now seeped into every aspect of society. Boxing has been no exception. Although the virus has yet to make a strong impact on the sport, its effects are being felt throughout the fight business. As of press time, this Saturday’s Top Rank card is still a go at Madison Square Garden. How full the arena will be, or if fans will even be able to attend live, remains a question. With the NBA having suspended its entire season, anything seems possible.
“As we speak,” Bad Left Hook quotes Top Rank honcho Bob Arum as saying, “there are no plans to cancel.” The long time promoter is clear that he’ll take his cues from the State of New York.
Saturday’s Premiere Boxing Champions’ card outside of Washington is still, as of press time, a go, both for the fighters involved, as well as for those who wish to attend the James Kirkland headlined event. Both the Top Rank and PBC cards are to be televised. The Top Rank card will be aired live on ESPN, while the PBC card will be broadcast live on Fox Sport’s 1.
Being a sport where events are held before large groups of people, boxing may well be in line for a series of cancellations, or postponements. Aside from the NBA, other major events have been cancelled or otherwise impacted by the Corona virus. The SXSW festival won’t be happening in 2020. The NCAA basketball tournament will be played in empty arenas.
Musicians from Madonna to Pear Jam to Mariah Carey have either postponed or canceled events entirely. At the moment, no fight cards of note have been altered.
Like much of society, boxing’s powers that be appear to be in a state of wait and see. With the threat of a mass outbreak looming, precautions obviously have to be taken. With so much money at stake with upcoming fight cards, however, no one wants to be quick to pull the plug on already scheduled events unless it’s absolutely necessary to. This is especially true of cards featuring high profile boxers such as Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk, Dillan Whyte, Sergey Kovalev and Canelo Alvarez (who many expect to face Billy Joe Saunders in early May).
Boxing Insider will keep readers updated as events unfold.