Boxing and mixed martial events around the world are being affected by
the COVID19 Corona Virus with many fighters travelling to events still
unsure whether they will be competing behind closed doors, or even at
all, in the scheduled events over the coming days and weeks. The
Olympic Qyalifying Tournament for the Tokyo Olympic Games, due to
start at Copper Box, London on Saturday involving 450 plus boxers from
more than 50 countries, taking place from March 14 to 24 has not yet
A spokesman for GB Boxing told The Telegraph: “At present, the event
is going ahead as planned. It may change in the future but it would be
determined by Government policy and advice from Public Health England.
That is the latest.”
The British Board of Boxing Control, meanwhile, have issued a document
sent to promoters, managers and event organisers in which they say
they are “monitoring the situation regarding the Coronavirus
(Covid-19) outbreak closely” but that for now there are “no
recommendations to cancel events, however, this may change.”
The BBBofC statement added: “Due to the fact that medical officers
have obvious obligations to their health authorities, it will become
difficult to appoint medical officers for any show.”
The Italy lockdown has already led to two Matchroom Italy shows,
organised by promoter Eddie Hearn. being called off.
In New York, Shakur Stevenson’s world title defense at Madison Square
Garden is still going ahead for now on Saturday night, Match 14. Also
in New York, Irishman Mick Conlan, promoted by Bob Arum promoter, is
due to fight Tuesday March 17 at Madison Square Garden Theatre,
although the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been cancelled in New
Here in Connecticut, the COVID19 Corona Virus could force Bellator’s
MMA fighters to battle behind closed doors here at the Mohegan Sun
Resort tonight [FRIDAY], with a decision pending after today’s
official fighter weigh-ins.
The Telegraph has learnt that behind the scenes, the fight event could
either go ahead with a skeleton staff, as a tv-only show – it is due
to be broadcast on Saturday morning at 2am on Sky Sports Mix in the UK
– and on streaming service DAZN in the USA.
The 12,000-seat capacity Mohegan Sun Arena is home of the New England
Black Wolves of the National Lacrosse League and the Women’s National
Basketball Association’s Connecticut Sun.
No fighters on the card have reported any illness, with fighters from
the UK (Paul Daley), Ireland (Pedro Carvalho, a Portuguese fighter
based in EIRE), Germany (Daniel Weichel), Russia (Anatoly Tokov),
Brazil (Ronny Markes), and several US states taking part. In all,
there are thirty-two fighters on the card.
Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire, the Bellator featherweight champion,
defends his title in the main event against Pedro Carvalho. “I can’t
let anything distract me. Right now I’m thinking about strategy and
the opponent,” the Brazilian who also hold the Bellator lightweight
crown told The Daily Telegraph.
The American Matt Mitrione, a heavyweight fighter on the card and
former NFL player who meets Brazilian Ronny Markes told The Telegraph
that he believes the event will go ahead: “If they clear the event to
go ahead, I’m happy to fight whether we have a crowd or not.”
Tomorrow night’s [Saturday] UFC event in Brasilia will go ahead as a
behind-closed-doors event, according to reports in Brazil. The event,
set to take place at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in the Brazilian
capital, was under threat after the city’s governor, Ibaneis Rocha,
declared a ban on all large groups gathering, including religious
services, concerts, schools, sporting events and any public gathering
or event involving more than 100 people.
The UFC has not yet made an official announcement about further
events, with a UFC card at the 02 Arena in London on March 21. Other
MMA shows have already planned to go ahead without an audience. Other
leagues have cancelled events outright.
Elsewhere, here in the United States, the NBA has put on hold the rest
of its 2019-20 season indefinitely after a Utah Jazz player tested
positive for coronavirus. The NCAA has said all its men’s and women’s
basketball tournament games will be go ahead, without fans.