IT will come as no surprise to anyone awake (in isolation or running the streets) these last few days and weeks, but the British Boxing Board of Control have cancelled all public boxing shows until April at the earliest due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Though a disappointment for the boxing industry in this country, not least of all the boxers, the sporting body were left with no choice but to put mass events on hold following UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s press conference on Monday night.
Their statement today read: “With regard to the statement made by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, all public tournaments [shows] under the jurisdiction of the British Boxing Board of Control are unfortunately cancelled.
“Further consideration of the matter will take place at the beginning of April.
“We have a number of requests for tournaments to be held behind closed doors however, the practicality and logistics will be considered fully following advice from Board Medical Officers.”
Alas, if we didn’t realise before, it’s going to be a long, confusing, worrying couple of months.
One man who won’t be shut down by the coronavirus is WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.
He left Britain for America last week in the hope that his fight against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, mooted for May 2 in Las Vegas, would be confirmed while he was out there. Instead, the announcement was delayed, leaving Saunders stranded in Vegas with no fight announcement but plenty of spare time on his hands.
It seems he has put this time to good use. With most gyms on lockdown all over the country, Saunders has decided to stick around at the Top Rank gym and prepare for what at this present moment in time is little more than a fantasy fight.
Unwilling to let the issue rest, the 30-year-old took to social media today to stress he is training towards a date against Canelo despite what COVID-19 might have planned for the pair.
“The show must go on at some point,” he wrote. “If it’s May, or whenever God gives us the go-ahead, I’m ready. Stay blessed.”