Fury on the outside, bitter disappointment inside the Bubble

Oleksandr Usyk vs Dereck Chisora undercard
Hannah Rankin has had to wait for her world title fight with Savannah Marshall
Hannah Rankin reacts to world title fight with Savannah Marshall falling through after Peter Fury's coronavirus test. Roy Kelly writes from inside the Bubble

Fury. It’s a name which never fails to dominate boxing talk, even when he’s not around. And that was the case in Peterborough where Fury was very much on everyone’s lips inside the ‘Bubble’, the sterile life boxing must live in the run-up to a show. But it wasn’t Tyson, it was the WBC world heavyweight champ’s uncle Peter after he failed his Covid-19 test, forcing the postponement of a mouth-watering world title fight involving his unbeaten middleweight, Savannah Marshall, against Hannah Rankin.

It meant ‘The Silent Assassin’ was, sadly, silenced and the battle for the vacant WBO crown will have to wait for another night.

More than an element of animosity exists between these English and Scottish rivals, though Rankin was sympathetic when Boxing News caught up with her. “I’m absolutely gutted, for me and Savannah, we have put in so much work for this fight,” said the 30-year-old. “Don’t get me wrong, I know there is definitely a needle between us, but I do feel for Sav, I’m sure she’s as gutted as I am.

“When you’ve trained so hard for so long for something like this to happen just days before we were due to box is soul destroying.

“I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in and I was taking that title back to Scotland.”

On arrival inside Matchroom’s fight Bubble, you are sat down and have your throat and nostrils swabbed by the medical team to be tested for the dreaded virus.

Pleasant it is not, but for a member of the media of an indeterminate age and questionable quality, it is the only test to pass.

However, for the fighters, it is the first of three, with test two on the scales on Friday and the third in the East of England Arena on Saturday night.

Once the first test is passed, you are allowed to leave your room, but the Wednesday in the Bubble is something of a phony day, with no media conferences and no weigh-in.

Some boxers went through a photo-shoot with ace Matchroom photographer, Mark Robinson, or got interviewed by Andy Scott, from Sky Sports, or took part in zoom calls with assorted media. Or did all three, all inside a very impressive media suite in the middle of the Holiday Inn’s function room. The promoters have spared no expense or effort to make this event, topped by Lewis Ritson against Miguel Vazquez, feel like, well, an event.

As well as the headline act, there is no shortage of interest elsewhere.

Former Olympian Qais Ashfaq is involved in a final eliminator for the British super-bantamweight title with Marc Leach who, having lost on his debut, has won 15 on the spin and there is a debut for another ex-GB star, Ellie Scotney against Bec Connolly.

Far from feeling uncomfortable to be locked away, Scotney is in a state of liberation, smiling her way through her press commitments knowing her first payday, finally, is just around the corner. 

“I’m just looking to get in there, I’m buzzing,” said the 22-year-old who had been due to box at the O2 at the end of March on the David Avanesyan-Josh Kelly undercard.

“It’s second time lucky after the first one got called off, I’m just grateful for the opportunity given the world we’re in at the moment.”

For Marshall, and Rankin, their moment must wait and, to Peter Fury, we must send our best wishes. 

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