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Boxing to get behind closed doors approval in purpose built facilities

por Florencia Guest (2020-05-29)


Boxing expects to be given the go-ahead, probably as soon as next week, to resume behind closed doors in late June or early July.

Frank Warren is in discussion with government and the British Boxing Board of Control for fights to take place in a TV studio or a purpose built temporary facility.

Britain's longest-standing promoter reveals: 'We are ready to get boxing moving again and I believe we will be given the green light in the next few days for shows under agreed health controls in a TV studio or a purpose built temporary facility.






Promoter Frank Warren feels boxing is on the brink of making a return as early as late June


'The principal concern is social distancing but that really comes down to just the two fighters and we can make absolutely certain by testing that neither contestant is a risk to the other. 

'I am confident that will satisfy the government.

'Medical safety remains the top priority but we are all concerned as well for the hardship being suffered, especially by young boxers. 

'With no income for months now some of them are close to starving.'






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Warren has formulated plans under which all the fighters on five bout cards will be locked down in a private training camp for four weeks before each event.

He says: 'As well as coronavirus testing we will have a sanitised gym and isolated accommodation for all those directly involved in each show, including trainers and corner-men.'

Warren is already collaborating with Martin Bowers, trainer of world title heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois, in the construction of a remote gymnasium for use by his Queensberry stable of fighters, which is nearing completion.






Recently social distancing measures were seen in action during a Bufalo Boxing Promotions fight in Managua, Nicaragua














He says: 'This structure is in the middle of a field on a Hertfordshire farm. It will hold not much more than the ring and other equipment. No room for the usual friends and visitors.

'There is a small hotel not far away in which we will quarantine about 25 boxers and trainers with no other occupants and no visitors except the Covid-19 testers. Everyone will have masks and be tested at least twice a week right up to the weekend of the fights.'

The venue, be it studio or small building, will allow for a maximum of 60 fighters, trainers, referees, doctors, officials and TV crews and commentators.

Warren is anxious that boxing is not left behind if Premier League football is given permission to restart the current season in mid-summer.

'We have to keep our sport relevant in the minds of the public,' he says. 'If boxing is not under way before or at the same time as the Premier League then all the people who are so hungry for major live sport will have that appetite satisfied by football. 






Warren is wary that boxing needs to return soon in order to avoid losing ground to football, which is poised to resume and will satisfy the sporting appetite of many


'It is still going to be a big job attracting back audiences no longer accustomed to watching live sport.'

Board of Control general secretary Robert Smith is expressing 'our hope that social distancing demands can be satisfied for boxing to return in July, albeit without spectators at first.'

That will preclude a super-fight in this country between any two of Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua. Although that could happen in Saudi Arabia travel bans permitting.

The two promotions a week envisaged by Warren and Smith - and likely to include one each for Queensberry and Eddie Hearn's Matchroom company - will be packaged predominantly for boxers up to British championship level.

However the programme could include Dubois against Joe Joyce for that title, provided BT can find sufficient money to offset the loss of gate revenue so far as their purses are concerned.






Daniel Dubois (left) and Joe Joyce could be part of the programme which sees boxing return


The same may go for Dillian Whyte's heavyweight clash with Alexander Povetkin, which has also been postponed from this month, if Sky can provide adequate funding.

Both networks are keen to put live boxing back on air and Warren says: 'We are also looking at how best to produce artificial crowd noise and atmosphere to encourage the boxers and provide a better experience for television viewers.

Warren says: 'Even though there will be no money for us in this until social distancing measures are lifted and the crowds come back we must look after the up and coming fighters, for the sake of boxing's future.'

With the ministry for sport now heavily engaged in negotiations with football, Warren is all the more encouraged by the prospects of an early return: 'Football is a contact sport involving 22 players in every game, ?????? more with substitutes. Boxing, with only two contestants in contact is in a safer position.'



 



Frank Warren's weekly Heavyweight Podcast with star guests can be found by clicking here and is also available on Apple and Spotify.






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