When will boxing return after Coronavirus?

Is a boxing return on the cards?

With the highly anticipated Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua fight now officially on the cards, boxing fans all over the world are now even keener to see boxing return to our screens. 

But, there’s one thing keeping us all from seeing the face-off between Fury and Joshua. No, not Deyontay Wilder, the Coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic that has brought the entire planet to a standstill is starting to ease its grip on the world. 

In the UK, business is resuming, non-essential stores are reopening and the social distancing rules are starting to be relaxed. We can even head to a theme park at the start of July if we fancy it. 

But, what about sports? When can we get back to the gym? Will we be able to step into the ring with a partner any time soon? And what does the professional fight schedule look like in the wake of the virus?

We know you want the answers to all these questions, so we’ve dug through the Government guidance to try and answer them as best we can so you can have all the information you need to get back to normal safely. 

Because, although we’re all keen to get back in the ring, it’s vital every member of the boxing community acts in a safe and responsible manner; from casual boxers for fitness all the way to the professionals at the top of their game. 

WBC ME boxing return corner

When will professional boxing return?

While nothing is set in stone, it seems like UK professional boxing is set to return in July. 

But, when we do get a boxing return, it won’t look exactly like the sport we all know and love. 

Strict rules and measures are planned to reduce the possibility of Coronavirus being spread among fighters, their teams and venue staff. 

Probably the most dramatic of these rules that will certainly change the atmosphere of a fight is that all fights will happen behind closed doors. Without a packed to the rafters venue and with no crowd cheering on from the ringside, there’s definitely going to be a lack of atmosphere. 

So, with this behind-closed-doors approach to bringing boxing back, how are you going to see your favourite fighters take to the ring?

In guidelines proposed by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) only ‘essential’ officials, promoters and broadcasters can attend fights, meaning we’ll only be seeing the big name sports broadcasters getting shots of a fight. 

Even then, the footage isn’t going to be as up close and personal as usual. Film crews won’t be allowed into the ring at any time so fight footage will have to be shot from ringside only. 

As for the fights themselves, the BBBofC have said that when fights resume in July events will contain no more than five bouts. 

The guidelines also state that, to begin with, there will be no ‘championship contests’ slated. Although it was suggested they could be a part of events in the near future if Government advice changes and it’s practical to do so. 

The BBBofC guidelines also propose rules including:

  • Fight shows to begin without any fans
  • Boxers, referees and trainers will be transported to the venue wearing personal protective masks 
  • A fighter may remove their protective mask when inside the ring – but referees and teams in the corner must keep theirs on at all times
  • Boxers may not spit in their respective corners
  • No ring announcers, ring girls or TV cameras inside the ring
  • All proposed venues must be reviewed by the BBBofC and “cleaned to a medical standard” before the event
  • Only “essential” officials, promoters and broadcasters can attend
  • Individuals in high-risk categories such as pregnant women, those “seriously overweight” or people with diabetes should not attend
  • Everyone at an event must be tested for Covid-19
  • All boxers, trainers and referees must be tested for Covid-19 48 hours before fight night and self-isolate at a hotel until their test result is known

WBC ME boxing return boxer

Who is due to fight in July?

So, with plans in place to reopen the rings in early July, who is due to face off against each other?

In Britain, the next major fights scheduled for July are:

Dillian Whyte v Alexander Povetkin

Title: WBC interim heavyweight 

Date: 4th July

Location: Manchester Arena

Katie Taylor v Amanda Serrano

Title: WBC, IBF, WBO and WBA lightweight 

Date: 4th July

Location: Manchester Arena

Callum Johnson v Igor Mkhalkin

Title: vacant European light-heavyweight

Date: 4th July

Location: Manchester Arena

Daniel Dubois v Joe Joyce

Title: British & Commonwealth heavyweight

Date: 11th July

Location: O2 Arena London

Anthony Yarde v Lyndon Arthur

Title: light-heavyweight

Date: 11th July

Location: O2 Arena London

As well as these scheduled fights, there’s also the postponed fights that need to be reorganised, including Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev with Joshua defending his world heavyweight title.

So, the professional fight scene is going to be looking a lot different when boxing returns in July. 

But what about casual boxers and those of us who want to get back to the gym?

WBC ME boxing return hand wraps

When will gyms reopen?

Unfortunately, for us amateur boxers and casual ‘fighting for fitness’ types, there isn’t much good news. 

There’s still no update from the UK Government on when we can expect to see gyms reopening. Although, according to the Guardian, there are rumours that we could see a July reopening of gyms and leisure centres with some social distancing adjustments. 

The Government have already relaxed the restrictions on outdoor activity. With people able to go outside for exercise as often as they want now, rather than the one hour per day rule which was initially imposed. 

This has meant that some personal trainers and sports centres have been able to resume classes provided they’re held outside and with only 5 people in attendance. 

But, for boxing and other contact sports, there’s no concrete information on when activities can resume.

The close proximity needed for boxing and the transference of sweat, blood and spit means that it’s one of the highest risk sports for transferring the virus between participants. 

Unfortunately, for the time being, it seems as though we’ll have to console ourselves with watching fights on screen. 

But, with no crowd in attendance, even that may not hold the appeal it usually would.

Just because we can’t hit the gym, doesn’t mean we can’t stay fit in lockdown. Our guide to a home workout in lockdown can help and with a Cleto Reyes Speedball, you can train like a champ at home.