Robert Smith, general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control broke down exactly why it’s not possible and was very clear: ‘There is no way we will sanction boxing under the lockdown. Nor is it even possible while social distancing is in place. Not even in television studios.’
Promoters and their broadcasting partners have been insinuating they may resort to staging fights in a studio setting with no spectators, some of the bouts that were expected to look at this option were major clashes such as the already delayed world championship clash between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev, Dillian Whyte V POVETKIN and other major cards and fights set to give fans a great start to 2020.
Robert Smith, general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control, is now making this clear speaking with the daily mail:
‘There is no way we will sanction boxing under the lockdown. Nor is it even possible while social distancing is in place. Not even in television studios.’
Smith spells out why sport, much though it is missed by the public, cannot be hurried back into any arena: ‘The well-being of all those involved is paramount. In our case, it is impossible to maintain social distancing between two boxers. No fighter can hit another from a range of two metres. And what about the closeness of the referee, the contact between fighters and their corners, the proximity of officials and cameramen?
‘Other medical issues are in some ways even more important. Even if we could persuade the doctors and medics who it is necessary for us to have at ringside at all promotions to attend, how on earth could we justify asking them to take time away from saving lives during this crisis
‘Injuries happen in all sports. What if a boxer is badly hurt and needing to go by ambulance to hospital? I tell you this. It is absolutely unconscionable that we would even consider asking any hospital to give up a bed while thousands of people are dying from this virus.’
Smith makes clear: ‘People in boxing are experiencing hardship. Of course there is immediate loss of earnings for some but also a few smaller promoters may go under if this crisis lasts too long.
‘There is criticism of big promoters but while they are well-funded now, when they come to lose money they do so in much larger amounts. But health has to come first.’
There speaks an executive who has long been at the forefront of efforts to make boxing as safe as humanly possible, thus bringing down significantly the number of deaths and serious injuries in the British ring.
The only possibility Smith envisages for fights in closed halls or TV studios might be this: ‘If the limits on gatherings of people is eased to, say, 50 then a few smaller fights involving restricted numbers on site could conceivably help boxing get started again.
‘But even that would not be easy because at the moment gyms are closed and boxers are only able to do light training on their own.’
That is just one reason why Smith issues this warning to the fight game and its deprived fans: ‘Boxing will not resume the day after government lifts the lockdown. We cannot run the risk of being rushed until all medical and policing precautions can be put into place.’
It’s a terrible Shame but health and safety at this level is vital