With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the world this year, boxing came to a complete standstill.
It looks like several countries may open up boxing again in July, but there will be restrictions in place. The British Boxing Board of Control recently sent a document to UK promoters, which outlines what the future of boxing will look like in months to come, whereas the Nevada State Athletic Commission has given the greenlight for boxing to resume in Las Vegas in June (The Jakarta Post).
The top restriction includes no audience in the boxing arena. Events will be televised, which means you’ll have to watch it online or on a channel that broadcasts it. Boxers must wear face masks before and after a fight, and they may no longer have a spit bucket in their corners.
Here’s a quick look at the list of other restrictions in the UK, and we expect the States and other countries to be taking similar measures:
- The maximum bouts on a card capped at about five
- There will be no championship battles
- Boxers, trainees, and referees must all wear protective gear, mostly masks, around and in the facility
- All locations must be cleaned to medical standards as set out by the BBBC
- Ring girls, announcers, and television crew aren’t allowed inside the ring
- Only the officials, broadcasters, and promoters who have ‘essential’ status may attend the fight
- All members that are present in the arena will be tested for COVID-19
- Boxers, trainees, and referees will be checked for COVID-19 within 48 hours before the fight and self-isolate in their hotels
In the next couple of weeks, the BBBC will listen to the concerns of the members and promoters to see how the restrictions can be adjusted to accommodate them. Many promoters have stated that the stipulations present a massive challenge. Furthermore, fighters can’t join local gyms to prepare for fights due to safety precautions.
The effect on sports betting
Online sportsbooks that offer boxing sports betting are already presenting future bets for events. However, live streaming of events may be limited to those bookies who have connections to the broadcast teams allowed in the arena. In-play betting will still be available to some degree, depending on how well the stats are tracked.
You can still find promotions here with bookies for sports and boxing betting. As a matter of fact, we predict that many online gambling sites will offer specific bonuses linked to boxing, such as risk-free bets. It will be the primary way to bring punters back to the sports betting arena after such a long drought.
Will boxing really resume in June/July?
While sports associations are preparing to get things going, many are saying that it’s a pipe dream to start so soon. With the UK and the US having the highest numbers of COVID cases, there are calls to postpone boxing until September. These measures aren’t merely to keep the fighters safe but their family members too.
Whatever happens, it will certainly be interesting to see what boxing will look like without a proper audience. The fighters are used to crowds spurring them on, but will now be greeted with near silence. It will be much like the WWE Wrestlemania broadcasts, when wrestlers were shouting at empty chairs.