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Virus shoves boxing on the ropes

/ 04:00 AM March 21, 2020

As the coronavirus spreads out death and menace, world boxing rolls with the punches, with many major bouts being canceled and postponed.

Boxing, brutalized, continued to suffer with postponed fights put indefinitely on hold.

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Nothing clear on future schedules; and the kindest prediction said boxing would be stalled for no less than 12 weeks.

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For the Philippines, there’s no alternative date for WBO bantamweight champion Johnriel Casimero who, after a monthlong camp in Miami, Florida, has moved to Las Vegas for peaking regimen. His triple-crown unification fight with sensatio­nal Naoya Inoue of Japan on April 25 has been scrapped.

Top Rank top executive Bob Arum, who has signed Inoue to a multideal contract, said they cannot compromise the health of the boxers, their handlers and the ESPN production staff, but there has been no word on where or when the much-awaited fight would be staged.

Eight-division world title winner Manny Pacquiao said he was looking forward to a ring return in July, when it’s hoped things would normalize, and it would be safe and reasonable to stage a world title fight.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has been predicted to surge well into July, the start-off month for the new boxing season.

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Nobody could say when it would be safe, while there were predictions the virus outbreak in Spain and Italy could be followed by contagion in the United States and the United Kingdom.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson swore Britain will not reach its very peak of the coronavirus until mid-June.

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“It’s a big stumbling block to the national boxing team,” said Ricky Vargas, president of the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (Abap), with plans of pushing harder in the final qualifying tournament in Paris in May.

Abap has qualified two bo­xers, middleweight Eumir Marcial and flyweight Irish Magno, to the Tokyo Games, but was looking forward to push in Nesthy Petecio, featherweight gold medalist in the last world championship, in the final quali­fying tournament.

There’s no word on whe­ther the final qualifiers in Paris would push through or not.

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The fight between Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders tops the list of major fights now on hold due to the surging coronavirus pandemic.

The Olympics itself has been likened to a boxer pushed against the ropes, and which continued to reel against killer punches.

There seemed no other sane way for the Olympics but to give up or agree to a postponement; unlike boxing, which could not help but bow to an unstoppable enemy.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
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TAGS: Boxing, COVID-19, Johnriel Casimero, Naoya Inoue, Sports
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