Arum sees Florida as potential site for boxing
MANILA, Philippines — Top Rank chief Bob Arum may have just found a solution to being able to stage boxing events while sports remain paralyzed due to COVID-19.
In a report from ESPN, Arum said he’s looking into the possibility of scheduling his events in Florida at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently deemed the WWE as an “essential business” in the state and that allowed the company to continue with weekly its shows Raw, SmackDown Live, and NXT.
“It’s very interesting and we’re going to be in touch with them,” said Arum in the report. “There’s a possibility to use their facility to maybe do events without a crowd.”
Arum added that he discussed the possibility with Top Rank president Todd duBoef and that he has a close relationship with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
“We’re very close with Vince and the WWE. So let’s see, but we’re still not talking before June.”
Top Rank was set to stage the third showdown between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder in the summer, but was put on hold along with other cards due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s still unclear when the heavyweight clash will be rescheduled, or will it involve a live crowd, but Arum believes the fight could happen at the end of 2020.
Arum added if boxing in would resume, it would do so with events at an empty arena while major cards like Wilder-Fury III could eventually happen once crowded events are allowed.
“It all depends, the whole reopening of the country, the different states, it all comes down to the same thing—testing, adequate testing,” said Arum. “You cannot open it and have athletes compete against each other with referees, the judges, with camera people, unless you can ensure that it’s safe.”
“The only way you can ensure that it’s safe is with testing. It comes down to testing.”
If Arum’s plans push through, then it would follow a list of boxing-related events the WWE has hosted.
Boxing legends Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, and Floyd Mayweather had all participated in Wrestlemania.
Ali was a special guest referee in the first Wrestlemania, Tyson had a hand in the main event of Wrestlemania XIV, while Mayweather faced against Big Show in Wrestlemania 24.
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