Mexican boxing to resume fights

All fighters and staff at the bouts will follow strict health measures to prevent COVID-19

Mexican boxing to resume fights with brand-new COVID-19 protocol
Illustrative picture of a professional boxing ring - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 18/06/2020 12:41 Mexico City EL UNIVERSAL Deportes & AP Actualizada 13:06

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Professional boxing is set to return to Mexican television after a three-month halt on matches due to the coronavirus pandemic, promoters said Tuesday.

The bouts are scheduled for Saturday in a television studio with no spectators.

Even under those conditions, the Mexico City boxing commission has refused to sanction the fights, citing the pandemic. To date, Mexico has had 159,793 confirmed coronavirus cases and 19,080 deaths.

The bouts will be broadcast by TV Azteca, a television network owned by Ricardo Salinas Pliego, who has been a vocal critic of the economic lockdown.

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The top fight of the Saturday bill will feature WBO super bantamweight champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete.

“This is going to be something new because this is the first time we are fighting without spectators and without people cheering,” said Navarrete. “It will be strange, but we are going to try to ignore that and focus more on the fight.”

Mexico’s professional boxing resumed with one bout in the western state of Michoacán in early June. That bill featured IBF light middleweight champion Carlos “King” Molina, and also was fought with no spectators. But it was not broadcast nationally.

Guillermo Brito, operations manager for fight promoter Zanfer, said that the company has had to suspend 12 planned bills over the last three months and that about 100 boxers have been left with no income.

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The Mexico City boxing commission said it recognizes that “it is important to reactivate the economy, especially for the fighters, but even so, their health comes first.”

Brito said the promoter understands the concerns about the pandemic, “but we can reactivate this beautiful sport responsibly and with all the health measures.”

Those measures include prior coronavirus testing for fighters and all 18 personnel taping the match. One fighter who was supposed to be on the bill tested positive and her match was dropped.

For a week before the matches, all the fighters will isolate at a Mexico City hotel and only have contact with a doctor assigned to check up on them. Surfaces at the weigh-in and match will be disinfected. There will also be protections made with acrylic and the locker rooms, the ring, and the stools will be disinfected.

Likewise, there will only be 36 people allowed in the match, including fighters, coaches, the referee, judges, medical staff, and cameramen.

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