Masks, no spitting and no fans: Boxing’s proposed new fight-night rules for July return

According to the proposed rules, coaches and those in the corner will need to wear a protective mask on fight nights

Boxers in British fighting programs will wear protective masks while hiking and will be prohibited from using a spit bucket between rounds under the proposed rules for the events.

The sport is preparing for a comeback in the UK in July, after being paralyzed in most countries worldwide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Referees and coaches in the fighters' corners must wear protective masks throughout the event and the proposals include thorough testing of everyone involved.

In a five-page consultation document sent to UK promoters and seen by BBC Sport – the British Boxing Control Council (BBBofC) says the July restart will initially see events containing no more than five fights and no "championships" ".

The document sets out proposed rules that include:

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  • Fight shows to start without fans
  • Boxers, referees and coaches will be transported to the venue wearing personal protective masks
  • A fighter can remove his protective mask when inside the ring – but referees and teams in the corner must keep theirs.
  • Boxers cannot spit in their respective corners
  • There are no announcers, girls or TV cameras in the ring
  • All proposed venues must be reviewed by BBBofC and "cleaned to a medical standard" prior to the event
  • Only "essential" employees, promoters and broadcasters can participate
  • Individuals in high-risk categories, such as pregnant women, people who are "seriously overweight" or people with diabetes, should not attend
  • Everyone at an event should be tested for Covid-19
  • All boxers, coaches and referees must take the Covid-19 test 48 hours before the night of the fight and isolate themselves in a hotel until their results are known.

Prosecutor Eddie Hearn said the proposals offered "huge barriers to be overcome", while another member of the industry described the document as "ridiculous".

BBBofC said the measures are within government guidelines and, emphasizing that the rules described "were not final", said prosecutors' opinions will be considered.

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Who should fight in July?

The next scheduled fights in Britain in July are:

4th of July: Manchester Arena – Dillian Whyte x Alexander Povetkin (interim WBC heavyweight title), Katie Taylor x Amanda Serrano (WBC, IBF, WBO and WBA titles); Callum Johnson vs. Igor Mikhalkin (vacant European light heavyweight title)

July 11: O2 Arena, London, England – Daniel Dubois x Joe Joyce (British & Commonwealth heavyweight titles); Anthony Yarde against Lyndon Arthur (medium heavyweight)

There are also several postponed fights that need new dates, including Anthony Joshua's heavyweight title defense against Kubrat Pulev – originally at Tottenham Hostspur Stadium.

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What else did the BBCofC say?

The governing body made it clear that it will not put additional pressure on the National Health Service, resuming boxing too soon. Fight nights require the presence of ambulances and medical personnel, as well as access to neurosurgical care nearby in the event of serious injury.

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BBBofC will take responsibility for ensuring that access to the hospital is possible and says that individuals will have their temperature measured outside the premises at night. In addition, anyone who participates in the event who does not complete a new mandatory medical questionnaire will not be able to enter.

But according to the rules outlined, promoters must take responsibility for a hotel suitable for self-isolation, as well as Covid-19 tests for fighters.

These changes are likely to lead to additional costs at a time when ticket sales will not exist and the generation of pay-per-view revenue is unrealistic in the short term.

If the UK government changes its guidance on how the spread of coronavirus can be better managed, BBBofC may adapt some of its proposed measures.

But if programs are staged under the new rules, fans can expect to see officials and television crews sitting two meters away beside the ring, with all parties dressed in short-sleeved shirts in an attempt to improve hygiene. .

Under the guidelines, people aged 70 and over, people with chronic lung disease or moderate asthma, individuals with severe heart problems and anyone who has had symptoms of fever, cough, cold or flu in the previous 14 days cannot participate in the events.

Reacting to BBBofC document coach Joe Gallagher, who guides the career of world super middleweight champion Callum Smith, among others, tweeted, "Why hurry and do things in half measures? Make sure everyone is safe and well and we'll see how in September. Give everyone time to get back to training, training and making sure everyone is safe ".

Currently, boxers are not allowed to attend their usual gyms due to social detachment guidelines, let alone conduct the fights they trust in preparing for a fight.

Some fighters and coaches are also living with individuals considered to be at high risk if they contract coronavirus, which means that returning to any gym environment poses an additional challenge to avoid contracting the virus and transmitting it to loved ones.

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