How COVID-19 is Impacting Boxing

How COVID-19 is Impacting Boxing

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and many are going to stay home this year instead of traditional pub visits accompanied by green wardrobes and special drinks. The coronavirus has affected everyone in one way or another, and boxing has been no exception. Tonight, elite Irish featherweight prospect Michael Conlan was supposed to take on Belmar Preciado in a scheduled 10 round main event bout on ESPN+. The card along with many others has been canceled, leading boxing fans to question what is next for the sport.

Although initially planning to go through with recent cards, Top Rank was forced to cancel some recent upcoming events, blaming lack of available tests. The first card canceled was scheduled for featherweight titleholder Shakur Stevenson who was going to make his first defense of his WBO World Championship. Michael Conlan’s scheduled St. Patrick’s Day bout was also cancelled for the same reasons. Both cards were planned to take place at The Madison State Garden in New York City.


Since Top Rank has canceled those events, other boxing stables have followed. The following bouts have either been canceled or postponed:

  • Jeff Horn vs Tim Tszyu
  • Artur Beterbiev vs Meng Fanlong
  • Jerwin Ancajas vs Jonathon Rodriguez
  • Maurice Hooker vs Regis Prograis
  • Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders

The question is how will boxing adapt to the current sports scene that is being forced by COVID-19? Streaming services like DAZN and ESPN+ simply cannot afford to continue to cancel cards and lose money from streaming revenues. A possible alternative that could be implemented is fights occurring without fans, a route that is already being explored by the WWE and UFC. It remains to be seen how other factors such as international fighters flying in, or promotional obligations will take place. Like other sports, boxing is being hit by the coronavirus pandemic which does seem to be ending soon.

Featured Photo Credit: TalkSport

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