British boxing will not return even when lockdown ends as BBBofC vow not to pressure NHS until ‘normal services resume’ – The Sun

ANTHONY JOSHUA and Tyson Fury have been told that boxing will not return to normal even when the coronavirus lockdown has been lifted.

The British Boxing Board of Control has released a statement saying fights cannot happen while there is the chance an injury could put extra pressure on our health services.

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The board's general secretary Robert Smith has insisted that "professional boxing cannot happen until normal NHS services have resumed."

Covid-19 has already postponed a series of high-profile fights, including heavyweight champ Joshua's London showdown with Kubrat Pulev, which was scheduled for June 24.

And Eddie Hearn's plan for six-week slugfest of action now looks on a knife edge after the BBCofC said that even having medics available "does not mean shows can run".

A statement read: "We recognise that licence holders will want to prepare for restrictions being lifted and sport resuming.

"However, it is important to remember that professional boxing will not be able to resume as soon as the ‘lockdown’ and social distancing measures are lifted.

"The principle reason for this are the strict medical practices that the BBBofC has in place for the safety of boxers.

"When restrictions are lifted, the ongoing work for our BBBofC Medical Officers and ambulance crews in their NHS roles will continue for some time.

"As the immediate pressure on the NHS reduces some Medical Officers may be available to work at BBBofC shows.

"However, this may not necessarily mean that shows can run. While the NHS is still fighting/recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic we cannot place any further pressure on the system.

"To put this into perspective, if a boxer suffers a head injury and requires neurosurgical intervention they would go to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) bed in the post-operative period and require vast medical input in the acute setting.

"The British Boxing Board of Control will not place this pressure on the NHS and professional boxing cannot happen until normal NHS services have resumed.

"Furthermore, NHS staff will have come through one of the biggest challenges faced by the NHS, in its history.

"All involved will be physically and mentally fatigued. They will justifiably want to take rest and recuperation time.

"Therefore, due consideration has to be given to the medical personnel before any appointments to tournaments can take place."

The list of big fights affected by the coronavirus pandemic stretches back a month.

Josh Kelly's European welterweight title fight at the O2 in London on March 28 was scrapped, as was Lewis Ritson's bout vs Miguel Vasquez in Newcastle a week later.

Joe Joyce's British blockbuster against Daniel Dubois on April 11 was called off.

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Derek Chisora was set to take on Oleksandr Usyk in the O2 on May 2 the same night Billy Joe Saunders was to battle Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas and Josh Taylor was to defend his world super lightweight belt against Apinun Khongsong in Glasgow.

All have been postponed, along with Dillian Whyte's scheduled fight against Alexander Povetkin in Manchester on May 23.

WBC king Fury was rumoured to be looking to complete his trilogy against Deontay Wilder on July 18 – but negotiations over that have stalled too in light of the pandemic.

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