WBC setup judging from home via video for professional boxing

LONDON: WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman professional wait boxing return without spectators and with judges officiating by video from home.

Sulaiman said that the World Boxing Council has produced a protocol for fighting during the coronavirus pandemic that limit, for instance, a four-fight card to about 40-50 people at a venue. Those numbers include one handler for each fighter, boxing commission supervisors, media and TV production crews.

Judges will judge from home through access to live video, Sulaiman said in a video conference this week.

The video that we would have without comments from the television network, making it a clean international channel. They are in secure communication. The judges record the round, enter the system administration, reach the supervisor and the local commission. There is a contingency plan for connection failures. So we have Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.

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All people at the site would be evaluated for COVID-19.

"We all are tired of watching TV, and old fights. I do really think that with responsibility, taking all the precautions with a very well-prepared protocol, we could have boxing events again without any risk," he said.

Sulaiman believed it could be up to two years before pro boxing looks like as it was, and urged promoters "to be pioneers with ideas."

He added that the WBC will be flexible on dates so that champions have to take mandatory challenges.

As an example he said Nordine Oubaali was set to defend his bantamweight title against Nonito Donaire, a four-weight champ. A purse bid was accepted and only a date and American venue were to be finalized before boxing was shut down.

(Oubaali) lives in France and has been in an apartment, completely locked up for 40-50 days. No training, no training, Sulaiman said. That is a different scenario from a fighter who could be in the United States or Mexico with combat (privileges), with training and complete facilities. We will work together with them, with the promoters. (Oubaali) may not be able to travel for three or four months. There is no WBC mandate that harms any person, fighter, promoter.

But IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez said he was prepared to further delay his unification fight with champion WBC-WBA-WBO Vasiliy Lomachenko - originally scheduled for May 30 - until fans were allowed to fill venues because he feared fights without spectators won't work at stopping boxers contracting the coronavirus.

I feel like it won't work. That's why I feel like a fighter will probably understand him during those times when they're trying to entertain fans, Lopez said in a video conference from his sister-in-law's Arkansas home, where he left New York.

Lopez said he understood where boxing organizations and promoters were coming from, but said he thinks it's too soon.

I'm not going to fight without seeing what's really going on, Lopez aid. I want to make sure that no fighter is getting infected, no fighter is getting the coronavirus and everything. I want to see firsthand how it works. If it does go smoothly, like (they) planned that it will be, then we could talk about having a fight without the fans.

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