By Charles Brun: Matchroom Boxing’s next three major events on March 28 [Josh Kelly vs. David Avanesyan], April 4 [Lewis Ritson vs. Miguel Vazquez] and April 24 [Natasha Jonas vs. Terri Harper] will see the dates changed due to COVID 19 virus pandemic.
All three of those fight cards will see the dates changed, unfortunately, but Hearn has no other options. The new dates that are given for those three cards will be “subject to change,’ says Hearn depending on the coronavirus situation.
With all three of these cards being moved, there’s the chance that they could be moved again. It’s out of Hearn’s hands. He’s being dictated by circumstances with the British government adopting measures to try control the COVID 19 outbreak, and he’s working with the British Boxing Board of Control.
Hearn’s updates on March 28, April 4 and April 24 cards:
- Avanesyan vs. Kelly on March 28 at the O2 Arena: This fight date is now canceled, and the card will now be merged into another fight card. Hearn previously spoke about wanting to merge the Kelly-Avanesyan card with the Oleksandr Usyk vs. Dereck Chisora event on May 23. That’s likely what Hearn will do. With that said, the Usyk-Chisora fight card could see the date change as well. Right now, it’s still set for that May 23 date, but if the coronavirus problem continues without any retreat from the cases, it’s likely that the Usk vs. Chiora card will need to be postponed until a later date.
- Ritson vs. Vazquez on April 4: This fight will be postponed until June 27th.
- Jonas vs. Harper on April 24: To be postponed to a date to be determined in June.
The postponement could work in Kelly’s favor, as he needs as much time as possible to get ready to take on EBU welterweight champion Avanesyan (26-3-1, 14 KOs). Kelly has been getting hit too much in his recent fight due to part to his habit of fighting with his hands down, but also because he likes to fight off the ropes.
The extra time that Kelly, 26, now has to prepare for the knockout artist Avanesyan could serve him well, in view of the fact that he’s got to make a lot of improvements to have a chance of winning.
Hearn gives updates on Matchroom cards
“A lot is changing and a lot of news is coming in, and I feel like I should be updating you and boxing fans as far as the situation regarding boxing, Matchroom Boxing and upcoming events as well, and also our fighters as well,” said Hearn an update on his Matchroom Sports site. “We’ve seen over the last week or so huge disruptions to the global calendar, and now that’s filtering through to live boxing events.
“Yesterday we had to postpone our April 17th event Regis Progais against Maurice Hooker at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland,” said Hearn. “After further legislation and instruction from the British government yesterday and Boris Johnson and speaking to the British Boxing Board of Control last night and this morning, we had to make an announcement on our upcoming events as well.
“The key for us is the news for us from the British Boxing Board of Control of the medical concerns in terms of the safety of our fighters. Will doctors be able to work on those events, and will we have access to take fighters to the hospital or get medical attention if needed. Of course, once that starts coming into play for fighter’s safety, it becomes paramount it becomes a complete non-starter for us,” said Hearn.
Eddie didn’t say anything about the May 2 card headlined by heavyweights Dillian Whyte vs. Alexander Povetkin. That’s a card that could be affected as well, and the same with the Usyk vs. Chisora card n May 23.
Hearn is hoping obviously that the measures that the British government has directed for businesses and the citizens will have an impact on the coronavirus cases. If not, then there’s the possibility that Hearn’s May 2 and May 23 cards could wind up being postponed.
Kelly-Avanesyan, Ritson-Vazquez & Jonas-Harper updates
“When we look at the events upcoming in the UK this is going to affect,” said Hearn. “Right now, this is three events. March 28th at the O2 Arena Josh Kelly against David Avanesyan, April the 4th in Newcastle Lewis Ritson against Miguel Vazquez and April the 24th in Doncaster Natasha Jonas against Terry Harper.
“The March 28th event [Kelly vs. Avanesysan] at the O2 will now be canceled. That will be marched into future shows. The April 4th show in Newcastle [Ritson vs. Vasquez] will be rescheduled to June 27th. Tickets will still be valued for that new date, and also available for a refund if required. The April 28th date in Doncaster will also be rescheduled to June with a date to be announced in the new future.
“Right now our main events stay in place. we do appreciate that this is an ever-changing landscape, and we’ll be monitoring the situation day by day, and looking at further government announcements and speaking to the British Boxing Board of Control to make sure our events are safe, and particularly all the requirements are in place to make sure that fighter’s safety is taken care of,” said Hearn.
It’ll be interesting to see what Hearn’s plan-C will be if all three of those cards need to be moved again due to the COVID 19 virus. Will Hearn take them behind doors?
Hearn: The new dates could change for fights
“Those main events may be subject to change. We’ll keep you in the loop with everything. Obviously this is testing times for everybody, and our immediate thoughts go to everybody affected by the COVID 19 virus. We ask people to follow the guidelines, stay well, stay healthy and we’ll be back to you soon with some more news,” said Hearn.
Anthony Joshua is fighting Kubrat Pulev on June 20th, and Hearn believes that one is so far out there that things will have changed for the better by then. That may not be the case. The coronavirus is doing well in the warm temperatures of Australia right now, which indicates that it may not disappear in a seasonal way like normal influenza viruses.