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Monday. July 13. 2020

Much-awaited boxing matches held

Japanese pro boxing bouts, put on hold for more than four months due to the novel coronavirus infection or COVID-19, resumed finally on July 12 when five matches in the central Japan rookies‘ tournament took place in Kariya, Aichi Prefecture.

Amid a strict alert, the bouts were held as a closed-door event at Aioi Hall. A ring announcer introduced the boxers without entering the ring as he remained stated outside. A Japan boxing commission doctor, timekeeper and the other officials concerned wore protective gear, not to mention face shields and face masks.

All the five matches were refereed by Yuji Fukuchi, dispatched from Tokyo. He did not give prefight instructions and did not raise the winner’s hand. He had to change his clothes after each bout while disinfecting his shoes.
Only one writer from one company was allowed to cover the event. No picture from the ringside was permitted. The writers had to have their temperatures taken at the entrance of the hall and had to see the bouts far from the ringside.

The boxers, their chief seconds and the officials concerned went through antibody tests twice, and the boxers were ‘’isolated’’ at a hotel right after their official weigh-ins held the preceding day.

JBC Secretary General Tsuyoshi Yasukochi said, ‘’I heaved a sigh of relief. Although today’s event leaves much to be desired since it was the first undertaking after the long absence. We would like to move on by reviewing the day’s event from the ground up.’’

Boxing matches were last held on Feb. 27 at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall. Rampant COVID-19 forced the cancellation of all the planned boxing events.