The Japan Boxing Commission and Japan Pro Boxing Association jointly decided on Dec. 1 to change the procedures for conducting PCR tests in connection with the recent sudden cancellation of boxing matches due to the novel coronavirus.
Holding a liaison meeting on the COVID-19, the JBC and JPBA decided to conduct PCR tests for boxers and their persons concerned two days before a bout instead of the hitherto preceding day – the tests for at least three times for a world title match and twice for regional and Japanese title matches.
These measures were decided following the sudden cancellation of the Nov. 3 World Boxing Association light flyweight title match in Osaka due to Japan’s super champion Hiroto Kyoguchi of Watanabe Boxing Gym and his chief trainer having tested positive for the COVID-19 in PCR tests done only the preceding day.
Also, Former world minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama’s return to the professional ring from amateur was cancelled on Nov. 23 in Hyogo Prefecture’s Sanda, western Japan, as his opponent Reiya Konishi of SUN-RISE boxing gym was found to be suffering from the COVID-19 in a PCR test he took the preceding day.
The hitherto testing procedures do not allow persons concerned with a bout to come up with a flexible approach to a given bout for lack of time, which leads to the cancellation of the bout and the entire event, causing a tremendous (financial) damage to the event promoter.
For example, in the unfulfilled Nov. 23 bout, Konishi proved negative in a PCR test he took again later. Had he taken the test two days before (the fight with Takayama), the promoter could have worked out some kind of coping measures.
Amid such circumstances, they decided to conduct PCR tests two days before bouts starting the finals of the East Japan rookie tournament on Dec. 20.
If boxers concerned are isolated at hotels two days before their bouts, it will naturally cause the parties concerned suffer more cost burdens. But Shosei Nitta, secretary general of the JPBA, said, ‘’Given today’s spread of the coronavirus, it cannot be helped.’’
Meanwhile, JBC Secretary General Tsuyoshi Yasukochi lamented the violation of the guidelines they had worked out before as he said, ‘’We are determined to tackle the matter rigorously, including the cancellation of fights. If this sorry state of affairs continues, we will have no choice but to shelve all the events from the next fiscal year, which the JPBA understood.’’
Yasukochi cited some spectators at a boxing site continue to root for their boxer with a loud voice despite the repeated caution not to, and chief trainers who have to be isolated before the bouts of their boxers go out of the place they are supposed to stay.
Nitta said, ‘’If the current state cited continues, there will be no future next year,’’ thereby promising to have JPBA people stick to the guidelines through and through.