The Japan Boxing Commission and Japan Pro Boxing Association jointly held a liaison council meeting against novel coronavirus on Jan. 8 and discussed the future promotion of boxing events with the self-imposed posture of a voluntary ban not excluded.
This is to cope with the Japanese government’s declaration the previous day of a state of emergency in the capital and three neighboring prefectures — Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama — to fight surging coronavirus infections in the metropolitan area.
While the declaration, effective from Jan. 8 to Feb. 7, was issued at a time when Tokyo’s daily coronavirus cases reached 2,447, topping the 2,000 mark for the first time since the start of the outbreak in 2020, there were no requests to refrain from staging events.
When the government declared a state of emergency last April, the government requested citizens to stay at home and restaurants and entertainment facilities to shut.
Such being the case, the liaison council this time made a rule that boxing events can be conducted behind closed doors in general, and events must end by 8 p.m. if a certain number of spectators are allowed.
JPBA Secretary General Shosei Nitta emphasized the fact that there has been no single infected individual at a competition site ever since boxing events resumed last July.
But the liaison council did not rule out the imposition of a voluntary ban. This is because if the number of patients suffering from COVID-19 further increases, there is a high possibility of hospitals reaching capacity. If such possibility is insight, a boxing event must be cancelled even if the event is slated for the following day, which will be a heavy financial burden on an event promoter.
Also, if a boxer cancels a given event in Tokyo, for example, for fear of the possible contamination of COVID-19, it will be accepted. Normally, that kind of case corresponds to the breach of contract, according to the liaison council.
At present, there are seven boxing events planned in January (all in Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall). Concerning the first event of the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation bantamweight title match on Jan. 14, the liaison council is poised to end the event by 8 p.m. with a certain number of spectators allowed in.