By Joe Koizumi
The liaison conference of the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and the JPBA (Japan Professional Boxing Association, the union of 282 club owners) set up the necessary guidelines on Friday to prepare to resume boxing shows from July. All the shows scheduled through June had been completely canceled due to the still growing coronavirus outbreak here.
The Japanese government, on April 7, declared a state of emergency until May 6 at first and then extended it through May. But it was lifted last Thursday (May 14) as for 39 prefectures, while eight Metropolis/prefectures such as Tokyo, Osaka and six others should still stay under the coronavirus state of emergency that temporarily restrains our freedom to move around anywhere at any time for safety and sanitation. The closure of sports training facilities, including boxing gyms, still prevails nationwide for fear of any COVID-19 infection.
The JBC/JPBA conference announced as follows:
There are eight applications for promotions in July including a show behind closed doors by Ohashi Promotions on July 16, and others by Misako Promotions on July 22, by World Sports Promotions on July 22, and by East Japan Boxing Association on July 30. The conference, in accordance with the advice medical specialists against the virus infection, drew up the following guidelines to approve the promotions to take place:
- To keep social distance between the spectators, which may allow only one-third of the capacity audience at boxing arenas like the Korakuen Hall
- To regulate the number of bouts up to eight per promotion
- To separate a promotion into a couple of cards such as the daytime and night shows at the same arena provided that the local promoter should wish to stage more than eight bouts
- To mandate cornermen, judges and JBC officials to wear masks (as for the referee, such protection as faceguard or mask may prevent the third man from making a quick decision or action, so he (the ref) will not be forced to wear the mask or faceguard at this moment)
- To take care of mouth guard since it may have a danger of contagious source, so the mouthpiece should be carefully treated for the sake of virus prevention in sparring sessions at the gyms.
Upon the JBC’s final approval of the said applications for boxing shows to take place in July, they will be put into practice. It is good we may be able to welcome boxing back soon even with stringent regulations and restrictions here in Japan.