By Joe Koizumi
All boxing shows in March and April, in Japan, were completely canceled by the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and the JPBA (Japan Professional Boxing Association; the union of all licensed club owners). But the JBC/JPBA, this Monday (March 23), made a decision to halt its tentative policy to cancel all the boxing schedule– from May on. The first show in May will be a Japanese middleweight title bout between Kazuto Takesako (12-0, 11 KOs) and Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2 KOs) to take place at the Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, on May 2. Also, on May 9, WBA 108-pound champ Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9 KOs) will defend his belt against Indonesian Andika D’Golden Boy (17-0, 8 KOs) in Sakai city, Osaka Prefecture. On May 16, Japanese 115-pound titlist Kenta Nakagawa will put his belt on the line against Yuta Matsuo in Tokyo.
Our government announced three essential conditions to cause the coronavirus infection: 1) closed congested area, 2) poor ventilation and 3) conversation at the close distance. Our promoters, therefore, will be obliged to remain vigilant against these risky inducements, as follows: take spectators’ temperature at the entrance, force them to wear masks for protection, set up seats with proper space (such as seating at every other row) or forbid to sell SRO seats (as the JBC suggests), etc. Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike strongly suggested to Tokyo residents to refrain from unnecessary and non-urgent outings and stay at home this weekend. It will be effective in Tokyo until April 12.
In view of many cancellations of boxing shows happening all over the world, it might be true that some country should resume a show to make boxing active again, but the problem might be timing—as to whether our resumption from May may be right or not. This will be a sort of experiment from the global point of view. Should there happen any COVID-19 infection through boxing events here in May, the JBC/JPBA will be forced to return to all-cancel-policy as previously. The strict self-surveillance, therefore, will be indispensable, if Japan dares to go on.