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Coronavirus latest: Eddie Hearn hints boxing could return behind closed doors

Coronavirus latest: Eddie Hearn hints boxing could return behind closed doors
© Reuters
Dillian Whyte's heavyweight title clash with Alexander Povetkin on May 2 is set to be called off.

Promoter Eddie Hearn has indicated that boxing could return behind closed doors as the sport continues to count the cost of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dillian Whyte's heavyweight title clash with Alexander Povetkin on May 2 – a show which also included Katie Taylor's world title fight against Amanda Serrano – is set to be called off.

And Hearn has suggested boxing could stage a low-key return to the schedules if the current social distancing regulations begin to be eased by June.

Katie Taylor
Katie Taylor's bout against Amanda Serrano is set to be postponed (Richard Sellers/PA)

Hearn told Talksport: "We will make an official announcement today (about the Whyte show) but basically yes (the show is off).

"The problem is nobody knows, but we all hope we can return to some kind of boxing in June.

"Whether that's behind closed doors at first, or whether that's back with small-hall shows then we hope we can get to the bigger shows before the end of June."

Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua may have to wait for his next heavyweight title defence (Nick Potts/PA)

Hearn reiterated the prospect of moving Anthony Joshua's world heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev back to July 25.

The clash is still scheduled for June 20 at Tottenham's new stadium, but the escalating health crisis – and a potential extension of the Premier League season – has made discussing a new date difficult.

Hearn described the July 25 date as "more realistic", and added: "I know there's a bigger picture going on but everyone in sport right now needs to be working on a solution.

"It's going to be an horrifically messy time for sports and businesses when we do come out of the other side, because the world won't be the same again."

Serie A
Paulo Dybala and Juventus face the prospect that the Serie A season is over (Marco Alpozzi/AP)

The President of the Italian Footballers' Association has admitted it is time to consider the possibility that the season is over due to the continuing coronavirus crisis.

Damiano Tommasi responded to comments from Italy's minister of sport Vincenzo Spadafora suggesting that he will on Monday propose a further extension to the suspension of all sport in the country.

Italy is the world's worst affected country, with the pandemic death toll passing 10,000 over the weekend.

"Tomorrow (Monday) we have one more element on the table than in the past few weeks," Tommasi told ANSA as reported on the official Footballers'Association website.

"Because after the words of minister Spadafora, the concern that the championships will end here is there.

"You must therefore ask yourself the problem of the end of the season from a sporting point of view, of contracts."

All sporting events have been suspended in Italy until April 3, with some reportedly hopeful that the season could restart on May 3, but Spafadora has quashed that idea.

"It's unrealistic to resume play on May 3," Spadafora told Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

"Tomorrow, I will propose to extend the stop of sports competitions of all levels for the rest of April."

England cricket captains Joe Root and Heather Knight have issued a joint letter to fans in which they praised the work of NHS staff at the frontline of the crisis.

In the letter, the pair wrote: "We've heard so many incredible stories of people doing that – in our local area and the country beyond – and it fills us both with pride.

"In our positions as England captain we've witnessed events that have had entire stadiums on their feet, but this pandemic has shown us who deserves the loudest cheers.

"To all those working on the frontline to assist the greatest in need, all those co-ordinating and delivering the supply of life's essentials and all those as yet unsung heroes, we salute you."

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