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Britain's Dillian Whyte (left)


Whyte fight rescheduled; Hearn eyes boxing behind closed doors

Britain’s Dillian Whyte (left) © AFP/File / ADRIAN DENNIS

LONDON, United Kingdom, Mar 30Dillian Whyte’s heavyweight clash with former world champion Alexander Povetkin has been rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic but British promoter Eddie Hearn said boxing could return behind closed doors in June.

Matchroom Boxing on Monday confirmed the postponement of all their events scheduled for May, including bouts involving Whyte, Ireland’s Katie Taylor and British fighter Dereck Chisora.

“In line with the BBBofC (British Boxing Board of Control) and government guidelines relating to COVID-19, Matchroom Boxing have postponed all events scheduled to be taking place in May,” it said in a statement.

That includes the scheduled bout at the Manchester Arena on May 2 between Britain’s Whyte and Russia’s Povetkin. That fight is now in the diary for July 4.

The BBBofC on Monday further extended its suspension of tournaments under its jurisdiction to cover the whole of May.

Eddie Hearn (centre) is Anthony Joshua’s promoter © AFP/File / FAYEZ NURELDINE

Despite the upheavals caused by the coronavirus, Hearn said he hoped to 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,” he told Talksport radio.

Britain is the home of heavyweight champions Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua and Fury’s recent demolition of previously unbeaten WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder has led to talk of an all-British showdown.

Hearn said July 25 would be a more realistic date for Joshua’s defence of his IBF, IBO and WBA title belts against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

He said the scheduled date of June 20 could fall within the domestic football season if that was resumed.

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“I know there’s a bigger picture going on but everyone in sport right now needs to be working on a solution,” said Hearn.

“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.”

On Sunday, deputy chief medical officer for England Jenny Harries warned that life in locked-down Britain may not return to normal for six months or longer as it battles the coronavirus outbreak.

More than 1,200 Britons have lost their lives due to the virus, with around 20,000 infected.

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