Boxing resumed in Nicaragua on Saturday night amid the COVID-19 pandemic with a televised eight-fight card in front of a live audience in the nation’s capital.
The pandemic has largely stopped all sports across the globe. Fight promoter Rosendo Alvarez, a former two-time world champion himself, didn’t fear the deadly virus and signed up 16 local boxers for the event, according to the Associated Press.
“Nicaragua is a poor country, and the boxers have to eat,” Alvarez said, via the Associated Press. “They can’t stay shut up in their house.
“This is the only gymnasium in the world that is open and active this Saturday.”
There were more than 2.8 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide as of Saturday night, according to The New York Times, and nearly 200,000 deaths attributed to the virus. Nicaragua, per the Times, had just 12 confirmed cases and three deaths. Neighboring countries Honduras and Costa Rica had around 500 confirmed cases each, however, and Panama had more than 5,300.
Nicaragua doesn’t have any sort of stay-at-home order in place, either, and has both soccer and baseball leagues running, per the report. Schools are back in session, and state employees were ordered back to work.
Protective measures in place
Alvarez insisted that there would be protective measures in place during the bout. All spectators were supposed to have their temperature taken when they entered the arena and had to wear a mask, though it’s unclear if that happened.
Boxers also underwent “a rigorous medical checkup.”
One stunning photo from the fight showed them being sprayed down by men in masks and personal protective equipment, too.
Live fighting is set to resume in the United States next month, too. UFC president Dana White announced this week that they will hold UFC 249 in Jacksonville on May 9, and then hold two more bouts that same week. Those events, however, will be closed to the public.
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