Coronavirus has boxing against the ropes


"El Maestro boxing ring 4" by Serge De Gracia is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

“El Maestro boxing ring 4” by Serge De Gracia is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Addison Keeley, Lamp writer

For some aspiring boxers, the Coronavirus has put their aspirations in the sport “down for the count” as they lose the opportunity for critical experience.

“It was always hard to get fights anyway, but due to COVID-19, it made everything a lot harder,” expressed Vincent Hadley, head boxing trainer of Capital City Boxing Gym in Springfield.

He claims that in addition to the difficulties his gym already faced (difficulty finding opponents of right weight class, transportation, licensing), the risk of COVID-19 eliminates “really any type of human contact,” which is tragic for a contact sport such as boxing.

Hadley emphasizes that the sport is safety first, and now his fighters must get tested for COVID-19 along with mandatory physicals. Despite this new precaution, he states that amateur boxing tournaments are unable to be sanctioned, and amateur coaches across the map are not even able to try and qualify a student of theirs for the Olympic team.

Perhaps the most tragic aspect listed by Hadley is the fact that COVID-19 has deprived amateur fighters of the ability to push along further in their boxing career. Notably, this prolongs a boxer’s ability to turn professional, which is the only way boxers can be paid for their fights.

The pandemic of 2020 put a brief halt on boxing and all sports worldwide, with no professional boxing cards taking place for approximately three months. While professional boxing has returned as of May, COVID-19 still is a worldwide issue for all fighters and trainers.

“It’s hard to get sparring because no one wants to travel. So things have ground to a halt pretty much,” said Mike Merry, a boxing trainer in the United Kingdom.

Capitalizing on the effect that the pandemic has had on his gym and his students, Merry includes that his gym is located in a poor part of the country, which has resulted in all of his students having full-time jobs, with some even leaving the gym altogether in order to be financially stable during such a hard time. Merry alluded to a specific example of a friend who had to make a second career as a fireman to make ends meet.

“COVID has affected my life in boxing because the fights have been closed down for a couple [of] months so that makes it so we can’t fight but we can still train,” declared Alex Sullivan, an amateur boxer at Capital City Boxing Gym.

Despite having the luxury of still being able to train, Sullivan reveals that even this aspect has a current handicap, as his gym is currently closed due to an unnamed student testing positive for COVID-19.

Columnist and LLCC student Addison Keeley trains and competes in boxing.