Nicaragua, South Korea hold fights amid pandemic
MANILA, Philippines – Nicaragua and South Korea, countries over 13,000 kilometers apart, flicked jabs aimed at restoring boxing normalcy on Saturday, April 25.
Capital city Managua and Gimpo city, respectively, held live fight cards under controlled setups to show the world the COVID-19 pandemic would not be able to put the sport down for long.
In a report by Ryan Songalia of RingTV, spectators, ring officials, media, round girls, and even the fighters went through a thermal scanner and were sprayed with hand sanitizer before entering Nicaragua's Alexis Arguello Gymnasium with empty seats in between.
Before the opening bell, the fighters discarded the masks and a minute of silence was observed in memory of coronavirus victims, according to Songalia.
Fortunately for Nicaragua in Central America, record shows it only has 12 afflicted and 3 deaths and needs no lockdown, a logical venue for the first pro fight card since an event was staged in Wuppertal, Germany, on March 19.
Though South Korea has nearly 11,000 COVID-19 victims with 242 deaths, it has contained the spread. Reason why the promoters proceeded with the 3-bout card at Legend Boxing Gym.
Standing spectators were seen at only one side of Legend Boxing Gym, where the main event saw Hwang Kil Kim (12-2, 6 KOs) knock out Jae Duk Bae (4-7, 2 KOs) in the first round.
A boxing event in Nicaragua went ahead last night.— The Sun - Boxing (@SunBoxing) April 26, 2020
Fighters were sprayed with disinfectant, fans had their temperature taken and had to sit at least one metre apart.
The Managua fights, which were made available through Canal 6’s Facebook live feed, saw Robin Zamora (16-7, 8 knockouts) repeat over Ramiro Blanco (18-8-3, 10 KOs) by unanimous decision and Freddie Fonseca (28-5-1, 19 KOs) stop Alan Aguilar (8-8-2, 1 KO), who did not answer the 5th round bell.
In other results, Byron Castellon (15-13-3, 2 knockouts) won over Eliezer Gazo (18-11-2, 3 KOs), by unanimous decision; Edwin Tercero (16-11-1, 4 KOs) beat Franco Gutierrez (10-4, 6 KOs) anew by unanimous decision; Gabriel Escalante (13-0, 7 KOs) knocked out Mario Mairena (2-20-1, 1 KO) in the 5th round ;and Bryan Perez (12-11-1, 11 KOs) knocked out Lesther Lara (16-11-2, 7 KOs) in the 2nd.
While there were no high-profile names involved, the fight cards were significant. They proved live fights are plausible even if fraught with danger.
In two weeks, the world will know whether boxing has a new normal or whether it courted disaster. – Rappler.com