Toni Filipi, a heavyweight from Croatia, has become the second boxer who attended the European Olympic qualifying event in London to test positive for COVID-19.
News that the 24-year-old, who lost to Ukrainian Serhii Horskov on the second day of the tournament, has the virus follows the announcement that Serhat Guler, the Turkish middleweight, and one of the Turkish coaches tested positive.
The tournament started on March 14 and was supposed to run until March 24, but was postponed after three days because of the growing pandemic, having gone behind closed doors after a second day.
Filipi is one of three members of the Croatia team to test positive for coronavirus, along with team leader Ante Matas and coach Tomo Kadic.
“The first two days since I was in self-isolation, I had nothing, I had no symptoms,” Filipi told Radio Zadar on Wednesday. “After that I felt I was a little hot, I measured the temperature and I had it. My head also ached and I coughed.
“Then I tested today I have received confirmation that I am positive. However, now I feel good, I am fine, I do not give the disease to myself just as easily. There is no fear, just be responsible and listen to those who advise you.”
Eyup Gozgec, the president of the Turkish boxing federation, was highly critical of the Boxing Task Force (BTF) for allowing the event to go ahead. The BTF is running boxing at the Tokyo Olympics after AIBA, the governing body, was disqualified by the IOC after allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement.
“While the world was taking extreme measures to deal with the virus, I am baffled that an IOC task force and the British government allowed the tournament to start even though many of us had concerns and almost every other sport had shut down,” Gozgec, who is a member of AIBA’s executive committee, told the Guardian.
According to The Guardian, Gozgec claimed two Turkish boxers had tested positive, although only Guler has been named.
Most boxers had been in London for at least a week prior to the start of the tournament, staying in one of five hotels around the Stratford area and mostly training in the same gym at the venue, the Copper Box, inside the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
As the crisis deepened, doctors added a temperature check to the medical a boxer received on the morning of their bout. It is understood that no boxer showed symptoms of the virus before competing.