Anthony Joshua took to social media on Tuesday to offer words of encouragement for his fans to stay strong amidst the global pandemic of coronavirus.
"To the people who are suffering with coronavirus, I wish you a speedy recovery because it is no joke. We haven’t found a cure for it right now. To the ones who have suffered and lost loved ones due to coronavirus, I want to say keep your head up. You have my love. Blessings to you and your family and condolences … I’ve lost close ones to my boxing gym, a close friend, friends of friends. It’s serious once it starts coming closer to home,” said Joshua.
“To young adults like myself who really want to go out there and continue to build the future and prepare for the long term … I would love to be out there right now doing the most , with my dirt bikes, being out with my boys, sparring, going down to the boxing gym but even a rebel like me is trying to follow some guidelines and trying to do the right thing.”
The unified heavyweight champion Joshua, owner of the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO crowns, is scheduled to face Kubrat Pulev on June 20 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, has stated several times in recent weeks that the fight could certainly be rescheduled to a later date, most likely sometime in July.
The British Boxing Board of Control suspended all boxing events in the UK until the end of May on Monday.
The COVID-19 outbreak has claimed over 30,000 lives worldwide. As of Sunday, over 19,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK; 260 deaths were confirmed in the UK on Saturday alone.
Several people in the boxing world have contracted coronavirus (Travis Kauffman, Otto Wallin), have had scares with it (Manny Pacquaio) or have died from it (cruiserweight contender Angelo Rottoli, trainer Nelson Cuevas and Anthony Yarde’s father) in recent weeks.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.