Bob Arum announced Monday that all of his promotional company’s cards scheduled for the remainder of March and all of April have been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement followed a flurry of postponements throughout the boxing world Monday. The shows Arum’s Top Rank Inc. had scheduled for March and April will be rescheduled “as soon as it’s safe and reasonable to do so,” according to a press release issued Monday.
“The health and safety of our fighters, staff and ESPN’s incredible production team is the most important thing as we plan our next steps,” Arum said. “We look forward to the day when we can bring our loyal fans world-class boxing once again, but exercising caution is the most prudent thing to do at this moment.”
The two most prominent fights postponed by Top Rank on Monday were to feature undefeated champions Artur Beterbiev and Naoya Inoue.
Russia’s Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) was scheduled to make a mandatory defense of his IBF light heavyweight title against China’s Meng Fanlong (16-0, 10 KOs) on March 28 at Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada. Before postponing it, Arum explored the possibility of moving the Beterbiev-Fanlong fight from Quebec to a studio setting in Las Vegas.
Japan’s Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) was set to face the Philippines’ Johnriel Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs) in a highly anticipated bantamweight title unification bout April 25 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. They were to fight for Inoue’s IBF and WBA 118-pound titles and Casimero’s WBO belt.
Another April card Top Rank planned to promote in Las Vegas would’ve featured IBF super flyweight champ Jerwin Ancajas in the main event. The Philippines’ Ancajas (32-1-2, 22 KOs) was slated to defend his title against Mexico’s Jonathan Rodriguez (21-1, 15 KOs) on April 11 at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.