Frank Warren wants his show at the Royal Albert Hall on July 10 to be made a coronavirus test event in order to ensure a full house for the night at the prestigious venue.
Light-heavyweight stars Lyndon Arthur and Anthony Yarde are in joint headline fights at the central London arena, facing Davide Faraci and Emin Atra respectively, while WBO No 1 super-middleweight Zach Parker is due to be in action against Sherzon Khusanov.
When Warren’s Queensberry Promotions booked the show at the hall, which first staged boxing more than a century ago, it was due to be in a full arena as June 21 was due to be “freedom day” when all COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings were lifted.
However, last Monday, Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, extended restriction in England by four weeks, meaning that under current regulations only 1,000 fans would be allowed to attend.
Several events, including the European Football Championships, Wimbledon and Test Match cricket have been able to increase attendances by running as government test events, meaning those attending must have a COVID-19 test before the day and commit to take one afterwards.
“We’ve made an approach to the Department for Culture, Media and sport and are awaiting their response,” Warren said. “We planned this event based on the idea that everything was going to be lifted, otherwise it would be financially unviable. If it OK for the football and the tennis, it should be the same for boxing,
“Everyone has an interest in it going ahead and we would want to do it to capacity, although at present there would be no seats on the floor area at ringside, because that would be reserved for officials.”
Archie Sharp, Dennis McCann and Muhammad Ali are also due to be on the Albert Hall card.
Warren says that whatever the Government’s decision, the show will be on.
“100 percent,” Warren said. “It will go ahead.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.