One of Ghana’s leading boxing promotion firms, Box Office Promotions, is looking to organise a made-for-television competition in Accra without fans in attendance as a way of keeping the sport alive and also in response to demands for social distancing protocols to check the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Like other sports which attract big crowds, boxing has also taken a big hit by the pandemic, and with so much uncertainty over the lifting of the ban on social gatherings and sporting events, Box Office Promotions aims to get the sport buzzing again with ‘virtual’ boxing shows as a stop-gap measure.
The CEO of Box Office Promotions, Mr Alex Ntiamoah-Boakye, has revealed plans to get local boxers busy again by staging bouts at the Bukom Boxing Arena in two months’ time but with no fans in attendance.
Safety of boxers, officials
In last Monday’s Graphic Sports newspaper, a member of the Ghana Boxing Authority and physician, Dr Samuel Quaye, signalled the end of the boxing season with a declaration that it was unlikely conditions would be right and safe for fights to be sanctioned for the rest of the year due to the pandemic.
He indicated that even when the suspension of sporting events was lifted, promoters would have to put a lot of measures in place to safeguard the health of boxers and all officials involved in fights.
However, Mr Ntiamoah-Boakye said his outfit was ready to take the necessary health and safety measures, which responds to the need for social distancing and also protects the health of boxers and officials involved in the fights.
“Contrary to what Dr Quaye said, in Nicaragua, bouts were held without fans and we can also do the same here. Boxers are breadwinners in many households in Greater Accra and if we don’t want these boxers to turn to social vices, then we must get back into the ring,” he told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday.
Boxing counting its losses
Mr Ntiamoah-Boakye last staged a promotion on March 7 -- a collaboration with Bukom Fist of Fury -- and is already counting his losses for major promotions which had been planned for April to June.
He disclosed that he could lose over $100,000 in sanctioning fees already paid and sponsorships secured for those events which had been affected by the suspension of sports in Ghana since March 15.
“Our sponsorship monies are not coming; I have already paid some sanctioning fees and I have boxers and other staff I have to settle. The situation is dire,” he lamented.
The Box Office Promotions CEO bemoaned how the COVID-19 pandemic had further worsened the plight of promoters and boxers as the sport was already grappling with financial constraints and the lack of sponsorship, which would be worsened in the short term as corporate bodies also dealt with the effects of the health crisis on their operations.
Source: Daily Graphic