The effects of COVID on Irish boxing?

The current worldwide pandemic has affected all of us greatly, but as shops reopen and semi-normality resumes for most, it still remains to be seen the effect the pandemic will truly have on our beloved sport.

With the first Irish Boxing outing since the outbreak occurring last week in New York with Larry Fryers, it is a positive sign for Irish Boxers seeing one of their own returning to combat, and with Eddie Hearn, Frank Warren and MTK all announcing comeback shows it seems the scene is getting back to its feet gradually.

But just how long will we have to wait for some of the magical nights we all love to return, the packed out Windsor Park, The Feile, and all the Ulster Hall show’s that gets the whole community excited.

Will the nights ever be the same?

With social distancing guidelines in place how long until we can pack out the venues we all love to enter again. For most a casual fight watching one of the big names is no big deal behind closed doors, but for the die-hards, the ones that bring the support from the first bell of the night to the very last, singing and cheering for the boxer they support, its not the same watching behind a screen.

For the boxers? No ticket sales, no roar of the crowd when you’re backed in a corner, the Irish boxing community willing you on, the magical nights I have mentioned that were so close to being finalized, a potential Katie Taylor homecoming, a Frampton Vs Herring Windsor clash, a potential Michael Conlan world title fight at the Feile.

Of course, them fights will still get us excited but will it be the same? The fight week excitement, the weigh-in drama and most importantly fight day itself, the excitement and nervousness making that feeling in your stomach that only boxing fans can explain, the pure passion during the fight and the ecstasy or despair depending on the result.

All do to it again for the next event however long after, it never gets boring and the passion never leaves.

But how long will we have to wait for another one of them nights? Although it is a positive sign fighters are receiving dates and fights are being scheduled this writer would assume we are a good bit away from a full sellout in Windsor or a packed out Ulster Hall show.

Will small hall shows be able to run without fans? With no ticket money or TV deal, we would assume not which is not a good sign for fighters signed to small hall promoters?

In this time of uncertainty many of us are happy to just see two fighters step into the ring and fight, but how many of us are living for a special Irish Boxing night again?

Josh Reid McCabe

Boxing fanatic, part-time writer for the Star newspaper Email