Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev has been postponed, while Tyson Fury ‘prefers an all-British showdown with AJ to Deontay Wilder trilogy fight’… as coronavirus KOs boxing, where does it leave its leading heavyweights and the fights we all want to see?
- Like other sports, boxing has taken a backseat in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Anthony Joshua’s fight with Kubrat Pulev has officially been postponed
- Tyson Fury is reportedly looking to fight Joshua next rather than Deontay Wilder
- Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce’s all-British clash for April has been moved to July
- Dillian Whyte’s upcoming bout with Alexander Povetkin has also been moved
With the coronavirus pandemic taking its toll, sport across the world is predominately currently halted – with boxing no exception.
COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc with more than 896,000 people confirmed to have been infected via the World Health Organisation website as of the morning of April 2. From that number over 45,500 people have sadly lost their lives.
With boxing rightly taking a step out of the ropes, a magnitude of fighters have decisions to make about their impending or any possible bouts. Sportsmail takes a look at the options for the top heavyweights.
The ‘Gypsy King’ is regarded as the best heavyweight in the division following his dismantling of Deontay Wilder in their rematch in February. That victory saw Fury claim the WBC belt and improve his undefeated record to 30 wins and a draw from 31 contests.
The 31-year-old looks set to fight Wilder in a trilogy bout next but there are reports that Fury has his eye on a mouthwatering unification showdown with British rival Anthony Joshua instead first.
According to the Metro, Fury and his team have their eye on an all-British contest given a third installment of Fury-Wilder, which was initially pencilled in for July, is now in jeopardy due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tyson Fury is arguably the king of the heavyweight division after beating Deontay Wilder
Team Fury are said to now be assessing their options about whether the fighter can be released from facing Wilder in a bid to provide the lucrative unification bout against WBA, WBO and IBF belt-holder Joshua.
Both Fury and Joshua are contractually committed to their next fights – Fury against Wilder and Joshua against Kubrat Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – but the report details how Team Fury are assessing whether their fighter can get out of his arrangement to accelerate a unification.
Wilder would likely need to be offered a sizeable sum to pass up the opportunity to reclaim his WBC title in a third fight with Fury, having been dominated in their second fight – with the first ending in a contentious draw.
Fury beat Wilder (left) in February and reportedly wants to fight rival Anthony Joshua next
As mentioned above, Joshua’s impending fight against Pulev on June 20 in north London has now been postponed.
Joshua is currently still pressing ahead with plans to defend his heavyweight WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles against the 38-year-old at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and his promoter Eddie Hearn has told Sportsmail the fight will now likely take place on July 25 due to coronavirus.
Joshua is in possession of the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles after regaining them in December
As Sportsmail revealed last week, although Hearn has provisionally agreed a back-up date with Spurs of July 25, the club may yet require use of their stadium with the Premier League schedule still up in the air.
If Tottenham needed use of their stadium, the fight would need to be staged elsewhere, although as things stand it is still going ahead at the original venue.
Hearn recently told iFL TV: ‘I’m hoping that we can see boxing back in June and I believe, I’m confident we’ll see it back in July.
‘We spoke to the British Boxing Board of Control today, and you’re not going to see any boxing in May, in the UK from anybody.
‘The only thing we’ve got scheduled for June at the moment is June 27 in Newcastle, and June 20 which is obviously Anthony Joshua [versus Pulev] but hasn’t officially been announced on sale yet – that’s likely to move back to the end of July as well.’
Joshua defends his belts against Kubrat Pulev on June 20 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
For the ‘Bronze Bomber’ he only has one thing on his mind – a trilogy bout with Fury and a chance to avenge his defeat in February.
It was the first loss of his professional career (42-1-1, 41KOs) and the American is desperate to atone for that. Wilder triggered a clause in their second-fight contract, which gave him a 30-day window to accept a trilogy fight, with a date of July 18 in Las Vegas originally talked about, although that will not be possible now.
Fury’s promoter Frank Warren has instead hinted at the pair going toe-to-toe in October but ruled out the prospect of it being held behind closed doors.
Wilder is focusing on a trilogy fight with Fury after suffering his first-ever professional defeat
‘The 18th [of July] will not happen,’ Warren told BBC Sport. ‘The commission in Nevada has said “no boxing” for the foreseeable future and Las Vegas has closed down all the casinos – it’s like a ghost town there.
‘No-one knows what’s happening day to day, all we can do is hope for the best and push it back as far as possible so October looks like the date for the fight.
‘A fight between them behind closed doors just won’t happen – these guys are too big names to be fighting behind closed doors.’
Any hopes of a July 18 fight are now set to be pushed back until October due to the pandemic
If there’s one fighter who deserves a crack at a heavyweight title it’s Dillian Whyte. The Brit has been the mandatory for the WBC belt, for what seems forever, but has been denied an opportunity to contest for it so far.
With Wilder vs Fury III on the cards, it’s looking like it’ll be 2021 before Whyte can challenge for that strap. As a result, his next bout is against Russian Alexander Povetkin. That fight was scheduled to take place at Manchester Arena on May 2 but it has subsequently been pushed back to July 4.
Earlier this week, Whyte suggested that he could be tempted into the world of mixed martial arts, telling UFC president Dana White to ‘hit me up’ and then even called out a couple of their heavyweights.
He mentioned Croatia’s two-time UFC world champion Stipe Miocic, saying: ‘He’ll just try to take me down but he might go to sleep before I go down though.’
The Londoner then told his YouTube channel that he’d ‘knock out’ Francis Ngannou, labelling the Cameroonian a ‘coward’.
Dillian Whyte’s upcoming bout with Alexander Povetkin has been moved from May 2 to July 4
Oleksandr Usyk vs Dereck Chisora
Just like the Whyte-Povetkin fight, Matchroom Promotions have been forced to postpone the heavyweight clash between Britain’s Dereck Chisora and Ukraine’s Oleskandr Usyk.
That bout was due for the O2 Arena in London on May 23 but as it stands there is no rescheduled date for that clash.
Oleksandr Usyk (left) vs Dereck Chisora (right) is yet to have a new date after its postponement
Daniel Dubois vs Joe Joyce
An exciting all-British showdown between these two rivals has been pushed back due to the pandemic.
Dubois and Joyce were set to fight for the British, Commonwealth, and vacant European heavyweight titles on April 11 at the O2 Arena but that has now been postponed to July 11.
However, it seems Joyce is already looking past that bout as he targets a fight with his former amateur team-mate Joshua afterwards – although he’d be against engaging in a slugfest.
Joe Joyce’s (right) bout against British rival Daniel Dubois (left) has been moved to July 11
‘Tyson Fury’s tied up. Joshua beats Pulev… maybe it’s me next,’ the 34-year-old told Sky Sports.
‘I used to love sparing with Joshua. Sometimes we used to go at it, toe-to-toe, really connecting.’
‘It wouldn’t be a very good thing [to have a slugfest] to do that against Joshua. He’s good in a dogfight, but it would be fun. You don’t want to take big shots against Joshua.’
Joyce is open to fighting former amateur team-mate Joshua after the latter’s mandatory
The former WBO champion’s future remains unclear as he had only just beat Shadwell Winters via TKO in the fifth round on February 29.
The New Zealander is restoring his reputation following successive defeats by Joshua and Whyte in 2018.
Speaking last month, the 28-year-old spoke of his desire to fight Usyk next once the former cruiserweight goes up against Chisora – in what will be only his second fight at heavyweight.
Joseph Parker would like to fight Usyk next after beating Shadwell Winters in February
‘I think he will [transition his skills to heavyweight]. People are making judgments on his first fight in the heavyweight division. He would have learned a lot,’ Parker told Sky Sports.
‘It wasn’t the best fight we’ve seen from him and it wasn’t the spectacular performance that everyone was waiting for. But he will be a challenge in the heavyweight division when he settles in. Usyk is a fighter I want to fight myself. I’ll fight Usyk, Chisora, Whyte, Ruiz Jr, Joshua, anyone.’
Another option for Parker is his undefeated countryman, Junior Fa. The pair met four times in the amateur ranks – sharing two wins apiece. A fifth installment in their homeland would prove a major attraction.
‘It would be a big fight in New Zealand,’ Parker said. ‘If they agree terms and don’t ask for too much money then it’s a fight that can happen. We just need the OK from the promoters. If it’s a fight that makes sense for all of us then we’ll take it.’
HOW CORONAVIRUS HAS HIT THE WORLD OF SPORT SO FAR
2020 OLYMPIC GAMES
The 2020 Olympic Games has been postponed until 2021 on March 24 – becoming one of the last major sporting events this summer to fall victim to the coronavirus.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe held a crucial conference call with Olympics chief Thomas Bach on Tuesday to formally decide a plan and they have chosen to postpone for 12 months.
The decision also means the Tokyo Paralympic Games will be subject to a one-year delay.
Despite the delay, the name of the delayed Games will still be Tokyo 2020, the city’s governor Yuriko Koike revealed.
A joint statement from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organising committee read: ‘In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.
‘The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.
‘Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.’
There was plenty of scepticism whether the Olympics would pull through and continue as scheduled while events linked to the games were called off. The Olympic torch relay in Greece was cancelled on Friday March 13 – just a day after the flame was lit in Olympia.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been postponed by one year due to the coronavirus
Large crowds mobbed Hollywood actor Gerard Butler as he lit the cauldron in the Greek city of Sparta despite repeated warnings for spectators not to attend because of coronavirus.
That forced the decision by the Greek Olympic Committee to halt the torch relay on Greek soil on just the second day of its scheduled eight-day journey. It is the only the third time that a relay to Athens for the summer Games has not been completed.
The Olympic flame will still be handed over to the Tokyo 2020 organising committee at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on Thursday March 19, but without fans present.
Athletes were told to keep training but many struggled considering the government lock-down measures put in place.
On Friday March 13 US president Donald Trump’s suggestion to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for a year because of the coronavirus was immediately shot down by Japan’s Olympic minister.
‘The IOC and the organising committee are not considering cancellation or a postponement – absolutely not at all,’ Seiko Hashimoto, an Olympic bronze medalist, told a news conference in Tokyo.
On Tuesday March 17, Kozo Tashima, one of the Japanese Olympic Committee’s vice presidents and president of the Japanese Football Association, tested positive for coronavirus.
The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organisers have stayed on message since the viral outbreak in China three months ago spread across Asia and then the globe: The games will open as scheduled on July 24.
Tokyo 2020 organisers received the Olympic flame in a scaled-down handover ceremony in the Greek capital on March 19.
The World Athletics Indoor Championships, which was due to be held from March 13-15 in Nanjing, is postponed until March 2021.
The World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, has been postponed due to concerns over the danger of the coronavirus and its ability to spread
North Korea cancelled the Pyongyang Marathon scheduled for April after imposing a border lockdown due to the level of outbreak in South Korea, where the Seoul Marathon is cancelled in a bid to protect runners.
The Paris half-marathon is cancelled and the French government also decided to ban all public gatherings of more than 100 people, before ordering people to stay at home from March 15 for at least 15 days. The race involving some 44,000 competitors was scheduled for Sunday March 1. Organisers said the race will be postponed to a date yet to be determined.
The London Marathon, which had been scheduled to take place on April 26, has been postponed until October 4. Over 40,000 runners were due to take part.
The Barcelona marathon scheduled for March 15 has been postponed until October.
Olympic boxing qualifiers to be staged in Wuhan were cancelled by the International Olympic Committee, but went ahead in Amman from March 3-11.
The IBF title fight between Daniele Scardina and Andrew Francillette in Milan on February 28 was postponed by Matchroom due to restrictions in Italy following the outbreak.
The Japanese boxing commission cancelled all fight cards scheduled for March on government advice to suspend all pending sporting fixtures. They will not be rescheduled.
Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce’s Battle of Britain has been pushed back from April to July
The British Boxing Board of Control announced on Tuesday March 17 that all boxing events under their jurisdiction for March will be postponed due to the coronavirus.
That decision has lead to the heavyweight clash between Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce being postponed. That fight, which had been penciled in for April 11, has been rescheduled for July 11 at the O2 Arena.
Anthony Yarde, who was due to fight Lyndon Arthur on the undercard of the all-British clash, announced on March 29 that his father had died as a result of contracting the coronavirus.
He revealed in an Instagram post that he had no underlying health issues and urged everyone to stay at home.
Matchroom Boxing has also postponed all events scheduled for March and April, including Josh Kelly’s European title fight against Russia’s David Avanesyan (scheduled for March 28).
The European Olympic boxing qualification tournament in London has been suspended. It was due to secure qualification for Tokyo 2020 for 77 male and female boxers, with 322 taking part.
Matchroom Boxing chief Eddie Hearn has said Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev, which is scheduled for June 20, could be rearranged for July. All Matchroom promoted fights in March and April have been postponed.
Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders, earmarked for May in Las Vegas, was postponed before even being announced, however the Mexican is reportedly still planning to make the bout happen in June.
England’s tour of Sri Lanka was postponed on March 13, with the England and Wales Cricket Board citing ‘completely unprecedented times’.
The decision was confirmed while Joe Root’s side were in the field at Colombo’s P Sara Oval, contesting a warm-up game for a two-Test series.
On March 18, the West Indies offered to host England’s upcoming home Tests against them in the Caribbean instead of in the UK – should the coronavirus outbreak not have improved by then. England are due to face the Windies in a a three-Test series, which is due to start at the Oval on June 4 but could be delayed until September. If playing the series in England proves unworkable, CWI have offered to step in for this series, and also for England’s three Tests against Pakistan, due to start on July 30. Although there are Covid-19 cases in the Caribbean, its impact there has been limited so far.
The start of the Indian Premier League season has also been delayed until April 15. The 2020 campaign had been set to start on March 29. The IPL franchises are also ready to quarantine their foreign players for a period of 14 days, if travel restrictions are lifted to allow them to arrive.
On March 13, India’s ongoing one-day international series against South Africa was postponed, while Australia’s one-day internationals against New Zealand will be played behind closed doors.
Scotland’s one-day series against the United States and UAE have been postponed. The games were scheduled to be played in Florida in April.
England’s cricketers would not play any rescheduled Test series against West Indies in the Caribbean until December at the earliest, it emerged on March 19.
Cycling’s Giro d’Italia has been called off, with the race scheduled to start in Hungary in May.
The final two stages of the UAE Tour were cancelled after two members of staff on the race were suspected of having the disease.
Danish cyclist Michael Morkov was tested for coronavirus after being put in isolation
The Tour de France is under threat of cancellation, with the scheduled start in Nice taking place in just over three months, on June 27. With British and French governments anticipating that the pandemic will last until the summer, race organizers are studying alternative scheduling.
The Paris-Roubaix cycling race, another major event on the French sports calendar, was postponed due to the pandemic, while the April 5 Tour of Flanders, only previously cancelled during World War I, was also postponed in a further sign that Le Tour is under grave threat.
This summer’s Euro 2020 tournament has been moved to next summer (2021) following a UEFA conference held on March 17. The postponement provides a chance for European club competitions to be completed.
All football in England is suspended until at least April 30 – but the 2019-20 season should eventually be completed after the FA bend their own rules to extend the campaign INDEFINITELY after holding crisis talks on March 19.
The decisions to suspend follows players and staff becoming affected by the virus, or individuals self-isolating as a precaution after reporting symptoms consistent with Covid-19.
The Premier League has moved to cancel games following the global outbreak of coronavius
The Premier League clash between Manchester City and Arsenal, scheduled for March 11, had already been postponed as a ‘precautionary measure’ after Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for coronavirus weeks after watching his Greek team play at the Emirates Stadium.
On March 13, UEFA announced all Champions League and Europa League fixtures scheduled are postponed, as well as the quarter-final draws for both competitions. UEFA hope to conclude the competitions in the summer but no dates are yet set.
Birmingham City become the first Championship side to see players take temporary 50 per cent wage cuts to ease financial pressure. Leeds United soon followed in a bid to keep paying all of their non-football staff.
All Chinese domestic fixtures at all levels were postponed and the season pushed back, the first football to be affected by the outbreak in the country of its origin. However, reports suggest that the league could resume on April 18 as China gets to grip with the virus.
Asian Champions League matches involving Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG are postponed until April.
The start of the Korean K-League season is postponed. The four teams in the AFC Champions League are playing their matches behind closed doors.
Japan’s J-League postponed all domestic games until the middle of March, but further delays are inevitable.
Ludogorets players were taking no chances after the coronavirus outbreak in Italy
Italy, the country worst hit by the virus outside China, suffered a spate of cancellations before the government put the population on lockdown. All sport, including Serie A games, were suspended until at least April 3 to contain the virus.
In France, it was announced on Friday 13 March that there will be no top-flight football in France for the immediate future after their governing body postponed all matches.
In Spain, April 18’s Copa del Rey final between between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad has been postponed. LaLiga is also postponed until the end of March at least.
Germany’s Bundesliga, the other major European league, is also suspended until April 3 at least.
The Dutch Eredivisie and Portugal’s Primeira Liga are also suspended.
The Football Association of Ireland announced that all football under its jurisdiction will cease until March 29.
Major League Soccer has been suspended for 30 days until mid-April with David Beckham’s first Inter Miami home game delayed.
The South American Football Confederation postponed this year’s Copa America, due to take place from 12 June to 12 July, until 2021.
FIFA said that the newly-expanded Club World Cup, originally scheduled to take place in China in June 2021, will be postponed and a new date announced when ‘there is more clarity on the situation’.
On March 13, the FA announced that all of England’s games scheduled for the month would be postponed, including those of development teams. It means that England’s friendlies with Italy and Denmark have been called off.
Euro 2020 play-off matches due to be held on March 26, including Scotland v Israel have been put off until June.
Olympiakos’ owner Evangelos Marinakis has tested positive for the coronavirus
Manchester United clash at Austrian side Lask was behind closed doors, with United handing out £350 to each fan to help with travel and accommodation after they sold 900 tickets for the Europa League game.
Newcastle United banned their players from shaking hands with each other amid coronavirus fears.
Cristiano Ronaldo went into isolation in Madeira after it emerged that his Juventus team-mate, Daniele Rugani, has coronavirus. Squad members Blaise Matuidi and Paolo Dybala also tested positive.
Elsewhere in Italy, Fiorentina striker Patrick Cutrone, who is on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, tested positive for coronavirus.
In Spain, 35% of Valencia’s squad staff tested positive for coronavirus, with all cases being asymptomatic.
Real Madrid’s first-team squad were in quarantine after a member of the basketball team tested positive for Covid-19. The two teams share the same training facility.
Liverpool have announced a charity match between a Reds Legends side and Barcelona Legends, due to be played at Anfield on March 28, has been postponed.
FIFA says it will postpone South American World Cup qualifying matches due to take place in March.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus on March 12 with the entire first-team squad being put into isolation. The Gunners’ game against Brighton, scheduled for Saturday March 14, has been postponed.
In the early hours of Friday, March 13, Chelsea announced that winger Callum Hudson-Odoi had been diagnosed with the illness.
The club’s first team went into self-isolation, while two buildings at their training ground in Cobham were closed.
Premier League clubs, including Manchester United and Manchester City, have sent players home to train alone following the British government’s increasing crackdown on mass gatherings and unnecessary social contact.
West Ham chief Karren Brady called for the season to be null and void while Aston Villa believe no team should be relegated. In this situation Liverpool, the runaway league leaders, could face the horror of being denied the title despite being on the brink of securing their first league trophy in nearly 30 years.
Reports suggest football bodies across England and the rest of Europe are bracing themselves for a reported total shutdown of every league until September.
Top-level English and Scottish football was initially suspended until April 3 at the earliest. The Football Association, the Premier League, the English Football League, FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship all agreed to call a halt to competitive action with immediate effect.
All levels of English football below the National League North and South have been called off and voided with no promotion and relegation due to the calendar being decimated by the coronavirus outbreak.
The season-opening Australian Grand Prix was called off after a McLaren team member came down with Covid-19, leading to the British team pulling out prior to a decision being made on whether the race would still go ahead.
The announcement came hours after Lewis Hamilton said it was ‘shocking’ that the race was going ahead.
The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 19 was the first race to be postponed, with no decision over whether it will be reinserted into the 2020 calendar for later in the season.
The Bahrain Grand Prix, scheduled for March 20-22, is also called off, as is the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix, which was scheduled to take place in Hanoi on April 5.
It was hoped that the Dutch Grand Prix on May 3 would be the first race of the new season but that has also been postponed due to Covid-19.
The iconic Monaco Grand Prix on May 24 was cancelled for the first time in 66 years before Formula One announced their race in Azerbaijan had been postponed.
The Chinese GP was first to be cancelled and other races could yet follow that lead
On March 13, the Masters was postponed. In a statement released online, Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, emphasised that the decision makers hope to hold the championship ‘at some later date’. The first men’s major of the year was due to begin on April 9.
The US PGA Championship, the second major of the year, has now joined the Masters in being postponed. It had been due to take place at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco from May 11-17, but has been rescheduled for later this summer.
After deciding to play with no spectators from the second round of the Players Championship onwards, the PGA Tour cancelled the event entirely after the first round on March 12.
They also scrapped the following three events leading up to the Masters, but after that was cancelled four further events in April and May – the RBC Heritage, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Wells Fargo Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson – also bit the dust. It is hoped that the season can be resumed in late May.
The European Tour have cancelled all tournaments until the popular Made in Denmark event on May 21. Many of them were due to be held in China or east Asia in countries badly hit by the outbreak.
The women’s game has also been hit by postponements and cancellations, with the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration, the highest profile casualty.
The Masters has been postponed for the first time since the Second World War
Lorenzo Gagli and Edoardo Molinari were withdrawn from the Oman Open on medical grounds after Gagli showed symptoms of the virus. He shared a hotel room with Molinari and he was told to self-isolate. They were later reinstated to the tournament after testing negative for the virus.
The Grand National was called off following new British government restrictions to fight the spread of coronavirus made it impossible to stage the Aintree showpiece on April 4. The Cheltenham Festival went ahead amid some criticism before the social distancing measures were tightened.
The Japan Racing Association revealed that ‘government-sanctioned races’ will go ahead behind closed doors.
Racing in Ireland attempted to take place behind closed doors starting on March 29 – but that decision was changed after government cancelled all sporting events.
The Dubai World Cup meeting will go ahead on March 28 ‘without paid hospitality spectators’.
Racing Post forced to temporarily suspend publication of the flagship daily racing newspaper for the first time since their inception in 1986 due to all action in UK and Ireland being suspended.
The Cheltenham Festival went ahead despite travel disruption caused by the virus
This year’s Six Nations will have to wait for its conclusion with all remaining games postponed.
England’s game with Italy and Ireland’s trip to France had already been called off with Wales and Scotland leaving it until the day before before calling off their game.
Saturday, 31 October is a possible date for the final weekend of matches.
The Women’s Six Nations has also been hit by postponements.
Ireland’s Six Nations encounter with Italy on March 7 has been postponed
The RFU has suspended all levels of rugby in England until April 14, with the announcement coming shortly after the Premiership was halted for five weeks.
The quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have also been postponed. Those games were scheduled for April 3, 4 and 5.
The RFL and rugby league’s Super League have now followed suit and postponed all fixtures for at least three weeks. Eight Leeds Rhinos players had been confirmed to be self-isolating.
Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since World War II as All England Club chiefs called the tournament off at an emergency meeting.
It was considered impossible for the tournament to be moved back to later in the year, or to be played without fans, and so chiefs have pulled the plug entirely.
This is the first time that Wimbledon will not be staged since 1945. Only one Grand Slam has missed a year since the war, the 1986 Australian Open, and that was for the technical reason of the date shifting forward from December into January.
The French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, is postponed until September amid a wide lockdown in France.
The clay-court major was scheduled for May 24 to June 7, but that has shifted to September 20 to October 4, after the US Open, which was due to be the final major of the year.
Players have been quick to criticise the move, which has created a conflict with the Laver Cup men’s team event spearheaded by Roger Federer, and a women’s tournament in China.
All events on the ATP Tour have been suspended for six weeks.
The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in California, set to start on March 9, was postponed at the eleventh hour. It came after a confirmed case of the coronavirus in the nearby Coachella Valley.
The final of an ATP Challenger event in Bergamo, Italy, between Enzo Couacaud and Illya Marchenko of Ukraine was cancelled. Both players received ranking points and prize money for getting to the final. They were denied the opportunity to play behind closed doors.
China forfeited a Davis Cup tie because the men’s team were unable to travel to Romania for the March 6-7 play-off.
WTA events have also been cancelled. The WTA announced they are assessing their schedule with a number of events set for China in the second half of the season.
The International Tennis Federation has announced that the Fed Cup finals have been postponed. The event was due to be held in Budapest in April and the competition’s play-offs, which were set to take place in eight different locations, have also been placed on hold.
The WTA also announced no tournaments will be staged for at least five weeks.
Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since World War II
The NBA has been suspended indefinitely after two Utah Jazz players contracted the virus. On March 17 Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant confirmed he had tested positive for the virus alongside three unnamed team-mates.
In an aid to decrease risks of exposure to the virus, the NBA had told players to avoid taking items such as pens, markers, balls and jerseys from autograph seekers.
The NHL has announced it has paused the 2019-20 season with no date confirmed for when it will resume.
The UFC has cancelled its next three events, although president Dana White is still pushing ahead for the highly-anticipated lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
MotoGP have cancelled their first two races of the season in Qatar and Thailand.
South Korea’s baseball league cancelled all 50 pre-season game which were slated to take place from March 14-24. It is the first time since the leagues inception in 1982 that an entire set of exhibition matches are off.
The first-stage draw for the Table Tennis World Championships, scheduled for South Korea from March 22-29, is postponed.
A beach volleyball tournament, due to be held in Yangzhou from April 22-26, is postponed until after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
World Short track speed skating championship in Seoul is cancelled.
The World Triathlon Series event in Abu Dhabi was postponed as a precautionary measure.
The Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships in Canada have been cancelled.
All 72 pre-season baseball games in Japan are to take place behind closed doors
In badminton, the German Open (March 3-8), Vietnam Open (March 24-29) and Polish Open (March 26-29), all Olympic qualifying events, are cancelled due to ‘strict health protection’.
The Japanese professional baseball league made the decision to play their 72 pre-season games behind closed doors until March 15. Baseball is among the most popular sports in Japan.
Doubts remain as the Asian weightlifting championships, scheduled for March, are relocated from Kazakhstan to neighbouring Uzbekistan. They could still be postponed.
Share this article
Source: Read Full Article