IBO President discusses COVID-19 Impact on Boxing and Post-Pandemic Plans
Boxing is not in the best of places right now, with the COVID-19 pandemic bringing the pugilistic profession to a shuddering standstill, as thousands of events worldwide go up in the air about whether or not they will take place in the coming months.
Florida-based Levine, who has been a mainstay at the head of the IBO for over 20 years, gave his views on the current situation and the impact it is having on the boxing business as a whole.
He said, "Firstly my thoughts are with the people who are currently suffering from the COVID-19 virus along with their families. It is a troubling time not just for the boxing community but for the entire world's population so the health and well-being of our families is the most important concern for all of us.
"Boxing has essentially ground to a standstill due to this pandemic. There are no shows anywhere in the world. When there are no events in boxing people can't work in the business for the most part. I personally feel for all of the fighters who don't have the access to compete right now and therefore aren't earning money from competing. Boxing is prizefighting at the end of the day, and without it, it is hard for many fighters to provide an income for their families, and that is heartbreaking.
"In regard to IBO business, we are still committed to providing future opportunities to fighters globally. We had a countless amount of world title fights lined up including fighters such as Dominic Boesel, Sebastian Formella, Kevin Lerena, Cecilia Braekhus, Terri Harper and of course Anthony Joshua. So for those fights not to take place is hard to take, however, we all understand the situation now and I'm confident that these champions will get great opportunities to defend their titles when the time is correct."
Anthony Joshua's planned world title defense against Kubrat Pulev along with the imminent return of world middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin have been postponed. Levine opened up on some of these high-profile postponements.
The IBO President said, "Well it is a massive shame but as I've stated I fully support the postponements as the public's health is more important at this point in time. We are still excited however about being a part of some massive events that could possibly take place in the second half of the year involving the likes of Anthony Joshua and Gennadiy Golovkin.
"I believe that boxing will bounce back from this and the boxing fans will be excited to see all of our champions back in action at the appropriate time. The likes of DAZN, Matchroom Sport, PBC, Golden Gloves, ESPN+, and Top Rank, and many others will put on great events that the public clamor to see whether that be live in person or on television. I believe quality cards will always attract viewers so boxing can bounce back and become stronger than ever.
"IBO ratings will remain static with no fights currently scheduled and with reasonable extensions of time limitations for world champions to defend their titles."
Anthony Joshua (UK) vs. Kubrat Pulev (Bulgaria) TBD
Kevin Lerena (South Africa) vs. Kai Robin Havnaa (Norway) TBD
Dominic Boesel (Germany) vs. Zac Dunn (Australia) TBD
Evgeny Shvedenko (Russia) vs. Rowan Campbell (South Africa) TBD
Gennadiy Golovkin (Kazakhstan) vs. TBA TBD
Maximino Flores (Mexico) vs. Tommy Frank (UK) TBD
Nkosinathi Joyi (South Africa) vs. Ayanda Ndulani (South Africa) TBD
Cecilia Braekhus (Norway) vs. Jessica McCaskill (USA) TBD
Terri Harper (UK) vs. Natasha Jonas (UK) TBD